UK artist Mark Farid wants to spend 28 days wearing virtual reality goggles, and he wants all of us to pay for it. His plan is that by wearing the goggles he will "experience life through another person's eyes and ears." This person whose life he'll be experiencing is only known as "The Other."
Farid is raising money on Kickstarter
to make this plan a reality, and he figures he can do it for £150,000. That's around $235,000.
Why so much? Because, says Farid, the experiment "will require a team of medically trained invigilators at all times over the course of the 28 days as well as camera men, technicians and assistants on site 24 hours a day. This means sleeping accommodation and amenities must be provided for them onsite."
Jake Bird was a truly creepy character — an axe-murderer who may have killed as many as 46 people. But even after he was caught in 1947 and sentenced to death, he's said to have continued killing people by putting the "Jake Bird hex" on them. Six people associated with the trial were said to have succumbed to his hex.
After his conviction was announced, Bird was allowed to make a final statement. He spoke for 20 minutes, noting that his request to represent himself had been denied and that his own lawyers were against him.
Bird then said, “I’m putting the Jake Bird hex on all of you who had anything to do with my being punished. Mark my words you will die before I do.” Allegedly, six people connected with the trial died: Judge Edward D. Hodge of a heart attack within a month of sentencing him to death, as did one of the officers who took his first confession. A police officer who took a second confession died, as did the court’s chief clerk, and one of Bird's prison guards. J.W. Selden, one of Bird’s lawyers, died on the first anniversary of his sentencing.
- Nov 27, 1948
News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M397, November 16, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
The Other World Series: In October, another premier world sports events reached its climax, with one team left standing, rewarded for months of grueling practices, to the cheers of adoring, frenzied fans. The “world series” of professional team computer games was settled on a stage in a packed, 40,000-seat stadium in Seoul before three gigantic TV screens and an Internet audience of millions. The powerhouse Samsung White team out-mouse-and-keyboarded the Chinese Starhorn Royal team at “League of Legends” (which 27 million gamers, worldwide, play every day) using its fantasy characters to destroy opponents’ bases. The winning team took home $1 million of corporate money, but future earnings should escalate when idolized world-class players unionize and swing merchandising endorsement deals. [New York Times, 10-19-2014
; Playboy, November 2014
Can’t Possibly Be True
Carnell Alexander at one point owed about $60,000 in child support for a kid he did not father (according to a DNA test) and knew nothing about, but despite “successfully” challenging the claim 20 years ago, he still owes about $30,000. The mother who accused him long ago admitted lying (in that naming a “father” was necessary to get welfare benefits), and while a judge thus wiped out Alexander’s debt to her, the state of Michigan nonetheless still demands that Alexander repay benefits it had paid to the mother. [WXYZ-TV (Detroit), 10-27-2014
America’s largest pornography website, PornHub.com, decided recently to erect a public billboard prominently encouraging the use of its service, first selecting as its location the New York City neighborhood formerly the smut epicenter of the city in Times Square. However, that area is now respectably tourist-friendly, and the billboard had to be relocated--to Los Angeles’s West Hollywood, near the headquarters of PornHub’s parent, MindGeek. The sign features a person’s two thumbs and two index fingers forming a rough version of a heart, beside the message (inspired by a Beatles song), “All You Need Is Hand.” [LA Weekly, 10-31-2014
Brits Behaving Britishly Bad
(1) Literature professor Thomas Docherty was back at work in October following his nine-month suspension from the University of Warwick for “inappropriate sighing” during meetings with a senior colleague, along with “making ironic comments” and “negative body language.” (2) In October, Andrew Davies, 51, was ordered by magistrates in High Wycombe, England, not to lie down in public places anymore (unless genuinely stricken by emergency). Previously, he had a habit of making bogus “999" (911) calls to get attention, and when police confiscated his phone, he began compensating by lying in roads until compassionate passersby called for ambulances. [Daily Telegraph, 10-24-2014
] [Daily Mirror, 10-30-2014
The New Math
More than six million students have downloaded the new iPhone app, PhotoMath, to solve Algebra I and Algebra II problems by pointing the phone’s camera at a printed equation. The answer, and the explanation, quickly appear on a screen, as a teaching tool--or for the students to show “their” work if PhotoMath is used on exam questions. The Croatian-based developer told the Quartz website in October that it is working on upgrades for higher-level math equations (though no relief is in sight for those chronically pesky “word problems”). Meanwhile, the debate has been triggered over whether PhotoMath is a dynamic technological advance in education--or a cheating-enabler. [Quartz, 10-31-2014
; CultofMac.com, 11-7-2014
Neighbors in the Mandarin neighborhood of Jacksonville, Fla., complained to the city recently about a resident who scattered hundreds of mothballs--over 400 now, at least--around her front yard, even driving over them in her car to crush them open and extend their noxious odor. The National Pesticide Information Center warned that the mothballs were hazards to plants, wildlife, water, and air, but the female resident (unnamed in a report by First Coast News) said she was forced into the tactic in order to prevent neighborhood dogs from defecating in her yard. [First Coast News (Jacksonville), 10-27-2014
Celebrity Musicals: In September in Hamburg, Germany, “Charles Manson: Summer of Hate--The Musical,” opened at the Thalia Theater, covering the influences and failed musical career of the man convicted in the notorious 1969 Sharon Tate murders. And “I Am Stephon Marbury,” a musical featuring the former star NBA basketball player, ran for 11 nights September in Beijing, where the popular Marbury has led the Beijing Ducks to national basketball championships the last two seasons. Marbury has a role onstage in what is described as a parable about pursuing one’s dreams. [Los Angeles Times, 10-1-2014
; New York Times, 8-28-2014
The most challenging toys this holiday season might be the series of furry human innards from the U.S. firm I Heart Guts
--not just the soft and cuddly pancreas, brain, and prostate but especially the rectum and anus. Each part is packaged with a cheekily-written educational description explaining its importance (the rectum being “the butt of many jokes” yet with “a serious role” in waste disposal as the “fecal loading dock”), and each sells for about $20. [Yahoo News, 11-6-2014
(1) Richard Shear, 28, was arrested in Muskegon County, Mich., in October after an apparent violent episode with his mother and girlfriend. Shear had allegedly threatened the two, slashed an SUV tire, and tried to burn down their home with gasoline and a lit candle--but then when it was time to flee the premises, hopped on his moped, ensuring his flight from police would be a short one. (2) A woman (described only as “robust”) in Darmstadt, Germany, fled with the equivalent of about $125 from a pharmacy in October and is still at large. According to the police report, she swiped money from two cash registers by twice lifting her shirt and squirting breast milk at a clerk as a diversion. [WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids, Mich.), 10-27-2014
] [The Local (Berlin), 10-28-2014
The District of Calamity
The Washington, D.C., school system last year declared Avery Gagliano, 13, an habitual truant whose parents somehow require special training to ensure her attendance. The 8th-grader was a straight-A student at Alice Deal Middle School but also a piano prodigy selected for prestigious world exhibitions--which caused her to exceed the maximum-10 “unexcused” absences that trigger the assignment of a truancy officer and a series of relentless threats against the parents (which ultimately provoked them to withdraw Avery and this season to home-school her). (In October, following a Washington Post account, D.C.’s governing Council honored Avery in a public ceremony, and the D.C. Schools Chancellor overnight began begging the Gagliardos to bring Avery and her suddenly-“excused” absences back to school.) [Washington Post, 9-8-2014, 10-7-2014
(1) Sean Johnson, 19, was arrested in Brooksville, Fla., in October at the Walmart after he was spotted at about 3 p.m. taking a toy stuffed horse into the bedding department and masturbating with it. (2) Paul Mountain, 38, pleaded guilty to burglary in Darwen, England, in October--accused by a homeowner whose shed was vandalized. Among the damaged items was a teddy bear streaked with semen. Mountain told officers that he was coming down off of an amphetamine high and “felt overwhelming need for sexual relief.” [WFLA-TV (Tampa), 10-14-2014
] [Lancashire Telegraph, 10-11-2014
Least Competent Criminals
Daniel Rice, 21, on the lam from jailers in Muscatine, Iowa, found himself in nearby Rock Island, Ill., according to his 911 call to emergency personnel there. Rice had made his way to the Loud Thunder Forest Preserve, where he thought he could safely hole up, but reported that he was being chased by a pack of wild coyotes and begged for help. [WQAD-TV (Davenport, Iowa), 10-24-2014
Jamie Brown, 29, stole a fish tank from a hardware store in Leeds, England, in August (thus violating a previous hardware-store stayaway order) and made a run for it, but had to be rescued by police and emergency personnel after he stopped to urinate in a bush--and, inadvertently, directly onto a wasps’ nest. Police said he later spent six very unpleasant hours at Leeds General Infirmary. [Daily Mirror (London), 8-12-2014
Thanks This Week to Robert Zimmer and Cindy Hildebrand, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.