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!
The 1978-79 Michigan Highway map included some creative geography. If you looked at the part of the map that depicted neighboring Ohio, you found two new towns. There was Goblu, shown just east of Toledo near Bono, and Beatosu, shown to the west near Elmira. These names sounded a lot like the cries of University of Michigan football fans against rival Ohio State University.
They were included in the map at the order of Peter Fletcher, the highway commission chairman, who said he included the names to demonstrate his "loyalty to the Athens of the West, the University of Michigan." The fictitious towns were deleted from the next edition of the map. The map with the towns is now a collector's item. One is currently available for $32.55 on eBay.
February 1978: A dolphin named Dr. Spock who lived at Marine-World swallowed a 3-inch bolt. The animal doctors there didn't have any instruments long enough to reach into the dolphin's stomach and remove the bolt. So, hoping to avoid surgery, they called up basketball player Clifford Ray of the Golden State Warriors and asked him if he would be willing to use one of his four-foot long arms to reach into Dr. Spock's stomach. Ray hurried over, removed the bolt, and saved Dr. Spock's life. Ray said that Dr. Spock later always recognized him when he visited Marine World and would come over to say hello.
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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.
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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