Category:
1990s

Chilly Bang! Bang! Squirt Gun

The brief, controversial product life of the Chilly Bang! Bang! juice-filled squirt gun. Kids put the gun barrel in their mouth and squeezed the trigger to enjoy a refreshing squirt of juice.

First sales were halted because the plastic tab at the end of the barrel was deemed a choking hazard. Then in 1991 it was banned outright. New York Senator Nicholas Spano noted, "The last thing we should teach our children is to put gun barrels in their mouths."



Democrat and Chronicle - Aug 30, 1989



Democrat and Chronicle - Sep 6, 1989



The Ithaca Journal - May 18, 1991

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 13, 2017 - Comments (8)
Category: Toys, 1990s

Helmet Law Suicide

In 1992 California began requiring that motorcycle riders wear a helmet. Despondent, Gerald Marotta, 48, put on his helmet and shot himself. He left behind a note, "Now I can't ever ride again."

Attorney Wendy Lascher, who had challenged the law, said, "from what I heard about his note, I think the law did have something to do with his death, in that [riding without a helmet] apparently was his only outlet."

Los Angeles Times - Jan 10, 1992

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 31, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Death, Suicide, 1990s

Jennifer Bornstein, collector

In 1994, Jennifer Bornstein appeared on a local LA cable access program that featured ordinary people and their collections. Bornstein showed off her collection of zip-lock bags, coffee bar merchandise, fast-food containers, potato chips, and breath mints. She had carefully framed and archived all of it.

It would have been funnier if it was a genuine collection, but I think it was actually intended as an artistic statement on how "any worthless mass-market products can be turned into coveted objects via absurd relations and vice versa" (according to Kadist.org). So she was essentially pranking the show.

Although she looks quite young in the pictures, Bornstein was at the time a 24-year-old grad student at UCLA. And she's still an LA-based artist.

More info (and image sources): Radcliffe, ingrum.org, Moscow Biennale, "Obsession, Compulsion, Collection."















Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 25, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Collectors, 1990s

How I Stole Elections



Marlin Hawkins served as an elected official in Conway County, Arkansas for 38 years — for most of that time as sheriff. He built up a legendary political machine, being able not only to win reelection for himself (19 times) but also to deliver votes for other candidates. He often boasted that he could accurately predict the outcome of every election in the county.

It was long suspected that he was rigging the elections, especially since absentee voters would always vote for him by a wide margin, but no one could ever prove anything.

After he retired in 1978, Hawkins eventually wrote his autobiography, which he brazenly titled How I Stole Elections (available on Amazon). He joked that he "stole" them by "treating my neighbors right."
But no, he stole them by ballot fraud.

His book came out in 1991. The year after, some people who were remodeling their house discovered a whole stash of marked ballots from a 1968 election hidden in their attic. The house had previously been owned by one of Hawkins' deputies.

Hawkins got away with it because the statute of limitations had expired in 1974. He died in 1995.

More info about him at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

Palm Beach Post - Jan 9, 1992

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 09, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Government, Politics, Books, 1990s

Timothy Leary:  While Birds Sing





Album info and track listing.

Let me know when you bail!

Posted By: Paul - Thu Mar 09, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Drugs, Psychedelic, Music, Surrealism, 1960s, 1970s, 1990s

The Monopoly Killer

July 1991: While preparing to play a game of Monopoly, Marc Cienkowski and Michael Klucznik got into a fight over who would use the car playing piece. Cienkowski insisted that since they were at his house, he got to be the car -- and not the hat or thimble. But Klucznik insisted that he was going to be the car, and continued to insist this even after Cienkowski hit him in the face. So Cienkowski fetched his bow and arrow and shot Klucznik through the heart. Cienkowski later pleaded guilty to criminal homicide.

Philadelphia Daily News - Feb 7, 1992
Click to enlarge


Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 08, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Crime, Games, 1990s

Who Gets the Beanie Babies?

November 1999: After filing for divorce, Frances and Harold Mountain proved unable to agree on how to split up their Beanie Baby collection. So Family Court Judge Gerald Hardcastle instructed them to bring the entire collection into the courtroom, spread them out on the floor, and pick one each until they were gone.

The judge remarked, "This isn't about toys. It's about control. Because you folks can't solve it, it takes the services of a District Court judge, a bailiff and a court reporter."

Frances Mountain said, "I don't agree with the judge's decision to do this. It's ridiculous and embarrassing." Nevertheless, she got down on her hands and knees and started picking out Beanie Babies.



Santa Cruz Sentinel - Nov 6, 1999

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 19, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Divorce, Collectors, 1990s

Chicken Liver Vandal

1997: The crime of choice of 46-year-old Janet Manning of Brooklyn Park, Maryland was dumping raw chicken livers into mailboxes and bookdrops. Usually on a weekend so they would be discovered on a Monday.

Her motive for doing this was never very clear. After apprehending her, thanks to security-camera footage, the police captain said, "There's no clear-cut rhyme or reason for her to be doing what she was doing to these organizations." He added, "She wouldn't tell us why chicken livers."

But it was evidently some kind of act of revenge, in response to perceived offenses. Library officials recalled that she once had a minor argument with them a year before involving her request to have a printout of all the books she had returned, which the library staff told her their computers weren't set up to do. So they offered to write out the list by hand. That, apparently, was enough to trigger her.

On account of her otherwise clean criminal record, she was fined $1000 and placed on a year's probation.

The Annapolis Capital - May 27, 1998

Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 11, 2016 - Comments (1)
Category: Crime, Destruction, 1990s

Homes for the deaf

Nov 1994: During a staff meeting, Toledo mayor Carty Finkbeiner offered a creative solution to the problem of homeowners bothered by airport noise. They should just sell their houses to deaf people. A few days later he offered a tearful apology, insisting that he had simply said it was "an interesting idea."

The reality, of course, is that they sell to people willing to live with noise in exchange for getting a cheap house. I know that 'cause it's the trade-off I accepted when I bought my house (road noise, not airport noise).

Detroit Free Press - Nov 5, 1994

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 23, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Real Estate, 1990s

Page 1 of 8 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›
Custom Search




Get WU Posts by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner



weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
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.

Chuck Shepherd
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.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •