Weird Universe Blog — November 17, 2017

Virgin Hospitals

1945: Mrs. Lenora Hawkes Jones came up with the idea of having a network of "virgin hospitals" throughout America which would house lovely and brainy women willing to bear children by suitable men in order to "improve the race." Suitable men would be those who didn't drink or smoke, and who weren't 'evil-minded.'

Didn't the nazis have some kind of scheme like this going?

Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Mar 7, 1926

Piqua Daily Call - Nov 2, 1945

A network of "virgin hospitals" in every state of the union where "our loveliest and brainiest" unmarried women would produce a new generation of super-babies by test tube is the solution offered by Mrs. Lenora Hawkes Jones, 76-year-old Washington inventor, to counteract the war-born husband shortage. Mrs. Jones, a graduate of the Bangor (Me.) theological seminary draws the line at men who smoke or drink in choosing the fathers, and advocates extreme caution to weed out the "evil-minded" applicants. Her proposed hospitals would completely eliminate the "personal factor," employ only women doctors, and the super-babies commended to the state for care."
-acme photo caption

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 17, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Eccentrics, Crackpots, 1940s

Lotte Fit’s Gum Commercial

Japanese chewing gum promotes uncontrollable muscle spasms.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Nov 17, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Dance, Asia

November 16, 2017

Takes $1.95 Dispute to Supreme Court

During the gasoline shortage of 1979, New York state ordered a $7 minimum purchase of gas at stations, to stop people topping up. Frank Makara's tank would only hold $5.05 woth of gas, but he had to pay the full $7 minimum anyway. Outraged, he sued the BP station that charged him the $7, and took his suit all the way to the supreme court... which refused to hear the case. He ended up spending over $100 to try to recover $1.95.

According to the online inflation calculator I ran the numbers through, $1.95 in 1979 has the same purchasing power as $7.18 in 2017. So, even in today's money, not worth going to court over. Unless you're a stubborn old goat for whom the principle is worth more than the money spent on court fees.

White Plains Journal News - Apr 21, 1981

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 16, 2017 - Comments (7)
Category: Lawsuits, 1980s

The Fountain of the World Cult

"Members of Fountain of the World cult in Chatsworth are pallbearers and mourners at funeral of their leader Krishna Venta and two other cult members killed in dynamiting of their headquarters."

Read a long fascinating article on this Manson precursor at the LA WEEKLY.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Nov 16, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Cult Figures and Artifacts, Death, 1940s, 1950s

November 15, 2017

Bikini Experiment

So why was Simone Harris standing on a Sydney street in a bikini? Was this a publicity stunt? Was she a psychologist conducting research? A performance artist being weird? I haven't been able to find answers anywhere.

Racine Journal Times - June 17, 1970

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 15, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Experiments, Psychology, 1970s

Mystery Illustration 62

Who, where, why?

The answer is here.

And after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 15, 2017 - Comments (4)

November 14, 2017

Craigslist Art

In an article on, Scott Indrisek explores the strange subculture of craigslist art, which involves artists posting offbeat requests on craigslist and seeing what happens. Some examples:

Kenneth Tam offered cash to any couple who would let him observe, and film, an ordinary dinner in their home while he sat, silent, in the background.

For her 2009 “Lucky Tiger” series, Laurel Nakadate "took playfully suggestive self-portraits, and then found men via Craigslist who were willing to 'cover their hands with fingerprinting ink and touch the photographs while discussing them and passing them around.'"

For the audio installation Goodnight Call, Sophie Barbasch "provided her phone number and asked strangers to 'leave me a goodnight voicemail before you go to sleep at night as though we have been together for years.'"

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 14, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Art


I would like to find the whole 17-minute video of Dali's CHAOS AND CREATION, especially after reading the description in the newspaper article. But I can only find bits and pieces. The second clip shows a brief image of the motorcycle in the pigpen.

Original article here.

Foto source.

Foto source, more at site.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 14, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Art, Avant Garde, Pop Art, Surrealism, 1960s, Motorcycles

November 13, 2017

Miss Vacant Lot of the World

The Miss Vacant Lot of the World contest was started in 1972. It was part of the Annual Armadillo Exposition and Confab held in Victoria, Texas. The contest rules were as follows:

The contest will be open to women between the ages of 18 and 65. Mandatory requirements of the contest will be certified proof of one of the following happening to the contestant while a child: broken arm or leg, dog bite, one or more of the various childhood diseases, such as measles, chickenpox, mumps, etc. If medical evidence cannot be provided, a note from the mother will be accepted. Contestants will have three minutes in the final judging to exhibit their talents, which can be anything. Judging will be on the basis of dress and talent. Beauty will not be a factor.

Valley Morning Star - May 26, 1975

Here's what I was able to find out about the first six winners of the Miss Vacant Lot title:

1972: Cindy Hudler won for her "dance of the Dasypodidae" which involved waltzing around a vacant lot in an armadillo suit.
1973: Modine Gunch won for standing on her head while spinning a hula-hoop on one leg.
1974: Algeria Sadberry won for playing a song through her nose.
1975: Elvira Rose Hunt (aka Karen Janecka) won for stuffing 264 pennies in her mouth.
1976: Linda Strelczyk won by stuffing 200 poptop tabs into her size 36EEE bikini bra while singing a song titled "Keep Your Finger Out Of It; It Don't Belong To You."
1977: A 200-pound woman (unnamed) won for dressing like an armadillo and singing an armadillo song.

Some of the prizes that the winners received included a trophy, a $25 check, a gift certificate, a bouquet of weeds, and a picture of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. They also got to wear the Armadillo Crown.

The contest was discontinued in 1979. The organizers noted, "you can only tell the same joke so many times." However, it seems that it was revived at various times, such as in the late 1980s and again in 2011.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 13, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, 1970s

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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