Weird Universe


Hoped brain would prove his innocence

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)

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Jan 02, 2016 | Comments (1)
Category: Crime, 1910's, Brain

Murdered by Human Wolves

In Oklahoma's Konawa Memorial Cemetery stands the gravestone of Katherine Cross (Mar. 13, 1899 - Oct. 10, 1917), which bears the mysterious epitaph, "Murdered by human wolves."

Image source: Find A Grave

This has generated all sorts of local legends, and it's also inspired a novella by Steven Wedel, Murdered by Human Wolves (The Werewolf Saga).

The most likely explanation is that she died as a result of a botched abortion operation, and that the mysterious phrase was meant to be metaphorical. But still, cool epitaph!

More info: wikipedia, 405 magazine
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Dec 26, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Death, 1910's

Buchstein’s Vulcanized Fiber Limb

It's "soothing to your stump."

Popular Mechanics - Dec 1917

via Bifurcated Rivets
Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Dec 24, 2015 | Comments (9)
Category: Advertising, 1910's

Paleo Diet of 1916

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.

Source: Oregon Daily Journal - Sep 21, 1916

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Dec 12, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Medicine, 1910's

Parachute Hat


Original article here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Dec 07, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Technology, Air Travel and Airlines, 1910's

Captain Tick-Mouse



Original images here.

I am not sure having a rat-like figure as your patriotic icon is the best choice of imagery.

Here is a little background on the character, from this source.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Dec 01, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Politics, Propaganda, Thought Control and Brainwashing, War, 1910's

George Graham Rice

A new book about a legendary con man seems like an intriguing read for all WU-vies. Maybe one for your Xmas wish list.

You can learn quickly about this rascal at the Scripophily page where you can buy an actual stock certificate signed by the scammer, as seen below.


George Graham Rice, a famous stock promoter, capitalized the stocks of Goldfield, Greenwater and Rawhide mines, listed them on the national exchanges, and reaped the profits until convicted of mail fraud in 1911. In 1907 when investors nation-wide were delirious over the stupendous rise in the market value of securities of Goldfield mining companies, the public clamored for opportunities to buy into Nevada mining stocks. With childlike faith they invested in Death Valley's Greenwater and also the Rawhide district, where several companies capitalized stocks, listed them on the national exchanges and had them underwritten by prominent brokerage houses. In Rice's own words: "I make a conservative statement when I say that the American public sank $30 million in Greenwater in less than four months . . . yet the suckers, . . were crying for more."

You can read his original 1913 memoir here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu Oct 15, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Crime, Frauds, Cons and Scams, 1900's, 1910's

John Duval Gluck:  Santa Claus Con Man


The story of this Xmas scammer--as summarized in this article--strikes me as eminently weird, and is detailed at length in the book linked to below. I trust an author whose other publication is the "Weird-o-Pedia."

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Oct 04, 2015 | Comments (1)
Category: Holidays, Scams, Cons, Rip-offs, and General Larceny, Books, 1910's

How the Bank Sneak Works


After a lifetime of crime, Harry Schindler was thoughtful enough to divulge all his tricks for the edification of bankers and other monied types.

Read the whole thing here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Jul 07, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Crime, Books, 1910's

Cornelis Van Blaaderen and his Floating Safe


After the Titanic, inventors tried to think of ways to preserve items during a sinking. Dutch inventor Cornelis Van Blaaderen came up with his Floating Safe, which never quite caught on.

This site has a brief explanation in English.

This website has the full story, but all in Dutch. Google translate should help. But even if you don't bother, there are great pictures and a film!

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sat Jun 20, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Disasters, Inventions, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1910's, Europe
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.