Weird Universe Blog — December 9, 2023

Candidate for Harem

Aug 1964: Marie Miller, a 23-year-old divorcee, announced that in return for $50,000 per year she would be willing to join the harem of Sheik Suleiman el-Haseil who lived in Israel's Negev Desert. She explained that she was responding to a magazine ad apparently placed by the Sheik seeking an American wife.

The Sheik responded that he didn't want her in his harem. He explained that he had placed an ad for an American wife back in 1958, but he was no longer interested in one.

Chillicothe Gazette - Aug 18, 1964

In fact, in December 1957 Sheik Suleiman had been reported to be seeking not just any American wife. He was hoping to marry Eleanor Roosevelt (widow of FDR).

Newsweek - Dec 16, 1957

The stress of the media frenzy following Marie Miller's offer seems to have overwhelmed her, and she ended up in the hospital with a bad back. She was also kicked out of her church.

Dayton Daily News - Aug 27, 1964

Sheik Suleiman (right) with reporter Paul McMahon (1961)

But where exactly did Miller get the idea that Sheik Suleiman was seeking an American wife? I think it traces back to a February 1964 article in HQ magazine by Trevor L.M. Maynard, "I Buy Brides for Arab Sheiks." It described Maynard's lucrative business as a finder of western wives for Arab sheiks, including Sheik Suleiman. He claimed to have arranged 117 marriages between young western women and Arab sheiks.

Click to read full article (pdf)

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 09, 2023 - Comments (4)
Category: Marriage | 1960s

December 8, 2023


The video below is interesting as a peek into the way that YouTube works, but it's also interesting as a YouTube curiosity because its view counter is permanently stuck at 301, and has been for 11 years now, even though its actual view count is probably well over 1 million. Someone at YouTube had to deliberately freeze its view counter. As far as I know, it's the only video on YouTube that's received special treatment in this way.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 08, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Technology | Internet | Video

Shocking Presentation

Just to prove that B. F. Skinner was not the only guy who could do operant conditioning, Willard Hayes Yeager decided to teach his student to speak better in public by the use of electric shocks.

You can read his textbook here.

Teachers shock students at George Washington U. Washington, D.C., Aug. 2. Public speaking students at G.W. U. are only too well acquainted with the shocking machine, invented by Dr. Willard Hayes Yeager, Head of the department, to take the "ahs" "ers" and "ums" out of their diction. He is shown putting on the shocker to Jane Hampton, 17. When the student makes a mistake the professor at the other end of the room, notifies her by a gentle electric shock.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 08, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Education | Sadism, Cruelty, Punishment, and Torture | Rhetoric, Eloquence, Public Speaking, and Vocabulary | 1930s

December 7, 2023

The First Woman to Marry a Hologram

Back in 2018 we posted about Akihiko Kondo, a Japanese man who married a hologram. His holographic wife floated inside a desktop device.

Now Spanish artist Alicia Framis has announced she'll also be marrying a hologram. Her holographic partner is a life-size, three-dimensional projection powered by AI. His name is AILex.

Whereas Akihiko Kondo married a hologram because, by his own admission, he had trouble forming relationships with flesh-and-blood women, Framis is marrying a hologram as a piece of performance art which she's titled "The First Woman to Marry a Hologram."

She previously lived with a mannequin named Pierre.

More info:,

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 07, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Technology | AI, Robots and Other Automatons | Performance Art | Marriage

Don’t Go Near the Eskimos

Posted By: Paul - Thu Dec 07, 2023 - Comments (4)
Category: Ethnic Groupings | Music | Stereotypes and Cliches | 1960s | Love & Romance

December 6, 2023

The One-Way Mission to the Moon

1962: Fearing that the Soviets were going to beat the United States to the moon, two engineers from Bell Aerosystems Company, John Cord and Leonard Seale, proposed a way to make sure America got there first. Their idea was to send an astronaut on a one-way mission to the moon. After all, it's a lot easier to send a man to the moon if you don't have to worry about bringing him back.

They presented their idea at the meeting of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in Los Angeles and also published it in the Dec 1962 issue of Aerospace Engineering.

Read the entire article (pdf)

Their plan was for NASA to first land a series of unmanned cargo vehicles on the moon that would contain all the necessities for a lunar base. An astronaut would then make the journey to the moon and, after landing, assemble the base. Every month NASA would send a new cargo vehicle to resupply the astronaut with essentials — food, water, and oxygen. This would continue until NASA figured out a way to bring him back.

NASA, perhaps sensing that the public would perceive a one-way mission as an admission of defeat rather than a sign of victory, ignored the proposal.

Base for a one-way lunar mission

Although NASA ignored Cord and Seale's plan, it caught the attention of science-fiction writer Hank Searls, serving as the inspiration for his 1964 novel, The Pilgrim Project. Hollywood developed Searls' book into a 1968 movie, Countdown, directed by Robert Altman and starring James Caan and Robert Duvall.

In both the book and movie, NASA succeeds in landing an astronaut on the moon. The astronaut then discovers that the Soviets got there first — but all died.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 06, 2023 - Comments (8)
Category: Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy | Space Travel | 1960s

December 5, 2023

The bank robber who waited

June 1997: When a bankrobber demanded money, the teller told him to wait while she got it. She kept him waiting for 20 minutes, until the police arrived.

I'm pretty sure banks now instruct their employees to give robbers the money, rather than trying anything like this.

Miami Herald - June 10, 1997

Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 05, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Stupid Criminals | 1990s

Follies of the Madmen #583

In 1969, everything had to relate to drugs.


Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 05, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Drugs | Food | Advertising | 1960s

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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