Weird Universe Archive

May 2014

May 27, 2014

12 years a slave fashion mannequin

The movie "12 Years a Slave" may seem like an unlikely source for fashion inspiration. Nevertheless, a store in Oxford decided to place a mannequin beside a DVD display case of the movie, dressed in clothes similar to the ones worn by the slave protagonist of the movie. From "Looking defiantly summer-ready, the mannequin wears a loose-fitting, holey beige shirt and black trousers, completing the look with a twig in the front pocket."

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 27, 2014 - Comments (2)
Category: Fashion


Alouette by René Jodoin & by Norman McLaren, National Film Board of Canada

Once upon a time, before karaoke, our ancient ancestors entertained themselves thus.

Posted By: Paul - Tue May 27, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Hobbies and DIY, Music, 1940s

May 26, 2014

His Marshmallows Wouldn’t Behave

Completely insane man spends his days trying to discipline marshmallows.

Source: Newsweek - Feb 28, 1949

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 26, 2014 - Comments (8)
Category: Advertising, 1940s

Consul the Chimp



A once-famous resident of the Bellevue Zoological Gardens in England, known for his pipe-smoking habit.

Posted By: Paul - Mon May 26, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Smoking and Tobacco, Europe, Nineteenth Century

May 25, 2014

Unfortunate Resemblance

M. Piskorski was arrested in Warsaw by "alert policemen" in June 1947. He hadn't actually done anything wrong. However, the policemen thought he was Adolf Hitler.

It was a case of an unfortunate resemblance. Once his true identity was established, he was released.

Source: Newsweek - June 23, 1947.

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 25, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: 1940s

News of the Weird (May 25, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M372, May 25, 2014
Copyright 2014 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

A week before the National Football League held its 2014 Draft Day in May, a large contingent of junior and senior boys staged their own draft day at Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, Calif., “dividing up” the available girls to ask to the upcoming prom. As in the NFL, the drafters “scout” the draftees, and a “rule book” notes the draft’s boundaries (e.g., this year, sophomore girls are eligible). The girls, of course, can decline the invitation, but the draft, as in the NFL, is designed to discourage a selected girl from being “poached” by “competing” boys. Obviously, many in the community expressed horror at the draft, with the principal denouncing it and urging parents to rein in their sons, but one of the drafted girls wrote that the whole thing was just “fun” and “is not, was never, and will never ever be used to objectify the girls . . ..” [Orange County Register, 5-7-2014]

Can’t Possibly Be True

The downfall of Russia-sympathizing Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in February (which eventually provoked Vladimir Putin’s retaliation against Ukraine) accelerated when his countrymen learned of his startlingly opulent lifestyle (e.g., gold toilets, a private zoo)--including catching a video glimpse of a nude portrait Yanukovych had commissioned of himself by artist Olga Oleynik. Yanukovych, a not-particularly-buff 63-year-old man, was portrayed reclining and with an undersized male endowment. (Oleynik told Agence France-Presse news service that she had done a similar portrait of Putin--more generously endowed--but was “afraid” to show it in public or to disclose whether it was actually commissioned by Putin.) [Agence France-Presse via Global Post, 3-27-2014]

Skylar King, 28, filed a lawsuit in Clayton, Mo., in April against dentist Mark Meyers (and his “Same Day Dentures” clinic) for a 2009 session in which Meyers somehow obtained King’s consent to extract all 32 of his teeth, and provide dentures, promptly after obtaining $5,235 on King’s mother’s credit card. King, who was seeking treatment for an abscessed tooth, said Dr. Meyers warned that he was at risk of “fatal blood poisoning” unless all teeth were yanked. Dr. Meyers insisted that King actually requested the procedure, even though X-rays revealed that at least 28 of the teeth were treatable. [Courthouse News Service, 4-23-2014]

As of late March, the Sainsbury’s supermarket in Basford, England, still had an operational ATM on an outside wall even though its screen and controls were only 15 inches off the ground, forcing customers to bend over or kneel down to get cash. A Sainsbury’s spokesman, shown a photo by a reporter of a user squatting “incredibly uncomfortabl[y],” said no one had complained but that the store would look into moving the machine. The only explanation offered for the placement was that the store is located on a hill. [BBC News, 3-25-2014]

Unclear on the Concept

Wellma “Tootie” Shafer, 46, was fired as a cashier at the Last Chance Market in Russell, Iowa, after a customer reported her engaging in “sexual” banter at the register. Her boss Rick Braaksma explained, “We cannot . . . talk about adult situations in front of other customers,” and when Shafer sought unemployment compensation, Braaksma challenged her application. However, among the items Last Chance sells are “Wake The [F-word] Up Coffee,” “The Hottest [F-word]ing Sauce” (noted, the label states, for its “ass-burning quality”), and “The Hottest [F-word]ing Nuts,” and a state administrative judge granted Shafer benefits, showing (according to an April Des Moines Register report) little sympathy for the store’s contradictory policy. [Des Moines Register, 4-24-2014]

Refresher Course on Buddhism Needed: An unnamed 40-year-old man was charged in Briec, France, in May for a February incident in which a stray cat broke into his home and knocked over his statue of Buddha, demolishing it. The man apparently so reveres Buddha that, enraged, he tortured the cat by tossing it into his washing machine and setting it for a cycle at the equivalent of 104 degrees F. [The Local (Paris), 5-7-2014]

The Continuing Crisis

Brazilian authorities told reporters in April that villagers in remote Ayopaya, needing to recover three motorbikes stolen by two men, tied them to a tree of woe for several days until relatives came up with compensation. The tree was a permanent host for ants that produce a venom with anti-inflammatory properties used to treat arthritis, and though relatives paid up three days later, both men required hospitalization, one with kidney failure. [Associated Press via The Guardian (London), 4-14-2014]

Underreported among the 24-hour news saturation in April on the sinking of the South Korean ferry en route from Incheon to the recreational island of Jeju is that a primary attraction on Jeju is “Love Land,” a theme park with bold, uninhibited sexual structures and a traditional honeymoon destination. Visitors enter through giant spread female legs, and most park mascots are anthropomorphic figures representing the male and female sex organs. The park contains 140 sculptures of humans in sexual positions and of phallus statues and stone labia--and, reportedly, something called a “hands-on masturbation cycle.” [Yahoo News, 6-29-2007] /// Wikipedia (Love Land)

Bright Ideas

For this year’s annual April 25th fundraising project, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) sold a 60-second “message,” digitally downloadable for a donation of the equivalent of $2.11--but consisting only of silence (“pre-recorded” silence). A veterans’ official told Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, “I was a bit dubious [but] . . . I’ve seen the enthusiasm at which this is being picked up nationally . . ..” [ABC News, 4-13-2014]

On-the-lam parolee Mark Royal, 51, spotted in his car by sheriff’s deputies in Sacramento, Calif., in March, led officers on a 35-mile chase before coming to a stop in front of the Placer County Jail in Auburn and surrendering. He told the puzzled deputies only that “the food is better here” than in Sacramento’s lock-up (but the deputies returned him to Sacramento, anyway). [KCRA-TV (Sacramento), 3-28-2014]

John Novak, 48, was taken to a hospital and then arrested after a rough night in May in Buhl, Idaho, in which he threatened his sister with a rifle-bayonet and then tried a home remedy to relieve a snoring problem. With what was later measured as a 0.50 blood-alcohol level (more than six times the state’s presumed-impaired limit), he stuck two straws into his nostrils and slammed a door rapidly into the ends of them, attempting to break the nose (and apparently succeeding, although his exact condition was not reported). He said he had been drinking “for a week straight,” to dull the anticipated pain he had planned to create. [ (Twin Falls, Idaho), 5-7-2014]


Kidney Disease Patients Not Part of “Diversity”: Among the entities rushing to condemn Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in April was the UCLA Medical School, where researchers returned a $425,000 check from the Sterling Foundation to study “structural properties of key proteins in the kidney” to aid development of drugs to treat kidney disease--and to reject the rest of Sterling’s $3 million pledge. A UCLA spokesman said the school must emphasize its “core values” of “diversity, inclusion, and respect.” [KCBS-TV (Los Angeles), 4-29-2014]

Recurring Themes

News of the Weird has previously noticed the extraordinary discomfort some women embrace just to be able to wear a certain pair of designer shoes. However, the number and ingenuity of foot doctors serving such women has grown substantially in recent years. An April New York Times report noted that Beverly Hills podiatrist Ali Sadrieh offers a “Perfect 10!” procedure (“aesthetic toe-shortening”), a “Model T” (toe-lengthening), and “Foot Tuck” (a foot-padding for high-heel pain). New York’s Dr. Oliver Zong treats “High Heel Foot” (when the foot conforms to the shape of a stiletto) and “Hitchhiker’s Toe” (an abnormally large big toe sticking out like a thumb). Some patients get to the point right away, Dr. Sadrieh said, by bringing in specific cherished shoes and asking which foot-retrofitting procedure would do the job (although Dr. Zong said he turned down one woman who brought in a shoe and said she was OK with four toes if that’s what it took). [New York Times, 4-22-2014]

Thanks This Week to Cindy Hildebrand, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun May 25, 2014 - Comments (5)

Emily Davison, Least Intelligent Protestor Ever?

Does suffragette Emily Davison qualify for the title I've given her? The incident is shown in the video starting a bit before the six-minute mark.

She is best known for stepping in front of King George V's horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby on 4 June 1913, sustaining injuries that resulted in her death four days later....

Modern historians agree that Davison was trying to disturb the Derby in order to draw attention to her cause, rather than to commit suicide,[3][4] and 2013 analysis of newsreel has supported the idea that Davison was reaching up to attach a scarf to the bridle of the King's horse. Analysis of newsreel also indicated that her position before she stepped out onto the track would have given her a clear view of the oncoming race, further countering the belief that she ran out in a haphazard way to kill herself.

Posted By: Paul - Sun May 25, 2014 - Comments (8)
Category: Animals, Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Daredevils, Stuntpeople and Thrillseekers, Curmudgeons and Contrarianism, 1910s

May 24, 2014

Kate Smith, the flag-raising rat

Kate Smith was a rat trained to raise a small American flag. It was trained by Kelly Buckwalter of Santa Barbara High School as "an experiment in operant conditioning" for her chemistry and psychology classes.

Do kids still get to do experiments like this in high school? Somehow I doubt it. Source: The Tuscaloosa News - May 22, 1976.

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 24, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Science, Experiments, Psychology, 1970s

Nightmare Chimera


This creature must have haunted the dreams of many a youth back in 1959, for it still has the power to send me screaming today.

Pig snout, elephant ears, dog feet, fox tail. And the insouciant cigarette holder of FDR. This is worse than anything Stephen King ever conjured up.

Perhaps WU readers would like to submit their proposed names for this creature.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat May 24, 2014 - Comments (12)
Category: Comics, 1950s, Fictional Monsters

May 23, 2014

“He Prescribes Asbestos Medicine”

source: Newsweek, 1947

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 23, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: Medicine, Advertising

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Who We Are
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.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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