Category:
Twentieth Century

June 23, 2016

Anchor Stone Building Blocks

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Another weird old playtoy for building stuff. Very pricey on Ebay.

Wikipedia entry here.

A blog post here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 23, 2016 - Comments (6)
Category: Toys, Europe, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century,

May 17, 2016

Robot Ballet



The Italian Futurists had a thing for robot costumes in their dance performances. They left behind some weird imagery.

Read about them here.

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Posted By: Paul - Tue May 17, 2016 - Comments (1)
Category: Costumes and Masks, Futurism, Robots, Avant Garde, Dance, Europe, Twentieth Century,

March 29, 2016

The Electric Pencil



Sounds pretty much like prime fodder for WU-vies.

"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."

Posted By: Paul - Tue Mar 29, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Cult Figures and Artifacts, Eccentrics, Books, Twentieth Century, Mental Health and Insanity,

The Coffin of Pero Bannister

I find this anecdote in two sources. True, or apocryphal? You be the judge!

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1880 text.

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1937 text.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Mar 29, 2016 - Comments (7)
Category: Death, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Face and Facial Expressions, Head,

March 2, 2016

Frog Postcards

Please consider the usefulness and attractiveness of having frogs convey your birthday, Xmas, Valentine's Day or New Year's wishes.

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Posted By: Paul - Wed Mar 02, 2016 - Comments (10)
Category: Animals, Holidays, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Postal Services,

March 1, 2016

Grove’s Laxative Bromo Quinine

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Not sure about a laxative having any effect on a cold. Or quinine either. But thousands of people obviously found some relief for nearly eighty years.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Mar 01, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century,

February 22, 2016

Hitler Is Alive!

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In its heyday, THE POLICE GAZETTE was a goldmine of weird news. It was recently revived by Steven Westlake, son of the famous crime novelist Donald Westlake, and he has now compiled a book of the best Hitler articles from the magazine. Looks like a winner!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 22, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Magazines, Europe, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century,

November 11, 2015

The Eccentric Club



For over 230 years there has been one or more organizations known as "the Eccentric Club." I think every WU-vie should be a member by birthright.

Here is a tongue-in-cheek account of a party at an NYC branch from 1889.

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Original article here.

Profile of the current London version.

Present-day USA version.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 11, 2015 - Comments (11)
Category: Eccentrics, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Twenty-first Century,

October 11, 2015

The Elvis Diet

Everyone knows about Elvis's penchant for fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches. But some of these other items, as instanced in the book below, have faded from popular memory.

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[Click to enlarge]

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Oct 11, 2015 - Comments (5)
Category: Eccentrics, Food, 1970's, Twentieth Century, Bodybuilding, Pain, Self-inflicted and Otherwise,

September 20, 2015

Brickplayer

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Here is an old British toy that had a lot of good intentions, but also some unanticipated drawbacks.

Buildings were constructed on allegedly waterproof waxed card bases. The bricks etc. were stuck together with a mortar made from a mixture of flour and chalk powder. It required a great amount of skill to erect buildings accurately, very time-consuming and beyond the patience of most of the children it was aimed at (8 to 14 years). Especially so in cold houses (as most British homes then were) it would take several days for the building to 'set'. Reusing the components involved a process of dunking the entire model in a large bowl of warm water. After the model fell apart the bricks and plaster pieces required lengthy rinsing to remove all organic traces to prevent mould growing on them.


I wonder how well they sold in the USA, as touted in the ad below, from Boys Life for September 1948.

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Fan page.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 20, 2015 - Comments (8)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Toys, Children, Europe, Twentieth Century,

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Alex Boese
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.

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