Category:
Books

The Boy Fancier

Published in 1912, the title of this book really hasn't aged well. Although even in 1912 I imagine the title could easily have been misconstrued.

Looking up the word 'fancier' in the dictionary, I found that it means: "a connoisseur or enthusiast of something, especially someone who has a special interest in or breeds a particular animal." I hadn't known that the word had this association with animal breeding.

Nature offered this review of the book:

FROM his professional training as a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the author of this well-illustrated volume is thoroughly qualified to give sound and trustworthy information with regard to the general care, feeding, and treatment in illness of animals kept as pets, or, like poultry and goats, reared for profit. And although the work before us is primarily intended for the benefit of young persons, it will be found equally valuable for those of more mature age, who, for purposes of pleasure or profit—or both combined—devote their attention to the keeping and rearing of dogs, cats, goats, guinea-pigs, rabbits, squirrels, poultry, pigeons, cage-birds, &c.

Posted By: Alex - Wed May 26, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Books, 1910s

Profit in Potato-Digging

Undated. I'm guessing it's late 19th Century. From OddBook.ca:

A small well-produced agricultural sales brochure for the Acme Potato Digging Attachment of the Potato Implement Co. of Traverse Mich.

Maybe I should give up this blogging gig and start digging potatoes!



Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 01, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Self-help Schemes, Books, Vegetables, Nineteenth Century

The Wicked Bible

An edition of the Bible printed in 1631 came to be known as the 'Wicked Bible' because it omitted one, important word — the word 'not' from the seventh commandment. This made the commandment read, 'Thou shalt commit adultery'. More details from The Guardian:

One thousand copies of the text, which also came to be known as the Adulterous or Sinners’ Bible, were printed, with the printing error only discovered a year later. When it was uncovered, the printers Robert Barker and Martin Lucas were summoned by order of Charles I to court, and found guilty. They were also fined £300, and their printing licence removed, with the entire print run of the offending text called in, and the majority destroyed.


There's still debate about whether the omission was accidental, purposeful, or sabotage.

Only ten copies of the Wicked Bible are known to exist today. The current going price for one is around $100,000.

More info: wikipedia

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 13, 2021 - Comments (10)
Category: Religion, Books, Seventeenth Century

Getaway

Getaway, by Ronald George Eriksen 2 (is the '2' an alternative form of Jr.?), offers instruction on evasive driving techniques. Or, as he says, how to handle a car in the event that someone tries to kill or kidnap you while you're in the car. It was published by Loompanics in 1983, but you can read it for free at archive.org.



In it, you'll find tips such as how to make a smoke screen blow out of your exhaust:

A cheap but effective smoke screen can be made as follows: First drill a hole into the exhaust manifold of your car, and weld the nozzle of a small plant sprayer over it. A gas line is then run from the nozzle to a pump and container containing castor oil inside the vehicle. Clouds of smoke are produced by pumping the castor oil onto the hot exhaust manifold.

Also, how to do a bootlegger's turn:

(1) Speed at around 25-30 mph.

(2) Get off the gas and crank the steering wheel to the left ¼ to ½ of a full turn. At the exact same time, hit the emergency brake hard. Those of you with manual transmissions will have to depress the clutch, also.

(3) When your vehicle is at approximately 90 degrees, release the emergency brake, step on the gas, and straighten out the steering wheel. If you have a manual transmission, you will have to let the clutch back out as you are hitting the gas.

(4) Get out of the area fast.


Bootlegger's Turn

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 24, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Motor Vehicles, Cars, Books

Avakoum Zahov, the Soviet James Bond

Avakoum Zahov was a fictional secret agent who featured in the novels of the Bulgarian writer Andrei Gulyashki. Zahov made his first appearance in the 1959 novel The Zakhov Mission. He returned in the 1966 novel Avakoum Zahov versus 07 — in which he battles and defeats a British agent known as '07'.

image source: pulp curry



There have been persistent rumors that Gulyashki created Zahov at the behest of the KGB in an attempt to produce a Soviet James Bond. Details from an article by Andrew Nette:

Journalist and popular historian Donald McCormick was the first to raise the idea that Gulyashki was involved in a propaganda scheme to create a proletarian Bond. In his 1977 book Who’s Who in Spy Fiction, McCormick lists the Bulgarian as a ‘novelist who responded to the KGB’s request for writers to glorify the deeds of Soviet espionage and to improve its own image in the early sixties. The object was to popularise secret agents of the Soviet Union as noble heroes who protected the fatherland and it was launched by Vladimir Semichastny, the newly appointed head of the KGB in 1961, when he contributed an article to Izvestia on this very subject.’

It is not clear where McCormick got his information, but others have since picked up the claim and run with it. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory states that Gulyashki ‘was invited by the KGB to refurbish the image of Soviet espionage which had been tarnished by the success of James Bond’. Likewise, Wesley Britton claims in Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film that, in 1966, the Bulgarian novelist was hired by the Soviet press to create a communist agent to stand against the British spy ‘because of Russian fears that 007 was in fact an effective propaganda tool for the West’.

"My name is Zahov, Avakoum Zahov" just doesn't have the same ring as "Bond, James Bond".

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 06, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Literature, Books, Spies and Intelligence Services, 1960s

Essay on Silence

Essay on Silence, authored by Fra Elbertus (pen name of Elbert Hubbard) was published by the Roycroft Press in 1905. It consisted of 40 blank pages, bound in leather with a spine printed in gilt. As such it belongs to the genre of empty books.

image source: Specific Object



Wikipedia notes that most empty books are published as political satires. For example, one of the earliest examples of the genre was The Political Achievements of the Earl of Dalkeith, consisting of 32 bound, blank pages. Hubbard's book seems to be the earliest, non-political example of the genre.

A 1905 first edition of the Essay on Silence will cost you $125. But there were various reprints published over the years, which are cheaper. Some of the reprints included a four-page, blank text insert titled, "The Essay on Silence Revised Edition with Corrections and Emendations to Date."

Incidentally, Elbert Hubbard is rumored to be the uncle of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology. At least, L. Ron Hubbard claimed this to be so. But Elbert Hubbard's followers disagree, arguing that "L. Ron Hubbard was known to elaborate on his background, and it is said he used the popularity of Elbert’s name to promote his own causes."

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 25, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Books, 1900s

Phone Calls From the Dead

As opposed to phone calls from telemarketers, who are more like the living dead.

"Scientific" parapsychologists D. Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless have recently discovered a startling fact: that dozens of people have had telephone calls from the dead. "The weight of evidence has convinced us that there are surviving spirits making attempts to contact living people" through the telephone, Bayless told the National Enquirer. Their new book, Phone Calls from the Dead, describes fifty such cases. Unfortunately, if the person receiving the call realizes that he is speaking to a spirit from the Beyond, the call is usually over within seconds, they say. Some postmortem calls arrive, appropriately enough, over dead telephone lines. Rogo believes that these calls occur when a spirit manipulates electrical impulses in the phone to reproduce the sound of its own voice. "We've stumbled on a whole new mothod of psychic communication!" says Rogo.
The Skeptical Inquirer - Summer 1979



Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 23, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Death, Paranormal, Books, 1970s

TLALAATALA

Jose Luis Castillejo (1930-2014) described himself as a "modern writer". In 1969 he self-published The Book of I's, which was a book that consisted entirely of the letter 'i', printed repeatedly on several hundred pages. He said that he wrote it to "end the torrent of words we call literature." It's read below by Fernando Millan. (He begins reading the book shortly after the 1-minute mark).



In 2001, Castillejo explored the letters T, L, and A, with his release of TLALAATALA. It's read again by Millan.



As you might guess, writing wasn't Castillejo's day job. He earned his living as a diplomat, serving as General Consul of Spain in Stuttgart, as well as Spanish ambassador to Nigeria and Benin.

More info about Castillejo: caac.es

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 11, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Literature, Books

Dog chews ‘How to train your dog’

While browsing old newspapers, I've come across multiple reports of a book titled How to Train Your Dog being returned to libraries, chewed.

These reports span thirty years, and specify different locations where this happened, but the stories are otherwise identical. So I figure that the chewed dog training book must be an urban legend of libraries.

Wausau Daily Herald - Feb 14, 1940



Indianapolis Star - May 24, 1951



Chattanooga Daily Times - Apr 25, 1955



Chambersburg Public Opinion - Mar 13, 1969



Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 01, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Books, Libraries, Myths and Fairytales, Dogs

Page 2 of 21 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›




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, 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.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  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 •