Weird Universe Blog — April 7, 2020

His Wife’s Arm

An unusual tombstone in a Newport, Rhode Island cemetery, placed by Mr. William Tripp, commemorates his daughter, Wait, who died April 24, 1780, aged 10 months 10 days. Also, his son William who died March 7th, 1784, aged 22 months. And “Also his wife’s arm amputated Feby 20th 1786.”

The amputated arm is depicted in a carving placed in the middle of the tombstone.

Source: Special Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society - Dec 1913

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 07, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Death | Dismemberment

Unlikely Reasons for Murder No. 1

Our beloved Chuck Shepherd used to feature a theme which was, as I recall, along the lines of "unlikely reasons for murdering someone." It's probably time to revive the topic.



Read the rest here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 07, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category:

April 6, 2020

Animal Keyboard



The "animal keyboard," introduced by Smith Corona in the mid-1930s, was designed to teach children how to type by having pictures of animals on the keys of the typewriter. As explained by Merritt Ierley in his book Wondrous Contrivances:

The idea was to teach children to type by having the keys labeled for different animals. Hence, on the left hand, as the instruction book explained, “Little finger is birdie finger, third finger is doggie finger, second finger is bunnie finger,” and so on for each hand. As an added help, there was a matching animal ring for each finger. Despite its innovative charm, the animal keyboard seems to have had a short run and is virtually forgotten today except for one in the Smithsonian Institution.




The Antikey Chop website provides even more info about the animal keyboard, but I must be missing the point because I don't understand how having pictures of animals on the keys would make it any easier to learn how to type.

Allentown Morning Call - Jan 7, 1937

Posted By: Alex - Mon Apr 06, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions | 1930s

MONAD Studio - 3D-printed, Piezoelectric Violin



Posted By: Paul - Mon Apr 06, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Inventions | Music | Technology

April 5, 2020

Camera Hat

John L. Johnson of Pinehurst, Washington obtained a patent for his "camera support" in 1945. Patent No. 2,369,829. The support provided a way to conceal a camera inside a hat.

I wonder if the patent illustration was a self-portrait.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 05, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions | Photography and Photographers | 1940s

Urban Daredevil

REYNOLDS, J., PERFORMING ACROBATIC AND BALANCING ACTS ON HIGH CORNICE ABOVE 9TH STREET, N.W






Source.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Apr 05, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers | 1910s

April 4, 2020

Three-Faced Doll

Introduced in 1961, her name was "Hedda-Get-Bedda." Twisting a knob changed her face from sick, to well, to sleepy.

I'm surprised no one ever came out with a similar, Exorcist-themed doll. She could have been happy, sleeping, or demonically possessed.



Allentown Morning Call - Sep 29, 1961

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 04, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Toys | 1960s

The Mashuganishi Yogi







Use embedded player, or go to the source.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Apr 04, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Humor | Parody | Satire | Stereotypes and Cliches | 1960s | India

April 3, 2020

Geraldine and Ricky



Geraldine Ragan (nee Murray) developed her Christian ventriloquism act in the 1960s while she was still a teenager. She had Ricky specially made for her. Some details from the Opelousas Daily World (Feb 16, 1969):

Geraldine realized she needed to have a professional doll designed to her own specifications. After much search, a company in Waterloo, Iowa made a doll to meet specifications which Geraldine sent them.

This new partner was named Ricky. (She had a very special friend whose name was Ricky.) The new partner, Ricky, was built with brown hair, large brown eyes and an even broader smile. He could move in all of the ways a human can as well as in a few ways that are characteristic of him alone.

His favorite subject is girls — as Geraldine puts it, "with a capital G". He loves them and is always willing to flirt with them or sing them a song.

The only thing Ricky can't do is keep a secret. He has received a great deal of notorious fans for his inability to keep the slightest confidence. All of these fine attributes combine to make Ricky a real live young man rather than a simple doll.





There are reports that Geraldine was still performing, as of 2014. I don't know if she's now finally retired.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 03, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Puppets and Automatons

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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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