Category:
1980s

Inmate Escape Pod

1980: Fred Caddedu escaped from Millhaven penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario by concealing himself inside an "escape pod" made out of a hollowed-out stack of dirty food trays.

The food trays were loaded onto a truck and taken to the unguarded, off-site kitchen to be cleaned. Once there, Caddedu just walked away. He was caught and returned to prison several months later.

His escape pod later became an exhibit in the Correctional Service of Canada Museum.

Image source: Museopathy



The Ottawa Journal - July 14, 1980

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 26, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Prisons, 1980s

Eddie Harris:  That Is Why You’re Overweight



Although the tune is fine, the lyrics are the thing here, and they start around 2:20.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Feb 25, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Addictions, Food, Music, 1980s

Bathrooms walls as teaching tool

1980: At the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Alan Grogono reported on the results of an experiment to determine the efficacy of bathrooms walls as a teaching tool.

While teaching a class on CPR, he placed educational posters about CPR in the bathroom of one college dormitory, while placing no posters in the bathroom of another. Students housed in the dormitory with the bathroom posters subsequently scored significantly better on the CPR exam than those in the no-poster dormitory. In fact, students in the bathroom-poster dormitory who hadn't even taken the class scored as well as students in the no-poster dorm who had taken the class.

Grogono concluded that bathroom posters could be a useful supplement to CPR training. He also credited his "fascination with restroom communication" to his student days at London Hospital Medical College.

Philadelphia Inquirer - Nov 27, 1980



Chemical & Engineering News - Oct 27, 1980

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 24, 2017 - Comments (8)
Category: Bathrooms, Education, 1980s

St. Pancake Day

The Dutch cartoonist Jan Kruis, recently deceased, was responsible for proclaiming November 29th of every year to be the "Sint Pannekoek-feest," and getting the whole country to play along. The main tradition is to wear a pancake on your head.



Posted By: Paul - Sat Jan 21, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, Food, Comics, Performance Art, Foreign Customs, 1980s, Europe

Goat coughs up diamond ring

And the only thing my cat coughs up is hairballs...

The White Plains Journal News - June 9, 1984


There's a few more details about the diamond-coughing goat here.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 01, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Jewelry, 1980s

Compu-Chick

A mid-1980s alternative to Compuserve.



It was actually an interactive exhibit at the I.Q. Zoo, the famous animal training facility and tourist attraction in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Founded in 1955 by Marian and Keller Breland (students of the psychologist B.F. Skinner), it stayed open until 1990.

Apparently you typed in questions, and the chicken would type a response. From the "official online home of the IQ-Zoo":

Developed in the 1980s, when smaller computers were becoming popular, Compu-Chick "appeared" to answer questions typed by the visitor. A small keyboard in front of the chicken, containing small lights that were invisible to the visitor, "cued" the chicken as to which letters on the keyboard to type.


I'm not sure, but maybe Google's "PigeonRank" technology, which the company revealed on April 1, 2002 to be the secret behind their search results, could have been inspired by Compu-Chick.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Oct 29, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, 1980s

Watered her lawn non-stop

1984 - Richmond, California: After 71-year-old Alice Richie's husband died, she began watering her lawn. And she didn't stop. She kept the sprinklers on 24 hours a day, for over a year. Rain or shine. Using over 20,000 gallons of water a day.

Her yard turned into a swamp, breeding mosquitoes. The runoff poured over onto her neighbor's properties, damaging the foundations of their homes and causing algae to grow on driveways. The city had to put up caution signs on the sidewalk in front of her home.

Richie ignored pleas to turn off the water. When asked why she was watering so much, she replied, "It's none of your goddamn business." People speculated that she believed she was washing away evil spirits.

However, she paid all her utility bills on time, so the water company couldn't simply cut her off. Finally, her neighbors took her to court.

Even in court she wouldn't explain why she watered so much. But the court ordered a flow restrictor put on her waterline, limiting her to 500 gallons a day (which still sounds like a lot for a single person). This finally put an end to the non-stop watering, after a year-and-a-half. A utility spokesman said, "She'll have just enough water to do her laundry, dishes and bathe. But she'll have to make some sacrifices if she decides to water her lawn."

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any photos of Richie's front yard, or of Richie herself. Nor, to my knowledge, was her mania for watering ever explained.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - May 17, 1984



The New London Day - June 10, 1984

Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 21, 2016 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, 1980s

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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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