Weird Universe Archive

November 2021

November 30, 2021

Jim Gernhart, the living corpse

In 1951, Jim Gernhart, having recently retired, decided to hold a rehearsal of his own funeral. He kept rehearsing it each subsequent year for 25 years, until finally (still alive) he gave up. Because of this annual ritual he became known as Colorado's "living corpse".

He eventually died in 1980 at the age of 103.

Life - Jun 18, 1951



Tampa Tribune - Jan 24, 1980

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 30, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Death, Eccentrics

A History of Mechanical Horses



Read the piece here.

There should be a separate article on mechanical horses in literature. My favorite one occurs in these two novels by Roger Zelazny.


Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 30, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Inventions, Literature, Fantasy, AI, Robots and Other Automatons, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century

November 29, 2021

Skunk Guard

Skunk Guard was a solution of skunk spray packaged in small glass vials. Ray Hanson and Jack Scaff started selling this stuff in the 1980s with the idea that it could be used as anti-rape perfume. If a woman feared she was about to be raped, she could break open a vial and smear herself with skunk scent, making herself smell so bad that the rapist, hopefully, would go away. As Scaff explained, "The idea is to make the woman so repulsive the attacker runs away."

If the attacker didn't run away he would end up smelling awful also, making it easier for the police to identify him.

Skunk Guard never sold well. I'm guessing most women wanted a form of defense that was more proactive than just making themselves stink.

Honolulu Advertiser - Feb 19, 1985



Minneapolis Star Tribune - May 29, 1985



Santa Cruz Sentinel - Oct 9, 1985

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 29, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: 1980s, Perfume and Cologne and Other Scents

Perfume Set to Music



What better way to start the week than with a short six-song album of exotica with a most unlikely title?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 29, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Space-age Bachelor Pad & Exotic, 1940s

November 28, 2021

Webs In The Wind

Webs in the Wind, published in 1949, is an odd, obscure book. The author, Winifred Duncan, decided that she wanted to learn more about spiders — creatures about which she previously had almost no knowledge.

To do so, she caught spiders outside, released them in her house, and then patiently observed their behavior as they went about building webs in her curtains, between pieces of furniture, behind her toilet, etc. Her book is full of illustrations of the spider webs throughout her house.

Only after observing the spiders for months did she start reading any of the existing scientific literature about spiders.

Used copies of her book are quite expensive, starting at around $35. But you can read the entire book for free at the Hathitrust archive.







Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 28, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Insects and Spiders, Books, 1940s

Mystery Illustration 104

Which world-famous actress, still living but at the height of her career in the 70s and 80s, is seen here in these three childhood shots?

The answer is here and also here.

Also after the jump.









More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Sun Nov 28, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Entertainment, 1970s, 1980s

November 27, 2021

Swaying Chair

Zanesville Times Recorder - Jan 4, 1960

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 27, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Furniture, 1960s

The Golden Mermaid Beauty Trophy

I wish the contest had continued with the mermaid theme.





Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 27, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Cryptozoology, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1920s

November 26, 2021

Good Things in Du Pont Cellophane

Things you can wrap in Du Pont cellophane: fresh fruits, vegetables, babies...

Source: Saturday Evening Post, 1955 - via Hagley Digital Archives

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 26, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Babies, Advertising, 1950s

Forest Mensuration



Besides sounding slightly naughty, "Forest Mensuration" proves epically boring.

"Trees get skinnier from bottom to top" is one thing you will learn.



Posted By: Paul - Fri Nov 26, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Boredom, Nature

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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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