Weird Universe Archive

August 2021

August 21, 2021

International Banana Museum

The International Banana Museum, in Mecca, CA, boasts that it's the home of "25,000 banana-related items and pictures."



I think the location of the museum is odder than the idea of the museum itself. Mecca is just a tiny desert community located at the northern tip of the Salton Sea. No bananas grow anywhere near it.

The California Curiosities site explains how the museum ended up being there: because the owner of the museum, Fred Garbutt, saw a collection of banana memorabilia for sale on eBay and figured that a banana museum might generate some publicity for his struggling liquor store.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 21, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Museums, Bananas

The Reid Flying Submarine



More pix and article here.

It wasn't a high-tech machine, despite its abilities. In the air it was powered by a 65 horsepower four-cylinder Lycoming engine. While underwater a 1-horsepower electric motor provided propulsion. Conversion from aircraft to submarine was a clumsy affair. The pilot first had to remove the propeller, and then cover the engine pylon with a rubber diving bell to keep the engine dry. The pilot used an aqualung to breathe. Maximum depth was roughly 10 to 12 ft (3.5 metres).


From THE SATURDAY EVENING POST for January 1, 1966.



Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 21, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Death, Disasters, Inventions, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Air Travel and Airlines, 1960s

August 20, 2021

Mask for smokers

Back in 1919, Edward T. Duncan solved the problem of how to smoke and wear a mask at the same time.

Smoke if you want to, even though you wear an influenza mask. Corn plasters fitted to the mask, inside and out, supply the necessary hole.

Popular Science Monthly - May 1919



The only modern near-equivalent I can find is a mask that jokes about having a "smoke hole," without actually having one.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 20, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Health, Smoking and Tobacco, 1910s

As In a Looking Glass

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 20, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: 1900s, Pranks

August 19, 2021

Bosco’s Collapsible Rubber Driver

Never worry again about your car being stolen. Bosco's inflatable rubber driver will make it appear as if your car is occupied, thereby deterring thieves.



I haven't been able to find an original source for this ad, but it appears in a number of books about automobile oddities (such as Motor touring in old California). However, the dates given for it vary from 1905 to the 1920s.

A Dec 1985 article in Popular Mechanics offers the most details about it, but I have no idea where they got their info from:

Lemuel Bosco of Akron, Ohio, spent $5 for an antitheft device that was supposed to lock the Splitdorf ignition switch of his car, but it didn't stop a thief. He broke it off and took Bosco's Mercer for a joyride. The cops found the car undamaged, but Bosco was mad and vowed it wouldn't happen again. Thus was born the Bosco Collapsible Driver. When inflated and propped behind a steering wheel, it looked like Charlie Chaplin, right down to moustache and derby. When the mannequin wasn't needed, it was deflated and stored under the seat. Standing a foot away from a car, no theif could tell that the rubber dummy wasn't a real man — or so ads in auto accessory manuals of 1910 would have you believe.

The Bosco Collapsible Driver Co. collapsed in two years, because it didn't take even the dumbest thief long to realize that the guy who was sitting behind the wheel never even twitched, which meant he was either dead, in a coma or not for real.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 19, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Crime, Cars

Unlikely Reasons for Murder No. 5

Suicide is self-murder, and offing oneself because your murderous insurance scam has come unraveled seems a bit more unlikely than accepting the punishment. Extra points given for swallowing poison in front of the cops. How did he have it so handy?



Source: The Daily Journal (Commerce, Texas) 09 Nov 1956, Fri Page 1

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 19, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Death, Suicide, Scams, Cons, Rip-offs, and General Larceny, Stupid Criminals, 1950s

August 18, 2021

Effective Emulation

A simple, psychological trick maximizes church giving:

The ushers, with contribution plates, started on their rounds. The evangelist said she had instructed them to say "Amen" whenever 25 cents was dropped into the plate; when 50 cents the usher was to say "Hallelujah!" and when $1 the usher was to say "Glory hallelujah!" in a loud tone. The collection amounted to $1,100...

the evangelist knew that no person with money to give would be content with an "Amen" when a neighbor, sitting in the next pew, was acclaimed with a "Glory hallelujah!"

New York Times - May 18, 1919

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 18, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Money, Religion, Psychology

Chamborama

Nothing like indoctrinating kids at play to prefer your product.

The cartoon Mom is plainly soused.

Source, with more pics.

This “Jeu de Familles” from the 1960s promotes Chambord glassware. The object of the game is to complete family sets of the same item (wine glasses, small dishes, larger dishes, sugar bowls, etc) by asking opponents for a particular card, for example: “avez-vous l'assiette à desert de Grand-Père?"






Posted By: Paul - Wed Aug 18, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Games, 1960s, Europe

August 17, 2021

Sylvia Ester, World-Record Swimmer

East German swimmer Sylvia Ester seems to have made one brief contribution to sports trivia before disappearing back into anonymity. Her contribution: having her world-record time disallowed due to the fact that she wasn't wearing a swimsuit.

I can't find any other references to her. Nor any explanation about why she was swimming nude.

The current record for the women's 100-meter freestyle is below 52 seconds.

Hobbs Daily News-Sun - Feb 19, 1967

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 17, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Sports, World Records

Fruit Cake Queen of 1968

No further info available!

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 17, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Food, 1960s

Page 3 of 7 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  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
May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  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 •