Weird Universe Archive

December 2012

December 24, 2012

Virginia O’Hanlon, Santa Claus Skeptic

Virginia O'Hanlon is famous as the young girl who wrote a letter to the New York Sun in 1897 asking if Santa Claus was real, prompting a reply from Francis P. Church, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." But you have to feel a bit sorry for O'Hanlon, because almost every year after that, until she died in 1971, reporters sought her out to do follow-ups to find out if she still believed in Santa Claus. It must have been frustrating to be asked the same question, year after year.

O'Hanlon as a young girl

O'Hanlon was always very gracious about the repetitive questioning, (seems like she was a very nice lady), and would say that of course she believed in Santa Claus — except for 1935 when she must have been in a dark mood, because in that year she came close to saying that she no longer believed. She told a reporter:

I still keep my faith in the ultimate kindness of human nature, but how can I, or anyone, believe in the Santa I knew as a child when today there is so much misery and suffering in the world?

If Santa lives today, he lives only in the childish joy of those he has made happy. How can he live in the crying hearts of those he has forsaken? Little children, such as I was, trust in Santa Claus as a miraculous munificence through which all things are made possible. There will be a tree, there will be loved ones about, gaiety and cherished toys that have been dreamt about for months.

Those whom Santa visits think of Christmas as a beautiful, sacred occasion which it should be — but today seldom is. But for every child tucked into bed Christmas night with his new toy, there are hundreds, no thousands, who huddle in ragged bed clothing sobbing in the night at a fate at best cruel.

In subsequent years she returned to giving simpler, more upbeat answers. The clip below shows her on the Perry Como show in 1960.

And here she is in 1966, looking slightly frazzled. Perhaps the questioning was finally getting to her.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Dec 24, 2012 - Comments (4)
Category: Customs, Holidays

How Cold Is It?

Watch what happens to boiling water thrown out the window in Siberia in the winter.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Dec 24, 2012 - Comments (8)
Category: Science

December 23, 2012

“Happpy Bacon Days” from Those Bacon Boys

Alex, Chuck and Paul wish you

"Happy Bacon Days"

This may explain our preoccupation with bacon.


Here's the real source:

Also good -- number 5 and 7.

(Where can I get my own delicious vest and dress coat?)

Posted By: gdanea - Sun Dec 23, 2012 - Comments (4)
Category: Bacon

Tales of Dark:  Of Grandiose Fevers and Passion Arcane

If H. P. Lovecraft were alive today, sixteen years old and a Goth, this is the song he would have written. The only things missing are the word "eldritch" and some tentacles.

More on the band here.

Reach the ancient heart of the stygian obscurity
Wherein all the names of mine are written
In pits profound,where festered dreams sigh
And longings scorched seek reason to return.
Admire the flame flowered mansions arcane
The sulfurous secrets gowned in rapture profane
Fear not the fire of all-knowing wisdom
Furiously burning with such ravishing splendour.

On the wings of my most fervent passion
Which the fools dare name blasfemia
To thee I have returned from the heart-dead sunworms domain
A coffin-shaped lair they have woven around me
For I've pledged no allegiance
To their fabulous sacred theories
Those spurious servants of a crownless king
Who holds their cross in vain.

No Phoenix phenomenon shall their fall contain!
Leave their carcasses scattered and slain!

And now I'm visualised
To blind-faithed eyes
Lofty and proud, to be recognized.
As the mourning-scented bloodstorm winds
Of their final downfall blow
Like a nightclad werewolf upon the moonlit glade
I shall hunt them down in the snow.

...and the frostbitten ground
now consumes their wretched gore
My victorious hiss fulfills the oceans ethereal
And the stars gleam nameless above
As shadows call forth the seas of Cthulhu
Be wide awake my dearest
Of my fiery necromantic kiss!

Thine arms soothing around me enfold
To cease my yearning cursed
The sweetest witchcraft thy lips do hold
Can only quench my thirst.

'Neath the enchantingly blazing corona of night
drown thy desire into mine!
With all the senses cast to a feverous grandeur
In the sins of the flesh we entwine.

Eternally...We entwine...

Posted By: Paul - Sun Dec 23, 2012 - Comments (6)
Category: Armageddon and Apocalypses, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Dreams and Nightmares, Evil, Goths, Music, Noises and Other Public Disturbances of the Peace, Europe, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

Dying pigs’ squeal used to sell pianos

Found in Popular Mechanics, October 1907:

It has long been the boast of the Chicago packing houses, that in killing hogs everything is utilized — except the squeal. The squeal has now been turned to account in this way:

An ingenious piano salesman travels through the country, taking several instruments with him. To draw a crowd he gives a free evening entertainment with a moving picture machine. Between each series of views he demonstrates on the pianos. One of his pictures shows the progress of events at a packing house. To make the scenes in the killing room realistic he visited the plant and secured some phonograph records of the porkers as they let out some vigorous remarks. Now when the moving picture reaches the pig sticking act, he turns on his phonograph and his visitors can see and hear just as if they were actually present at the original scene of operations.

I wonder how many pianos he sold using this method.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 23, 2012 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Music, Advertising, 1900s

December 22, 2012

News of the Weird (12-22-2012)

The News of the Weird Blog
Angst, Confusion, Cynicism, Ridicule

Hand-Picked and Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
Saturday, December 22, 2012

Iowa City, Iowa: The Iowa Supreme Court, 7-0, said it wasn’t gender discrimination when a hot assistant got fired on account of being too arousing for her boss. Her firing wasn’t “discrimination,” said the justices, but rather for being a “threat to the boss’s marriage.” (Guess how many of the 7 justices are scroto-Americans.) Associated Press

Pyongyang, North Korea: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “techies” released their first racing video game, which is apparently to the outside world’s racing games as Pong is to Madden 2013, e.g., lots of "stationary" cars, if you go off the road, you get automatically restarted. Jalopnik /// Slate

Baltimore: A 38-yr-old bureaucrat with the Social Security Administration was formally reprimanded for farting at work, and, it being a unionized workplace, a supervisor had to actually log the stink bombs in writing (17 dates, 60 blasts), just to make the charge stick. The worker says it’s a medical problem but offered no evidence. The Smoking Gun

Broomfield, Colo.: Rules being drafted by the state Dept. of Agriculture will require any pet facility that contains a pool of any depth to leash all animals put little life jackets on all animals (and not just those pathetic ol’ rock-like bulldogs). Daily Camera (Boulder)

Whatcom County, Wash.: Doug Spink famously operated the notorious bestiality farm in the news several yrs ago but when he went to prison, it was not for that but for the easier-collar of violating previous parole. He’s out now, and charges were filed based on evidence recovered in 2010, including “13 mice, each coated in a lubricant.” Bellingham Herald (link from Seattle Weekly)

Anchorage, Alaska: Oh, how Yr Editor hates it when some unfortunately well-meaning person explains “the whole story” behind some weird guy that News of the Weird has taken a fancy to! Here’s a well-done explanation of Billy Gibby, famous for trying to set a world record for most advertisements tattooed on his face (20). He’s bipolar, with the manic phase being fairly successful (competitive runner, wife and 5 kids), but, then, one time it seemed like a good idea to him to take on another face tat ad for $75. Oh, and his legal name is now Hostgator M. Dotcom. Other than that . . .. Anchorage Press, citing Porn Watchers, offers a believable wait! no way! ehhh, maybe probably pretty close approximation of the importance of pornography on the Internet. Just two sites of free and paid porn ( and offer 735,000 videos, have entertained 93 billion views since 2006 (average of 15 views for every person on Earth), with total time spent on just those two sites, by all visitors . . . 1.2 million years. [And there are thousands of other such sites . . . Yr Editor has been told.]

© 2012 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Posted By: Chuck - Sat Dec 22, 2012 - Comments (0)


New sports are always being invented. But will they become universal? I am in doubt about Kabbadi. Although, as this BBC article tells us, there's a UK women's team. What do you think? USA Kabbadi leagues with primetime ESPN coverage?

I am a little unclear how any ref could enforce this rule during the melee: "Then the raider tries to return to his own half, holding his breath and chanting the word "Kabaddi" during the whole raid."

I think the announcers though will rival the Latino ones who shout "GOOOOAAAL!" in soccer matches.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 22, 2012 - Comments (2)
Category: Sports, Asia, Europe, India

Eating Raw Chicken

If you plan to serve a chicken dinner over the holidays, save yourself some time and serve it raw. Call it Chicken Sashimi, which is a Japanese delicacy, and is basically raw chicken. (image via

According to a writer in Esquire, raw chicken isn't actually more dangerous than any other raw meat:

One of the first things any novice cook is taught is that when working with chicken, we must blast it with heat to lay waste to every last microbe. We cure pork and call it ham, order duck breast medium-rare, savor lamb chops served blue, but we won't serve an Oven Stuffer Roaster whose juices aren't running clear. I thought that maybe pink chicken might not only taste better but eliminate an item from my list of things to fear while cooking.

But first, there was the small matter of salmonella. I spoke with a number of poultry scientists and discovered that while it's plausible that salmonella (a bacterium that, by the way, is hardly unique to chickens) could show up on a chicken's skin and contaminate cutting boards, the chances that it works its way inside a muscle, like the breast, all by itself? Very, very slim, and really no different from the odds of E. coli camping out in a medium-rare steak. The Centers for Disease Control has documented five salmonella outbreaks this year, none of which involved eating chicken.

To be clear: ingesting almost anything involves a certain level of risk. But if you've ever eaten supermarket cold cuts, potato salad at a steamy August cookout, or any food while vacationing in Mexico, pink chicken should rest squarely within your food-safety comfort zone.

Next time you order chicken at a restaurant, ask for it medium rare and see how the waiter reacts.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 22, 2012 - Comments (3)
Category: Food

December 21, 2012

They Don’t Write Headlines Like That Anymore


Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 21, 2012 - Comments (5)
Category: Journalism, Goofs and Screw-ups

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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.

Chuck Shepherd
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

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