Noella Charest-Papagno coined the term 'desairology' to mean doing hairstyling and cosmetics for the deceased. She created the word by combining 'des' (for deceased), 'air' (for hair), and 'ology' (a branch of learning). She thought the term sounded better than 'necrocosmetologist,' which had previously been the job title for funeral hairdressers. Her term seems to have caught on within the profession. At least, it has a wikipedia page.
In 1980, Papagno also authored the first book on hairdressing for the dead — Desairology: The Dressing of Decedent's Hair.
She created the somewhat bizarre video below around 2015. It's titled, "Dead lady speaks. Looks better now."
Peter Watson, in his book Twins: An Investigation Into the Strange Coincidences in the Lives of Separated Twins, related the following story:
Paul Kammerer, an Austrian biologist of the early twentieth century who is chiefly remembered for his fraud over the midwife toad, discovered a "law of series" in which coincidental events run in (say) threes. For example, a bus ticket and a theatre ticket (bought the same day) both bear the number 9, and they are soon followed by a telephone call in which the same number is again mentioned. Kammerer would spend hours, wherever he went, recording the height, hair colour and type of hat worn by every passer-by. He made the observation that men with red hair tended to pass by in clusters with long gaps in between.
This tendency of red-haired men to be seen in clusters is known as the "Redhead Cluster Phenomenon". I'm not sure if it applies to red-haired women as well.
More info about it can be found at the site RhCP, created by Toronto journalist Joe Clark.
Charles Davis collected elephant hairs — in particular the long hairs that grow from their tails. By the time he was 83, in 1962, he had hairs from 357 different elephants.
Cincinnati Enquirer - June 14, 1959
Details from a syndicated article by Ramon J. Geremia (Weirton Daily Times - Mar 24, 1962)
Davis, 83, who uses the title "Elephant Biographer," lives alone in a six-room house surrounded by mementoes of circuses and of elephants he has known, loved and pulled hair from. There are statues of elephants, elephant-shaped lamps, pieces of ivory, elephant bull hooks, even a tooth garnered in 1933 from an elephant named "Vera."...
But the elephant hairs make up the bulk of the collection of elephantiana. The longest one is 13 inches, the shortest, plucked from a 200 pound baby elephant, is one and one-half inches long. They include colors ranging from black to white with a few red chin whiskers.
Most of them were plucked from elephant tails — some were cut from the more belligerent behemoths. Every zoo in the nation is represented, except the Bronx Zoo in New York...
Davis started his unusual hobby as an elephantphile in 1928. He asked a circus elephant trainer to suggest something he could collect from or about elephants and the trainer suggested hair. Davis, a retired optometrist, says his collection "took my mind off business."
Apr 1938: Actress Jean Colwell came up with a sure-fire way to end all wars. Her idea was that if a group of beautiful, blonde women stood in between the two opposing armies, in the "no man's land," then the soldiers on each side would refuse to attack because "No soldier will shoot at a good-looking blonde." Peace would be achieved!
To make her vision a reality, Colwell placed an ad in a New York newspaper:
Are you blonde, beautiful and ready to join men in the trenches in the next war? It's the last chance to save this idiotic man's world. Jean Colwell, 124 West 55th.
The response was enthusiastic, and within a month she had enough volunteers to form a "blonde brigade," all wiling to risk their lives for peace.
Wisconsin State Journal - Mar 29, 1938
Los Angeles Times - Apr 27, 1938
Owensboro Messenger - Apr 2, 1938
Women of other hair colors didn't want to be left out. So there was soon also a "red-headed regiment" and a "brunette battalion."
San Bernardino County Sun - Apr 30, 1938
Of course, none of these women were ever shipped to the front line to serve as a human shield. Colwell herself spent the war in Forth Worth, Texas performing in plays. After the war she moved to Japan as a civil service worker. When she died in 1986, she was back in Fort Worth. I haven't found any info on what she did between 1946 and 1986.
Science has not yet discovered how to grow hair on a billiard ball, but chemists in the General Electric Research Laboratory here can grow a handsome head of "hair" of a beard on "Aluminum Al," who is nothing more than a sheet of pure aluminum cut out in the shape of a mans head. As shown above, "Al" in a few minutes time can go from complete baldness through the tomahawk-type haircut to the tonsorially-respendent "Mr. Esquire hairdo. Amusing though he is, "Al's" purpose is a serious one of helping provide a better understanding of the most effective ways of using aluminum, which is replacing copper in many critical applications. According to GE scientist, aluminum could be not be used were it not obliging enough to furnish its own protective coating, a thin film of aluminum oxide, when cut. The film keeps air away and prevents further oxidation. "Al" demonstrates a condition under which this does not occur. When his surface is scratch under mercury, the film does not form. Instead the oxide sprouts out along the scratches is an uncontrolled, hair-like growth. Prof. J. H. Hildenbrand, University of California, is credited with the idea of first trying the oxidation principle on a cut-out head.
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.