Weird Universe Archive

February 2021

February 23, 2021

The Stasi Scent Library

The East German Stasi did a number of strange things, but perhaps the strangest was its attempt to create a scent library of its population. It was analogous to a fingerprint library, and was based on the premise that everyone had a unique scent which could be used to track them, if need be. From Dog Law Reporter:

The most interesting use of police dogs concerned scent identification, a method analyzed by Dutch and other researchers, but adapted by the unique paranoia of the Stasi. As early as 1973, the Stasi began collecting smell samples of a large number of citizens. Sometimes this was done with a special chair that the subject was asked to sit on during a visit to the police station. The chair had a dust cloth on top of the seat that was clamped into place by a removable frame. The subject had to sit in the chair for ten minutes, but after the interrogation was over, the dust cloth was removed and stored in a glass jar.

Sometimes Stasi officials did not bother with being subtle and merely told subjects to put a cloth under their armpits or even under their pants in the groin area. The cloth was carefully handled by tweezers in an effort not to allow contamination by other human scents.

Stasi Smelling Jars

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 23, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Police and Other Law Enforcement, Smells and Odors

The Cure

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 23, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Music, Television, 1960s, Diseases, Love & Romance

February 22, 2021

The Blanc Mask

A new face mask that not only filters air but also prevents facial recognition.

More info: blancmasks.com, gizmodo





Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 22, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Fashion, Health

February 21, 2021

The Mechanized Restaurant

British inventor Thomas Maldwyn Lewis and his partners apparently had some expertise in conveyor-belt technology. So they cast about for novel ways to apply this knowledge. What they came up with was the "mechanized restaurant". Their idea was to put diners on a conveyor belt and move them past serving stations. From their 1948 patent:

In accordance with our invention, the customers are provided with seats and if desired footrests moving in a continuous manner along with a table or like surface, the different courses being placed upon the table at definite positions in the travel of the table so that when the traverse of any particular seat is completed, the occupant has completed his meal and may move to a seat in a lounge or the like to rest and/or to finish his meal with a coffee or the like which may be supplied just before the said traverse is completed.





The inventors argued that this mechanization of the dining experience would "expedite the delivery of meals and enable more meals to be served with the use of a given floor area than is at present possible."

That may be true, but I doubt many restaurant owners would want to invest the money to build one of these, just for the sake of potentially serving a few more meals.

Not to mention the problem of slow eaters. I'm imagining a crowd of diners standing at the end of the conveyor belt, plates in hand, trying to finish their meals.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 21, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Restaurants, Technology, 1940s

Feminine Hygiene Ads 70s, 80s, 90s

Maybe nearly 500 of these ads is a little excessive for one playlist? See what you think! Here's the first, below, and the rest are here.


Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 21, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Business, Advertising, Hygiene, Women, Twentieth Century

February 20, 2021

Suing the Devil

1971: Inmate Gerald Mayo made legal history by trying to sue "Satan and his staff" for violating his rights by "placing irresistible temptation in his path." The judge dismissed the case because Satan lived outside the court's jurisdiction, and federal marshals were unable to bring him to the court.

Pomona Progress Bulletin - Dec 9, 1971



Suing the Devil was also the theme of a 2010 film starring Malcolm McDowell as Satan.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 20, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Religion, Lawsuits

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 33



Nude Woman with Upraised Arms ca. 1926
Gaston Lachaise American

Posted By: Paul - Sat Feb 20, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, Avant Garde, Statues and Monuments, Body Modifications, 1920s, North America

February 19, 2021

The Sundae of Tomorrow

The centerpiece of the 1939 New York World's Fair was a pair of structures known as the Trylon and Perisphere. Even today, they look very futuristic.



It occurred to some that the structures looked a bit like a scoop of ice cream and an upside-down cone. This inspired ice-cream parlors throughout America to offer what they called the "World's Fair Sundae" or the "Sundae of Tomorrow".



Hagerstown Daily Mail - July 21, 1939



It's a nice looking sundae. I'd get one if they were offered today. Though now the reference would be lost on most people.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 19, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Food, Junk Food, 1930s

Two Strange Asian Ads

I have no idea what any of this means.





Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 19, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Technology, Advertising, Asia

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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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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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