Weird Universe Archive

June 2020

June 25, 2020

Candle Tunnelling

Candle tunnelling is the phenomenon of candles burning down in a tunnel around the wick, rather than burning down evenly across the entire top surface.

image source: reddit



Tunnelling occurs if, the very first time the candle was burned, it wasn't allowed to melt all the wax on top. This creates a "memory ring" in the wax. The candle will subsequently tunnel down this ring.

The solution, therefore, is to make sure the 'first burn' is done correctly. According to osmology.co:

Our biggest recommendation for the first burn, is to make sure that the pool of melted wax reaches the edges of your candle before you snuff the flame. We generally aim for the wax pool to be about 1cm deep at the edges before we put it out.
How long this takes depends on the diameter of the candle.

I realize now that I've been burning candles wrong my entire life.

I learned about this phenomenon via tywkiwdbi.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jun 25, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Domestic, Interior Decorating, Weird Facts

June 24, 2020

Tarantula Pie, and other ways to kill a husband

In 1977, Carol Louise Hargis was convicted of killing her husband by beating him over the head with a lead weight. She was helped by an accomplice, Terry DePew. Apparently their plan was to split the insurance money.

But what made the case unusual was the various ways the duo had earlier tried to off the husband, without success:

  • feeding him pie containing tarantula venom
  • throwing a live electric cord into the shower with him
  • shooting air into his vein
  • lacing his toast with LSD
  • Putting a poisonous snake into his bed
  • Putting bullets in the carburetor of his truck


San Francisco Examiner - Dec 2, 1977



LA Times - Dec 8, 1977

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 24, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Crime, Stupid Criminals, 1970s

Colonel Barker



Wikipedia says:
Victor Barker, born Lillias Irma Valerie Barker (1895–1960), who also went by the pseudonyms John Hill and Geoffrey Norton, was a transgender man who is notable for having married a woman. He was an officer of the National Fascisti, a bankrupt and a convicted criminal.


Good article here.

A contemporary report from 1933:



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jun 24, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Crime, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Gender-bending, Twentieth Century

June 23, 2020

Wolf eats man’s face

The photo below captures the moment a wolf started to attack the face of its trainer, Jacques Suzanne, during the filming of a movie. The camera crew, thinking the attack was part of the stunt, kept on filming.

Suzanne evidently wasn't badly hurt, though the wolf was killed. Apparently he was the kind of guy who knew how to defend himself against a wolf. Read more about him in Adirondack Life magazine.

Chicago Tribune - Feb 20, 1927

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 23, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Animals, Dogs, 1920s

June 22, 2020

The Environ Personal Retreat

The Environ Personal Retreat, sold by the Environ Corporation in the early 1980s, was designed to be a stress-free, self-improvement chamber. It offered programs such as "Relax and Affirm," "You and Food: New Scenarios," and "Self-Motivation for Winners." It came with a hefty price tag, $9000, but it was marketed at businesses, with the idea that they could de-stress and motivate their employees. Details from the LA Times - Nov 17, 1982:

The oval computerized enclosure is just big enough for one person, who enters through a sliding door and sits in an orthopedically designed body lounge equipped with oscillating massage, biofeedback pulse monitor and adjustable footrest.

Seated inside this exotic lounger, the user chooses one of 36 taped 20-minute human-potential programs, and the machine goes into action.

Ionized, filtered air is piped in, along with a pleasing natural scent. And while the taped verbal and music program plays, colored lights change in time with the text. If the user is listening to a business talk on self-motivation, for example, the capsule is bathed in stimulating orange and red lights. On the other hand, if the program deals with relaxation or stress reduction, the lighting is in soothing hues of green and blue.


White Plains Journal News - Jan 23, 1983

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 22, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Technology, 1980s

The War in Cuba Board Game





Official entry.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 22, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Games, War, Nineteenth Century

June 21, 2020

Animal Trap

Jason Alexander Williams didn't mess around when it came to killing rodents. His 'animal trap' (patented in 1882) shot them dead:

My invention relates to an improvement in animal-traps; and it consists in the combination of a suitable frame upon which a revolver or pistol is secured, a treadle which is secured to the front end of this frame, and a suitable spring and levers, by which the firearm is discharged when the animal steps upon the treadle, as will be more fully described hereinafter.

The object of my invention is to provide a means by which animals which burrow in the ground can be destroyed, and which trap will give an alarm each time that it goes off, so that it can be reset.



And his invention didn't just kill rodents. Williams noted:

This invention may also be used in connection with a door or window, so as to kill any person or thing opening the door or window to which it is attached.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jun 21, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Inventions, Nineteenth Century

Tuffi the Elephant Who Leaped from a Monorail



The incident produced this "manipulated" postcard.



The Wikipedia page.

The anniversary celebration of 2018.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 21, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Animals, Publicity Stunts, 1950s, Europe

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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.

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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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