I haven’t been to every amusement park in the world, but Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio has to be one of the best. It’s got four different roller coasters taller than 200 feet, it’s got a laser show every night that culminates in Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” (or at least it did when I used to go there), and it’s just announced plans to build another 200-foot coaster, named “Valravn” after a mythical Danish death raven, that will drop cars eight people wide off a goddang 90-degree cliff. (Update, 5:15 p.m.: A Cedar Point spokesman says the patriotic laser show has been replaced by a stage show called “Luminosity.” Boo! Bring back Greenwood!)
The park’s official announcement caps months of speculation, which early on zeroed in on the addition of an 18th roller coaster at Cedar Point, this one a so-called dive coaster … There are two dive coasters in the United States, both the work of Bolliger & Mabillard, the Swiss firm that is believed to be designing Cedar Point’s new coaster.
“Dive coasters” are apparently differentiated from standard coasters by their wide cars and straight-vertical first drops, which come after a stretch of flat track rather than in the hill shape you probably picture when you imagine a roller coaster.
This is what Wikipedia says about what a “valravn” is:
According to Danish folklore recorded in the late 1800s, when a king or chieftain was killed in battle and not found and buried, ravens came and ate him. The ravens became valravne. The valravne that ate the king’s heart gained human knowledge and could perform great malicious acts, could lead people astray, had superhuman powers, and were “terrible animals.”
In another account, a valravn is described as a peaceless soul in search of redemption that flies by night (but never day) and can only free itself from its animal countenance by consuming the blood of a child.
Don’t mess with a valravn!
For a more informative roller-coaster-related reading, I suggest these surprisingly thorough and up-to-date lists of the tallest, longest, steepest, etc. coasters in the world written on About.com by “theme parks expert Arthur Levine.”