Weird Universe Blog — June 5, 2022

The Devil’s Rope Museum

I just returned from a cross-country road trip — visited family on the East Coast then drove back home to Phoenix, which recently became my home. Along the way I stopped at the "Devil's Rope and Route 66 Museum" in McLean, Texas, located on the I-40 east of Amarillo. 'Devil's Rope' is a term for barbed wire.

I hadn't expected the barbed wire section of the museum to be very interesting. I stopped to see the Route 66 memorabilia. But the barbed wire display turned out to be the better part of the museum. Definitely worth checking out if you're ever in the area.

As one might expect, the museum had a lot of info about the use of barbed wire in cattle farming. But it also included a large section about military uses of barbed wire.

Barbed Wire Cutter during World War I

How to build a 'Knife Rest' - War Department, Jan 1944

There were also random oddities, such as a barbed wire hat and boot.

"Hat made by Kevin Compton in 1985. Made from Burnell Four Point Barbed Wire found on the west side of the Rio Grande River near Dixon, New Mexico."

"Barb-Wire Boot"

And in the entrance to the museum, one could view samples of dirt collected from every county in Texas.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jun 05, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Museums | Farming

The Sylvers

Their Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 05, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Fashion | Music | Television | 1970s

June 4, 2022

Twitch Divination

Twitch divination (also known as palmomancy) was the ancient art of divining the future by interpreting body tremors, tics, and twitches.

According to the Faces and Voices blog, few manuals of palmomancy survive from ancient times. But the few that do offer some interesting advice. For instance, from a treatise preserved at Manchester's John Rylands Library:

‘If the anus, that some also call ‘ring’, twitches, it shows inspections, abuses, and the discovery of secret matters’.

And what does it mean if your buttock twitches? The answer from Omens and Oracles: Divination in Ancient Greece by Matthew Dillon:

Two surviving texts attributed to the legendary diviner Melampous deal with divination: On Divination by Twitchings (Peri Palmon Mantike) and On [Divination from] Birthmarks (Peri Elation tou Somatos)... Both of these texts are very neglected, with no English translation of either in print...

Melampous' Twitchings covers some 187 cases. Involuntary twitchings of the body were easily interpreted as ominous by those who experienced them, and this handy guidebook provided instant advice to the reader as to their meaning... Dating to the third century AD, the earliest papyrus begins with the entry:

[A twitching of] the left buttock means joy: for the slave, something beneficial; for the virgin, blame will fall on the widow for strife [this is somewhat difficult to understand; there may be an allusion here the reader would have recognised]; for the soldier, promotion.

This is in fact a more elaborate version of two short entries in Melampous' Twitchings, which indicate that twitching of either buttock means prosperity.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jun 04, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Predictions | Ancient Times

The Ross Unicycle

The birth of the Monowheel? See videos below.

The patent is here.


Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 04, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Bicycles and Other Human-powered Vehicles | Inventions | Nineteenth Century

June 3, 2022

Death By Yoga?

Robert Antoszczyk died on June 3, 1975. That much everyone agrees on. But how he died is more controversial.

Robert Antoszczyk

Initial reports claimed that he went into a yogic trance and projected his spirit out of his body, but that he didn't know how to re-enter his body. So he died. This explanation remains popular with the Fortean crowd.

The official explanation, which emerged later, is that he died from a cocaine overdose. However, his friends and family always contested this, insisting that he was very much into clean living and never drank, let alone took drugs.

Over at, Nick Ripatrazone has an article in which he explores this case, as well as the broader interest in 'astral projection' during the 1970s.

Palladium Item - June 30, 1975

NY Daily News - July 3, 1975

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 03, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Death | Forteana | Paranormal | 1970s

Your Musical Horoscope

Use the embedded player to skip ahead to your sign, and acquire a new signature theme for your life! Or just listen to the whole album from start to finish, and try to apply the songs to people whose signs you know! "Yes, that sounds just like Jane!"

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jun 03, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Music | Supernatural, Occult, Paranormal

June 2, 2022

Redhead Cluster Phenomenon

Peter Watson, in his book Twins: An Investigation Into the Strange Coincidences in the Lives of Separated Twins, related the following story:

Paul Kammerer, an Austrian biologist of the early twentieth century who is chiefly remembered for his fraud over the midwife toad, discovered a "law of series" in which coincidental events run in (say) threes. For example, a bus ticket and a theatre ticket (bought the same day) both bear the number 9, and they are soon followed by a telephone call in which the same number is again mentioned. Kammerer would spend hours, wherever he went, recording the height, hair colour and type of hat worn by every passer-by. He made the observation that men with red hair tended to pass by in clusters with long gaps in between.

This tendency of red-haired men to be seen in clusters is known as the "Redhead Cluster Phenomenon". I'm not sure if it applies to red-haired women as well.

More info about it can be found at the site RhCP, created by Toronto journalist Joe Clark.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jun 02, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Synchronicity and Coincidence | Hair and Hairstyling

June 1, 2022

Vinous Rubber Grapes

Vinous Rubber Grapes, patented in 1885, were rubber grapes filled with various types of alcohol (wine, brandy, whisky, etc.). The idea was that they would allow people to drink discreetly even in places where alcohol wasn't served. Or, as the advertising copy put it, the rubber grapes provided "a ready means for a refreshing stimulant whenever needed, without reservation, even in the most criticising surroundings."

Apparently they sold quite well, right up until the passage of the 18th amendent in 1920.

I don't think that anything quite like them can be bought nowadays.

The Topeka Lantern - Feb 19, 1887

The Judge's Library - Apr 1889

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 01, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants | Patents | Nineteenth Century

German Rocket Car

First attempt: OK. Second attempt: not so much. The way they are covering up the car with a tarp at the end does not bode well for the fate of the driver.

The relevant Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jun 01, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Death | Destruction | Inventions | 1920s | Europe | Cars

Page 7 of 19 pages ‹ First  < 5 6 7 8 9 >  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