Their entry at THE SKEPTIC'S DICTIONARY lets us know: "Since the death of Mr. Parker in 1964, the Kabalarians, headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., have been led by Ivon Shearing who was sentenced to five years in prison in 1997 for sexually abusing several teenage girls over a twenty-five year period."
An old-model Fujitsu flip phone has a devoted fan base in Japan because of its enhanced privacy features. It allows you to designate certain contacts as private, and, according to the Wall Street Journal, "If one of those acquaintances gets in touch, the only signal of that communication is a subtle change in the color or shape of how the battery sign or antenna bars are displayed. If ignored, the call doesn't appear in the phone log."
This makes the phone perfect for philanderers, and has earned it the nickname "uwaki keitai" or "infidelity phone." Apparently no other phones offer such robust privacy features. For which reason, people are sticking with their old flip phones rather than upgrading to new models.
I can see a flaw in their strategy. Now that the phone is known as the phone-of-choice of philanderers, having one is a sign of what you are.
Dr. Gordon Volkenant seems like he was quite the character. In 1947, he invented a gadget he called the "husband detector." It was basically a motion detector, designed to help wives catch their husbands who were trying to sneak unheard into the house after a late night at the bar. When it sensed someone coming through the door, it set off a loud siren. link: Pittsburgh Press
Volkenant promptly became the first husband to be caught by his own device, when it rang the alarm as he tried to sneak into his house at 3 a.m. link: Washington Reporter
And based on the look of him, I'm guessing he wasn't just at the bar until 3 a.m. Here he is in 1948 demonstrating another of his gadgets, which he called an "electronic humidistat." He claimed it could detect hosiery defects in nylon stockings when he waved it up and down a woman's leg. It looks a lot like a regular lightbulb to me. I'm sure he found it necessary to test on many women.
During the 1920s, the cigar industry began to suffer from image problems. The rise of organized crime during Prohibition, and the image of the stogie-chomping gangster--developed in part by Hollywood, and personified by such actors as Edward G. Robinson--gave the cigar an aura of disrespect among the public. Later that decade, the cigar industry faced a second crisis, when American Tobacco began promoting new, machine-rolled cigars. Its advertising asked: "Why run the risk of cigars made by dirty yellowed fingers and tipped in spit?" The image proved disastrous for the cigar industry as a whole. Cigar makers rushed to convert their manufacturing from hand-rolled to machine-rolled products, but cigar sales plunged through the 1930s. During this same time period, the cigar industry was hit hard by the rise in cigarette use across the United States. Cigar consumption never recovered to its early 1920s peak.
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.
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.
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