In 1994, guests at a wedding reception were expecting to see footage of the ceremony replayed. Instead they were treated to scenes of Derek Jeffrey in flagrante delicto with a dog, Ronnie. Because, oops, Jeffrey had lent his camcorder to a friend to video the wedding, but he accidentally left the wrong tape in the camcorder, and it didn't get fully taped over. He received a six-month suspended jail sentence for bestiality.
The whole scene sounds so outlandish that I suspected it might have been an urban legend reported as news. But Snopes confirms that the story is true.
Sologamy = marrying yourself. Apparently it's a growing trend. A way to say yes to yourself. And there are various companies (such as here and here) that will help you do it.
I don't buy into all the talk about marrying yourself as a form of self-affirmation, but I think there is some logic to the idea that if you know you're never going to get married to someone else — that's your life choice — that you should be able to get some gifts to celebrate your non-marriage. After all, those gifts can really help furnish an apartment or house.
June 9, 1966: After being buried alive for a week outside of a drive-in theater in Denison, Texas, Lottie Howard married "Country" Bill White. Both of them were "buried alive" practitioners. After she was disinterred, the two left on their honeymoon.
Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram - June 19, 1966
Update: Looks like the marriage didn't last long. Two years later Country Bill got served with divorce papers — while he was buried alive. The papers were dropped down the six-inch pipe he used for air and food.
Wilmington News Journal - Mar 28, 1968
But Bill rebounded pretty quickly from his divorce. Just a few months later he was buried alive with a "34-year-old grandmother" and a go-go dancer. However, they each had individual compartments in the coffin, evidently to prevent any buried-alive hanky panky.
The Indianapolis Star - June 21, 1968
And here's a picture of Bill from 1978, looking a bit rougher around the edges.
The Benton Harbor News-Palladium - May 19, 1978
As far as I can tell, Bill kept doing his buried alive stunt until the late 1980s. In 1981 he set an endurance record for the longest time buried alive (140 consecutive days in a plywood box, 6 feet long by 3 feet wide). This record seems to have been beaten in 1999 by Geoff Smith, who spent 147 days buried in a coffin under the beer garden of his local pub. Though it's hard to know for sure because Guinness doesn't maintain a record for longest time buried alive (because of their policy of not encouraging unhealthy or life-endangering acts).
In 2005, the New Bedford Standard-Times ran an article about Bill, but that's the last media reference to him I can find. If he's still alive, he'd be around 82.
The earliest I've found this story reported was in Time magazine (Feb 8, 1954). But then it started popping up in other papers, some as late as 1956 (below). I haven't found any report that went into greater detail. Which makes me wonder if this ever really happened, or if it was one of those amusing fillers reporters sometimes invented to pad column space.
The story, as stated, seems a bit implausible. Everyone at the wedding just left without bothering to wake the bride? Really? Even assuming that "dozed off" is a euphemism for "passed out drunk."
The Sikeston Daily Standard - Jan 18, 1956
Member of the Wedding. In Boston, seeking annulment of her marriage to William Jordan, Mrs. Margaret H. Jordan testified that she dozed off during their wedding banquet, awoke to find that bridegroom and guests had departed, did not see Jordan again until five years later.
I guess that's why it's posed as a question. You don't have to say "I do."
Anyway, if you're 16, the correct response to a marriage request is 'No.' Unfortunately, it seems that Lois did end up getting married a week later, despite her initial reluctance.
The Ottawa Journal - May 1, 1971
Girl Says 'No' At the Altar
SIBSON, England (UPI) —Radiant and demure in white lace, Lois Elliott walked down the aisle on her father's arm as the organ intoned "Here Comes the Bride."
"Wilt thou," said Rev. Frank Best, "take this man to be thy lawfully wedded husband, to love and to cherish 'til death do you part?"
Lois, 16, smiled at Mr. Best, at her father and at the groom. "No," she said quietly. Then she turned and walked out of St. Botolph's Church.
Lois offered no immediate explanation for her change of heart. But her father, Barry Elliott, said he thought a chance remark by one of the groom's relatives "may have upset her."
Back in the 1930s, the Jockey underwear company got the idea of showing off their products by having their models wear cellophane and staging a "cellophane wedding." The first picture seems to be a trial run of this stunt, in which the company created outfits that were only half cellophane.
But in 1938, they staged a wedding with full cellophane outfits at the National Association of Retail Clothiers and Furnishers convention. The story goes that a picture of this event subsequently ran in Life magazine, by which means it then came to the attention of Adolf Hitler, who used it as an opportunity to fulminate against America's moral decline.
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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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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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