The lampshade that drives its owners mad: Strange truth behind 20th century's most disturbing object

Looted from an abandoned house, sold as junk for $35 – and finally mailed to the American author Mark Jacobson by a man who couldn't wait to get rid of it. It is the lampshade that drives its owners mad – but what is its macabre secret? Robert Chalmers investigates

The Turn of the Screw, Grand Theatre, Leeds<br/>Strange News, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Alessandro Talevi's high-risk production around an old four-poster pays off, with a terrific Opera North cast and an astonishing richness of sound

Relics kept in the Twin Towers sent back to Iraq

In all the twists and tragedies spanning 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq, few would think to look for a happy subplot in the world of archaeology. But consider the travails of 362 tiny clay tablets. Forged in southern Iraq 4,000-odd years ago, then crushed in the collapse of the twin towers, the tablets are now back in Iraq.

The Innocent, By David Szalay

David Szalay's anti-hero, Aleksandr, is a relic of the Communist revolution, who grew to manhood at the beginning of Stalin's regime when betrayal and execution were the order of the day. Now, in 1972, while Bobby Fischer robs his Soviet opponent, Boris Spassky, of the world chess championship, and the Munich Olympics endure bloodshed and terrorist attack, Aleksandr is looking back over events after the Second World War, when he was sent to investigate the case of Anatoly Yudin.

Mystery Jets - From songs of innocence to grown-up experience

Mystery Jets began as an eccentric father-and-son outfit on London's Eel Pie Island. But, they tell Nick Hasted, they've moved on

Mystery Jets, Somerset House, London

Mystery Jets' apparent popularity has always been rather confusing.

Singing cowboy relics for sale

An upcoming auction will feature the belongings of the singing movie cowboy Roy Rogers, including his horse, Trigger, which has been stuffed.

World's best-preserved gladiatorial relics are discovered in the suburbs of York

Eighty skeletons &ndash; including one apparently killed by a large carnivore &ndash; found close to city centre

114 terracotta warriors discovered in the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang

114 Terracotta Warriors, and several artefacts, have been discovered in the mausoleum of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. The warriors were discovered in the largest of the pits, No 1 pit, and retained some of the richly-coloured paint that all of the warriors would have displayed originally.

Peter Popham: Shrouded in the faith of centuries

The Catholic Church has never officially endorsed the claims of the Shroud's true believers

Cloth of gold: The glittering return of the Turin Shroud

The Turin Shroud captivates the faithful, intrigues even the sceptical &ndash; and earns the Catholic Church a fortune. What is it about this ancient relic that makes it so special? Michael Day reports from Italy on this spring's real blockbuster exhibition

Turin Shroud expected to attract two million visitors

World's most famous holy relic on display for only sixth time in a century

The London stone 'just needs some love'

Mix two parts legend to one part myth, sprinkle some facts and grill for a few decades: the London Stone is London's enigmatic emblem, tightrope-walking over a sea of mystery and romance from its ersatz home on one of the city's busiest commercial streets.

CND plan nuclear weapons site blockade

Hundreds of peace activists from across the UK will today try to blockade a nuclear weapons site where warheads for the Trident submarines are made.

Army may patrol streets to confront terror threat

Long-awaited Green Paper foresees new domestic role for Britain's services, with emphasis on greater co-operation as chiefs face up to budgetary constraints
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own