It seems like 2016 was a year marked by an unusually high number of celebrity deaths. And among those who passed away was Perky, the duck who wouldn't die, who did, in fact, finally kick the bucket.
Perky was a one-pound, female, ring-neck duck who gained international fame in January 2007 after she survived being shot three times by a hunter, retrieved by a dog, and then stored in the hunter's refrigerator for two days.
By chance, the hunter's wife happened to open the refrigerator (she reportedly rarely looked in it because it was the spare fridge her husband used to store game), at which point Perky lifted her head to say hello. The wife took compassion on Perky and rushed her to a vet.
Fish Chokes Swimmer
GUATEMALA CITY, July 19 (U.P.) — A swim in a river near Esquipulas proved fatal today for Lazaro Perez. An expert swimmer, Perez did not drown. A fish swam into his mouth and he died before it could be removed.
In 1959, the Ohio State Highway Patrol produced a 27-minute film showing graphic scenes of fatal traffic accidents. The footage was accompanied by a soundtrack of the cries and moans of the victims. They called the film "Signal 30" — referring to the patrol's radio code for fatal accidents.
The film was shown at many high schools, in an attempt to scare kids into being good drivers. Some judges also made people with traffic violations watch it "to atone for their violations." It got some dramatic reactions from viewers. For instance:
One woman rushed from the room, nauseated. Firemen gave her a whiff of ammonia to prevent fainting and she said: "I don't think I'll ever drive again."
Another woman had to be carried from the courtroom and given oxygen after she watched a truck driver burning to death in the color-and-sound film.
The film is now on YouTube, so you can find out how you would react to it. (I actually haven't had the courage to watch it yet.)
This 1919 news report of two railroad employees who drank from a barrel of alcohol, not aware that it was being used to preserve two human skeletons enroute to a medical school, sounds a lot like the "corpse in the cask" urban legend.
The legend, which dates back at least to the nineteenth century, played on the fear of accidental cannibalism. As explained by Jan Harold Brunvand in his Encyclopedia of Urban Legends:
In the legend, an English family discovers a barrelful of rum stored in the basement of an old house they recently purchased. Over the course of a year or two they consume the rum in drinks and cooking; then they cut the barrel in half to use it as a planter. Inside they find the body of a man who had been shipped home from the colonies long ago, preserved in spirits.
In one version of the tale, following the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 the body of Lord Nelson was preserved in a barrel of brandy, from which sailors sipped as it made its way back to England, inspiring the expression "tapping the admiral."
All that music, perfume, science, hygiene, and cosmetics can do is done to create an evasive, womblike world of comfort and soft sympathy. "Home was never like this." Death is thus brought within the orbit of the basic attitudes of a consumer world and is neutralized by absorption into irrelevant patterns of thought, feeling, and technique. The solid comforts and security missed in this life are to be enjoyed in the next.
Books Selected and endorsed for Pure Weirdness by Your WU Team
Get WU Posts by Email
Who We Are
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 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.