Weird Universe Archive

January 2019

January 31, 2019

The man who stole 15,000 library books

Over the course of a decade, from around 1965 to 1975, Joseph Feldman managed to steal 15,000 books from the New York Public Library. He was caught when firemen entered his Greenwich Village apartment while responding to an alarm in his building and discovered all the books, piled up everywhere. When asked why he had taken them all, Feldman responded, “I like to read.”

Arizona Daily Star - Sep 27, 1975



In the 21st century, playwright Erika Mijlin was inspired to write a play, Feldman and the Infinite, about the incident. It was first performed in 2008. Her description of it:

In 1975, Feldman, a 58-year-old lawyer in New York City, was discovered to have stolen 15,000 books from the New York Public Library. He had rented two or three apartments in the West Village specifically to store these books, and it took 20 men, 7 truckloads over 3 days to remove them all. Feldman and the Infinite is a play that ultimately invents Feldman’s motives, and speculates about the universality of his quest - seeking knowledge and enlightenment, and finding what appears to be randomness and chaos.


And below, a video clip of the performance.


Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 31, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Books, Libraries, Collectors, 1970s

The Tree That Owns Itself

Recall those recent legal battles about granting new rights to animals? How about this for a precedent?

From the Wikipedia page:

The Tree That Owns Itself is a white oak tree that has, according to legend, legal ownership of itself and of all land within eight feet (2.4 m) of its base. The tree, also called the Jackson Oak, is located at the corner of South Finley and Dearing Streets in Athens, Georgia, United States. The original tree, thought to have started life between the mid-16th and late 18th century, fell in 1942, but a new tree was grown from one of its acorns, and planted in the same location. The current tree is sometimes referred to as the Son of The Tree That Owns Itself. Both trees have appeared in numerous national publications, and the site is a local landmark.


Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 31, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Law, Nature, Nineteenth Century

January 30, 2019

Bras for Cows

Apparently, they exist. Farm Show magazine explains:

Dairy farmers can reduce mastitis by fitting their cows with "bras", according to Michael Battisti, a Syracuse, New York, dairy farmer, who outfits half of his 69-cow herd with brassiere-like harnesses to keep them from damaging low-hanging udders with their hooves... "They keep the udders clean and the teats tucked up out of the way so they won't get stepped on," says Battisti, who has used bras on his cows for several years.



Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram - July 2, 1977

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 30, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Fashion, Underwear

Canadian Prime Minister Consults Ghost Dogs



Article:

William Lyon MacKenzie King (1874-1950), Canada’s 10th and longest serving Prime Minister was a devoted dog owner in life and in death.While active in politics King had an achingly dull public image, which was certainly at odds with the goings-on in his private life. What the Canadian populace wasn’t aware of was his séances, his consultations with spiritual mediums, table-rapping sessions, tea-leaf readings and communing with the spirits of the likes of former PM Wilfrid Laurier, his long-deceased mother, and of course his dear ghost dog, Pat. That he owned and frequently used both a Ouija board and a crystal ball was published in Time Magazine in 1953, news that shocked the nation. Rampant rumours circulated about King’s oddities, some true, most false. That King had Pat stuffed by a taxidermist so that the little dog would always be by his side turned out to be untrue. King’s detailed diary entries, published after his death in 1950 revealed that King consulted the dead Pats during these séance sessions in manners of international political policy, conscription, and Liberal Party Leadership.

King, obsessed with death and the afterlife, often expressed his wish to communicate with the living after he died, just as he hoped to be reunited forever in the spirit world with his three Pats; “we shall all be together in the Beyond,” he wrote, “of that I am perfectly sure”.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jan 30, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Communications, Eccentrics, Government, Officials, New Age, Paranormal, Dogs, Twentieth Century

January 29, 2019

Sphoon_Phork

A new device, calling itself the sphoon_phork, promises to transform your iPhone into a spoon or fork, so that you can eat with it as you browse social media.

It’s currently seeking funding as a kickstarter project.





Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 29, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Inventions

Follies of the Madmen #409



The man and the women are plainly inhabitants of totally different cartoon universes, the inverse relationship of Roger and Jessica Rabbit. This rather destroys the impact of the whole ad.

Source.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 29, 2019 - Comments (6)
Category: Business, Advertising, Tobacco and Smoking, Comics, 1930s

January 28, 2019

Spanish for the California farmer

First published in 1981. It included translations for phrases a farmer might need to communicate with his workers, such as, “Clean up your camp. You live like a f**king pig.”

One of the authors noted: “This is a practical book. This is not a grammar book. If you want to have beautiful Spanish, you can get your grammar books and go to school. If you want to be practical in a farm case, you have to know the slang. People use the language.”

The book is available on Amazon, though listed as “Out of Print — Limited Availability.”


Wilmington Morning News - Jan 9, 1983

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 28, 2019 - Comments (7)
Category: Languages, Books, 1980s

Swat the Jinx Girl

Continuing our series of "Strange Beauty Queens."

"Rose Cade, who has also been nominated Southern California's 'Swat the Jinx' girl, dressed in model of large lemon pointing to calendar dated Friday, February 13, 1920."



Original photo here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 28, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Superstition, 1920s

January 27, 2019

Our Guys in Salisbury - The Game

Recently created by the Russian company Igroland and on sale in Moscow. Players retrace the route of Russian assassins to the nerve agent attack in Salisbury. Seems worthy of inclusion in the odd board games category. More details.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 27, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Games

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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.

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