November 1911:Paul and Laura Lafargue were found dead in their home in Draveil, just outside of Paris. They had committed suicide by injecting poison. Laura was the daughter of Karl Marx. She was 66, and Paul was 69.
It turned out that their suicide was the result of a ten-year plan. Or, at least, that's the story that circulated around. Ten years before, they had decided that they could either live ten years very well, or longer with more financial uncertainty. They opted for Plan A. So they mortgaged the house and divided up all they had into 10 equal parts and spent one part each year. When they had nothing left, they both took poison and checked out.
Over at About.com I posted an article about H.R. 23261 — a bill introduced in Congress in 1910 by a representative from Louisiana. It would have created a hippo meat industry in America by transporting hundreds of hippos from Africa to the marshes along the Gulf Coast. Obviously never got passed, though it had a lot of supporters. One of those things that make you think about what might have been...
When George Albert Wyld of Australia died on January 23, 1911, his will instructed that his estate should be left to his children, but when they had all died it should then be applied to:
"the maintenance of a maternity home to be known as the Wyld Home, and to be available to the extent of its means to young women who have erred for the first time, but under no circumstances for the second occasion."
Wyld's children all passed away by 1949, at which time the executors of his estate applied the remaining money to an "institution superintended by Miss Cocks" adjoining the Methodist Home for Girls at Brighton.
Wyld had five children, but had never married any of their mothers. This probably had something to do with his unusual bequest.
1913: Charles Gilbert, imprisoned for 48 years for the murder of a bounty officer, was so determined to prove his innocence that he requested that his brain be examined after his death — believing that "the investigation would corroborate his claim of innocence by revealing that such a brain as his could not have conceived or exercised the Caldwell murder."
Scientists at Yale Medical School complied with his wish and examined his brain. However, I've not yet been able to find any report of their findings.
Sources: Leavenworth Times (Oct 18, 1913); Lincoln Star (Oct 14, 1913)
The idea that we'd all be healthier if we lived and ate like the cave man did has been around a long time. It long predates the current "paleo diet" trend.
For instance, back in 1916, the makers of Nujol wanted everyone to believe that if you pooped a lot, like the cave man did, you'd be a model of health. Nujol was basically raw petroleum, which is why it was sold by the Standard Oil company. It's name meant "New Oil." Read more of Nujol's history here.
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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