Weird Universe Archive

February 2016

February 17, 2016

Buried Upright

April 1963: Rev. Andrew Stackhouse of Conway, South Carolina designed his own casket which allowed him to be buried sitting upright. After he died of a heart attack, at the age of 58, none of his friends or family could explain why he had built the special casket. The best answer they could come up with was that: "He just didn't want to lie down, and he liked to be different."

Jet - Apr 25, 1963

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 17, 2016 - Comments (7)
Category: Death, 1960s

True Legend

Andres Ruzo grew up with the story of the boiling river as told to him by his grandfather. Later, as a geoscientist, he decided to try and validate the legend. The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon is the story of how, as a man, he proved the legend that captivated him as a boy.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 17, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Geography and Maps, Science, Books, Myths and Fairytales

A Strange “Robbery”


Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 17, 2016 - Comments (9)
Category: Stupid Criminals, 1970s, Brain Damage

February 16, 2016

Died Twice

July 1974: Venezuelan fisherman Ramon Rivera Rodriguez woke up, looked around himself, realized he was in a coffin at his own funeral, and promptly had a heart attack and died. His relatives subsequently demanded action against the doctor who had incorrectly pronounced him dead the first time.

I can't find any more info and the life and double death of Ramon Rodriguez, beyond the wire story that ran in papers in July 1974. The same story, containing identical details, also ran in Spanish-language papers.

South China Morning Post - July 29, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 16, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, 1970s

Action Man

For what started as a GI Joe ripoff, this toy seems to have evolved its own complex mythology. Not sure about propriety of "Bulletman," since that was and is a DC Comics character.

Full story here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 16, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Toys, 1960s, Europe

February 15, 2016

Space Tourism Posters

NASA is giving away space tourism posters. NASA had the posters designed, presumably to encourage continued interest in the space program. Whatever the purpose, the posters are very cool. Check them all out at the link.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 15, 2016 - Comments (8)
Category: Art, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, Graphics

Weird News of the 20th Century

The first post was made on WU on July 30, 2008, and since that time we've explored many strange and unusual subjects. But unfortunately, it's difficult to browse through the back catalog of all that we've posted about, unless someone is willing to wade through the category or month-by-month archives, which aren't designed for easy browsing.

In an attempt to address this problem (or, at least, begin to address it) I've put together a gallery of Weird News of the 20th Century. I've added the menu to navigate this gallery at the top of the page. (It's the list of decades that you should see right below the WU banner and google ad.) The gallery is still a work-in-progress, but it's got enough content to go live.

I designed the gallery with new visitors to the site especially in mind, hoping it can serve as an introduction to all the weirdness we explore and give them something to look at beyond just the main page.

But, of course, long-time WUvies may find some things in the gallery that they missed. Enjoy!

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 15, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Weird Universe

Name That List, #28

What is this a list of? The answer is below in extended.

  • 1706 handfuls of peanuts
  • 198 sandwiches
  • 891 chunks of bread
  • 516 gum drops
  • 814 peppermints, toffees, and licorice
  • 811 biscuits
  • 7 ice cream bars
  • 17 apples
  • 198 slices of orange
  • 1 meat ball
  • 1 leather glove
  • 16 pieces of paper
  • 2 small branches
  • 1 shoelace

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 15, 2016 - Comments (13)
Category: Name That List

From Cretin to Genius

In the 1920s, Doctor Serge Voronoff famously decided that grafting monkey glands onto the testicles of human males would rejuvenate the recipients. His ludicrous failed experiments provided the punchlines for innumerable jokes thereafter.

But what I did not realize was that twenty years later, Voronoff was still at it. Now he claimed, in his book FROM CRETIN TO GENIUS, that transplanting monkey glands would alter the intelligence of the subjects. Below is the start of a review from 1943.


Below: the Doc and Missus.


Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 15, 2016 - Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Eccentrics, Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Sexuality, 1920s, 1940s, Genitals

February 14, 2016

News of the Weird (February 14, 2016)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M462, February 14, 2016
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

Intelligent Design:’s most recent “Absurd Creature” feature shows a toad devouring a larva of a much-smaller beetle, but the “absurdity” is that the larva is in charge and that the toad will soon be beetle food. The larva’s Darwinian advantage is that, inside the toad, it paralyzes the hapless “predator” with its hooked jaws and then secretes enzymes to begin decomposing the toad’s tissue (making it edible)--and provoking it to vomit the still-alive larva. [, 1-29-2016]

Great Achievements in Laziness

An 80-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman were ticketed in separate incidents in Canada the week of January 18th when police spotted them driving cars completely caked in snow except for a small portion of the windshield. The man, from Brussels, Ontario, was driving a car resembling a “pile of snow on the road.” The Halifax, Nova Scotia, woman’s car was, a police statement said, “a snowbank on four wheels.” [Globe and Mail, 1-21-2016] [Associated Press via WMUR-TV (Manchester, N.H.), 1-21-2016]

Great Art!

Fed up with the “pretense” of the art world, performer (and radio personality) Lisa Levy of Brooklyn, N.Y., sat on a toilet, naked and motionless, at the Christopher Stout Gallery in January to protest artists’ “BS” by presenting herself in the “humblest” way she could imagine. Visitors were invited to sit on a facing toilet (clothed or not) and interact with her in any way except for touching. Levy told the Bushwick Daily website that too much “ego,” “like a drug,” “distorts your reality.” [Bushwick Daily, 1-20-2016]

Wait, What?

In January, the U.S. Department of Justice’s inspector general recommended closing down a program of the Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration that paid employees of other federal agencies (Amtrak and the beloved Transportation Security Administration) for tips on suspicious passengers. (The program apparently ignored that federal employees have such a duty even without a bounty.) DEA was apparently interested in passengers traveling with large amounts of cash--which DEA could potentially seize if it suspected the money came from illegal activity (and also, of course, then keep the money under federal forfeiture law). According to the inspector general, the tipping TSA agent was to be rewarded with a cut of any forfeited money. [USA Today, 1-7-2016]

Chiropractor William DeAngelo of Stratford, Conn., was charged with assault in January after an employee complained that she was ordered to lie down on a table and let DeAngelo apply electrical shocks to her back--as punishment for being the office gossiper, spreading rumors about colleagues. DeAngelo said he was reacting to complaints from patients and staff but seemed to suggest in a statement to police that he was only “re-edcat[ing]” the woman on how to use the electrical stimulator in the office’s practice (though she felt the need to report to a hospital afterward). [Connecticut Post, 1-29-2016]

The Continuing Crisis

Britain’s North Yorkshire Police successfully applied to a judge in January for a “sexual risk order” against a man whose name was not disclosed publicly and whose alleged behavior was not revealed. Whoever he is and whatever he did, he is forbidden to enter into any sexual situation with anyone without providing at least 24 hours’ notice to York magistrates--nor is he allowed to look at or possess any sexually oriented materials. According to the York Press, the order is temporary until May 19th, at which time the magistrates may extend it. [York Press, 1-21-2016]

Bright Ideas

Christopher Lemek, Jr., was arrested in Palmer, Mass., in January and charged in a New Year’s Eve hit-and-run accident that took a pedestrian’s life. Lemek emerged as a suspect a few days after the collision when police, visiting his home, noticed freshly-disturbed earth in his backyard. Eventually Lemek confessed to literally burying the evidence--using a construction vehicle to crush his truck and an excavator to dig up his back yard and drop the truck into it. [The Republican (Springfield), 1-8-2016]

No Need for a Pre-Nup: The 20-year New York marriage of Gabriel Villa, now 90, and Cristina Carta Villa, now 59, apparently had its happy moments, but as Cristina found out when things went bad recently, Gabriel had attempted to protect himself shortly after the wedding--by obtaining a Dominican Republic divorce and keeping it secret. Cristina found out only when she realized in a property accounting that her name was not on the deed to their Manhattan apartment. (She is challenging that divorce as improper even under Dominican law.) [New York Post, 1-24-2016]

Suspicions Confirmed

Several Connecticut state troopers involved in a DUI checkpoint in September were apparently caught on video deliberating whether to make up charges against a (perhaps obnoxious) checkpoint monitor. Veteran protester Michael Picard, 27, posted the videos on his YouTube page in January, showing troopers (illegally) confiscating Picard’s camera and suggesting among themselves various charges they could write up (at least some not warranted by evidence) to, as one trooper was heard imploring, “cover our asses.” (The troopers returned the camera after deliberating but seemed unaware that it had been running during the entire incident.) State police internal affairs officers are investigating. [Hartford Courant, 1-26-2016]


Private Parts: (1) A middle-aged woman reported to a firehouse in Padua, Italy, in January to ask for help opening a lock for which she had misplaced the key. It turned out that the lock was to the iron chastity belt she was wearing--of her own free will, she said (because she had recently begun a romantic relationship that she wanted not to become too quickly sexual). (2) Firefighers in Osnabruck, Germany, told Berlin’s The Local that in two separate incidents in December, men had come to their stations asking for help removing iron rings they had placed on their penises to help retain erections. (The Local, as a public service, quoted a prominent European sexual-aid manufacturer’s recommendation--to instead use silicone rings, which usually do not require professional removal.) [Daily Telegraph (London), 1-17-2016] [The Local (Berlin), 12-8-2015]

Recurring Themes

Few matters in life are weirder than the Scottish love of haggis (sheep’s liver, heart, tongue, and fat, blended with oats and seasonings, boiled inside sheep’s stomach to its enticing gray color!), and in January, in honor of the Scottish poet-icon Robert Burns, prominent Peruvian chef Mitsuhara Tsumura joined Scotland’s Paul Wedgwood to create haggis from, instead of sheep, guinea pig. Wedgwood said he was “proud” to raise haggis “to new gastronomic levels.” [Daily Telegraph (London), 1-21-2016]

Least Competent Criminals

(1) Briton Jacqueline Patrick, 55, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in December for the 2013 murder of her husband, accomplished by spiking his wine with anti-freeze. To cover her crime, she handed over a note the husband had supposedly written, requesting that if tragedy struck him, he wished not to be resuscitated, preferring to die with “dignerty” [sic]. Suspicious, police asked Patrick to spell “dignity,” which, of course, came out “dignerty.” (2) Kristina Green, 19, and Gary Withers, 38, both already on probation, were arrested in Encinitas, Calif., in December after an driver reported them following his delivery truck and scooping up packages as soon as he dropped them off. Inside the pair’s car, officers found numerous parcels and mail addressed to others plus a “To Do” list that read, “steal mail and shoplift.” [Reuters, 11-23-2015] [San Diego Union-Tribune, 12-15-2015]

A News of the Weird Classic (December 2011)

In October [2011], the super-enthusiastic winners of a Kingston, Ontario, radio station contest claimed their prize: the chance to don gloves and dig for free Buffalo Bills' football tickets (value $320), buried in buffalo manure in a wading pool. The show's host, Sarah Crosbie, reported the digging live (but, overcome by the smell, vomited on the air). More curious was a runner-up contestant, who continued to muck around for the second prize even though it was only tickets to a local zoo. [Yahoo Canada Sports, 10-21-2011]

Thanks This Week to Patty Lively, Phyllis Sensenig, Ann Lloyd, and Jeff Brown, and to the News of the Weird Board Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Feb 14, 2016 - Comments (8)

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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.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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