Marjoe Gortner made headlines in the late 1940s when, at the age of 3½, he became an evangelist preacher. And in 1949, at the age of 4, he performed his first marriage ceremony, marrying Raymond Miller and Alma Brown.
Daily Capital Journal (Salem, Oregon) - Jan 4, 1949
In the early 1970s, Gortner had a change of heart and collaborated with documentary filmmakers to expose the profit motive of the revivalist industry. The resulting film, Marjoe, won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Documentary Film.
Built by the US Army in the 1950s, this colossus was designed to transport cargo in the arctic — operating like a train, but without tracks. It was used successfully for over a decade (for the last time in 1962), but was eventually made obsolete by the development of helicopters. Read more about it at Diseno-Art.com.
In 1958, Dr. David Briggs claimed that hypnotizing his students increased their academic performance by up to 15 percent.
Reminded me of the Hypnotizing High School Principal I posted about back in October. The difference being that in the 1950s a professor hypnotizing his students was seen as a quirky but harmless experiment. But a principal who did essentially the same thing in the 21st Century got accused of contributing to the deaths of his students.
Newsweek - Apr 14, 1958
Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas) - Apr 3, 1958
How this easy-listening, faux-psychedelic ripoff ever avoided a plagiarism suit with Cream's "White Room" is a mystery for the ages. Maybe lawyers were stunned into inaction by the gonzo brilliance of the lyrics
"We will tuck each other in, and dream about trains/You'll call me 'Beauty' and I'll call you 'Brains.'"
WUvians, perhaps you can help me solve a mystery which has been perplexing me for the past few days — what is the "New York Center For The Strange"?
Here's the info I've gathered so far:
In 1972, an organization by this name began an annual tradition of issuing predictions for the following year. It claimed to have obtained these predictions by conducting a survey of American witches.
Year after year, around Halloween, these predictions have appeared in papers. (For instance: 1977, 1979, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990.)
Sometimes the predictions sounded serious, such as when, in November 1974, the NYCFTS predicted that "Henry Kissinger will resign as secretary of state before next July" (wrong!). But more often the predictions were just bizarre and seemingly tongue-in-cheek. For instance, in 1974 the witches also predicted "a nationwide shortage of Scotch whiskey, shoe polish and lighter fluid." And in 1978 they predicted "a nationwide shortage of Beluga caviar, earmuffs, bagels and automobile dipsticks."
Throughout the 1980s and 90s the witches' predictions continued to appear in papers. In the 21st Century they become harder to find, but as recently as 2013 the NYCFTS issued predictions, though I can't find any predictions issued in 2014 or 2015.
In all this time, no one seems to have questioned what exactly is this organization. Is it real, or is it someone's long-running joke? Is there really a "Center For The Strange" with offices in New York City?
Various NYCFTS spokespeople have told reporters that the organization's mission is to help correct "the widely-held image of witches as evil, gnarled hags who fly across rooftops astride brooms." This makes it sound like it might actually be a genuine society of witches.
But on the other hand, the NYCFTS officially describes itself as "a non-profit organization involved, basically, in research." This, to me, sounds like a joke.
I strongly suspect that the syndicated humor columnist Don Maclean was somehow involved in the NYCFTS, since in the early 1970s he wrote about it frequently (such as here and here). He even claimed to have visited its headquarters and knew its officers. Perhaps the organization was his satirical creation and he issued press releases every year on its behalf, to amuse himself.
However, Maclean died in 2005, so obviously someone else has been keeping the joke alive — if it is, in fact, a joke.
And that's all I know about the New York Center For The Strange. I'm hoping someone out there might have more info about it.
I had never heard the phrase "corneal micro lenses" before, but apparently that was the original term for contact lenses. Sounds very cyberpunk even today. I think we should all start telling people, "Yes, I have corneal micro lenses in place."
1948: Mrs. Dorothy Dix of Gloucester, England sued her hairdresser, complaining that after getting a permanent wave from them in July 1946, her normally brown hair turned green. A subsequent effort to bleach her hair back to a normal color worsened the situation, causing it to turn a lighter shade of green, become frizzled, and blistering her scalp.
In fact, her hair was not simply green. Various witnesses offered different descriptions of it, saying it was "like a rainbow with green predominating," "like a dirty sheepskin rug streaked with green," "frizzled like a golliwog," and "streaked with vivid red, brown, green and straw."
The court awarded Mrs. Dix 157 pounds ten shillings in general damages and 12 pounds one shilling and one penny in special damages.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any photos of Mrs. Dix and her green hair.
(left) The Ottawa Journal - Feb 4, 1949; (right) The Winnipeg Tribune - Dec 22, 1948
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 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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