Weird Universe


RIP Adam Purple

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.

Some of his other life details, from the NY Times obit:

  • He used many aliases throughout his life, including Rev. Les Ego, John Peter Zenger 2nd, and General Zen of the Headquarters Intergalactic of Psychic Police of Uranus.
  • He produced hundreds of copies of a tiny book called “Zentences!” that was meant to encourage meditation.
  • He "renounced the internal combustion engine."
  • "Because of his abhorrence of waste, he salvaged and repurposed everything he could, including empty glass bottles, rusty nails and even buckets of lost tennis balls found on the street."
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Sep 20, 2015 | Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, Obituaries

RIP Will Atkinson, the Walmart Elvis

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."

There are more tributes to him here and here.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Sep 08, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Music, Obituaries

The Living Theatre, Deceased

With the death this month of Judith Malina, the world will be forever deprived of "happenings" like the one in the first clip, where, I regret, Ms. Malina does not appear until the final few seconds.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Apr 18, 2015 | Comments (1)
Category: Drugs, Avant Garde, Outsider Art, Performance Art, Pop Art, Obituaries, 1970's

Pulled No Punches

Treat well those who will choose your nursing home is an old motto of mine. The same thing applies to whoever ends up writing your obituary as well. For more back story look here.
Posted By: patty | Date: Thu Sep 12, 2013 | Comments (6)
Category: Obituaries

Farewell To Life Party

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]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Jun 26, 2013 | Comments (5)
Category: Death, Obituaries, 1930's

A Strange Burial, 1736

From The History of Lymington, and its immediate vicinity, by David William Garrow (1825):

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.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Jan 21, 2013 | Comments (9)
Category: Death, Obituaries, Eighteenth Century

Tombstone for a Trout

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]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Jan 07, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Death, Obituaries, Pets, Fish, Monuments, Sightseeing, Nineteenth Century

The Monster Family

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)

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Oct 14, 2012 | Comments (4)
Category: Odd Names, Signage, Obituaries

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

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.
Posted By: Salamander Sam | Date: Wed Oct 05, 2011 | Comments (30)
Category: Death, Obituaries, Technology, Computers, Internet

Goodbye Pussycat…

tura_satana.jpeg title=Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, kill me!
Sad news today for fans of weird and cult movies. Tura Satana, star of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and the Astro-Zombies series has died, aged 72. Famed, and much admired, for her impressive build and distinctive looks, Tura's portrayal of the psychopathic Varla in Faster... won her a sizeable cult following. Which, having somewhat presciently thought to trademark her likeness, belatedly brought Tura some success (Yahoo News).

It is perhaps some small comfort that Ms. Satana will now be spared seeing Kim Kardashian's proposed reprisal of her role in the Tarrantino remake of her signature film, expected out in 2012. For connoisseurs of the original, here's the title sequence, with music courtesy of The Bostweeds.

(Image from
Posted By: Dumbfounded | Date: Mon Feb 07, 2011 | Comments (7)
Category: Movies, Obituaries, 1960'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.