Weird Universe Blog — July 15, 2021

Dr. Somers’ Cocaine Cure for Arthritis

Back in the late 1970s, Dr. Lowell Somers, chief of staff at Redbud Community Hospital, made headlines by claiming to have discovered that cocaine could cure arthritis. Somers explained that he discovered this by observing his identical twin cousins, Chuck and Rick. Chuck had arthritis, but Rick didn't. And Rick was a cocaine user, while Chuck wasn't.

Somers said he had successfully treated a dozen rheumatoid patients with cocaine. His procedure:

Somers' patients take the powder by sniffing it through a straw or chewing it on a piece of cotton. They take about four doses of 100 milligrams each day, but the frequency is later reduced.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Apr 13, 1979

It didn't take long for authorities to shut him down, which they did by charging that he was addicted to demerol and cocaine, and revoking his medical license. I guess he was taking the cure himself. Some info from The Oklahoman:

The California licensing board told The Oklahoman... that Somers was placed on probation in 1980 for addiction to demerol and cocaine; that he later was paroled but was placed on probation again in 1984 for 10 years for violating terms of that probation. A complaint signed by the California agency chairman states that Somers was examined by psychiatrists and found to be suffering from a psychosis; that he treated patients with a mixture of cocaine and hydrochloride and that he "manifested a sincere belief in the value of his treatments with cocaine."

This sidestepped the issue of whether he may actually have been right about the medical benefit of cocaine for people with arthritis. It doesn't seem entirely implausible to me.

However, some googling pulls up an article suggesting that cocaine use may actually cause rheumatologic conditions. Although the authors admit they're not sure if the cocaine is the culprit, or the contaminants in the cocaine.

On the other hand, there's quite a bit of literature about the potential medical benefits of coca leaves, which people have been consuming in South America for thousands of years. Although coca leaves are a far cry from the pure cocaine Somers was using.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Apr 13, 1979

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 15, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Drugs | Health | Medicine | 1970s

July 14, 2021

Castration and Longevity

Evidence is accumulating that castration can increase a man's odds of living longer.

Farmers have long known that castrated sheep live longer than non-castrated sheep. But researchers in New Zealand were recently able to demonstrate, on a molecular level, that castration slows the aging of DNA (in sheep).

The presumption is that what's true for sheep is also likely true for humans. And there's research to back this up. From a 2015 article on

Korean scientist Han-Nam Park recently analysed the detailed records of court life from the 19th Century, including information about 81 eunuchs whose testicles had been removed before puberty. His analyses revealed that the eunuchs lived for around 70 years – compared to an average of just 50 years among the other men in the court. Overall, they were 130 times more likely to celebrate their hundredth birthday than the average man living in Korea at the time. Even the kings – who were the most pampered people in the palace – did not come close.

More info: The Lifespan of Korean Eunuchs, Castration delays epigenetic aging and feminizes DNA methylation at androgen-regulated loci

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 14, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Genitals | Longevity

Yachtley Crew

Yachtley Crew is the Nations first-class tribute to the best soft rock of the 70's and 80's also known as "yacht rock"

Their home page.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 14, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Money | Music | Parody

July 13, 2021

Another Misunderstanding

Following up on Paul's recent post, "All a Misunderstanding," here's another case that is doubtless just an innocent case of a misunderstanding.

Convicted drug offender Declan Butcher was picked up by police and found to have a bag containing cocaine between his buttocks. This seemed to be a blatant violation of his previously imposed bail conditions. But Butcher explained to the judge that it wasn't his fault because the cocaine "had been put there by someone else without his knowledge".

Belfast Telegraph

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 13, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Stupid Criminals

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 36

"Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst with his sculpture, Capricorn, 1947"

Foto source.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 13, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Art | Avant Garde | Surrealism | Statues and Monuments | Husbands | Wives | 1940s

July 12, 2021

The Glamorous Women of the Spruance Rayon Plant

From DuPont's Better Living magazine (Sep/Oct 1949):

they are six of the 800 women employees at Spruance rayon plant.

These Virginia beauties have been photographed in a distinctive style, developed by leading U.S. lensmen to create an aura of glamour about their subjects. Such pictures have helped establish American women as the world's most glamorous...

They bespeak the beauty of Virginia women and qualify the Du Pont girls to rank with Hollywood's and Park Avenue's best as representatives of U.S. glamour.

I'm intrigued by their job titles. What in the world is a "slashing creel operator" or a "throwing operator"?

Some info about the Spruance Rayon Plant: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 12, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues | Industry, Factories and Manufacturing | 1940s

July 11, 2021

Weird alien sounds designed to terrify and panic

In 1969, Alfred Mardarello et al. were granted a patent for a "noisemaking device" which could be attached to a missile. When the missile was fired and flying through the air, their gadget would create "weird, alien sounds" intended to terrify the enemy. From their patent:

The invention relates to a projectile that is adapted to produce frightening noises while in flight, whereby such alien sounds will have a terrrifying effect on people nearby.

The psychological effects of weird or unexpected noises, which accompany an artillery projectile or missile, have been explored in many ways, prior to this invention, with minimum results. The Germans, in World War II, attached a noise producing device to aerial bombs, somewhat similar in construction to the organ pipe. A high pitched noise was created. This could be used only on large bombs and was too massive for use on artillery projectiles...

The insufficiencies of the prior art are overcome by the noisemaking adapter of the instant invention. The adapter ring is so designed that they attach to an existant missile without requiring modification of said missile. Centrifugal force, as a result of the spinning motion of the missile after being fired, causes the noisemaking arms or fins to extend and to produce weird, alien sounds of such magnitude as to be heard over a substantial area. The psychological effect, to create panic to those in the vicinity, is thus effected.

I have no idea if this patent was ever used in combat. But I don't really understand the point of making something that's already terrifying (a missile) even more terrifying by having it produce weird, alien sounds. Isn't the terror of the missile itself enough?

I guess it was part of the psychological warfare effort during Vietnam. See also Ghost Tape Number Ten.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 11, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: 1960s | Weapons | Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

Jo Jo the French Terror

I don't think it's false nostalgia to say that people and events were more colorful in the past. I don't see any modern criminals who possess a resume like Jo Jo's.

Source of text.

Source of photo.

Source of article.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 11, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Scary Criminals | Outsiders, Marginals, the Excluded and Low-castes | 1930s

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