Weird Universe Blog — September 9, 2019

The Man Who Wanted to Sell Himself to Science

Like a lot of people during the great depression, William Bird of Jacksonville, Vermont had fallen on hard times. He was out of work, heavily in debt, and facing eviction. He feared he would soon be unable to feed his wife and three children. So Bird came up with a plan. He would sell himself to science.

Los Angeles Times - Nov 15, 1936



He announced his offer in November 1936 by sending a letter to the local press. It read, in part:

I’m sick and tired of being in debt and without a job. Everything seems to have failed. There’s no work to speak of. I’m in debt $400. Food is running low. The fire in our kitchen stove is going out. My wife and three children need clothes to keep them warm during the winter. I’ve got to keep them together. There seems to be only one hope. I’d like to sell myself for $2500…

If there is some doctor or group of doctors or scientists who’ll advance me $2500, I’ll agree to pay it back in two years. I have to sort of sell or mortgage myself because that’s the only security I can put up.

Now, if I failed to pay back the money when the time was up, I’d let them do anything they want with me. I’d let them try and kind of experiment on me.

Soon he sweetened the offer by specifying that it would be all right with him if he didn't survive the experimentation process. Naturally, his wife was opposed to the whole idea.

The media spread his unusual offer nationwide. Reporters noted that he was a prime physical specimen — six feet tall, 175 pounds, and a sturdy workman of good habits. In other words, excellent guinea pig material.

An anonymous Texan took sympathy on Bird and sent him $10. However, the scientific community wasn't tempted. No doctors took him up on his offer.

Although Bird didn't manage to sell himself as a human guinea pig, his story nevertheless had a happy ending. Within days of making his appeal, Bird was given a job on a construction project. He said, "I don't know who was responsible for giving me work, but I sure appreciate it." But he also noted that, despite now having a job, his offer still stood. He was still willing to sell himself to science, should some doctor ever want to take him up on it.

Los Angeles Times - Nov 18, 1936

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 09, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Science | Experiments | 1930s

September 8, 2019

Cheetos Fashion

I didn’t realize this when I posted yesterday about Cheetos lip balm, but it turns out that this past week Cheetos announced it would be hosting the brands first-ever runway show, as part of New York Fashion Week. From the press release:

Cheetos will unveil the Cheetos Flamin' Haute look in New York at the brand's first-ever runway show and style bar and is asking fans to show off their #CheetosFlaminHaute look for a chance to gain entry... the brand will debut high-fashion-yet-playful looks with clothes, hair, makeup and nail styling that takes 'looking like a snack' to a whole new level.



Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 08, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Fashion | Junk Food

Astra No. 8

Weirdness galore, plus cheesecake! What more could you ask? All sponsored by the UK Air Force.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 08, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues | Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers | Movies | Sex Symbols | 1950s

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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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