Weird Universe Archive

August 2016

August 9, 2016

The Classic Middle Name

In the course of 25,000 stories in nearly 1,500 weekly columns over the years, the most interesting and iconic category was my appreciation that many, many murderers had the middle name of Wayne--beginning with the Houston serial killer Elmer W. Henley, the "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" killer John W. Wilson, and of course the storied John W. Gacy. Next Sunday (August 14), I'll run the latest list (all-new!), and below is an advance peek. Later this week, I will try to post a page on WU that is the updated cumulative list since I started "collecting." It won't be a "database" because that would imply that I've actually searched for middle-name Waynes in, for example, prisons; I haven't; the list is of middle-name-Waynes who made the news just before a column was due. Nonetheless, the list is still sort-of-breathtaking to me. NOTE: It is still possible, barely, that someone on my lists might be "innocent." More likely, but still extremely rare, a person on my lists might be "not guilty." (For the difference, think O.J.) In that sense, my not-a-database is to illustrate a point with its spectacularity and not to accuse.]

From News of the Weird M488 (August 14, 2016)

The Classic Middle Name (All New!)
* Arrested Recently and Charged with Murder: Cody Wayne Fish (Norman, Okla., August); Curtis Wayne Trexler (Salisbury, N.C., July); Daryl Royston Wayne Cook (Hobart, Australia, July); James Wayne Rodgers Jr. (Dallas, Tex., May); Bruce Wayne Cameron (St. Louis County, Minn., June 2015). Fugitive Murder Arrest Warrant Issued: Vernon Wayne King (Harrisburg, Pa., August). Pleaded Guilty to Murder: Stacy Wayne Brown (Wilmington, N.C., July). Sentenced for Murder: Christopher Wayne Hill (Harlan County, Ky., June) (a different Christopher Wayne Hill than reported years ago in News of the Weird). Killed Himself Resisting Arrest for Murder: David Wayne Campbell (Mason County, Wash., February). Granted New Sentencing Hearing: convicted murderer Michael Wayne Norris (Houston, Tex., June). Committed Suicide in Prison: convicted murderer Flint Wayne Harrison (Farmington, Utah, July). Executed for Murder: John Wayne Conner (Jackson, Ga., July).
[Fish: Norman Transcript, 8-1-2016] [Trexler: WXII-TV(Greensboro), 7-19-2016] [Cook: The Mercury (Hobart), 7-24-2016] [Rodgers: Dallas Morning News, 5-10-2016] [Cameron: Duluth News Tribune, 6-2-2016] [King: WPMT-TV (Harrisburg), 8-2-2016] [Brown: WWAY-TV (Wilmington), 7-18-2016] [Hill: Harlan Daily Enterprise, 6-2-2016] [Campbell: Associated Press via Seattle Times, 2-27-2016] [Norris: Associated Press via YourHoustonNews.com, 6-22-2016] [Harrison: GephardtDaily.com (Salt Lake City), 7-25-2016] [Conner: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7-15-2016]

Posted By: Chuck - Tue Aug 09, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category:

Pope performs a miracle



May 1984: Jan Lavric was wheeled forward in a wheelchair to receive a blessing from Pope John Paul II. Blessing received, he was wheeled back, at which point he promptly stood up, folded the chair, and carried it away. "It must be a miracle," someone in the crowd gasped.

Lavric later explained that it was no miracle. He was fully able-bodied. He had sat down in the wheelchair because it was the only seat left in the audience chamber, and he had been too embarrassed to say anything when a Swiss Guard unexpectedly wheeled him forward.

Southern Illinoisan - May 3, 1984

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 09, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Religion, 1980s

Chinese Fingernail Reading



I had been unaware until now that Chinese Palmistry interpreted one's fingernails as well.

A modern guide is here.


But I rather like these interpretations from 1905.


Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 09, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Body, Superstition, 1900s, Asia

August 8, 2016

The scientist who feared inhaling beer cans

Back in 1969, air-pollution researcher Alfred Hulstrunk had arrived at the pessimistic conclusion that pollution levels were getting so bad that within 10 to 15 years every man, woman, and child would need to wear a breathing helmet to survive outdoors. And within 20 years, he predicted, everyone would have to live in domed cities.

Part of the problem, Hulstrunk believed, was all the stuff that society produced, such as "plastic beer containers that can be burned instead of just discarded." When burned, the beer cans added to air pollution. He noted, "Aesthetically you improve your area so that you don't have beer cans along the road, but now you are breathing beer cans."

Therefore, Hulstrunk had prepared for the future by designing an air pollution survival suit "to prevent inhaling beer cans or any other matter."

Corsicana Daily Sun - Dec 23, 1969



Arizona Republic - Dec 21, 1969



Note: It looks like Hulstrunk is still around, now aged 90. He recently gave a talk at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 08, 2016 - Comments (8)
Category: Predictions, Yesterday’s Tomorrows, Science, 1960s

Joey Reynolds and the Beatles





An ancient manufactured pop-music feud.

The Joey Reynolds story here.


Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 08, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Law, Music, Rivalries, Feuds and Grudges, 1960s

August 7, 2016

Invention of the Shopping Cart



Modern, four-wheeled shopping carts were invented around 1937 by Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Standard Food and Humpty Dumpty grocery store chains in Oklahoma. Before then, shoppers either used hand baskets or the two-wheeled kind of carts. They also shopped more often.

The four-wheeled carts paved the way for the rise of massive supermarkets and big-box stores, because they allowed shoppers to accumulate more stuff before heading to the checkout.

However, in later years Goldman revealed that shoppers were initially reluctant to use the four-wheeled carts. They reminded women of pushing a baby carriage, and men thought they were unmanly.

So Goldman hired attractive models to push the carts around his stores:

"When a customer entered, a young lady would offer a shopping cart. If the shopper hesitated, the woman would say, "See, other people are using them. Why not try it?"
"This was the gimmick that did the trick and the carts were then accepted without further difficulty," Goldman said.


Albuquerque Journal - Aug 27, 1976







Mar 12 - 1984

Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 07, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions

Death by Myopia

image

Click to embiggen.

Original story here.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Aug 07, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, Law, 1980s, Eyes and Vision

August 6, 2016

Most items kicked off people’s heads

23-year-old Silvana Shamuon recently established a new Guinness world record in the category of "Most items kicked off people's heads in one minute."

She kicked 59 American footballs off people's heads.

According to the rules, her foot had to touch the floor between each kick, and the people with the footballs on their heads had to have a minimum height of 5' 4.1". And they couldn't be bending their knees too much to lower their height.

Shamuon beat the previous record of 57 items (plastic cones) established by Gaurav Goley last year.

As I watch the video I'm pretty sure that Shamuon got in a few good kicks direct to people's heads (which moved their head enough to cause the ball to fall). Also, it seems to me that some of the footballs fell before Shamuon even raised her leg. I don't know if those got included in the final count.

More info: Guinness World Records

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 06, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: World Records

The Jesus Cloud of 1963



This strange cloud appeared over Arizona in 1963 and inspired many mystical revelations.

Good coverage here.

And here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 06, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Eccentrics, Nature, Religion, 1960s

August 5, 2016

Suddenly hated money

The recurring weird-news theme of people who destroy large amounts of money for various reasons (usually so that their heirs can't get their hands on it).

The Wilmington News Journal - Jan 8, 1963



She Saw Green
LONDON — Mrs. Doris Lilian Hawtree, 46, told a magistrate's court yesterday she tore up $700 after a quarrel with her daughter's mother-in-law made her suddenly "hate money."

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 05, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Money, 1960s

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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.

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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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