Category:
Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations

Extra Milers

The Extra Miler Club is a group of people whose goal is to visit every county (and equivalent jurisdiction) in every state of the United States. That's 3,143 counties. Indian reservations don't count, although some visit them anyway. Parishes do count, as do independent cities.

If you finish the goal, you're called a "county completer." Only 51 people have joined this elite group, and they're all listed here.

More info: boston.com

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 09, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Hobbies and DIY, Travel, Collectors

Jim Smith Society

Jim Smith of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania founded the Jim Smith Society in 1969. There's only one rule for membership. Your name has to be Jim Smith, or some close variation of it. For instance, Jamie Smith counts, which means there's a few female members.

Smith said that he started the society as a way to show pride in having the second-most common name in the United States. The first-most common name is apparently John Smith.

I don't know if the original Jim Smith is still around. He'd be around 95 years old if he is. But the society is still going strong with over 2000 members. Its Facebook page is pretty active. Though its website hasn't been updated in over a year.

I wonder how many other names have their own society? I'd definitely join an Alex Boese Society if there was one. I know there are a few other people with my name out there, such as here, here, here, and here.

More info: NY Times (July 22, 1979)



Fort Myers News-Press - Oct 5, 1980

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 23, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations

What is the New York Center For The Strange?

WUvians, perhaps you can help me solve a mystery which has been perplexing me for the past few days — what is the "New York Center For The Strange"?

Here's the info I've gathered so far:

In 1972, an organization by this name began an annual tradition of issuing predictions for the following year. It claimed to have obtained these predictions by conducting a survey of American witches.

Year after year, around Halloween, these predictions have appeared in papers. (For instance: 1977, 1979, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990.)

Sometimes the predictions sounded serious, such as when, in November 1974, the NYCFTS predicted that "Henry Kissinger will resign as secretary of state before next July" (wrong!). But more often the predictions were just bizarre and seemingly tongue-in-cheek. For instance, in 1974 the witches also predicted "a nationwide shortage of Scotch whiskey, shoe polish and lighter fluid." And in 1978 they predicted "a nationwide shortage of Beluga caviar, earmuffs, bagels and automobile dipsticks."

Throughout the 1980s and 90s the witches' predictions continued to appear in papers. In the 21st Century they become harder to find, but as recently as 2013 the NYCFTS issued predictions, though I can't find any predictions issued in 2014 or 2015.

In all this time, no one seems to have questioned what exactly is this organization. Is it real, or is it someone's long-running joke? Is there really a "Center For The Strange" with offices in New York City?

Various NYCFTS spokespeople have told reporters that the organization's mission is to help correct "the widely-held image of witches as evil, gnarled hags who fly across rooftops astride brooms." This makes it sound like it might actually be a genuine society of witches.

But on the other hand, the NYCFTS officially describes itself as "a non-profit organization involved, basically, in research." This, to me, sounds like a joke.

In 2013, someone created a website for the organization, at www.nycenterforthestrange.org. But they only kept it active for a year. (It's preserved in the wayback machine.)

On this website, an address was listed: 555 Fifth Avenue, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10017. Currently, this address seems to be occupied by one Himanshu Rajan Sharma, Corporate Lawyer.

I strongly suspect that the syndicated humor columnist Don Maclean was somehow involved in the NYCFTS, since in the early 1970s he wrote about it frequently (such as here and here). He even claimed to have visited its headquarters and knew its officers. Perhaps the organization was his satirical creation and he issued press releases every year on its behalf, to amuse himself.

However, Maclean died in 2005, so obviously someone else has been keeping the joke alive — if it is, in fact, a joke.

And that's all I know about the New York Center For The Strange. I'm hoping someone out there might have more info about it.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 02, 2015 - Comments (8)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations

Mystery Illustration 10

image

This Scout is signalling for what now?

Visit link, then scroll down.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 24, 2015 - Comments (10)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Signage, 1980s

British Snail-Watching Society

The British Snail-Watching Society was founded in 1945 by Peter Henniker Heaton. It was an organization "dedicated to the theory that man, harassed by the mounting tempo of modern life, has something to learn from contemplating the snail."

The snail watchers spent much of their time watching snail races, but they also tried to promote interest in snails and were enthusiastic supporters of conchophilately (the collection of pieces of mail damaged by snails that had invaded mailboxes).

Life magazine ran a feature about the society in its Dec 2, 1946 issue.


Image via Google Cultural Institute



Snail-damaged letter

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 19, 2015 - Comments (8)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations

The Fred Society

The FRED Society was founded in 1984, and still appears to be going strong. It's a kind of support group for people (mostly men) named Fred, designed to address the negative connotations associated with the name. That is, when people hear the name Fred, they tend to think of characters such as Fred Mertz (the bumbling neighbor on 'I Love Lucy') or Fred Flintstone. The Fred Society would like us to think of Fred Astaire instead.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 29, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Odd Names

G. G.‘s Barnum Room

image

Every hepcat knows the name of the Peppermint Lounge, famed in 1960s lore. But not as many folks recall that the same space was transformed in the 1970s into the Barnum Room, the only club with transvestite trapeze artists above the dancers.

Read a period essay about the club here.

See fantabulous fotos here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 11, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Public Indecency, 1970s, Gender-bending

The Bald-Headed Men of America

Apparently there have been several instances of the formation of clubs to serve as fraternal organizations for bald men.

The New York Times has this 1896 report.

image

Then comes this account in 1920, also from The New York Times.

image

Then comes this report from 1954.

image
image
image

But sometime after that, the original group must have gone under, because in 1972, John T. Capps, III founded the Bald Headed Men of America. They were profiled in a PBS documentary from 1989, as partially shown below.



Apparently, they are still going strong.



Posted By: Paul - Sat Mar 01, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, 1920s, 1950s, 1970s, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Hair and Hairstyling

The Tailbone Patrol

image

Unfortunately, the mutability of the English language has not been kind to James W. English's stories of Scouting known as The Tailbone Patrol. In 2013, the title sounds like one of those how-to-pick-up-women books, or a "Girls Gone Wild" episode.

If you want a copy to peruse, they start at $200.00.

Or you can read one of the stories about the "Tailboners" here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 09, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Innuendo, Double Entendres, Symbolism, Nudge-Nudge-Wink-Wink and Subliminal Messages, Books, 1950s, 1960s

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 



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.

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

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
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 •