Weird Universe Archive

September 2019

September 16, 2019

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

Remco Monkey Gun

Nerf missiles? For wimps!



Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 15, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Destruction, Toys, 1960s, Weapons

September 14, 2019

Death by helicopter

Parachuting onto the whirling blades of a helicopter is both an unusual and a horrific way to die. It's definitely the worst kind of parachute accident I can imagine. It happened to one young woman — her first time parachuting — back in August 1987.

The Guardian - Aug 10, 1987



Paula Goodayle “who was hacked to death when she fell through the whirling blades of a helicopter during her first jump.”



The Sport Parachutist magazine (Oct 1987) offered some details into the subsequent investigation of the incident. The basic conclusion seems to have been that it was a colossal screw-up to have had students continue to parachute when a helicopter was in the area.

Miss Goodayle was despatched on the second pass, being the third parachutist to exit the aircraft, the parachute deployed normally, the descent was normal until just prior to landing when there was a collision between the parachutist and a helicopter approximately 430 yards from the target cross.

The conclusions of the Board of Inquiry were that Drop Zone Control or Air Traffic Control failed to suspend parachuting when the helicopter was in the area and that the helicopter pilot failed to take avoiding action or clear the area when parachiting was in progress. The Board could see no reason why parachuting was not suspended or why the helicopter was in the area whilst parachuting was taking place.

The recommendations of the Board were that whenever a student parachute programme is in operation, the Drop Zone Controller must have radio communication with parachuting aircraft for the purpose of suspending parachuting.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 14, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Flight, 1980s

Mystery Illustration 85



This female figure was intended to represent something very tangible: ie, not "virtue," "justice," etc.

What was the thing she represented?

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 14, 2019 - Comments (8)
Category: Statues and Monuments, Nineteenth Century

September 13, 2019

Velvet-Lined Bathtub

Back in 1936, interior decorators predicted a popular future for velvet-lined bathtubs.

I can only imagine they would have been a nightmare to clean.

Pottsville Republican and Herald - Dec 4, 1936



Emery County Progress - Nov 27, 1936



Update: Thanks to our knowledgeable readers, Floormaster Squeeze and KDP, for pointing out that Steve Martin had a line in one of his routines about buying a fur-lined sink. I found the clip on YouTube (audio only, unfortunately). The fur-lined sink reference occurs less than a minute in.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 13, 2019 - Comments (7)
Category: Bathrooms, Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods, 1930s

September 12, 2019

Nun in a miniskirt

November 1969: The fact that Sister Joann Malone of the Order of Loreto was protesting wasn't particularly big news, but the fact that she was wearing a miniskirt as she did so was front-page news.

Sydney Morning Herald - Nov 21, 1969

Decatur Herald - Nov 20, 1969



Her superior, Sister Rose Maureen Sanders, head of the St. Louis province of the Sisters of Loreto, wasn’t too happy about the fashion decision. From a follow-up article:

Sister Rose said she feels that Sister Joanne, from her earnings on speaking engagements, could have paid to purchase a longer skirt.
“I regretted the photo when I saw it in newspapers here and thought her wearing a miniskirt was ridiculous,” said the provincial superior.
“It’s an aberration on her part. Many, many sisters are wearing modern clothes but would not choose a miniskirt. Why do the newspapers print things like that?”

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 12, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Fashion, Religion, 1960s

September 11, 2019

Hallucinogenic giraffe livers

It's possible that the livers of some giraffes might be hallucinogenic when consumed. Although the claim is controversial.



The idea was first introduced into the scientific literature in 1958 by anthropologist Ian Cunnison, in an article published in the obscure journal Sudan Notes and Records.

Cunnison had spent time with the giraffe-hunting Humr tribe of Sudan, and he reported that after a successful hunt they would often consume a drink called umm nyolokh made from the liver and bone marrow of the giraffe. Cunnison didn't try the drink himself, but its effects, as described to him by the Humr, seemed to be hallucinogenic, Here's the relevant passage in Cunnison's article:



It's noted on Wikipedia that, if the reports from the Humr were accurate, “this claim would make the giraffe the first mammal to be discovered to contain a hallucinogen in its bodily tissues,” However, Cunnison himself was skeptical, suggesting that the perceived effects might be “brought about subconsciously.”

Cunnison’s article didn’t attract much attention until 1998, when Richard Rudgely discussed it in his Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances. Rudgely was far more willing to believe that the giraffe livers really were hallucinogenic.

Since then people have speculated that the giraffes in Sudan might have been consuming plants, such as Acacia trees, that contained psychoactive substances, which then concentrated in their livers.

But to date, to my knowledge, the issue remains entirely speculative because no one has gone to Sudan to find and test some of this umm nyolokh.

Members of the Humr tribe skinning a giraffe after a hunt.
Source: Sudan Notes and Records

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 11, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Drugs, Psychedelic, Inebriation and Intoxicants

Page 4 of 7 pages ‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 6 >  Last ›




Get WU Posts by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


weird universe thumbnail
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.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •