Weird Universe Archive

February 2016

February 17, 2016

American Hippo Farming

Over at About.com I posted an article about H.R. 23261 — a bill introduced in Congress in 1910 by a representative from Louisiana. It would have created a hippo meat industry in America by transporting hundreds of hippos from Africa to the marshes along the Gulf Coast. Obviously never got passed, though it had a lot of supporters. One of those things that make you think about what might have been...

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 17, 2016 - Comments (10)
Category: 1910s

Buried Upright

April 1963: Rev. Andrew Stackhouse of Conway, South Carolina designed his own casket which allowed him to be buried sitting upright. After he died of a heart attack, at the age of 58, none of his friends or family could explain why he had built the special casket. The best answer they could come up with was that: "He just didn't want to lie down, and he liked to be different."

Jet - Apr 25, 1963

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 17, 2016 - Comments (7)
Category: Death, 1960s

True Legend

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Andres Ruzo grew up with the story of the boiling river as told to him by his grandfather. Later, as a geoscientist, he decided to try and validate the legend. The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon is the story of how, as a man, he proved the legend that captivated him as a boy.

Posted By: patty - Wed Feb 17, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Geography and Maps, Science, Books, Myths and Fairytales

A Strange “Robbery”

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Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 17, 2016 - Comments (9)
Category: Stupid Criminals, 1970s, Brain Damage

February 16, 2016

Died Twice

July 1974: Venezuelan fisherman Ramon Rivera Rodriguez woke up, looked around himself, realized he was in a coffin at his own funeral, and promptly had a heart attack and died. His relatives subsequently demanded action against the doctor who had incorrectly pronounced him dead the first time.

I can't find any more info and the life and double death of Ramon Rodriguez, beyond the wire story that ran in papers in July 1974. The same story, containing identical details, also ran in Spanish-language papers.

South China Morning Post - July 29, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 16, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, 1970s

Action Man



For what started as a GI Joe ripoff, this toy seems to have evolved its own complex mythology. Not sure about propriety of "Bulletman," since that was and is a DC Comics character.

Full story here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 16, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Toys, 1960s, Europe

February 15, 2016

Space Tourism Posters

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NASA is giving away space tourism posters. NASA had the posters designed, presumably to encourage continued interest in the space program. Whatever the purpose, the posters are very cool. Check them all out at the link.

Posted By: patty - Mon Feb 15, 2016 - Comments (8)
Category: Art, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, Graphics

Weird News of the 20th Century

The first post was made on WU on July 30, 2008, and since that time we've explored many strange and unusual subjects. But unfortunately, it's difficult to browse through the back catalog of all that we've posted about, unless someone is willing to wade through the category or month-by-month archives, which aren't designed for easy browsing.

In an attempt to address this problem (or, at least, begin to address it) I've put together a gallery of Weird News of the 20th Century. I've added the menu to navigate this gallery at the top of the page. (It's the list of decades that you should see right below the WU banner and google ad.) The gallery is still a work-in-progress, but it's got enough content to go live.

I designed the gallery with new visitors to the site especially in mind, hoping it can serve as an introduction to all the weirdness we explore and give them something to look at beyond just the main page.

But, of course, long-time WUvies may find some things in the gallery that they missed. Enjoy!

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 15, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Weird Universe

Name That List, #28

What is this a list of? The answer is below in extended.

  • 1706 handfuls of peanuts
  • 198 sandwiches
  • 891 chunks of bread
  • 516 gum drops
  • 814 peppermints, toffees, and licorice
  • 811 biscuits
  • 7 ice cream bars
  • 17 apples
  • 198 slices of orange
  • 1 meat ball
  • 1 leather glove
  • 16 pieces of paper
  • 2 small branches
  • 1 shoelace


More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 15, 2016 - Comments (13)
Category: Name That List

From Cretin to Genius

In the 1920s, Doctor Serge Voronoff famously decided that grafting monkey glands onto the testicles of human males would rejuvenate the recipients. His ludicrous failed experiments provided the punchlines for innumerable jokes thereafter.

But what I did not realize was that twenty years later, Voronoff was still at it. Now he claimed, in his book FROM CRETIN TO GENIUS, that transplanting monkey glands would alter the intelligence of the subjects. Below is the start of a review from 1943.

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Below: the Doc and Missus.

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Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 15, 2016 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Eccentrics, Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Sexuality, 1920s, 1940s, Genitals

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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.

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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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