Straight out of the 70s. Hear Muffs were the invention of Stephen Hanson of Downers Grove, Illinois. They were headphones encased in a wraparound foam pillow, that came with a washable velour cover.
Hanson started selling them in 1972, but by around 1977 the product seems to have been discontinued. Perhaps because you'd only want to wear them in bed. And even then, it was probably difficult to lie on your side while wearing them.
In 1974, German artist Joseph Beuys arrived in America for the first time. Upon landing at the airport, he was transported by ambulance directly to the Rene Block Gallery in New York City. He emerged from the ambulance wrapped in a grey felt blanket and was then placed in a room with a wild coyote where he spent the next three days.
According to kidsofdada.com: "The coyote’s behavior changed throughout the three days, becoming sometimes cautious, detached, aggressive and then friendly." Also, at one point, "Fifty new copies of the Wall Street Journal were added to the closed space, which the coyote acknowledged by urinating on them."
After the three days were up, Beuys was again wrapped in the felt blanket and was returned to the airport.
Beuys called this performance art piece "I like America and America likes me."
In 1632 Rembrandt painted a portrait of Jacob de Gheyn III, an engraver living in Utrecht. The portrait is quite small, measuring approximately 12 by 10 inches. As a result, it's relatively easy to steal and has earned the nickname "The Takeaway Rembrandt" because of the number of times it's been swiped.
The painting has been given the moniker "takeaway Rembrandt" as it has been stolen four times since 1966 – the most recorded of any painting.
Between 14 August 1981 and 3 September 1981 the painting was taken from Dulwich Picture Gallery and retrieved when police arrested four men in a taxi who had the painting with them. A little under two years later a burglar smashed a skylight and descended through it into the art gallery, using a crowbar to remove the painting from the wall. The police arrived within three minutes but were too late to apprehend the thief. The painting was missing for three years, eventually being found on 8 October 1986 in a luggage rack at the train station of a British army garrison in Münster, Germany.
The other two times, the painting was found once underneath a bench in a graveyard in Streatham, and once on the back of a bicycle. Each time the painting has been returned anonymously with more than one person being charged for its disappearance.
Her stage name was Wendy Brown, but she was better known as the "Naked Anthropologist." She was a young woman who, circa 1970, decided to write her master's thesis in anthropology about the culture of nude dancing — and so, for the sake of research, she got a job as a dancer at a "bottomless" club off Sunset Strip in LA. The field research also helped pay for her education.
She was arrested once for indecent exposure and lewd conduct, but managed to use her academic credentials to serve as an expert witness at her own trial, testifying that in a survey of 5000 Californians, most didn't consider nude dancing obscene. She was acquitted.
As far as I know, she never revealed her real name. Nor did she reveal where she was attending university, only saying that it was somewhere in Northern California (even though her dancing job was in LA).
Life magazine sent a photographer out to take pictures of her, although I don't think they ended up doing a story about her. At least, I can't find anything in the Life magazine archive. But you can view all the photos at the Google Cultural Institute — all 247 of them.
In 1976, as part of America's bicentennial celebrations, the residents of Lake City, Pennsylvania raised $6000 to build a UFO Landing Port. They thought it was the first such landing port in the world, though it wasn't. Explained Jim Meeder, the businessman who organized the effort, "We said to ourselves, 'Let's not look backward 200 years. Let's look forward 200 years.' Everybody else was restoring railroad depots and things like that. We wanted to do something different."
The landing port consisted of "a grass-covered mound five feet high and 100 feet in diameter, bordered by red and blue lights." A representative from the Tucson, Arizona Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization checked it out and said approvingly that he was relieved it wasn't "a schlock thing."
Twelve years later a reporter from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune checked back and found that the landing port hadn't been visited by a UFO yet, but the town was using it as a helicopter landing pad for lake rescues. I haven't been able to figure out if the landing site is still there. I can't find anything on google maps.
Update: I used the contact form on the Lake City website to ask if they've still got the UFO port. Almost immediately got a reply back that yes, it's still there!
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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.
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