Weird Universe Archive

May 2016

May 4, 2016

Caffeinated Shampoo

The Wall Street Journal reports that one of the latest things in hair care is caffeinated shampoo. The buzz is that the caffeine stimulates hair growth, though too much caffeine might have the opposite effect.

Add this to the list of caffeinated products we've reported on here at WU. We now have (in addition to the shampoo) caffeinated peanut butter, inhaler, body spray, and soap.

Posted By: Alex - Wed May 04, 2016 - Comments (6)
Category: Drugs, Hair and Hairstyling

May 3, 2016

Adopt A Rat

1982: The short-lived Los Angeles "Adopt-a-Rat" program. It lasted about a week. Ended when one of the rats bit a reporter's finger.

(left) Pittsburgh Press - Sep 30, 1982; (right) Paris Texas News - Oct 6, 1982

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 03, 2016 - Comments (6)
Category: Animals, 1980s

Beatnik Fly & Psychedelic Worm

Johnny and the Hurricanes had one shtick: take a public domain tune and give it the yakety-sax treatment. Here are two of the more outlandish instances.

Posted By: Paul - Tue May 03, 2016 - Comments (8)
Category: Music, Homages, Pastiches, Tributes and Borrowings, Psychedelic, 1950s, 1960s

May 2, 2016

News of the Weird (May 1, 2016)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M473, May 1, 2016
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

One notably hypersuccessful YouTube channel (700,000 subscribers) features Mr. Lauri Vuohensilta of Finland pulverizing various objects (such as a bowling ball) in a 100-ton hydraulic press. (Said Vuohensilta, “I think it’s built into every person--the need to destroy something.”) That channel is free of charge, but other entrepreneurs have created 24-hour pay-per-month websites and apps offering similarly specialized programing, e.g., “Zombie Go Boom” (actors taking chain saws to things; $5 a month), “Hungry Monk Yoga” (posing in orange robes while teaching martial arts; $15 a month); and “Lather Fantasies” (clothed people “excessively shampooing each other’s hair”; $20 a month). (An April Wall Street Journal report noted that the “lather” channel “sounds kinkier than it actually is.”) [Washington Post, 4-19-2016] [Wall Street Journal, 4-13-2016]

Recurring Themes (recent examples of traditional weird-news themes repeated over News of the Weird’s 28 years, along with Updates on a few of our favorite characters)

Restaurants in Tokyo continue their vigilance for unique, attention-demanding animal themes to attract diners. Eateries showcasing tableside cats, rabbits, owls, hawks, and even snakes have tried their hand, with the latest being “Harry,” with food and drink--and 20 to 30 teacup-size hedgehogs for diners to fondle while awaiting meal service. The equivalent of $9 brings an hour of cuddling rights. [Reuters via The Guardian (London), 4-7-2016]

Fine Points of the Law: In some states, as News of the Weird has reported, visitors with the barest “right” to occupy property (e.g., invited in for one night but never left) cannot be evicted except by court order, which might take weeks to obtain. In April, owners in Flint, Mich., and Nampa, Idaho, were outraged that nothing could be done quickly to remove squatters from their vacated houses. (The Nampa squatter produced a “lease” that, though fraudulent, was enough to send the sheriff away.) [WJRT-TV (Flint), 4-6-2016] [KIVI-TV (Boise), 4-11-2016]

The two most recent instances of suspects who claimed that the drugs or paraphernalia found in their genitals during police searches were not theirs (but were only being stored there for other people) were Tiffany Flores, 23, arrested in Fellsmere, Fla., on April 5th with a crack pipe in her vagina, and Deondre Lumpkin, 23, arrested in Largo, Fla., on March 22nd with crack cocaine “concealed beneath his genitals” (though did admit owning the marijuana found in his car). [The Smoking Gun, 4-6-2016] [The Smoking Gun, 3-26-2016]

Smooth Getaway: The December burglary of the Halifax bank in Sale, England, drew attention even though the hour was just after midnight--because Jamie Keegan and Marc Shelton (both age 33) had tried to haul away an ATM but had it fall out the back of their van, producing calamitous noise (and sparks in the road). (Also, the ATM had an “out of order” sign on it, raising still another question about the efficacy of the crime.) In February the Minshull Street Crown Court sentenced the pair to 40 months each in prison. (Bonus: In court, Shelton helpfully corrected the legal record by reminding officials that the pair’s crime was actually “burglary” and not, as written, “robbery.”) [Manchester Evening News, 2-2-2016]

The most recent suspect to have the bright idea to try biting off his fingertips (to avoid identification) was Kirk Kelly, wanted in Tampa for violating probation and picked up by police in February in Akron, Ohio. While being detained in Akron, he had begun to chew the skin off his fingers. Even if he had succeeded, he was easily identified as Kirk Kelly because of his body tattoos (“Port Tampa” and “813"--Tampa’s area code). [WFTS-TV (Tampa), 2-26-1016]

More DIY Masters: (1) Randy Velthuizen had lived in the house in Everson, Wash., for 20 years, but in April he accidentally set it afire while attempting to kill weeds with a blowtorch. It was an uninsured total loss. Mused Velthuizen, “It just made downsizing a hell of a lot easier.” (2) In January, four units in an apartment house in midtown Detroit were accidentally burned out by a tenant attempting to kill a bedbug that had bitten him. He had tried to light it up, but by the time the flames were extinguished, he was badly burned; his and three adjacent units were uninhabitable; and two dozen others had suffered water damage. [Bellingham Herald, 4-4-2016] [Detroit Free Press, 1-8-2016]

Sex ‘n’ Veggies: Emergency surgeons at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Costa Rica removed an 18-inch-long “yuca” (cassava root) from the posterior of a 55-year-old man in April after one of the two condoms encasing it ruptured inside him. A photograph in San Juan’s Diario Extra showed that the yuca had been carved into a phallic shape. Apparently, the man avoided what could have been catastrophic internal injury. [Costa Rica Star, 4-6-2016]

Funeral directors who mix up bodies (either accidentally or, in some cases, fraudulently) are not uncommon, but Thomas Clock III of Clock Funeral Home at White Lake (Whiteside, Mich.) was charged with a bit more in April. Not only did Clock allegedly fail to bury the ashes of the late Helen Anthony in December (interring an empty box, instead), but when the family asked for a specific burial date, Clock allegedly told them that no workers were available and that the family would have to dig the cemetery plot themselves--for which Clock helpfully advised using a “post hole digger.” (And they did.) [, 4-7-2016]


Two News of the Weird All-Time Favorites: (1) Obsessive litigant Jonathon Lee Riches asked a federal court in Billings, Mont., in April to somehow issue a well-meaning “restraining” order against Donald Trump--to force Trump out of the presidential race on the ground that he fears assassination. Riches wrote that he loves and adores Trump but suggested as a candidate John McCain (who is “less fiery”). (2) Mr. “Beezow Doo-doo Zopittybop-bop-bop,” 34, was arrested in January for assaulting an Evergreen State College (Olympia, Wash.) police officer. Mr. Zoppitybop-bop-bop (originally, Jeffrey Wilschke) had made News of the Weird several years back with arrests under his new name in Wisconsin and Iowa. [KPAX-TV (Missoula), 4-13-2016] [The Olympian), 2-1-2016]

In April, the Sacramento Bee revealed (from Freedom of Information requests) that University of California, Davis, officials had spent at least $175,000 in scarce state higher-education funds merely to attempt to scrub the Internet of references to the notorious 2011 incident in which a campus police officer deliberately pepper-sprayed the faces of restrained, helpless protesters. The public relations venture was part of a campaign by the school’s chancellor, Linda Katehi, to rehabilitate her image after cutbacks to academic programs. (Other critics ridicule as futile almost any attempt--ever--to scrub news from the Internet.) [Sacramento Bee, 4-13-2016]

What is believed to be the longest-running armed standoff in U.S. history came to a quiet conclusion on January 6th in Trinidad, Tex., when John Joe Gray outlasted the district attorney--never having left his 47-acre ranch in the past 15 years. In 1999, Gray, carrying a pistol but without a permit, resisted arrest and bit a state trooper, retreating to his property, refusing to leave for court. The sheriff, explaining why his deputies declined to go after him, once said, “Joe Gray has been in prison out there himself [for 14 years].” (Actually, the charges were dismissed in December 2014, but when the district attorney left office, he failed to notify Gray or the deputies.) [WFAA-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth, 1-8-2016]

A News of the Weird Classic (March 2012)

Newspapers in Sweden reported in January [2012] that two of the country's most heinous murderers apparently fell in love with each other at their psychiatric institution and, following a 26-day Internet-chat "courtship," had decided to marry. Mr. Isakin Jonsson ("the Skara Cannibal") was convicted of killing, decapitating, and eating his girlfriend, and Michelle Gustafsson ("the Vampire Woman") was convicted of killing a father of four and drinking his blood. Said the love-struck Jonsson (certainly accurately), to the newspaper Expressen, "I have never met anyone like [Michelle]." The pair will almost certainly remain locked up forever, but Gustafsson wrote that she hopes they will be released, to live together and "have dogs and pursue our hobbies, piercing and tattoos." [The Local (Stockholm), 1-30-2012]

Thanks This Week to Patty Lively, Sergio Brusin, and Gary DaSilva, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Mon May 02, 2016 - Comments (3)

Simca Fulgur—Dream Car of the Future

In 1959, the French automaker Simca showed a prototype of the Simca Fulgur (aka "Dream Car of the Future") at various auto shows. It was a concept car designed to demonstrate "the advanced thinking of Simca engineers."

The final car was supposed to incorporate the following not-yet-invented technologies (according to this Dec 1959 article):

  • controlled by an electronic brain fed travel instructions by the driver
  • Power supplied on main highways through magnetic induction from road-imbedded cables
  • On secondary roads, Fulgur derives power from six batteries in the rear which gives it a range of up to 3000 miles.
  • The front wheels which steer the Fulgur at low speeds are retracted at above 90 miles per hour and the car will plane along on its rear wheels.

There was also talk of making the Simca Fulgur atomic-powered. And it seems possible that it may have inspired the design of the Jetsons' car, though I can't find any confirmation of that.

More info:,

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 02, 2016 - Comments (8)
Category: 1950s, Cars

Miniature Grand Prix

This is what we did before video games.

Posted By: Paul - Mon May 02, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Games, Toys, 1960s, Cars

May 1, 2016

The Town That Waved

1941: Reasoning that "we don't have much to show sightseers here," the residents of Sayre, Oklahoma found a different way to attract visitors. They all waved at tourists.

The Gettysburg Times - Oct 1, 1941

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 01, 2016 - Comments (7)
Category: Tourists and Tourism, 1940s

Mystery Illustration 19


What product was this extremely funky individual advertising?

The answer is here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun May 01, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Advertising, 1970s

Page 7 of 7 pages ‹ First  < 5 6 7

Get WU Posts by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

weird universe thumbnail
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.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
June 2024 •  May 2024 •  April 2024 •  March 2024 •  February 2024 •  January 2024

December 2023 •  November 2023 •  October 2023 •  September 2023 •  August 2023 •  July 2023 •  June 2023 •  May 2023 •  April 2023 •  March 2023 •  February 2023 •  January 2023

December 2022 •  November 2022 •  October 2022 •  September 2022 •  August 2022 •  July 2022 •  June 2022 •  May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •