The notion of Koro, or supernatural penis theft, is practically a NOTW trademark. I'm pretty sure I first learned about this delusion from Chuck about thirty years ago.
Now we can learn even more, thanks to a new book which covers this exotic madness, plus many others.
From the publisher's site:
"The Geography of Madness is an investigation of 'culture-bound' syndromes, which are far stranger than they sound. Why is it, for example, that some men believe, against all reason, that vandals stole their penises, even though they’re in good physical shape? In The Geography of Madness, acclaimed magazine writer Frank Bures travels around the world to trace culture-bound syndromes to their sources–and in the process, tells a remarkable story about the strange things all of us believe."
"Around the year 1910, a patient at State Lunatic Asylum No. 3 in Nevada, Missouri, who referred to himself as The Electric Pencil, executed 280 drawings in ink, pencil, crayon and colored pencil. These beautiful drawings of animals, people and buildings were executed on both sides of 140 ledger pages, each bearing the name of the hospital in official type across the top, thus dramatizing the interface of the institutional and the creative. The Electric Pencil's drawings were sewn into a handmade album of fabric and leather, which shortly afterwards was lost--for a century."
Back in the 1940s, electro-shock therapy (or "electro-tonic therapy") was promoted as a breakthrough treatment for depression. But it never managed to live up to the hype and was eventually mostly replaced by chemical treatments (popping pills). Though, from what I understand, it's still used in certain situations.
If the medical industry was promoting electro-shock therapy today, I imagine they'd show pictures of happy people running through fields and playing with grandchildren. But this 1948 ad (Time - Sep 20, 1948) offered a slightly more realistic and disturbing image.
Note the line: "Brain disclosed for illustration only." Glad they clarified that.
France has enacted a law limiting excessively thin models from working until their BMI reaches a minimum level set forth in the law. Fines and even jail time can be leveled against fashion houses and modeling agents trying to use models that are thinner than the law allows. Its about time we quit letting vanity destroy our little girls.
In early 1946, the St. Anne Insane Asylum in Paris exhibited some of the art work of its inmates. Collecting the art of people identified as insane seems to have been a trend at the time. See, for instance, the book of "Poetry of the Insane," published in 1933, that I posted about back in Feb 2013.
The Associated Press caption on the top picture notes, "The writing is a miscellany of seemingly unconnected Gibberish, with no apparent relationship to the drawing."
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.