The Leaping Lawyer of Toronto

Lawyer Garry Hoy worked on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower. Hi’s favorite trick, during office parties, was to demonstrate how the building's glass windows were unbreakable. He did this by hurling himself at them. But when he performed his trick in July 1993, the window unexpectedly broke, sending him plummeting to his death.

Based on notoriety alone, I’d say this has to qualify as one of the top 25 weird news stories of all time. Wikipedia notes that it’s been featured on a number of television shows (such as Mythbusters), and was also re-enacted in the 2006 movie The Darwin Awards.

More info: wikipedia, snopes

The Ottawa Citizen - July 12, 1993

National Post - July 13, 1993

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 26, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Death, 1990s

The Cremain Comic Book

We've posted before about how, when Frisbee-inventor Ed Headrick died in 2002, his ashes were incorporated into special-edition frisbees that were sold for $200.

Along similar lines, when comic book writer Mark Gruenwald died in 1996, some of his cremains were mixed into the printer's ink for the trade paperback compilation of his Squadron Supreme graphic novel. As explained by his widow:

The whole ash thing was a complete fluke when we wrote up our wills in 1992; he put in a direction to have me cremate him and put his ashes into a comic book. Yeah, yeah…that will never happen, I thought to myself. Little did I know, four years later I’d be doing just that. And Marvel cooperated and we did it! I drove up to the plant in Connecticut and stirred the ashes into the ink that was used for Squadron Supreme, his best-selling graphic novel. That all happened between 1996-97.

If you're interested, You can buy a copy of the cremain edition on eBay for $199.99.

I wonder how many other mass-produced items have contained someone's cremains?

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 21, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Death, Comics, 1990s

Smell Like Pavarotti

Paul's post yesterday, in which he suggested the idea of fine-art fragrances that would allow people to smell like their favorite artist, reminded me that back in 1995 a Pavarotti perfume did come to market, allowing the wearer to smell like the famous tenor.

Vancouver Sun - Dec 9, 1995

Los Angeles Times - Apr 20, 1995

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 14, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Perfume and Other Scents, 1990s

Roadkill Psychic

In the late 1990s, psychic Terrie Brill of Elk Grove, California made headlines by claiming that roadkill could be used to predict the future. Specifically:

Running over a cat is a sign you're about to have a spiritual crisis.

Running over a deer means you're about to hurt someone you love.

Crushing a crow with your car means you're not prepared for the future.

Rolling over a snake could mean you're about to have a heart attack or other serious accident.

If you run over a dog, expect your friendships to take a turn for the worse.

If a bee collides with your windshield, you need to make more time for yourself.

... mashed mosquitos have no effect whatsoever on your future.

Brill died in 2001, but her son maintains a Facebook page about her, promoting her posthumously published book The I-Factor. Unfortunately, the Facebook page doesn't seem to contain anything about the roadkill predictions.

Terrie Brill

Edmonton Journal - Sep 8, 1998

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jun 16, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Death, Predictions, 1990s

The Rewards of Heroism

If there were a Cheapskate's Hall of Fame, the Chicago Board of Education would surely have to be in it. In 1994, after gym teacher Clarence Notree heroically saved a group of children from a gunman who had entered the school gym by shielding them with his body, the Board of Education informed him that he wasn't entitled to Workers Compensation for his injuries because saving children wasn't technically part of his job.

After a protracted legal battle, he did finally get a settlement of $13,447.

More info: NY Times

Opelousas Daily World - Sep 30, 1994

Franklin Daily Journal - Sep 30, 1994

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 14, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, Lawsuits, 1990s

World record for most severed hands reattached in one week

As far as I can tell, their claim to this record remains unchallenged.

Palm Beach Post - Nov 1, 1997

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 26, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: World Records, Surgery, 1990s

Bad-Breath Evaluator

Not as bad a job as being a gasmask tester. But still, pretty bad.

The patient sits behind a privacy screen and exhales into a tube. The breath evaluator sniffs the breath coming from the tube and assesses it.

San Francisco Examiner - Oct 21, 1997

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 21, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, 1990s

Man sues God

Donald Drusky, of McKeesport, Pa. (which happens to be my mother’s hometown) specifically wanted God “to grant him the guitar-playing skills of famous guitarists, along with resurrecting his mother and his pet pigeon.”

Suing God, and perhaps even winning, would seem to be the easy part. Collecting payment is what’s hard.

Asbury Park Press - Mar 16, 1999

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 18, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Religion, Lawsuits, 1990s

Janet Downes, Sologamy Pioneer

We’ve posted before about sologamy, which is the term for marrying yourself. Back in 2017, we described it as a growing trend. But apparently the woman who gets credit for pioneering this practice was Janet Downes of Nebraska who, on June 27, 1998, married herself. She recited her vows in front of a mirror.

Downes died in 2007. But in a post over at, she recollected about her self-wedding and explained how it came to be:

In 1998 I was about to celebrate my 40th birthday. I had a wedding theme planned for my party and everyone thought I was nuts. Maybe I am a little but I got tired of seeing everything in the stores that was related to ‘40’ being in black. So I decided to poke a little fun at society because I didn’t feel old. That coupled with the fact that after 19 years of adulthood, I was finally at a place in my life where I was happy with almost every aspect of my life. I’d been married & divorce twice at that time, yet I no longer needed a man to ‘fulfill’ me. I had 3 beautiful children (Nicole, Jasmine & Eugene Jr.) and for the first time, was satisfied with my body. You know what I mean ladies? We always seem to feel that our breasts are too small or too big. Always complaining that something is wrong with our hips, butt or legs. We can always find something wrong with ourselves when we look in the mirror. One day I woke up & decided, I was happy with who I was, just the way I was. So that led me to, marrying myself. I didn’t know it at the time but that little stunt got me international fame. It seems that I was the first woman to think of it and actually carry it out. It was a beautiful wedding and I am happy with myself, even now.

Calgary Herald - June 18, 1998

Posted By: Alex - Wed May 08, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Marriage, 1990s, Weddings

Art Disposal Service, #2

A few months ago I posted about an art disposal service created in the 1960s by artist John Manno. Turns out that art disposal services are a recurring theme in the art world, because another one was created in the 1990s by Thomas O’Day who (evidently unaware of the earlier one) billed it as the world’s first.

Some details from the LA Times (Feb 3, 1995):

When asked by a college art gallery in Spokane to do an exhibit, O’Day instead suggested that he bury some of his artwork near the gallery with the plan to dig it up 20 years later.
“I didn’t want to show the work,” he said. “The idea of burying it allowed the work to still be around and go through a process. The first law of conservation is: ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’”
That burial would eventually lead O’Day to establish the “Waste to Energy to Waste Project: The World’s First Art Disposal Service.” Any artist wishing to dispose of art can employ his service, which uses a variety of means, including burial and explosives, to eradicate the work or transform it into another form.”

More details (including a video) at O'Day's site.

Some of his other artistic endeavors similarly involved the destruction of art, such as Flambé, “a 1990 performance in which, while a waiter flambéd a stew for a formal dinner party, O’Day flambéd one of his drawings.” And ik-splod, “1992, staged at a private airstrip in Ione, Wash. O’Day commissioned an explosives expert to blow up 50 of his pieces, dating from 1979 to 1992.”

Seems to me that O'Day can be categorized as part of the Destructivist Art Movement.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 24, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, 1990s

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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, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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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