BBC News reports on the case of Johanna Watkins who has a rare disorder (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome) that has caused her to become allergic to a whole bunch of stuff, including the scent of her husband. The allergy only developed after they got married.
At this point, they live in the same house but can no longer get close to each other. Instead they communicate via phone. Their "date night" involves watching a show together: "he will be three floors below me in a room on his laptop and I will be on mine and we'll watch the show at the same time and then text about it as we're watching it."
Scott and Johanna Watkins
This reminds me of the 1949 case of Joyce Holdridge, aka the "Allergic Bride," who broke out in a rash every time she was near her husband. She was the first reported case of a wife who developed an allergy to her husband. (I wrote a fairly long article about her for about.com, but it looks like about.com has since deleted it.)
After the Holdridge case, quite a few women came forward claiming to be allergic to their husband. So allergic wives are definitely a recurring theme in weird news. For whatever reason, cases of husbands who are allergic to their wives are much rarer (although not nonexistent).
August 1973: Jean Roth sat in the lobby of a building at Southern Illinois University with signs that read: "I must be married by August 15th for inheritance purposes."
She explained to anyone who asked that she would give $50,000 to any man who agreed to marry her for a year. Many men immediately volunteered to help her. In addition, "Scores of men called the campus newspaper to get the girl's telephone number."
But it turned out, not surprisingly, that the offer was bogus. It was all just a sociology experiment dreamed up by Dr. James M. Henslin, the teacher of a Sociology of Deviant Behavior class that Jean was enrolled in. Explained Dr. Henslin: "In this [class], we deal with deviance from the norm or deviance from what is expected of people. It was an experiment to create a form of deviance and look at the reactions."
So it sounds like it was one of those breaching experiments that became all the rage in sociology classes around that time (late 60s/early 70s).
The class had chosen Jean to be the heir in need of a hubby and had then coached her on how to respond to potential questions. In fact, Jean was already married. Her husband, also a student at the university, reportedly thought the experiment "was stupid."
Ogden Standard-Examiner - Jul 29, 1973
It reminds me of the Dormitory Escape Plan of 1967 that I posted about a couple of months ago, in which a young woman had advertised for a husband as a way to escape from the all-female dormitory that she hated living in.
The Morning News (Wilmington, Delaware) - Sep 18, 1956
Wife Complains In-Law Under Bed
SINGAPORE, Sept. 17 — A young Chinese wife complained in court today that her mother-in-law always slept under the bed she shared with her husband.
Them Kim Kow said she had left her husband but would go back to him if her mother-in-law could be forced to sleep in a separate room.
An adjournment was asked while the court and attorneys considered the case.
Farmer Learns Wife's 'Brother' Is Actually Her Undivorced Husband
WAUSAU, Wis — Farmer Walter Brandt was married six years, he testified Friday, before he learned that the man living with him and his wife was his wife's undivorced husband, not her 'brother."
Brandt, 36, told County Judge Frank G. Loeffler that his wife, Minnie, had identified Joseph Ruddock as her brother before they were married in 1946. Brandt said Minnie and Ruddock at that time were living on a farm near Vesper.
But when Brandt married Minnie and moved to his farm in Town of Eau Plaine, he said, Ruddock moved in with them. Last July Brandt said Minnie's sister told him Ruddock was Minnie's husband, not her brother.
Joe and Minnie admitted deception but claimed they had been divorced, Brandt stated. But, he said, he "blew up" and started annulment proceedings.
Judge Loeffler told Ruddock his story of how he got a divorce was implausible and that he and Minnie still were married. Brandt was granted his annulment.
What a fine joke! The gear-driven, proto-cybernetic hell world of 1958 now looks more like a paradise compared with our world of 2015. No digitization. Hardly any cars on the highway. Children interacting unsupervised with a living ice-cream man. A TV set that can be repaired with a home visit, rather than going straight to the landfill. Coffee perked at home instead of provided by Starbucks. Human interaction unmediated by screens....
Jonathon Keats (conceptual artist, experimental philosopher, and friend of WU) is back with a new project. He's setting up an installation in Las Vegas that will be "applying quantum physics to love" by allowing people to bond to each other via quantum entanglement rather than a traditional marriage contract. Sounds perfect for Vegas. Will definitely check it out next time I'm there. Some details below from his press release, and there's also an article about it at Fast Company:
The process of nuptial entanglement developed by Mr. Keats entails no contractual paperwork. The process is unsupervised. There are no restrictions on who may be entangled to whom or how many people may be conjoined. People wishing to become entangled need merely show up at the Art Motel in downtown Las Vegas, where the entanglement apparatus will be operational for the entire Life Is Beautiful Festival, from Friday, September 25th to Sunday, September 27th. "We've negotiated an exclusive offering," says Art Motel organizer John Doffing. After that, the quantum chamber is expected to become a permanent nuptial suite in one of the city's fanciest casino hotels. A product line will also be launched, including entangled wedding bands, champagne and bubble bath.
For Life Is Beautiful, the entanglement apparatus will be situated in a sunny motel window. Exposed to the full spectrum of solar radiation, a nonlinear crystal will entangle photons. The entangled photons will be scattered by thousands of hanging mirrors and prisms, and the photoelectric effect will translate their entangled state to the bodies of people who wish to be united, reclining on a floor covered in throw pillows. "It's even easier than getting a sun tan," asserts Mr. Keats, who is now happily entangled with his wife. "And no need for a wedding gown or tux. In fact, the less clothing you wear, the more entangled you're likely to get."
Sounds to me like Anna Hindman had good cause for wanting to divorce her husband, namely a) his belief that 4 hours sleep is all anyone needs, and b) wiring her bed to shock her every 4 hours to prevent her from sleeping longer than that.
But according to the news reports, she eventually forgave him and withdrew her divorce petition — after he got rid of the "shocking machine." And it sounds like they remained married for the rest of their lives... if the Anna Hindman in this obituary is the same person (which it must be, because all the names/dates match up).
Anna Louise Hindman, 74, of Rogersville passed away Thursday, September 13, 2012 in Springfield. Anna was born on July 8, 1938 in Springfield to Eulan and Olive (Turner) Bussard. She was married to Michael J. Hindman on July 17, 1953 and he preceded her in death on December 15, 2004. She was an accomplished roller skater, both figure and racing and performed for President Truman. She had her pilots license and enjoyed flying and riding motorcycles with her husband.
Sources: Kansas City Times: Feb 27, 1960; Mar 10, 1960.
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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.
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