Jobs and Occupations

Official fog watchers

I don't know why, but this seems like a very British type of job.

The High Point Enterprise - Feb 6, 1974

image source:

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 06, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, 1970s

8-year-old Undertaker

It sounds like Duana Grant was a very practical-minded young girl. At the age of 8, instead of being squeamish about death, she was learning how to be a mortician, in preparation for taking over the family business at the appropriate time.

And it seems that her childhood ambitions became reality. When she was older she married Wilbur Elder and helped run the Grant Elder Funeral Home in Arkansas City.

In 1973, her son took over the business, and he ran it until it closed in August 1982.

Duana died in 2002, at the age of 79.

Green Bay Press-Gazette - Mar 12, 1931

She Is Learning To Be Undertaker
ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. — Death, abhorrent to most children, but to Duana Grant, 8, it awakens only sympathy and a desire to help. Born over an undertaker's parlor and associated with the business all her life, she is learning to conduct a funeral as well as any grownup. Outside business hours, Duana is just an ordinary child, with her school work, dolls, and roller skates.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 04, 2016 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Jobs and Occupations, Children

LifeSkills Pod

Barclays Bank in the UK has created a "LifeSkills Pod" which it explains is a "futuristic work experience simulator" that mirrors "real-world work scenarios."

Pods will be installed in various schools so that young people can sit in the pod and "build the skills needed in the workplace."

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 30, 2016 - Comments (12)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, Technology

Malone the Rat Fighter

Tough way to earn a living.

This 1908 news story may have inspired Roald Dahl's short story "The Ratcatcher" (first published in 1953 in Someone Like You). Even if Dahl hadn't seen this exact news piece, he must have heard stories (urban legends) about rat catchers doing this.

The Royal Gazette - Oct 6, 1908

A man named Malone, who was fined at Northampton, for breaking hotel windows, was said to earn his living by going from place to place exhibiting freshly-caught rats. These he tethered to a table with string, giving them a certain latitude, and then, with his hands tied tightly behind him, he fought and killed a rat with his teeth. Nine times out of ten he was said to succeed, but frequently the rat bit him severely.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 03, 2016 - Comments (9)
Category: Animals, Jobs and Occupations, Pests, Plagues and Infestations, 1900s

Bus Driver’s Revenge

Today of course he would face federal charges for kidnapping, and many, many lawsuits.

Original article here.

See clean transcription below.


“They’re going to fire bus driver William F. Jackson today but he doesn’t care—he already quit in spectacular fashion.

"Passengers—phooey,” was his battle cry yesterday when he revolted against traffic jams, abusive drivers, supervisors and noisy children and took what someday may be known as “Jacksons’s ride.”

The Chicago Transit Authority driver was inching his bus through Loop traffic, swollen to three times its usual density by the Christmas rush, when he suddenly decided he was sick of it.

He slammed the doors shut and from then on nobody could get off.

“Passengers—phooey,” he muttered darkly.

He rolled out of the busy Loop on his regular route. But when waiting citizens pounded to get into his bus Jackson was aloof. When his angry passengers demanded to be let off he would not relent.

When a company supervisor tried to board the bus at an intersection Jackson ignored him too.

Finally he wheeled the big vehicle into one of the CTA barns, turned off the ignition, and hopped off the bus.

He headed straight for his boss, stared him straight in the eye and announced:

“I quit.”

Wounded CTA officials said, “He can’t quit just like that, but tomorrow we’ll fire him.”

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 12, 2016 - Comments (8)
Category: Annoying Things, Jobs and Occupations, 1950s, Bus, Nausea, Revulsion and Disgust

Death of the Human Ostrich

1906: Robert Naysmith, the "human ostrich," died from eating too many hatpins and brass nails.

Back in the day, I think there were a number of people who earned a livelihood by exhibiting themselves as human ostriches. Tough way to make a living.

(left) Topeka Daily Capital - July 17, 1906; (right) The Sketch - July 4, 1906

Saint Paul Globe - Sep 24, 1898

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 27, 2015 - Comments (5)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, 1900s

Safety Glass Tester, 1939

High-test safety glass was developed jointly by five American companies during the 1930s. It had an inner layer of polyvinyl acetal resin. This meant that you could smash a man's face into a pane of the glass, and it would crack but not shatter. As demonstrated by the safety-glass tester below.

Image source: Newsweek - Apr 10, 1939

Posted By: Alex - Tue Nov 24, 2015 - Comments (8)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, 1930s

Get rid of that man — he’s a homicidal maniac!

Sounds like Norman White had a good scheme going. I wonder how he got busted.

The Southeast Missourian - July 5, 1955

Man Gets Self Fired To Collect Week's Pay
LONDON — The voice on the phone said: "Get rid of that man White — he's a homicidal maniac." Norman White, 29, lost the job he started only an hour before.
The same thing had happened four times in three weeks. Each time Norman was fired within two hours of starting a new job, and each time he collected a week's pay.
Today he started another new job. This one — sewing mail bags — will last longer. The voice on the phone, a City Court was told Monday, was White himself posing as a police officer. The court gave him eight months in jail for obtaining money by false pretenses.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 02, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category: Crime, Jobs and Occupations, 1950s

Funeral Traffic Control

1948: Chicago's Mt. Carmel cemetery sought FCC approval so that it could operate a two-way radio system to direct funeral processions, so as to avoid traffic jams in the cemetery.

I wonder if they had to build a traffic control tower as well?

Freeport Journal-Standard - Apr 14, 1948

Posted By: Alex - Sat Oct 17, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category: Death, Jobs and Occupations, 1940s

Sleeping Time

I like this guy's way of thinking. Too bad the judge didn't go for it.

Altoona Tribune - Jan 21, 1957

Sues For Back Pay For 'Sleeping Time'
LONDON — Albert English, 70, went to court claiming 2,051 pounds—$5,742—in back pay.
He said he was paid 6 pounds, 7 shillings, sixpense—$17.05—a week for 30 hours work as a restaurant odd job man, but that he should be paid also for the 61 hours weekly he spent "asleep with an ear cocked" in a bedroom behind the restaurant provided free by the management. The judge threw out English's claim.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 30, 2015 - Comments (2)
Category: Jobs and Occupations, 1950s

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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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