Weird Universe Archive

February 2013

February 16, 2013

Early Solar-Powered Car

A 1912 Baker Electric car that was retrofitted with a solar panel by Charles Escoffery for the International Rectifier Corp. back in 1960. The panel cost $20,000. (I don't know what that would be in present-day money, but it wouldn't be cheap.) With the panel, the Baker could run at 20 mph for three hours. International Rectifier hoped to soon be churning out "noiseless, smogless" solar cars for $5000 each. It's 53 years later now, and we're still waiting. Source: Newsweek (Mar 7, 1960) & M3GA.



Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 16, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Inventions, 1960s, Cars

Drawings of the Insane

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To accompany yesterday's poems by the mentally ill, here you will find many drawings by Russian psychiatric patients.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Feb 16, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Outsider Art, Russia, Brain Damage

February 15, 2013

Flatulence On A Plane

There was a study done about flatulence in airliners. This study found that passengers should let fly to avoid gastrointestinal distress. Pilots, on the other hand should hold back so as not to endanger the flight by incapacitating the copilot with the smell. I guess the pilot and copilot also better stay in the cockpit then to avoid the passengers' free floating flatulence!

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 15, 2013 - Comments (8)
Category: Flight

Doc Owens, Con Man

As early as December 1900, the notorious Doc Owens was making headlines, having established his racket of fleecing sea-going sheep.



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READ LEFT-HAND COLUMN, THEN RIGHT-HAND COLUMN, THEN SAME FOR THE TWO FOLLOWING.

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Three years later, The New York Times did a special feature on Owens and his fellows (with his photo miscaptioned).

Click here for very readable PDF download.

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But Owens was to meet poetic justice in 1912, as our final piece reveals.

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Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 15, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Death, Disasters, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1900s, 1910s, Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Poetry of the Insane

While he was attending physician at the Illinois State Hospital for the Insane, Dr. Charles Mayos collected poems that were written by his patients. Of course, all poets are a bit insane, but the ones that interested him were actually locked up and labeled psychotic. Eventually, in 1933, he published a collection of this verse in a book he titled Poetry of the Insane. [St. Petersburg Times]

The publisher mustn't have thought there was a large market for such a book, because only 300 copies of it were printed , which now makes it quite rare — and valuable. Copies fetch up to $200.

I've never got my hands on a copy of the book. (Not willing to pay that much for it.) Below is the only poem from it I can find online. I've read much worse poetry from people who are supposedly sane.

Awakening
by Anonymous
The hue of sorrow everywhere
The jagged rocks seem marble tombs,
Yet through the barren waste way over there,
A lily blooms.

As up the rugged heights revealed,
I creep, and deem the world as wrong;
A singer trills above the love unsealed,
His mating song.

I pierce the gloom with purer eyes,
For here I know that Heaven is —
I yield my empty self and realize
These are all His.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 15, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Books, 1930s, Mental Health and Insanity

February 14, 2013

Electric Waffles for Valentine’s Day


1928 ad, via Paul Collins

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 14, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Food, Holidays, 1920s

Happy Weird Valentine’s Day


Bertha Blair (shown) of Salinas, California lived to be 112, dying in 1988. As a centenarian, she somehow became a poster girl for Valentine's Day. She said that the secret to her longevity was "minding my own business." She didn't offer any tips on how to find true love, but did say that she wished she had been "rich rather than so good-looking."

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 14, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Holidays

Follies of the Madmen #199



Special smokes for wimps!

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 14, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Television, Tobacco and Smoking, Wimps, Milquetoasts and Cowards, 1960s

February 13, 2013

Chocolate Shoes



Mmmmmmmmmm chocolate! Happy Valentines Day! Remember your special someone and make him or her smile.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 13, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Chocolate

Cremain Art

Alabama artist Sergio Protillo adds something a little special into his paint — cremains. People bring him the cremains of their loved ones, and he mixes them into some paint and creates a painting that's "like an additional memory to the person's life." He says one client cried when he saw his family member's cremain painting. [whnt.com]





Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 13, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Death

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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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