Weird Universe Archive

September 2019

September 19, 2019

Project Rulison

Sep. 10 was the 50th anniversary of Project Rulison, which was an underground nuclear test conducted in Rulison, Colorado. Its purpose was to determine if a nuclear bomb, detonated underground, could be used to release natural gas.

The answer was, not really, because the bomb will radiate the gas, making it unusable.

But what gave the test extra weirdness was that a handful of protesters tried to stop it by placing themselves on top of it. As an article on CBS Denver notes:

They believed the scientists wouldn’t actually detonate the bomb if people were inside the closure area above, they were wrong.

The protesters survived, but I'm assuming they must be the only people to have ever been directly on top of a nuclear explosion who lived to tell about it.

An article on vice.com offers a few details about what it felt like to be in the blast zone:

"There was this great rumble, and we were lifted about six or seven inches off the ground," he recalls. "There were a whole bunch of tremors reverberating through the ground. People down below described seeing ripples flow through the earth, like a rock that had been tossed in a pond."

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 19, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, 1960s

Nicholas Zoueff, Boy War Hero





News article source.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 19, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: War, Children, Asia, Russia, Twentieth Century

September 18, 2019

Belly or butt?

The ad below may look, at first glance, like it's showing a perfectly innocent scene of a child kissing his mother's pregnant belly. But when it ran in Florida papers back in 2010, a lot of people saw something completely different. They were convinced it was a picture of a man mooning a child. According to Adweek.com:

"We were deluged," says a clinic rep. "Callers kept saying, 'You're disgusting! I can't believe you'd put that in the paper: a picture of a man mooning a child.' " Adds a second client rep: "This came out of nowhere. People were screaming at us about it, and none of us could fathom which ad they were talking about and what they were seeing."

It's like one of those gestalt shift images. Once you see the mooning man, it's obvious.

image source: deceptology.com

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 18, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Confusion, Misunderstanding, and Incomprehension, Advertising

September 17, 2019

Rock Music

Archaeologist Jean-Loup Ringot, specialist in prehistoric music, demonstrates a Lithophone.





via TYWKIWDBI

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 17, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Music

September 16, 2019

Strange Self-Experiments

I just added a top 10 list of strange self-experiments to the site.

This is more material that I wrote a while ago, but which no longer has a home. So I'm relocating it permanently to WU.


Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 16, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Science, Experiments

The Show Won’t Go On


I haven’t read the book yet, but the topic sounds like it would be of interest to WUvies. It's described as the first comprehensive study of the phenomenon of performers who died onstage:

From the comedy magician who dropped dead on live television to the amateur thespian who expired during a play called The Art of Murder, the book is a celebration of lives both famous and obscure, as well as a dramatic and accurate recounting of events leading to the moments they died "doing what they loved."


Amazon link.

The website for the book includes some examples of recent deaths while performing.


Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 16, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Books

Douglas Bader, the Legless Ace



The Wikipedia page.

Bader joined the RAF in 1928, and was commissioned in 1930. In December 1931, while attempting some aerobatics, he crashed and lost both his legs. Having been on the brink of death, he recovered, retook flight training, passed his check flights and then requested reactivation as a pilot. Although there were no regulations applicable to his situation, he was retired against his will on medical grounds.[3]

After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, however, Douglas Bader returned to the RAF and was accepted as a pilot. He scored his first victories over Dunkirk during the Battle of France in 1940. He then took part in the Battle of Britain and became a friend and supporter of Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory and his "Big Wing" experiments.

In August 1941, Bader baled out over German-occupied France and was captured. Soon afterward, he met and was befriended by Adolf Galland, a prominent German fighter ace.[4] Despite his disability, Bader made a number of escape attempts and was eventually sent to the prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle. He remained there until April 1945 when the camp was liberated by the First United States Army.


He even featured in a comic. (Use link for readable copy of image below.)





Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 16, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Accidents, War, Air Travel and Airlines, 1940s, Differently Abled, Handicapped, Challenged, and Otherwise Atypical

September 15, 2019

The History of Nuking Hurricanes

The idea of nuking hurricanes has been in the news lately. Which made me wonder: how soon after learning of the existence of atomic bombs did people start to speculate about dropping them into hurricanes?

The answer seems to be, immediately. I found the article below about nuking hurricanes, dated Aug 8, 1945 — a mere two days after the bombing of Hiroshima.

Interestingly, the article speculates that the idea may have been inspired by earlier legends about using cannons to dispel waterspouts:

Talk of bombing hurricanes stems from stories of waterspouts being dissipated in the South Seas with cannon or rifle shot, Norton said. He doubts the truth of these yarns.


The Miami News - Aug 8, 1945

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 15, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, 1940s, Weather

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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.

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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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