Weird Universe

Frauds, Cons and Scams

George Graham Rice

A new book about a legendary con man seems like an intriguing read for all WU-vies. Maybe one for your Xmas wish list.

You can learn quickly about this rascal at the Scripophily page where you can buy an actual stock certificate signed by the scammer, as seen below.


George Graham Rice, a famous stock promoter, capitalized the stocks of Goldfield, Greenwater and Rawhide mines, listed them on the national exchanges, and reaped the profits until convicted of mail fraud in 1911. In 1907 when investors nation-wide were delirious over the stupendous rise in the market value of securities of Goldfield mining companies, the public clamored for opportunities to buy into Nevada mining stocks. With childlike faith they invested in Death Valley's Greenwater and also the Rawhide district, where several companies capitalized stocks, listed them on the national exchanges and had them underwritten by prominent brokerage houses. In Rice's own words: "I make a conservative statement when I say that the American public sank $30 million in Greenwater in less than four months . . . yet the suckers, . . were crying for more."

You can read his original 1913 memoir here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Oct 15, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Crime, Frauds, Cons and Scams, 1900's, 1910's


Cyberdildonics is the rather interesting name for pleasure devices that are controlled by a lover long distance over the internet. Apparently they are being hacked for control of the device and/or to steal pictures taken during use. When the hackers are doing that at least they are leaving bank accounts and credit cards alone.
Posted By: patty | Date: Sat Jan 31, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Genitals, Sex, Love & Romance

Octa-Gane Water Injection Carburetor


Even after reading this article, I'm still not sure about the physics of this device. But one thing is clear.

"Popular Science tested one of the J.C. Whitney Octa-Ganes in 1968 and reported a drop in fuel mileage and power when using it."

Original ad here. (Scroll down.)

Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Dec 31, 2014 | Comments (23)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Inventions, 1950's, Cars

The Martian Writing of Hélène Smith



A self-styled medium, Ms Smith was not content to talk to distant or dead Earth people only, but also had a hotline to Mars. Here is her portrait of a typical Martian, and their language.

Wikipedia entry here.

Long article here.

Quacks and Nostrums

Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Oct 01, 2014 | Comments (3)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, Medicine, PSA's, 1950's

Psychic Confusion

When the spirits of the dead communicate with psychics, why do they invariably choose to communicate with single letters instead of full words? For instance, instead of saying, "My name is Mary," they'll say "My name begins with an M or a J." Actually, forget it. I know the answer to that.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Jul 19, 2013 | Comments (9)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams

Doc Owens, Con Man

As early as December 1900, the notorious Doc Owens was making headlines, having established his racket of fleecing sea-going sheep.




Three years later, The New York Times did a special feature on Owens and his fellows (with his photo miscaptioned).

Click here for very readable PDF download.



But Owens was to meet poetic justice in 1912, as our final piece reveals.


Fake Facial Hair for Sale

[From Playboy for November 1968. Click to enlarge.]

I can imagine a man being follicle-challenged and able only to grow a patchy beard or mustache. But most of us can grow a perfectly fine crop of facial hair for free. Why would anyone spend money for a fake? And the price! The Inflation Calculator I always use says: "What cost $30 in 1968 would cost $185.89 in 2010."

But the weirdest thing is the appeal to scam your girlfriend or one-night-stand with fake hair. Huh?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Nov 27, 2012 | Comments (5)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Magazines, Sexuality, 1960's, Facial Hair

Are You an Ascension Pioneer?

My question is, "Is anyone other than this lone ditzy woman part of this 'movement?'"

Her website.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Oct 26, 2012 | Comments (6)
Category: Fey, Twee, Whimsical, Naive and Sadsack, Frauds, Cons and Scams, New Age

Mrs. Jones’ Flesh Grower


Who knew bioengineering and stem cells were in use so long ago?

Original ad here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Oct 10, 2012 | Comments (7)
Category: Body, Bodybuilding, Body Modifications, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Self-help Schemes, 1900's
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.