Weird Universe Archive

January 2014

January 24, 2014

The Mermen of Johann Zahn




Wikipedia page of Johann Zahn.

Images from the NOAA archives.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jan 24, 2014 - Comments (3)
Category: Cryptozoology, Europe, Sixteenth Century

January 23, 2014

News of the Weird Daily Pro (January 23, 2014)

News of the Weird Pro Edition
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Prime Cuts of Current, Underreported News, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
January 23, 2014 (Beta Beta Beta!)

Chuck’s Daily Cite-Seeing Tour

An Ohio Highway Patrolman “taught” a 5-yr-old boy the joys of onanism, but that’s not a crime, said the prosecutor in Sandusky, Ohio. Sandusky Register

Half a Cheer for Capitalism: Texas Instruments made $2.2bn last yr and thus is proud to lay off only 1,100 workers. Agence France-Presse via

Teachers’ unions are for protecting teachers’ rights--not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if “the kids” benefit from teachers’ unions, it’s just a coincidence. This Memphis teacher put a 5-yr-old in a closet and then went home sick, and the union has located a technicality! WREG-TV (Memphis)

Mourners “still want to have a party, still want to celebrate . . their loved ones . . but they don’t want to do it over a person’s body.” On to the party room at the Hodges Funeral Home in North Naples, Fla.--the one with the wine cellar. WBBH-TV (Fort Myers, Fla.)

Photos from the Men’s Room at the Olympic Biathlon Centre in Sochi show taking dumps will be a communal affair. BBC News [Safe for Work; the room isn't open yet.]

[From Kev at Nothing to Do with Arbroath] When the International New York Times edition that’s published, in English, in Malaysia, gets printed, the Malaysian publisher can’t check his religion at the door. Hence, a photo accompanying a story on the mistreatment of pigs . . has black boxes over the faces of the pigs. Malay Mail

Newsrangers: the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Thu Jan 23, 2014 - Comments (8)

The Cow Song

Elizabeth McGovern takes a break from her role in Downton Abbey to sing about cows.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 23, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Music, Farming, Cows

January 22, 2014

News of the Weird Daily Pro (January 22, 2014)

News of the Weird Pro Edition
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Prime Cuts of Current, Underreported News, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
January 22, 2014 (still in Beta; Beta Beta Beta!)

Yr Editor Names “Best Journal Article of 2014,” and It’s Only January: That would be from the Journal of Topics in Cognitive Science “proving” that older people are not necessarily slower but that we’re they’re (they’re!) burdened by knowing too much stuff. That’s the ticket; we they know too much. This by researchers at Tübingen University in Germany. Daily Telegraph (London)

Perspective: As a reminder, for those in the U.S. East this week, the phenomenon is called “global” warming, not “North American” warming. Science agencies have these thermometers in place around the globe. U.S. agencies NOAA and NASA have issued their satanic “fact” propaganda stats for 2013, that it was the 4th (NOAA) or 7th (NASA) warmest yr on record for planet Earth. The U.S.’s year was only its 37th hottest, but Australia hit the jackpot (warmest in 104 yrs of record-keeping). Earth’s 14 hottest yrs on record have all occurred in the last 17 yrs. New York Times

The News Business: It’s one thing to read a headline from, say, Ghana and be tickled at what happens in a “traditional society.” But it’s another thing to be a professional reporter for, say, the Ghana News Agency and sorta have to write up the who-what-when-where-why of a story like that, and do the interviews and fill the column inches or word-count. Here’s a good story from 1-17-2014 about a lost cellphone (sold by a “fetish priest”) and the “ghost” who arrived to arrest the priest and freak out the townspeople. I’d hire that reporter. Ghana News Agency via Modern Ghana

Chuck’s Daily Cite-Seeing Tour

Another failed “you stupid cops will never find me.” Associated Press via WILX-TV (Lansing, Mich.)

Inexplicable: Pro jewelry thieves who “love” each other, “brother.” KCNC-TV (Denver)

Feeding birds in their yard for 25 yrs--until that ubiquitous bane-of-civilization “one person” complained, and now there are Rulz, Rulz, and more Rulz about bird-feeding. Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

Intelligent Design: Spider species in two continents building spider idols.

Imagine a city gov’t telling major league baseball players they were subject to arrest for spitting. England’s Enfield Council tried it (very, very briefly) for soccer players. BBC News

The Least Important Controversy in the Developed World Today: The Cambridge (England) City Council has decreed that street names will henceforth contain no apostrophes (and the caca hit the fan). Cambridge News

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

The sacred Martin Luther King holiday: Perfect for celebrating 2nd Amendment rights with a gun raffle (bang-bang!). A British artist’s tribute celebrating how far the black woman has come in the world (even though she’s still half-naked). The Oregonian /// Huffington Post

The Way The World Works (You Lost)

The planet’s poo-bahs, at their annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, reportedly found out [ed. My invite must’ve been lost in the mail.] that just 85 people (the world’s richest) own as much as the bottom 3.5bn of the planet’s 7bn people. Earned every penny, did the 85. All 85 hit triples instead of being born on 3rd base. Los Angeles Times

Are We Safe? FBI and Homeland Security are all over terrorism possible “pirating,” performing as lapdogs for the Motion Picture Ass’n of America. Washington Post

an style="color: #0066FF;">Editor's Notes

Latest News Website Click-Bait to Be Revealed as False/Exaggerated: Well, one outdoor video of a sunrise in Beijing, to counter the smog, took place. News culprit: Why, oh, no, it was the World’s Greatest Newspaper.

Newsrangers: the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Jan 22, 2014 - Comments (3)

à la Girafe

The Guardian offers an odd footnote to the history of fashion. In 1826, "Zarafa" became the first giraffe ever brought to France from Africa. She inspired a giraffe craze, becoming the subject of songs, instrumental music, poems, and music-hall sketches. Also: "Women began to truss up their hair à la Girafe and style themselves in giraffe-coloured dresses."

Sounds like it was the 19th century predecessor of the beehive.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 22, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Fashion, Hair Styling, Nineteenth Century

January 21, 2014

News of the Weird Daily Pro (January 21, 2014)

News of the Weird Pro Edition
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Prime Cuts of Current, Underreported News, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
January 21, 2014 (But this is in Beta, as they say; just testing)

The Way The World Works: Headline: “Congressional Leaders Suggest Snowden Had Early Help from Russia.” Several paragraphs down: Ummm, the FBI still says he acted alone. (Let’s see, now. How do “Congressional leaders” get their information? Ehh, they hear things, maybe from some NSA pros who called Snowden a jerk for turning the public against the agency, whatever, a little bit of Bachmann in all Congressional leaders. Well, but how does the FBI reach its conclusions? Glad you asked. Investigation, dozens of agents turning Snowden’s life inside out, finding no Russian connection.) New York Times

Strange Ways, But Must Be God's Will: (1) In Mumbai, 18 were accidentally stomped to death by the crowd getting a glimpse of a dead spiritual leader. (2) Kids age 1 and 2 were stabbed to death by a religious extremist in Pakistan Germantown, Md. The extremist was their mother, attempting an exorcism, which, in a way, was successful. New York Times /// CNN

Chuck’s Daily Cite-Seeing Tour

Gulfport, Miss., gives Bob the Opossum a first-class funeral. WLOX-TV (Biloxi)

Carrying $1.3m worth of cocaine through Chicago but violating Illinois’s no-phoning-while-driving law. Toronto Star

Both (drunk) occupants denied driving the car into the ditch, leaving only the dog as possible operator. (OK, no problem.) Tahlequah Daily Press (Tahlequah, Okla.)

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

The Texas auction-winner for the right to hunt a black rhino in Namibia (proceeds going to conservation including saving the remaining black rhinos) said he’s had to hire private security because of all the people who want to kill him so that he won’t hunt that one black rhino. WFAA-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth) via USA Today

The Way The World Works (You Lost)

Urban Legend? Do New Jersey insurance companies import coyotes to kill deer (to reduce deer-car accident claims)? Philadelphia Inquirer

Owner wants to personally rebuild (following Hurricane Sandy) his local landmark grocery store in Saltaire, N.Y., but the town’s poo-bahs want to “condemn” it so that a fancy grocery store can open, instead, and they’re about to eminent-domain the property. It’s good to be a poo-bah. New York Post

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 and 2012 said no more “life sentences” for teen-age perps. Florida judges: No problem; we’ll just give ‘em 70 years, OK? New York Times

Strange Old World

From the Brazilian press, what happens when a porcupine falls on a woman in Rio. Nothing to Do with Arbroath

He blows up inner tubes with his nose . . while people stand on them. Four tires in 21 minutes. Reuters via Daily Mirror (London)

A Zimbabwean brought a goblin to the police station to show what his tenant had left him--and apparently sent the brave police scattering out the door. (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)

Editor's Notes

Erroror: The newspaper in yesterday’s News of the Weird Police Report is not the Home Tribune in Homer, Alaska, but, of course, the Homer Tribune. Duh.

Newsrangers: the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Tue Jan 21, 2014 - Comments (7)

Iceland’s First Bank Robbery


This happened in 1984, for pete's sake!

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 21, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Crime, 1980s, Europe

Femme de Voyage

From the Victorian era. This ad was found by a historian in a scrapbook with similar material. More info here.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 21, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: Nineteenth Century

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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.

Chuck Shepherd
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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