Category:
Eccentrics

Nancy Luce, Chicken Lady of Martha’s Vineyard

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A few years ago, visiting the island of Martha's Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast, I learned of Nancy Luce (1814-1890). An eccentric loner artist who self-published her own poetry--mainly devoted to her beloved pet chickens--and buried the birds with fully engraved headstones, she is the subject of a biography still available on the island at various gift shops: Consider Poor I by Walter Magnes Teller. You can read what The New York Times had to say about the book here. You might even be so moved as to purchase a lovely woodcut print of Luce here.


Perhaps we should commemorate Luce with a sample of her poetry:

POOR LITTLE HEARTS
Poor little Ada Queetie has departed this life,
Never to be here no more,
No more to love, no more to speak,
No more to be my friend.
O how I long to see her with me alive and well,
Her heart and mine was united,
Love and feelings deeply rooted for each other,
She and I could never part,
I am left broken hearted....




Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 10, 2008 - Comments (10)
Category: Animals, Domestic, Eccentrics, Literature, Books, Writers, Regionalism, Nineteenth Century

It Takes a Weirdo to Know a Weirdo

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Under the aegis of my pal, Gorgeous and Brilliant Editor Ann VanderMeer, the legendary magazine WEIRD TALES is entering a renaissance. But Ann & company surely haven't forgotten the past, as they've compiled a list of the 85 weirdest storytellers of the past 85 years, to celebrate the zine's long existence.

And perhaps you won't be entirely surprised to learn that our own Chuck Shepherd made their honor roll! Don't let that sunny, smiling countenance to the right trick you into imagining he's not the equal of Stephen King or Warren Zevon!

Way to go, Chuck! H. P. Lovecraft is beaming down on you from above. Or up at you from below. Or through the cracks of the spacetime continuum.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 23, 2008 - Comments (7)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Celebrities, Eccentrics, Horror, Magazines, Pop Culture, Weird Universe, Chuck

The Split Atom

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Collecting weird books is one of my hobbies. And I'm not alone, as you can see from this site.

Surely the novel depicted here, which I purchased a month ago at an SF convention, is museum-worthy. Amazingly in this day and age, I can't find any info about it or its author online. Thankfully, the previous owner xeroxed a page about the author and left it inside the book for me to reproduce here.


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I can hardly wait to sit down with this one!

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 22, 2008 - Comments (9)
Category: Eccentrics, Futurism, Literature, Books, Science Fiction, War, Weapons, 1940s

Six Faces of FATE

Please enjoy this imagery from one of the spiritual ancestors of WEIRD UNIVERSE, FATE MAGAZINE.






More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 21, 2008 - Comments (11)
Category: Art, Eccentrics, Forteana, Magazines, Paranormal, Pop Culture, Unsolved Mysteries, 1950s, Yesterday's Tomorrows

Pyramid Power

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In this confusing postmodern age, when fresh cults come and go with head-spinning rapidity, it's a comfort to see one with staying power--such as Pyramidology. Perhaps you too feel you could benefit from a stay inside the mystic interior of a large pyramid, but don't have one readily accessible. Well, visiting this popular Russian site might involve a little extra travel for most of us, but surely the benefits would outweigh the expense.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 18, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Eccentrics, Fads, Frauds, Cons and Scams, New Age, Paranormal, Unsolved Mysteries, Foreign Customs, Russia

Julian Eltinge

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Every election year, politicians seek to invoke a mythical Golden Age, when life was simpler and more wholesome. Take the Edwardian Era in America, for instance, when the moral fiber of the country was still unpolluted--

--and when a drag queen like Julian Eltinge was a top attraction in high society and popular culture alike.

Face it: life was never any different.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Aug 06, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Celebrities, Eccentrics, Entertainment, Government, History, Historical Figure, Hollywood, Sexuality, Gender, Gender-bending, Men, Theater and Stage, Vaudeville, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s

Random Rant

I dug this out of my files, and although it's nearly twenty years old, a good psychotic rant never goes out of style.

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Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 05, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Eccentrics, Education, Literature, Obsessions, Scholarship, School, 1980s

Riding the Rails

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Of course we all know that the image of a hand-pumped railroad trolley is a comedy staple. But I find the notion of special little motorized vehicles adapted to ride the rails just as funny. As you might predict, there's an organization dedicated to hobbyists and collectors of these miniature rail-mounted transports, and it's to be found here.

My local newspaper has a great article about a fellow who restored the vehicle pictured to the right.

I imagine a Farelly Brothers movie in which the hero confounds the bad guys by making his unpredictable escape in such a vehicle--at a whopping 5 MPH!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 04, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Eccentrics, Collectors, History, Inventions, Technology, Travel, Transportation, 1950s, Cars

Pelmanism

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Old self-improvement schemes never die. Recently, I spotted this antique advertisement from 1954 that alerted me to the existence of Pelmanism, the brainchild of William Joseph Ennever.

The Pelman Institutes of England and America apparently once claimed over half a million followers. But now they're long gone. Yet that has not stopped at least two folks from trying to resurrect the copyright-abandoned mind-strengthening course and claim and market it as their own. You can see their pages here and here.

Oddly enough, the last vestige of Pelmanism most people know, without realizing its true origin, is the card game we call Concentration or Memory or Pairs.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 04, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Eccentrics, Fads, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Games, History, Historical Figure, New Age, Self-help Schemes

Perfectible Worlds

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A new book titled Perfectible Worlds by the photographer Sage Sohier, devoted to people who amass oddball collections, seems a winning item for all readers of WEIRD UNIVERSE.

[Photo copyright by Sage Sohier.]



Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 02, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Eccentrics, Collectors, Geeks, Nerds and Pointdexters, Photography and Photographers, Books, Roleplayers and Re-enactors

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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 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.

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