Category:
Animals

Sgt. Reckless

With thanks to reader Sherry Mowbray.



The Wikipedia page.

Staff Sergeant Reckless (c. 1948 – May 13, 1968), a decorated war horse who held official rank in the United States military,[2] was a mare of Mongolian horse breeding. Out of a race horse dam, she was purchased in October 1952 for $250 from a Korean stableboy at the Seoul racetrack who needed money to buy an artificial leg for his sister.[3] Reckless was bought by members of the United States Marine Corps and trained to be a pack horse for the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, Anti-Tank Company, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.[2] She quickly became part of the unit and was allowed to roam freely through camp, entering the Marines' tents, where she would sleep on cold nights, and was known for her willingness to eat nearly anything, including scrambled eggs, beer, Coca-Cola and, once, about $30 worth of poker chips.

She served in numerous combat actions during the Korean War, carrying supplies and ammunition, and was also used to evacuate wounded. Learning each supply route after only a couple of trips, she often traveled to deliver supplies to the troops on her own, without benefit of a handler. The highlight of her nine-month military career came in late March 1953 during the Battle for Outpost Vegas when, in a single day, she made 51 solo trips to resupply multiple front line units. She was wounded in combat twice and was given the battlefield rank of corporal in 1953 and then a battlefield promotion to sergeant in 1954, several months after the war ended. She also became the first horse in the Marine Corps known to have participated in an amphibious landing, and following the war was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, inclusion in her unit's Presidential Unit Citations from two countries, and other military honors.


The home page.



Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 26, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Animals, War, Reader Recommendation, Twentieth Century, Courage, Bravery, Heroism and Valor

Dougal and the Blue Cat

Everything was extra trippy in the 1970s.


The Wikipedia page.








Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 18, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Fey, Twee, Whimsical, Naive and Sadsack, Music, Fantasy, Stop-motion Animation, Psychedelic, 1970s

Hen Hop

Hen Hop, Norman McLaren,



We've featured the work of Norman McLaren before on WU, but never this one, I think.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 06, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Animals, Cartoons, 1940s, Dance

The Pressed Frog Phenomenon

I found the image below at the Texas History site of the University of North Texas. It appears there as is, without any further explanation (or date).



I realize that the indentations on top of bricks are called 'frogs', but why were actual frogs being placed inside bricks?

As far as I can tell, it must have been an experimental demonstration of the 'pressed frog phenomenon' — this phenomenon being that one can place a living frog inside a brick as its being made, apply thousands of pounds of pressure to the brick to mold it, and the frog will survive. The frog won't be happy about the experience, but it won't burst. Whereas the same pressure applied to a frog that isn't in a brick will definitely cause it to burst.

Obviously the brick hasn't been heated in a kiln, because that would definitely cook the frog.

The article below from 1925 explains the science of why a frog in a brick doesn't burst. The key part of the (overly long) explanation is this sentence:

when the pressure was exerted gradually there was a tendency for the particles of clay around the body to "wall up" the body by the grains of clay moving instead of a tendency of the body "bursting" by the particles of the body moving.

However, this doesn't solve the mystery of who first decided to put a frog in a brick.



Clarion Ledger Sun - Aug 16, 1925

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 23, 2022 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Science, Experiments, 1920s

Charles Davis, collector of elephant hairs

Charles Davis collected elephant hairs — in particular the long hairs that grow from their tails. By the time he was 83, in 1962, he had hairs from 357 different elephants.

Cincinnati Enquirer - June 14, 1959



Details from a syndicated article by Ramon J. Geremia (Weirton Daily Times - Mar 24, 1962)

Davis, 83, who uses the title "Elephant Biographer," lives alone in a six-room house surrounded by mementoes of circuses and of elephants he has known, loved and pulled hair from. There are statues of elephants, elephant-shaped lamps, pieces of ivory, elephant bull hooks, even a tooth garnered in 1933 from an elephant named "Vera."...

But the elephant hairs make up the bulk of the collection of elephantiana. The longest one is 13 inches, the shortest, plucked from a 200 pound baby elephant, is one and one-half inches long. They include colors ranging from black to white with a few red chin whiskers.

Most of them were plucked from elephant tails — some were cut from the more belligerent behemoths. Every zoo in the nation is represented, except the Bronx Zoo in New York...

Davis started his unusual hobby as an elephantphile in 1928. He asked a circus elephant trainer to suggest something he could collect from or about elephants and the trainer suggested hair. Davis, a retired optometrist, says his collection "took my mind off business."

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 20, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Animals, Collectors, Hair and Hairstyling

Canary Sing-along





Pet birds making their traditional sonic calls while classical music plays.

This little player starts at track one and goes through the whole album. But if you'd like to skip right to your favorite, go here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed May 18, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Music, 1960s

Whistle-Trained Horses

Odd fact: Race-horse trainers teach the horses to urinate when they hear a whistle, in order to make the process of post-race urinalysis easier.

Source: Equitation Science, 2nd ed.



Source: The Blue Collar Thoroughbred

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 07, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Animals, Body Fluids

Tank Pigeons

Tanks were first used in combat during World War I, but they often relied on a very old-fashioned form of communication: pigeons.

From military-history.org:

Where cumbersome, insecure, and unreliable wireless sets, along with telephones, signal lights, and flares failed, pigeons succeeded. When human runners could not pass through walls of barrage fire, pigeons rose above the explosions and the gas and flew swiftly to their lofts, bearing dispatches in tiny cylinders attached to their legs.

A pigeon about to be thrown from a tank during World War I

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 01, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Military, War, 1910s

Cutting a sheep in half with one stroke

Swordsmanship shows often used to include demonstrations of the ability to cut a dead sheep in half with one stroke.

I've never been to a swordsmanship show, but I'm guessing that this particular display of ability is no longer a standard routine.

I'm also guessing that it must be pretty hard to do.

Birmingham Gazette - Apr 16, 1920



Ithaca Journal - Sep 23, 1922

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 06, 2022 - Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Weapons

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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.

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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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