Weird Universe

Natural Wonders

Oyster Growing on a Set of False Teeth

Oysters will grow on almost any surface, including false teeth, if that's what happens to be available. The tooth-growing oyster shown above was found in the Chesapeake Bay in 1898, and sent to the Smithsonian where they were put on display and became quite a popular attraction. But soon a paternity battle erupted around them. From The Strand magazine, 1903:

A man from Iowa claimed the teeth, saying that he had lost them, under not wholly peculiar circumstances, from a steamer passing that way. The object was too great a curiosity to be parted with, and the difficulty of the authorities in deciding whether or not to surrender the teeth was solved by a later claim for the teeth from a Philadelphia woman, and by a third claim from someone who saw the oyster on exhibition.

Half a century later, in 1954, yet another guy insisted the teeth were his, but in this case the Smithsonian was able to definitively rule out his claim since the guy hadn't even been born yet when the teeth were found. I'm guessing the Smithsonian probably still has this famous oyster hidden away somewhere in its archives.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Nov 26, 2012 | Comments (3)
Category: Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Museums, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Natural Wonders

Gus Mager and Un-Natural History

Cartoonist Gus Mager is well-respected for his pioneering newspaper strips. But he seems to have let his fertile and fanciful brain trespass into his supposedly scientific feature for Popular Science. Some of the "facts" given in his column appear somewhat dubious, to say the least. The business about the grapefruit was all settled well before Gus was working in the 1930s.





Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Oct 13, 2012 | Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Comics, 1930's, Natural Wonders

Blind Man Spontaneously Regains Sight After 30 Years


Here's a unique twist on the Rip-van-Winkle phenomenon.

[Click to Enlarge]
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Aug 01, 2012 | Comments (9)
Category: 1930's, Time-travel, Natural Wonders, Eyes and Vision

The Sound of the Northern Lights Clapping

People have long reported that they've heard strange clapping sounds coming from the Northern Lights. But scientists tended to ignore these reports. The people hearing the sounds were told they were imagining them, or that the sounds were coming from sources such as trees or falling ice. But now Finnish researchers at Aalto University have recorded the Aurora Borealis actually making these snapping/clapping sounds, and have confirmed (to their satisfaction) that the sounds couldn't have been coming from anywhere else. More info at and at the researcher's website.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Jul 28, 2012 | Comments (8)
Category: Nature, Natural Wonders, Noises and Other Public Disturbances of the Peace, Science

Mike Grost, Supergenius


This child is Mike Grost, as he appeared in a 1965 article in Life magazine. At the time, he was said to have an IQ of 200+.

Whatever happened to Mike? A 2005 interview from the MSU State News had this to say:

Michael Grost was only 10 when he began at MSU in 1964.

Grost declined comment for this story, but in a 2002 interview with The State News, the Southfield
resident described his life in college as similar to having "40,000 brothers and sisters."

Grost held his first job on campus working with computers his freshman year, which propelled him into
software design after his 13-year college career - five of which were spent at MSU. He also attended
Yale University and U-M, earning a doctorate degree in mathematics at age 23. Grost currently is a
system architect at a computer company in Detroit.

"I really owe (MSU) a lot for the huge chance they took on me as a kid," Grost said in the 2002

Gee, I don't know. Kinda underwhelming. Shouldn't he be a Silicon Valley zillionaire by now?

Even his home page is kinda lackluster.

Oh, well--maybe as a certified genius he knows that material success is a sham.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Jul 15, 2012 | Comments (11)
Category: Children, 1960's, Natural Wonders, Brain, Child Prodigies

Little Armadillos

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun May 06, 2012 | Comments (3)
Category: Hygiene, Science, Cartoons, Natural Wonders

Glacier Crack Fly-thru

Expat47 says: "This is a virtual 'fly through' of a trench in Antarctica. The weird thing is that it resembles the trench on the death star from Star Wars. I tried to get the video embedded and posted but couldn't make it so I'll leave it up to y'all."

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Mar 02, 2012 | Comments (3)
Category: Reader Recommendation, Natural Wonders

Big Tree Inn

Read the bare facts about this charming place here.

I sure wish it was still around.

(Click image for more detail.)
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Mar 08, 2011 | Comments (2)
Category: Restaurants, 1910's, Natural Wonders


Ukrainian Parkour Dog - Watch more Funny Videos

This animal is plainly a mutant, or product of genetic engineering!
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Nov 11, 2010 | Comments (5)
Category: Dogs, Natural Wonders

The Dancing Plant

A plant that reacts to sound with movement.

Read about it here.

Addendum: It appears I was a mite credulous, and did not read my own link closely enough. Plant seems extremely responsive to light, rather than sound.

Thanks, KDP!

Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Nov 04, 2010 | Comments (6)
Category: Natural Wonders
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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.