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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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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South Africa
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there