Weird Universe Blog — July 26, 2019

The Leaping Lawyer of Toronto

Lawyer Garry Hoy worked on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower. Hi’s favorite trick, during office parties, was to demonstrate how the building's glass windows were unbreakable. He did this by hurling himself at them. But when he performed his trick in July 1993, the window unexpectedly broke, sending him plummeting to his death.

Based on notoriety alone, I’d say this has to qualify as one of the top 25 weird news stories of all time. Wikipedia notes that it’s been featured on a number of television shows (such as Mythbusters), and was also re-enacted in the 2006 movie The Darwin Awards.

More info: wikipedia, snopes

The Ottawa Citizen - July 12, 1993

National Post - July 13, 1993

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 26, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Death | 1990s

Mystery Illustration 84

You saw Julie Newmar as Elvis. Now which world-famous actress of the 1950s and 1960s is here impersonating Theda Bara?

The answer is at the link.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 26, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Movies | Twentieth Century

July 25, 2019

Coal Mining as a hobby

Are these coal miners? Not exactly. They're coal-mining hobbyists, who spend their leisure time down in mines shoveling coal.

In her book Hedonizing Technologies: Paths to Pleasure in Hobbies and Leisure, historian Rachel Maines notes:

Any technology that privileges the pleasures of production over the value and/or significance of the product can be a hedonizing technology. One would intuitively suppose that some technologies would resist hedonizing—coal mining and air traffic control, for example, and ironing and darning among domestic activities—but one would be wrong. All of these work algorithms have their counterparts among hedonized activites.

Translation: what is work for some, is a pleasure activity for others.

You can check out the website of the coal-mining hobbyists at

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 25, 2019 - Comments (6)
Category: Hobbies and DIY

July 24, 2019

The Atomic Golf Ball

A demonstration that what is possible may not be what is practical.

Developed by nuclear physicist William Davidson in 1950, a small amount of radioactive material at the core of the atomic golf ball allowed it to be found using a Geiger counter, should it be hit into the rough. But there were a few problems with the concept:

1: The Geiger counter needed to be pretty close to the ball (within 5 feet) to actually detect it.
2: Not many people own Geiger counters.
3: Even though a single ball didn't pose much of a radiation risk, a bunch of the balls stored together would be a problem. So, it wasn't possible for stores to stock and sell these.

Mechanix Illustrated - Mar 1951

Akron Beacon Journal - Aug 20, 2000
click to enlarge

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 24, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Sports | Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters | 1950s

Lonesome and Disgusted

A song written to be deliberately awful.

Amazingly, not to be found on YouTube. Listen using the embedded audio below, starting roughly at the 53:20 mark. Actually, the whole show is worth hearing.

Leo De Lyon's Wikipedia page.

Source of quote.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 24, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Humor | Music | 1950s | Nausea, Revulsion and Disgust

July 23, 2019

George Price and Altruism

During the 1960s, scientist George Price came up with a mathematical formula to explain the evolution of altruism. This equation has been described as "the closest thing biology has to E=mc2."

Legend has it that Price subsequently became obsessed by proving that altruism was a genuine phenomenon, extending beyond family relations. He did this by giving away all his possessions to random, needy people — to the point that he himself became penniless, was evicted from his apartment, and after living in various squats throughout London, eventually committed suicide.

That's the legend, but Laura Farnworth discovered that, while the story is basically true, there's slightly more to it than that. Such as that Price was also suffering from psychotic delusions. Read more at

George Price

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 23, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics | Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains | 1960s

Thirteen Daughters, Then a Boy

I wonder if this 1953 record has ever been broken?

Story here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 23, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Family | Children | World Records | 1950s

July 22, 2019

L’Orange Variee Perfume

From 1925. It came in small bottles designed to look like segments of an orange. Not many bottles of this stuff survive. When intact sets do come up at auction, they can easily fetch over $1000.

More info: Box Vox

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 22, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: 1920s | Perfume and Cologne and Other Scents

Follies of the Madmen #436

Those are plainly loony bin attendants in the background, denoting that this clothing line is worn by crazy people. Gratuitous tape recorder also puzzling.


Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 22, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Business | Advertising | Fashion | 1960s | Brain Damage

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