The Hollister Wind Bag

Patented by Thomas Lloyd Hollister in 1939. He called it a “gas receptor.” Basically, it was a fart collection bag. From the patent:

This invention relates to a device for receiving and storing gas formed by the digestion of foods. An object of the invention is the provision of a device for collecting and storing gas formed in the alimentary tract of the body and for absorbing liquids from the gases. Another object of the invention is the provision of a device for collecting and storing gas formed in the digestive tract, said device being removably suspended from the body and provided with a nipple having shielded perforations to permit gases to enter a storage chamber.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 30, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Inventions, Flatulence, 1930s

The Ratapult

Invented circa 1992 by Allen Gross. It was intended to be a more humane rattrap. Instead of killing the rats, it flung them up to 50 feet into a cage or bucket. The dazed, but still living, rodents could then be either turned over to authorities or released into the wild. Noted Gross, “I didn’t want the (rodents) squashed or turned into meatloaf.”

Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Feb 14, 1992

Staunton News Leader - Feb 14, 1992

Turns out this wasn't the first rat-flinging trap to be invented. Back in 1912, a similar device debuted, also called the Ratapult. Though it wasn't intended to be in any way humane:

A metal arm, operated by a powerful spiral spring, is released, and, passing through a slot in the cavelike compartment in the manner of a catapult, it strikes the unfortunate rodent with a blow of sufficient force to break every bone in its body and hurl the carcass at least fifteen feet away from the trap, far enough away so other rats will not be warned against the trap.

Vergennes Orwell Citizen - Jan 9, 1913

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 23, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions, Pests, Plagues and Infestations, 1990s

Prayer-Power Batteries

As explained by

The most distinctive practice of the Aetherius Society is its use of Spiritual Energy Batteries. The prayers and chanting of members are focused through trained leaders, and poured into a battery where they can be stored indefinitely. In times of crisis, such as war, earthquake or famine, thousands of hours of stored prayer energy can be released in one moment.

More info:, wikipedia

A Prayer Battery being charged. via

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 03, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions, Religion, Technology

Jelly-Strength Tester

Invented in 1932 by C.R. Fellers and J.A. Clague of Massachusetts State College. It's technical name is the Fellers-Clague Penetrometer.

As is explained in The Complete Book on Gums and Stabilizers for Food Industry, there are two ways of testing the strength of jelly: 1) "tests in which the elastic limits (breaking strength) of the jellies are exceeded and the jelly is ruptured", or 2) "tests measuring deformation (sag) of jellies without exceeding the elastic limit."

The Fellers-Clague Penetrometer is of the first type.

Latrobe Bulletin - July 13, 1932

Source: Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, Analytical Edition

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 02, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Food, Inventions, 1930s


A new device, calling itself the sphoon_phork, promises to transform your iPhone into a spoon or fork, so that you can eat with it as you browse social media.

It’s currently seeking funding as a kickstarter project.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 29, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Inventions

The car that’s like a bicycle

Nasser Al Shawaf was frustrated by the fact that he didn't get any exercise when he drove to work. So he teamed up with Dutch firm BPO and together they've created a car that has bicycle pedals instead of a gas pedal. So, you have to pedal to get your car to move. The faster you pedal, the faster it goes. The brake is controlled with a hand lever. The details:

The system essentially has three basic settings. In traffic, it has a "Drive Slow" option, while highway use necessitates the "Drive Fast" setting. When the car is stopped, but the driver still wants to exercise, there’s a "No Drive" option, which disengages the pedals from the throttle.

I suppose it would provide a disincentive to speeding if you had to pedal like crazy to keep going fast. So in that sense it's similar to the Deaccelerator that I posted about recently. Though it might make it hard to overtake people. After all, what if you got tired as you were trying to frantically pedal? And what if you were in mixed driving conditions where you had to switch rapidly from slow to fast speeds? How easy would it be to transition from slow to fast mode? Overall, I can only see this having very limited appeal.

More details.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 20, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Bicycles and Other Human-powered Vehicles, Inventions, Cars

The Cow Toilet

Developed by the Dutch firm Hanskamp. How it works:

The cow enters the gated feeding area. While the cow is eating, a small bucket automatically swings into place at the back of the cow, moving gently upwards and downwards, massaging her escutcheon – a nerve which stretches between the cow’s vulva and udder. This nerve triggers the urine reflex, causing the cow to urinate. The urine is collected in the CowToilet reservoir and is then extracted and stored separately.

(Today I learned that cow's have a urine reflex!) Once the urine has been collected, it can be processed to produce fertilizer, or even be used to generate electricity. Most importantly, it isn't polluting the ground.

The video below (which is in Dutch) shows the device in action. The demonstration begins at about 1:15. Warning: if you're really squeamish it might gross you out because it does show cows peeing.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 19, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Inventions, Body Fluids


A new device that promises to help treat male infertility by keeping your little men cool. From the manufacturer's website:

CoolMen is an innovative device that stabilizes the temperature of the testicles in the optimum range. In a short time, CoolMen significantly improves semen parameters, contributing to increased fertility of the pair. CoolMen can record data about temperature and time of use as well as types of activity (sleep, sitting, physical activity) by wirelessly transferring it to the mobile application on the smartphone. These data can then be analyzed by the andrologist to improve the treatment process.

More info: India Times,

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 08, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions, Genitals

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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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