Weird Universe Blog — January 11, 2018

Drive-Thru Funeral Home

In 1968, Herschel Thornton of Atlanta, Georgia opened the world's first drive-thru funeral home. He called it a "mortatorium." The press dubbed it the "remains to be seen" funeral home.

It featured five windows in which bodies could be viewed from the comfort of one's car. Thornton noted, "Folks will be able just to drive by and view the last remains of their loved ones, and then keep going."

The Thornton Mortuary is still around. Herschel died in 1995, so the mortuary is now run by his son and grandchildren. Their website has a page about the "historic drive-thru viewing window." But based on the Google street view image of the mortuary, it looks like the drive-thru option is no longer available.

Jet - Mar 28, 1968

image source:

image source: Thornton mortuary

The Greenville News - Mar 14, 1968

However, other funeral homes eventually followed in the path blazed by Thornton. Quartz magazine reports that Japan debuted its first drive-thru funeral home in 2017. And below is an AP news report about a drive-thru mortuary that opened in Michigan in 2014.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 11, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, 1960s, Cars

The Fireballs, COME ON, REACT

"You've got your bag, and I've got mine."

Their Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 11, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Music, 1960s

January 10, 2018

Trimming the Largest Yew Hedge

According to The Telegraph, they use a cherry picker nowadays to trim the thing. It produces almost a ton of clippings, which are sold to pharmaceutical companies who use yew extract as a key ingredient in a chemotherapy drug, Docetaxel.

I can't figure out how the guy is just standing on top of the hedge. Can it really support a man's weight? I guess so.

Honolulu Advertiser - July 24, 1990

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 10, 2018 - Comments (6)
Category: Horticulture and Gardens, 1990s

Heidi Lee’s Hats

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jan 10, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Avant Garde, Surrealism, Eccentrics, Headgear

January 9, 2018

Shed Defender

AKA leotards for dogs. Available at

The patent pending Shed Defender is intended to be worn in the house, car, or anywhere you don’t want dog hair, dirt, dander, and allergens. Made from premium eco-friendly fabric that is lightweight and breathable to ensure the dog stays safe, cool and comfortable. Four-way stretch fabric allows the dog to move freely.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 09, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Fashion, Dogs

Mystery Gadget 55

What tha--?

Answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 09, 2018 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Technology, 1940s

January 8, 2018

Prisoners who escape a day before release

The recurring weird news theme of prisoners who escape from jail a day before they're set to be released. Usually the escape isn't anything too complicated. They're on a minimum-security work detail, from which they simply walk away. But still, why leave if all you have to do is wait a day and be legally free? Because if caught again, they're looking at years of new imprisonment.

Three examples below, though I'm sure there must be more. Worth noting: I didn't find any follow-up stories mentioning their capture. So maybe they all got away with that one extra day of freedom.

McComb Enterprise-Journal - Mar 11, 1990

An inmate from the Shelby County Detention Center working at the state highway garage grabbed a truck and took off Wednesday – the day before he was scheduled to be paroled. Police are looking for Andrew Joseph Wilson, 21, who escaped from work detail in Shelby County Wednesday. Andrew Joseph Wilson, 21, of Richmond escaped while on work release Wednesday by stealing a vehicle that was found ditched in Anderson County.
- Sentinel News - Dec 13, 2013

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections is searching for Barthesday Deberry who escaped Tuesday morning after walking away from a work detail near Boston. Deberry was scheduled to be released on Wednesday (TOMORROW!!!!) after serving five years on a fire arms conviction.
-Newport Buzz - Mar 1, 2016

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 08, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Prisons

Unauthorized Dwellings 4

Houseboats have always been a prime source of contention as authorities try to police dwellings. The Amsterdam article is from 2016. The other news report hails from 1924.



UPDATE: now behind CHICAGO TRIBUNE paywall.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 08, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Unauthorized Dwellings, 1920s, Twenty-first Century

January 7, 2018

An urge to conquer something big

1961: A 14-year-old boy commandeered a Trailways bus and drove it fifteen blocks because he "had an urge to conquer something big" and wanted to drive it "somewhere."

Compare this to Bronx bus driver William Cimillo who, in 1947, instead of following his daily route drove the bus to Florida because he was overcome by "that old spring-time urge."

There must be a name for the psychiatric condition of being overcome by a desire to drive a bus to somewhere far away.

Camden Courier-Post - Sep 2, 1961

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 07, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: 1960s, Bus


I make no comment, criticism or judgment.

The page itself.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jan 07, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Sexuality, Feet

Page 2 of 31 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›
Custom Search
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.

Go to top