The Loved One Launcher

Starting at $375.00 from

The Loved One Launcher is the only device of its kind that will shoot earthly remains over seventy feet into the air!!, allowing for a wide dispersal of ashes that can be observed by all in attendance. To add to the celebration, ashes can be mixed with confetti or even streamers for a dreamy visual effect, creating a beautiful, joyful scene that sets the perfect tone. Paying homage to a loved one’s life is simple and intimate with what feels almost like a daytime fireworks display in their honor. The Launcher should not be aimed at any structure or living thing as its blast is powerful.

They should next come out with a catapult model for non-cremated loved ones.

via Dave Barry

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 08, 2022 - Comments (6)
Category: Death

Follies of the Madmen #531

"Our pants are endorsed by shirtless murderers."


Posted By: Paul - Fri May 06, 2022 - Comments (8)
Category: Death, Fashion, Advertising, 1960s

Usnea, or Skull Moss

Mummy, unicorn's horn, and bezoars appealed to the imagination because of their unusual character, but even the most commonplace substances might develop supposedly medicinal virtues if they had unusual or gruesome associations. Usnea was a substance of this nature. It was moss; not ordinary moss, but moss scraped from the skull of a criminal who had been hung in chains. Usnea was an official drug in the pharmacopeia until the nineteenth century; it was carried by all apothecary shops, and the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica devoted a section to its curative properties. Usnea was present in the prescriptions of the best physicians over a period extending from the Middle Ages until well after the American Revolution.
Source: Howard W. Haggard, Devils, drugs, and doctors (1929).

image source: reddit

More info from Frances Larson, Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found (2014):

Paracelsus recommended the 'moss', or lichen, that grew on a dead man's skull for seizures and 'disorders of the head', and to bind wounds, on the basis that the 'vital spirit' released at death would be transferred from the skull into the lichen that started to grow on its surface. The fact that these skull-grown lichens were quite rare only increased the value of the cure. Skull moss seems to have been a particularly popular remedy in England and Ireland, perhaps because in these countries dead criminals were often left on public display until their flesh started to rot away and things began to grow on their bones. In 1694 it was reported that London druggists sold suitably mossy skulls for 8 to 11 shillings each, depending on the size and the amount of growth on them. . .

There were reports of people growing moss on stones and then spreading it onto the skulls of criminals, as a way of harvesting the tiny green plants for sale. In practice, apothecaries probably used anything that grew on skulls, and some things that did not grow on skulls, to maintain their supplies.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 29, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Medicine, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Renaissance Era

Death’s Doings

Next time you need cheering up, have a gander at this jolly volume, available at the Internet Archive.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 26, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Books, Nineteenth Century

Six drown trying to save chicken

Actually, only one of them jumped into the well trying to save a chicken. The others were trying to save humans. But still, it was a mass tragedy apparently started by an attempt to save a chicken.

Edmonton Journal - Aug 2, 1995

Posted By: Alex - Mon Apr 04, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Death, 1990s

Death by Drama

Paul posted last week about a real-life murder that occurred onstage during a play. This reminded me of another onstage death I once read about in Jody Enders' book Death By Drama and Other Medieval Urban Legends.

The death is said to have occurred in 1549, during a performance of the play Judith and Holofernes, which tells the Biblical (or Biblical apocrypha) story of Judith who cuts off the head of an Assyrian general, Holofernes. The producers of the play supposedly decided it would add a touch of realism if the actor playing Holofernes really was decapitated.

The details from Enders' book:

According to the legend, when Philip II made his triumphal entry into Tournai in 1549, he was greeted by a painstakingly realistic performance of the drama of Judith and Holofernes. Frederic Faber relates that producers Jean de Bury and Jean de Crehan had arranged a very special entertainment for the future monarch. A convicted heretic and murderer was to assume the role of Holofernes long enough to be decapitated during the play by another convicted felon. The latter, having been pardoned, would just as briefly assume the role of Judith, his executioner:

Jean de Bury and Jean de Crehan, duly charged with decorating the streets, had imagined rendering in its purest form the biblical exploit of Judith. Consequently, for filling the role of Holofernes, a criminal had been chosen who had been condemned to have his flesh torn with red-hot pincers. This poor fellow, guilty of several murders and ensconced in heresy, had preferred decapitation to the horrible torture to which he had been condemned, hoping, perhaps, that a young girl would have neither the force nor the courage to cut off his head. But the organizers, having had the same concern, had substituted for the real Judith a young man who had been condemned to banishment and to whom a pardon was promised if he played his role well.

The story goes that the two substitutions were accepted by the two unnamed men. Being an actor / executioner was apparently preferable to being banished, and death by decapitation during drama was preferable to being skinned alive (something that the Eel of Melun might himself have understood).

"Judith" had only one condition to meet: to provide acting so good that it wasn't acting at all. . .

The fantastic narrative next shows Philip arriving just as the axe is falling. As real blood supposedly begins to flow, it prompts applause in some, indignation in others, and curiosity in the prince, who remains implacable as the body of "Holofernes" goes through its last spasms:

In fact, as Philip approached the theater where the mystery play was being represented, the so-called Judith unsheathed a well-sharpened scimitar and, seizing the hair of Holofernes, who was pretending to be asleep, dealt him a single blow with so much skill and vigor that his head was separated from his body. At the [sight of] the streams of blood that spurted out from the neck of the victim, frenetic applause and cries of indignation rose up from amid the spectators. Only the young prince remained impassive, observing the convulsions of the decapitated man with curiosity and saying to his noble entourage: "nice blow".

Enders has doubts this onstage execution ever really took place, but can't rule out the possibility altogether.

In the story's favor: Philip II really did go to Tournai in 1549; Jehan de Crehan was a real person; there really were plays performed in Philip's honor; and Tournai had a history of executing heretics, and of offering decapitation as a "kinder" alternative to more gruesome forms of execution.

The points against the story's veracity: not a single, extant contemporaneous source mentions this onstage decapitation. The first references to it only appear several hundred years later. And it stretches credulity to imagine that a condemned prisoner would obligingly play his part in the performance, even to the extent of pretending to be asleep before he was decapitated.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 18, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Death, Theater and Stage, Fables, Myths, Urban Legends, Rumors, Water-Cooler Lore, Sixteenth Century

Rocket-Powered Iceboat

Before we leave winter behind entirely, let us ponder this refinement of a cold-weather recreation.

This company had a rich and fascinating aeronautical history which you can read at the link. But surely we afficionados of the weird will want to honor them for creating a rocket-propelled iceboat.

Rocket iceboat can do 250 miles per hour A rocket-propelled iceboat capable of a speed of 250 miles an hour on smooth ice has been designed by Reaction Motors , Inc of America , and tested on frozen Lake Hopatcong New Jersey . The boat weighs 1,648 pounds. Photo shows: The iceboat streaking over Lake Hopatcong piloted by Puck Wellington. It was travelling at 95 miles an hour , rough ice and snow patches made higher speeds dangerous . 7 March 1947

Posted By: Paul - Thu Mar 17, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Death, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Technology, 1940s, Outrageous Excess

Hairdresser in a glass coffin

Celebrity hairstylist Antoine de Paris used to sleep in a glass coffin, which he claimed he would one day be buried in. He died in 1976, and whether he actually was buried in the glass coffin I haven't been able to find out.

Info from Logan Sisley:

Antoni "Antek" Cierplikowski was born in Poland in 1884 but made his name in Paris as Monsieur Antoine, hair stylist to the stars. In 1924 he purchased the top four floors of a Parisian apartment building which he set about remodelling as a School of Beauty and an apartment with sculpture studio. Construction of The House of Glass began in 1929. It occupied the upper floors of the building and contained the studio and living quarters. Glass was supplied by St Gobain, of whom Antoine claimed at one time to be the biggest client. The external walls were clad with large panes of opaque glass to eradicate the need for curtains, which Antoine believed had no place in the modern interior. The interiors were decorated extensively with glass including the staircase, a cupola, pillars, chairs and even a glass bed in the shape of a coffin, which attracted much press attention.

Dayton Daily News - Mar 25, 1932

"M. Antoine in the curious burial costume he has designed for his funeral"

From The San Francisco Examiner - Sep 25, 1932:

It is in the arrangements for his own funeral that Antoine's genius soars to its greatest height. In life, he surrounds himself with death, so in death he will be surrounded by sparkling life. He has engaged eight beautiful models to be his pall-bearers. They have agreed to be gay and sprightly and bright at his funeral, to shed no tears nor betray any sorrow. And, if he dies and they go through the ordeal successfully, they will be rewarded by provisions in his will.

But models die, get married, get fired, while Antoine continues to live. Always he must be replacing the original ones. He picks them out for their gaiety and their good looks.

More info: Polish Fashion Stories

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 15, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Death, Fashion, Furniture

Unlikely Reasons for Murder No. 8

Source: NYT for 9/23/1899.

Source: NYT for 1/6/1900.


Source: Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania)01 May 1900, Tue Page 3

Posted By: Paul - Fri Mar 11, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Crime, Death, Theater and Stage, Women, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century

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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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