Weird Universe Archive

May 2017

May 22, 2017

Looking For Girls

One for the strange excuses file.

Freeport Journal Standard - Apr 26, 1954

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 22, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: 1950s

May 21, 2017

News of the Weird (May 21, 2017)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M528, May 21, 2017
Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

Officials in charge of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal heritage site recently installed "speed bumps" (similar to those familiar to Americans driving residential streets)--but on a pedestrian walkway, with row upon row of risers, to resemble a washboard. A Western travel writer, along with editors of People's Daily China, suggested that officials were irked that "disorderly" tourists had been walking past the ancient grounds too rapidly to appreciate its beauty or context. [Daily Telegraph (London), 5-4-2017]

The Job of the Researcher

"Marine mammologist" Dara Orbach's specialty is figuring out how bottlenose dolphins actually fit their sex organs together to copulate. When dolphins die of natural causes, Orbach (a post-doctoral fellow at Nova Scotia's Dalhousie University) is sent their genitals (and also those of whales, porpoises, and sea lions) and fills each one with silicone to work from the mold in understanding the sex act's mechanics. Dolphins' vaginas are "surprising" in their "complexity," she told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News in April, for example with the ability to twist inner folds to divert the progress of any sperm deposited by undesirable mates. [CBC News, 4-26-2017]

Bright Ideas

Compared to busy coastal metropolises, "Indiana" may evoke repose, and entrepreneur Tom Battista is suggesting the state's largest city capitalize on the sentiment by reserving a destination site on a low-lying hill overlooking the chaotic merge lanes of two Interstate highways--affording visitors leisurely moments watching the frantic motorists scrambling below. He plans three rows of seats and a sunshade for the relaxed gawkers to take in the "ocean"-like roar and imagine overwrought drivers' rising blood pressure (while their own remains soothingly calm). [WTHR-TV (Indianapolis, 4-25-2017]

Several treatments are available to combat the heart arrhythmia "atrial fibrillation," but all require medical supervision, which John Griffin, 69, said he tried to acquire at the emergency room at New Zealand's Waikato Hospital in April, only to be met with delay and frustration. Griffin went home that day, took notice of his neighbor's 8,000-volt electric security fence, and, with boots off, in a fit of do-it-yourself desperation, nudged it with his arm. He got quite a jolt, he said, but he walked away, and his heart returned to natural rhythm. The medical director of the Heart Foundation of New Zealand said that Griffin was lucky and sternly warned against the "procedure." [New Zealand Herald, 5-2-2017]

Weird Science

Medical researchers have been frustrated for years at failures in getting certain cancer-fighting drugs to reach targeted areas in women's reproductive tracts, but doctors in Germany announced in April a bold technique that appeared to work: sending the drugs via sperm cells (which seem to roam unobstructedly as they search for an egg). The process involves coating active sperm cells with an iron adhesive and magnetically steering them to their internal targets. [, 4-14-2017]

News That Sounds Like a Joke

Sean Clemens, now awaiting trial in Liberty, Ohio, in the death of an 84-year-old woman, allegedly confessed his guilt to a co-worker after telling the man that something was bothering him that he needed to tell someone about--but only if the co-worker would "pinkie-swear" not to tell anyone else. (The co-worker broke the code.) [WKBN-TV (Youngstown), 4-25-2017]

In the course of pursuing claims against Alaskan dentist Seth Lookhart for Medicaid fraud, government investigators found a video on his phone of him extracting a sedated patient's tooth--while riding on a hoverboard. (He had apparently sent the video to his office manager under the title "New Standard of Care.") Lookhart had been indicted in 2016 for billing Medicaid $1.8 million for patient sedations unnecessary for the procedures they received. [Alaska Dispatch News, 4-21-2017]


In April, Tennessee state representative Mike Stewart, aiming to make a point about the state's lax gun-sales laws and piggybacking onto the cuddly feeling people have about children's curbside lemonade stands, set up a combination stand on Nashville's Capitol Hill, offering for sale lemonade, cookies--and an AK-47 assault rifle (with a sign "No Background Check," to distinguish the private-sale AK-47 from one purchased from a federally licensed dealer). (In fact, some states still regulate lemonade stands more than gun sales--by nettlesome "health department" and anti-competitive rules and licensing, though Tennessee allows the stands in most neighborhoods as long as they are small and operated infrequently.) [WKRN-TV (Nashville), 4-5-2017]


(1) The Wall Street Journal reported in February that among the most popular diversions when Syrian households gather to escape the country's bombs and bullets is playing the Hasbro war board game "Risk" (even though the game's default version contains only five armies--not nearly enough to simulate the many Syrian factions now fighting). (2) The parliament of Australia's New South Wales, entertaining a February citizen petition to cut societal "waste," admitted that the petition's required 107,000 signatures (already on a USB stick) would, by rule, have to be submitted in hard copy (4,000 pages), even though the pages would immediately be electronically scanned into a format for data storage. [Wall Street Journal, 2-16-2017] [Sydney Morning Herald, 2-26-2017]

People Different From Us

In March, an electrician on a service call at a public restroom in Usuki, Japan, discovered a crawlspace above the urinal area, which had apparently been a man's home (with a space heater, gas stove, and clothing). Investigators learned that Takashi Yamanouchi, 54, a homeless wanderer, had been living there continuously for three years--and had arranged everything very tidily, including the 300-plus plastic two-liter bottles of his urine. (It was unclear why he was storing his urine when he resided above a public restroom.) [Rocket News, 4-2-4-2017]

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready For Prime Time: (1) In March, WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., broadcast surveillance video of a 7-Eleven armed robbery in the city's northeast sector--since some footage offered a clear picture of the suspect's face. Moments into the robbery, the man peered upward, caught sight of the camera, and, shocked, reached for his apparently-forgotten ski mask on top of his head, where (better late than never) he pulled it into place. (2) In November, three teenagers were arrested after stealing superfast Dodge cars in the middle of the night from a dealership in St. Peters, Mo. (After driving less than a mile, police said, the three had lost control of their cars, crashing them, including "totaling" two 700-horsepower Challenger Hellcats.) [WTTG-TV, 3-28-2017] [KTVI (St. Louis), 11-16-2017]

No Longer Weird

News that was formerly weird but whose patterns more recently have become so tedious that the stories deserve respectful retirement: (1) On May 5th, an elderly woman in Plymouth, England, became the most recent to drive wildly afield by blindly obeying her car's satellite navigation system. Turning left, as ordered, only to confront a solid railing, she nonetheless spotted a narrow pedestrian gap and squeezed through, which led to her descending the large concrete stairway at the Mayflower House Court parking garage (until her undercarriage got stuck). (2) Police in East Palestine, Ohio, said the 8-year-old boy who commandeered the family car and drove his sister, 4, to the local McDonald's for a cheeseburger on April 9th was different from the usual underaged drivers in that he caused no problems. Witnesses said he followed traffic signals en route, which the boy attributed to learning from YouTube videos. [, 5-5-2017] [WFMJ-TV (Youngstown), 4-12-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (October 2013)

Imminent Swirling Vortex of Damnation: Land developers for the iconic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo. (the inspiration for the hotel in Stephen King’s “The Shining”) announced recently [2013] that they need more space and thus will dig up and move the hotel’s 12-gravesite pet cemetery (another Stephen King trope). Neighbors told the Fort Collins Coloradoan in September [2013] that they feared the construction noise more than the potential release of departed spirits (though an “Animal Planet” “dog psychic” who lives in Estes Park volunteered her services to calm the pets’ souls). (Update: Apparently, it worked.) [Fort Collins Coloradoan via USA Today, 9-26-2013]

Thanks This Week to Chuck Hamilton and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun May 21, 2017 - Comments (2)

Agave Guitar

Continuing the theme of musical instruments made of odd things (matchstick violins, lobster violin), here's a guitar made out of agave cactus.

Does it really matter what wood you make an electric guitar out of? This site here says it does, and it sounds like hard woods are generally better than soft woods. So I'm assuming that agave wouldn't be the first choice of most guitar players. Though it would be very light.

This guy here makes agave surfboards.

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 21, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Music

May 20, 2017

A license to kill

Maybe they were hoping to appeal to the serial killer demographic.

The ad ran in Playboy magazine, 1964.

The after shave is briefly mentioned in Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America, by Elizabeth Fraterrigo:

Bond reached the status of "popular hero" in the mid-1960s, bringing an explosion of press coverage and Bond-themed merchandise and advertising. Colgate-Palmolive launched the 007 line of men's toiletries, with a misogynistic slogan that called forth the linkage of seduction and masculine power in the Bond narratives: "007 gives any man the license to kill... women." During this period, sales of Fleming's Bond novels peaked, and several other Bond-inspired playboy-spy-adventure films appeared.

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 20, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Advertising, Gender, 1960s

Swift Pavilion, 1939 World’s Fair

The exhibition hall for Swift's was shaped like a giant hotdog.

Posted By: Paul - Sat May 20, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Architecture, Fairs, Amusement Parks, and Resorts, Food, 1930s

May 19, 2017

Summer Redneck Games

Held annually in Dublin, Georgia since 1996. Events include redneck horseshoes (using toilet seats), the mud pit belly flop, armpit serenade, watermelon seed spitting, and bobbing for pig's feet. They also promise you'll see a lot of butt crack, camouflage, and four-wheel drives.

More info: Summer Redneck Games, pinterest

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 19, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Games, Hillbillies, Country Bumpkins, Ruralism and Flyover Country

Unauthorized Dwellings 2

"BIG PINE KEY, Fla. (AP) – Authorities say a Louisiana woman living illegally in a vacant home in Florida answered the door naked when a sheriff’s deputy stopped by to investigate..."

Full story here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri May 19, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Unauthorized Dwellings

May 18, 2017

Give her the perfect gift — a funeral

Surprise, honey! I pre-arranged your funeral.

This first clipping I found circulating online, without any kind of attribution.

After a little searching I found this second ad, which seems similar enough that I assume it's from the same funeral home.

Burlington Free Press - Feb 17, 2013

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 18, 2017 - Comments (9)
Category: Death, Advertising

Win A Houseboy Contest

In my physical copy of LIFE magazine for December 20, 1963, this ad occupies page 89.

In the scanned copy at Google, there is an entirely different ad on page 89. The image you see here is my scan of the paper copy.

I have no explanation for this. Did LIFE print regional issues with different ads?

In any case, I could find no other complete representation of this ad online. (There's a scan of the top part alone, for some reason.)

Thus does WU contribute to the world's stock of knowledge.

Posted By: Paul - Thu May 18, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Ethnic Groupings, Food, Stereotypes and Cliches, 1960s

May 17, 2017

Goblu and Beatosu, Ohio

The 1978-79 Michigan Highway map included some creative geography. If you looked at the part of the map that depicted neighboring Ohio, you found two new towns. There was Goblu, shown just east of Toledo near Bono, and Beatosu, shown to the west near Elmira. These names sounded a lot like the cries of University of Michigan football fans against rival Ohio State University.

They were included in the map at the order of Peter Fletcher, the highway commission chairman, who said he included the names to demonstrate his "loyalty to the Athens of the West, the University of Michigan." The fictitious towns were deleted from the next edition of the map. The map with the towns is now a collector's item. One is currently available for $32.55 on eBay.

More info: wikipedia

Lansing State Journal - Dec 23, 1977 (click to enlarge)

Posted By: Alex - Wed May 17, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Geography and Maps, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, 1970s

Page 3 of 7 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›

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 •