Weird Universe Archive

September 2020

September 25, 2020

The Duchess of Windsor’s Trench Mittens

Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, is best known as the woman for whom King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936, so he could marry her. But she was also an inventor, though not a very prolific one. In 1940, she invented "trench mittens" that could be unzipped to allow a soldier to use his trigger finger.

The Whitewright Sun - Feb 8, 1940

The backstory is that the Duke and Duchess were widely suspected to be Nazi sympathizers. Nevertheless, at the start of the war they were trying to make a public display of how patriotic they were. The Duke pushed to get a position in the army. And the Duchess used her fashion skills to invent "trench mittens".

But by the end of 1940, the British military had decided they were too much of a liability to keep around, so they were shipped off to the Bahamas for the duration of the war.

Winnipeg Tribune - Apr 6, 1940

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor in 1937

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 25, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Fashion, Royalty, War, 1940s

US Fractional Currency, or, Paper Coins

Fractional or postage currency has a rich history. At the beginning of the Civil War people starting hoarding coins for their precious metal content. Coins became difficult to find because of the hoarding. People started to try to use stamps instead of coins as a means of commerce. The government decided to help ease the hoarding issue by issuing “paper coins” also known as postage currency or fractional currency. Fractional currency was first issued on August 21, 1862 and they were last issued on February 15, 1876. Three cents, five cents, ten cents, twenty-five cents, and fifty cents notes were all issued. Fractional currency is physically smaller than other United States money. It also does not have a serial number.

More info here. And lots more pictorial examples.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 25, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Money, Nineteenth Century

September 24, 2020

Eco-washed organic denim with grass stains

Gucci is selling an "Eco washed organic denim overall" that comes with a "stained-like, distressed effect." AKA fake grass stains. Yours for only $1400.

Or you could get this Orange Tartan Cotton Long Smock Shirt. Only $2600!

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 24, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Fashion, Denim, Overpriced Merchandise

Twiggy Sings

A second career of which I myself knew nothing.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 24, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Fashion, Music, 1960s, 1970s

September 23, 2020

An Intentional Cannibal

There's an old urban legend, which folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand refers to as 'The Accidental Cannibals,' about people who accidentally eat the cremated remains of a loved one:

the story circulated about how postwar food packages from the United States led to a gruesome confusion. When one package arrived containing an unlabeled dark powder, people assumed it was some kind of instant soup or drink, or perhaps a condiment. Only after most of the powder had been consumed did a letter from the United States arrive explaining that the powder was the ashes of their emigrant grandmother who had died during the war and who wanted her remains returned to Romanian soil...

A recent version of the legend describes the cremains of a relative shipped home from Australia to England and mixed there into the Christmas pudding. Half the pudding has been consumed by the time the letter of explanation anives.

In a case of urban-legend-becomes-real-life, performance artist Eva Margarita has announced that she'll be mixing the cremated remains of her father into three different entrees and then eating them. She'll be doing this "to not only honor his spirit but to show how communities pass on knowledge through a practice in eating and conjuring with one another."

Her performance will be broadcast live on the Internet. It's happening today (Sep 23, 2020), from 8 AM to 8 PM (eastern time).

In an interview on, Margarita offers some details about how she'll prepare her father's cremains:

I'm taking just the bone pieces. I'm grinding them down in a molcajete, or a mortar and pestle, and then I'm adding them into the food. I'm grinding them down in a metaphorical sense to help grind down the body and flesh, but also it's almost to subvert the grinding that we do in real life, and all the beating that we've taken throughout, but now it's done out of love.

Thanks to Gerald Sacks!

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 23, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Cannibalism, Food, Performance Art

Dr. Organic’s Snail Gel

The home page.

Harvested from free-roaming snails under controlled conditions, this moisturising, soothing ingredient combines the unique properties of Helix Aspersa Muller with organic Aloe vera and a blend of bioactive plant ingredients. This secretion is produced from snails that are farmed humanely and are free to roam. On their travels, they move over glass panels which are used to safely collect the mucus secretion, which is then filtered and concentrated by vacuum evaporation to reduce its water content, before a mild preservative is added to maintain its shelf life.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 23, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Cosmetics, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Nausea, Revulsion and Disgust

September 22, 2020

Cinematic Neurosis

Following the 1973 release of The Exorcist, six people who saw it had to be admitted to a Chicago hospital "straight from the theater." Psychiatrist James Bozzuto examined four of them and concluded they were suffering from "cinematic neurosis" — a term he coined. Basically, this was neurosis caused by watching a movie. Symptoms of this condition included "anxiety, helplessness, sleeplessness and repetitive post-traumatic dreams."

San Francisco Examiner - Dec 14, 1976

The 1975 release of Jaws also caused an outbreak of cinematic neurosis. Here's a description of a case from a December 1975 Knight News Wire article:

Three months ago, a 17-year-old girl from a small town in western Kansas was admitted to Wichita's Wesley Medical Center with a strange malady. Her neck was stiff, her hands trembled, and she was periodically seized by fits of terror. She would jerk her arms spasmodically and scream, "Sharks! Sharks!"
During these attacks, which always occurred at night, she appeared to be unaware of the world around her, and she didn't respond when people spoke to her.
Over the next three days, while doctors ruled out the possibility that she had meningitis or some other neurological problem, she had five of these attacks.
In between these episodes of terror, she talked with neurologist Arnold Barnett about her problem.
It seems that three days before admission, she had seen the motion picture "Jaws," movie history's biggest money-maker, which chronicles the bloody activities of a shark that terrorizes swimmers off the shores of Long Island.
Later that evening, after discussing the film with her friends, she became frightened and upset. She had her first attack the next day.
Barnett treated the girl with sedatives and reassuring conversation. He emphasized the unlikelihood of a shark attack in western Kansas.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 22, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Bad Habits, Neuroses and Psychoses, Movies, Psychology, 1970s

Revolt of the Beavers

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

Revolt of the Beavers was a children's play put on by the Federal Theater Project by Oscar Saul and Louis Lantz. One critic described the play as "Marxism a la Mother Goose".[1] The show ran at the Adelphi Theatre in New York City from May 20, 1937, to June 19 of that year.[2] Jules Dassin [3] and John Randolph [4] were among the play's cast. The play involved a worker beaver named Oakleaf, who leads a revolt against "The Chief" Beaver who was exploiting the workers. Though the play was a fantasy fable intended for children, it was attacked by the HUAC for promoting Communist ideals.

Wikipedia page (source of quote).

More photos here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 22, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Politics, Theater and Stage, 1930s

September 21, 2020

The Jesus Tortilla

Oct 5, 1977: Maria Rubio was preparing a tortilla in a skillet in her home in Lake Arthur, New Mexico. When she looked down, she realized that a burn mark on the tortilla resembled the face of Jesus.

The Rubio family created a small shrine where they displayed the "Jesus tortilla". Over the years, tens of thousands of people came to see it. Many of the pilgrims believed that the tortilla had the power to heal.

Maria Rubio with tortilla - 1978

Maria Rubio's daughter, Angelica, grew up to become a New Mexico state senator, and she kept a blog where she discussed her experiences with the holy tortilla. She also wrote an article on about it.

The Jesus Tortilla - source:

According to Roadside America: "In late 2005, Mrs. Rubio's granddaughter took the Miracle Tortilla into school for Show and Tell, and it was dropped and broken! The shed shrine has been closed and the remains retired to a drawer in the Rubio's home."

Albuquerque Journal - Dec 22, 1987

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 21, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Food, Religion, 1970s, Pareidolia

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