February 1950: During a chapel service, the students of Wheaton College were invited by the college president to come forward and confess their sins. What followed was 38 hours of uninterrupted confessions as one student after another came forward. Many confessed more than once. Classes were cancelled to allow the spontaneous confess-a-thon to continue.
One student confessed that he wasn't sure if he loved his fiancee or God more, another to cheating in Bible class. A somewhat cynical student confessed that she couldn't believe all the confessions were sincere. Then asked forgiveness for doubting their sincerity.
Finally the college president halted the continuing stream of confessions, noting that "outsiders might think the revival has become too showy."
Wheaton students pray and listen to confessions Newsweek - Feb 20, 1950
July 1959: Upon becoming a U.S. citizen, Turkish-born Haroutioun A. Aprahamian changed his name to Haroutioun A. Abrahamian.
I know this got reported as weird news in the 1950s because it seemed like an odd twist on the phenomenon of immigrants Americanizing their names, but this guy probably just wanted to correct the spelling of his name which perhaps had been misspelled by an immigration official.
When my dad moved to the States from Germany in the 40s, our last name Böse got written as Boese, making it unpronounceable. My sister was smart enough to start spelling it as "Bose" from an early age (actually, whenever possible she insists it be spelled "Böse"), but I never did, so now I'm stuck with the unpronounceable spelling.
December 1953: A few days before Christmas it rained money in Maple Park, Illinois, after a money sack fell off a train, burst open, and the wind scattered the bills everywhere. $26,000 in all. The honest townsfolk picked up and returned all but $890 of the money.
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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