Weird Universe Archive

March 2009

March 26, 2009

Sideshow Illusions

Sideshow expert Jon Marshall has created a unique business model: replicating the freak shows of the past as corporate entertainment. Check out his pitch in the video below, then visit his web site.

Also, you can see a great "audio slideshow" where he another expert discuss the history of sideshows at the bottom of this page.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Mar 26, 2009 - Comments (10)
Category: Entertainment, Fairs, Amusement Parks, and Resorts, Human Marvels

Mugshots of Moonshiners

Mugshots of Southern moonshiners, from Life Magazine (Jan 1, 1940):

During 1939, agents working out of Atlanta destroyed $423946-worth of illicit distilling apparatus. But this comparatively small figure represented 4325 stills, with a total estimated capacity of 650000 gallons per day.
Of the convicted moonshiners above, most famous is Theressa Brown (fourth row, center). Known to agents as "Queen of the Bootleggers," she has been arrested 22 times, mostly for liquor-law violation, but once for arson, once for shooting her husband.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 26, 2009 - Comments (14)
Category: Crime, Inebriation and Intoxicants, 1940s

Walking Zombie Syndrome

Do you feel dull and listless? Have you lost interest in everything? Do people describe you as "dead wood"? You may be suffering from Walking Zombie Syndrome. First described in the Journal of the Tennessee Medical Association, Dec 1979:

these individuals carry around with them in their unconscious mind a death suggestion, while on the conscious level they have no knowledge whatsoever of it. In fact, when told they believe themselves dead they deny it even though their symptoms and their behavior continually affirm the diagnosis of the Walking Zombie syndrome...

Walking Zombies are present on the streets of every city, and not a single practitioner will escape their complaints. Even though they may faithfully attempt work every day, they are for the most part nonproductive and often represent more of a liability than an asset to their employers, families and friends. Many are accident prone, and most Walking Zombies cost their company a great deal by chronic absenteeism.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 26, 2009 - Comments (19)
Category: Death, Psychology

March 25, 2009

[News] More Things to Worry About Today

Recurring: Another cat-hoarding woman, 61, had at least 8, plus feral ones constantly on her property, plus, in the back room, the 96-yr-old remains of her long-expired mother, "fused to the bed." (Bonus: A neighbor admitted she had put up with the smell for at least 10 yrs.) WKMG-TV (Orlando)

Recurring: Another one of those DNA-revelation cases: Brit Sean Hodgson (27 yrs in lockup for a murder) was released last week and then a couple of days later while crossing a street got hit by a taxi (but he's OK). Daily Mail

Her husband always up and left every time she tried to complain to him, she said, so she decided to sneak up while he was sleeping and handcuff herself to him so he couldn't leave. Associated Press via Yahoo

A partygoer assaulted a police officer in Wichita, Kan. (Bonus: "Officer" was a police horse; weapon was a 5-ft-long inflated plastic penis.) Wichita Eagle

Your Daily Loser
David Maksimik, 59, was in court yesterday answering for a January bank robbery in Darien, Conn., whose aftermath was as follows: crashed getaway car, took bus and then taxi home, discovered roommate dead, called 911, police responded to the call, glimpsed the bank's bag on Maksimik's bed. Connecticut Post (Bridgeport)

Your Daily Jury Duty Bonus
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Stacie Smith, 25, Elyria, Ohio, might not look like she'd have trouble holding onto a man so why would she have taken the risk of smuggling drugs into jail for her boyfriend? Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

Today's Newsrangers: Jeffrey Mosdell, Harry Farkas, Steve Miller, Reid Stacey, Harold Gaines, Tracy Phillips

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Mar 25, 2009 - Comments (17)

Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey

For them folks what likes their likker jes the way Daddy usta make, try Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey, bottled in its own Mason jar.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Mar 25, 2009 - Comments (7)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Regionalism, Products

Little Miss Muffett

This is particularly grotesque stop-motion stuff. Does that spider look like a racial stereotype to you?

Posted By: Paul - Wed Mar 25, 2009 - Comments (19)
Category: Myths and Fairytales, Cartoons

[News] Exceptionally Bad Gov’t Ideas This Week

Sex-education workshops for teenagers, sponsored by Britain's Nat'l Health Service, might be a good thing, but it's unclear why in one class they needed to give each participant a sorta-souvenir, 6-inch-long rubber penis to take with 'em. Belfast Telegraph

Illinois state Rep. Annazette Collins suggested gun education classes for public schools—and especially urban schools, since many kids in rural downstate areas already get gun education from their hunter-parents. WBBM Radio (Chicago)

The mayor of Dixon, Ill., has just the deal for ya in this job-evaporating recession: yet another national holiday (for St. Patrick's Day)! Daily Gazette (Sterling, Ill.)

So Seattle passes a law to require developers to put in sidewalks on their construction ("pedestrian safety"), but, say, a janitor saved for 12 yrs for the down payment on building his $250k "dream" house, and he got it, and he built, and he sees the finish line . . and then the city says he needs another $15,000 to put in that sidewalk. No, he's not a developer, but it's new construction. And, no, not a single other home on his block has a sidewalk (hence, his "sidewalk to nowhere"). And no, there's probably not gonna be any other sidewalks there for years because tear-down/rebuilds are exempt. Also, no, there's nothing we can do about it, officials say. Seattle Times

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
John Coppes, 25, Mena, Ark., might be guilty of trespass (plus, in another state, ya could be judging him on having had "indecent sexual intercourse," but in Arkansas, that crime applies only to human-on-human sex). Associated Press via WLFI-TV (Lafayette, La.)

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Mar 25, 2009 - Comments (20)


Otherkin is a name used to describe people who believe they are "something other than human." That something other might be an elf, angel, dragon, or vampire.

The Otherkin Wiki explores topics such as Differences from humans, Identifying your species, and, of course, the dreaded Wannabes who try to infiltrate the Otherkin community:
It's hard to detect wannabes...they can become enmeshed in the community and be quite active, or perhaps they eventually figure out that they were wrong and leave -- the realization is probably due to some type of disillusionment...
There is also some measure of fan-culture around some mythological archetypes -- such as Elves in the wake of the Lord of the Rings movies, Vampires after Buffy:TVS and so on. Due to the prevalence of these archetypes in popular media, the community does attract some people who "Wanna be" elves, vampires, etc. even though they know that they aren't. Some of them hang out for a while before realizing that we're by far an unromantic and rather boring community as a whole. They also probably leave disillusioned.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 25, 2009 - Comments (11)
Category: Animals, Psychology

The Matter Store

The Matter Store offers some great items for sale. For instance, what about this concrete doorstop. $3500 may seem a bit pricey for it, until you learn that it was cast in "an original Alvar Aalto Savoy vase" which was then smashed.

Similarly, $1900 may seem expensive for an old rusty stool, but this stool was "found in a duck blind in Northern Ontario" and then coated in aluminum.

Needless to say, they don't have a "gifts for $10 and under" section.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 25, 2009 - Comments (6)
Category: Furniture

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

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