American eccentric Adam Purple died last week, at the age of 84. The NY Times says he collapsed on the walkway of the Williamsburg Bridge. We've previously noted some of his achievements here on WU. He's most famous as the "original hipster" and a "Guerrilla Gardener" who created a "Garden of Eden" on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Will Atkinson died recently of pancreatitis, at the age of 51. He had gained fame in Oxford, Mississippi as an Elvis impersonator, and was known there as "Elvis," or the "Big E." And also as the "Walmart Elvis" because he worked at Walmart and would sing in the aisles as he worked. From the Clarion-Ledger:
By day, he worked at the local Walmart, where he would sing gospel and Elvis classics throughout the store so well that many mistook his voice for the sound system, said Walmart sales associate Suzette Boone...
Atkinson obsessed over getting every Elvis detail correct. He dyed his hair, had four Elvis jumpsuits, and fashioned his voice to sound just like the real thing...
At the local Walmart, employees broke corporate protocol and set up a memorial wreath at the entrance, and had pictures displayed on a table inside, along with a condolence book, which many customers have stopped to sign. The store even played some of Atkinson’s recordings on the sound system. "The aisles are going to be quiet now," said Walmart assistant manager Lavina Woodfin, "No more song."
In January 1934, at the age of 82, arctic explorer W.J.A. Grant decided he wasn't much longer for this world and had a "farewell to life" champagne party. The centerpiece of the event was a wooden coffin he had specially made. Five hundred people attended, as well as "a bevy of beautiful dancing girls." He instructed everyone to "wear your gayest clothes—don't come in the miserable garb of woe."
The partying lasted through the night. Grant, wearing a boutonniere in his coat lapel, mingled with his guests "and pointed cheerfully to a notice on the wall that said he would die within a week."
But the next day, having had only two hours of sleep, he announced that he now "felt fine." It took him another year before he finally kicked the bucket. [Chicago Tribune - Mar 11, 1935]
In the parochial register of Lymington, for the year 1736, is entered a curious minute, which, for its singularity, deserves notice. The words run thus: —
"Samuel Baldwin, Esq. sojourner in this parish, was immersed without the Needles, sans ceremonie, May 20, 1736. It was ever his request, whilst living, that his body might be so disposed of after his death, from a superstitious notion that his wife, in the instance of her surviving him, would dance over his grave, actuated by a spirit of vindictiveness for his conjugal infidelity."
Lymington Parish Church
Update: "without the Needles" refers to a location — Needles Point.
Mrs. Keyte of Blockley, Gloucestershire had a pet trout that would eat worms from her hand. When it died in 1855, she erected a tombstone in its honor. That tombstone remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in Blockley. And it's perhaps the only tombstone for a trout in the world. [National Geographic, 1917]
Washington state's Saar Pioneer Cemetery contains an unusual grave. It's the resting place of John C. Monster (1851-1890) and his child "Baby Monster" (1888-1889). I haven't been able to find any additional details about the Monster family. (via the Oddment Emporium)
Steve Jobs passed away earlier today. This may not seem like the kind of thing to post on Weird Universe, but consider what kind of place this world would be without him. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created the Apple II, the first home computer many would use, and thanks to this and other innovations like the graphical operating system, the internet friendly iMac, and the always connected iPhone, the world is now fully connected, allowing anyone instant access to the kinds of weird things we here at Weird Universe love. Sure, he didn't create the internet all by himself, but if it weren't for some of the innovations his company pioneered, the world might have turned out to be a much more normal (and boring) place than it is today.
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 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.