Weird Universe Blog — December 26, 2017

Dr. Blatz’s Trick Chair of Terror

This article comes from my weird science site, which I haven't updated in years. My project for the new year is to import all the content from there into WU, so I can shut that site down and stop paying the hosting fees.

While he was a grad student at the University of Chicago in the early 1920s, William Blatz was sitting in class one day, leaning back in his chair, when suddenly the chair collapsed beneath him, sending him sprawling backwards, crying out in fright. The experience was unsettling, but it gave him an idea for an unusual psychology experiment.

He designed a trick chair that would collapse backwards without warning when he flipped an electric switch. The chair was padded, so its occupant wouldn't get hurt. But Blatz figured that the sensation of abruptly, unexpectedly falling backwards would provoke a strong, measurable reaction in subjects. This would allow him to study the physiology of fear under controlled, repeatable conditions. He performed his experiment on a series of unsuspecting victims.

Diagram of Blatz's trick chair.
When the hook (A) at the top was released, the chair plunged backwards.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 26, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Experiments | Psychology | 1920s


Dutch conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader (1942-1975) created a series of short films of himself falling down in various situations, such as from a roof and out of a tree.

Ader is one of the few people who ever literally died for their art. In 1975, he attempted to make a solo Atlantic crossing in the smallest boat ever. It was supposed to be part of an extended art project about a lonely figure in search of the miraculous. His boat made it across, but he didn't.

More info: wikipedia

Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 26, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Art | Avant Garde

Follies of the Madmen #343

Why is hubby vacuuming during relaxed beer-and-pretzels hour? OCD? Submissive ritual with dominant mistress? Your guess is as good as the copywriter's!

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 26, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Business | Advertising | Products | Domestic | Appliances | 1950s | Alcohol

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