Weird Universe Archive

March 2021

March 26, 2021

Trampling Treatment

1983: Dr. Huang Xianjian's 'trampling treatment' for lumbago sufferers consisted of "climbing on top of the bed and jumping up and down on their backs."

It reminds me of the "impact therapy" we posted about a while back which involved hitting patients with 20-pound sandbags.

Bangor Daily News - Oct 13, 1983

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 26, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Medicine, 1980s

Max Patkin, Baseball Clown







His Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Mar 26, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Humor, Sports, Twentieth Century

March 25, 2021

Death by pet rock

Gwen Jackson's death in 1982 seems to be the only instance of a 'pet rock' being used as a murder weapon.

Although I think the media sensationalized the case. The rock in question seems to have been a rock given as a gift. It wasn't an actual 'pet rock'.

Tucson Citizen - Mar 19, 1982



However, the manual that came with Pet Rocks, "The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock," did include a section on "Attack Training" your pet rock. So their use as a weapon was anticipated.





Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 25, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Fads, 1980s

Hidden Message in “I Am the Walrus”

Everyone knows that the Beatles song "I Am the Walrus" is all about the secret death of Paul McCartney.

But back in 1968, reporter Jed Drews heard something else there.



Source: Fort Lauderdale News (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) 24 Feb 1968, Sat Page 15

I can find literally not one other online endorsement of this interpretation of the lyrics--except when Mr. Drews's article was inserted into the Congressional Record upon his testimony in DC.





Source.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Mar 25, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Drugs, Government, Music, Newspapers, 1960s

March 24, 2021

Sniffing Painted Babies

1983: Reports of a bizarre new way of getting high surfaced in the small town of Grants, New Mexico.

addicts who can't afford more conventional narcotics are getting high by sniffing gilded infants painted gold or silver, police believe... [Police chief] Thurber said that during recent drug raids his men got word "on the street" of the practice of painting babies and passing the glistening infants around to be sniffed to get high.

Miami Herald - Feb 11, 1983



Six years later, the Weeky World News reported that this strange practice had spread to France. But since the WWN is the only source I can find about this later outbreak, I'd take it with a grain of salt.

Weekly World News - Mar 7, 1989



via Legends & Rumors

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 24, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Drugs, 1980s

Follies of the Madmen #503





Posted By: Paul - Wed Mar 24, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Motor Vehicles, Sexuality

March 23, 2021

Telephone Pole Tossing

1943: St. Louis University introduced a Phys Ed course in "telephone pole tossing".

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Apr 23, 1943



A whole bunch of images of SLU students lifting and tossing poles are archived at the Google Arts and Culture site:





Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 23, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Exercise and Fitness, 1940s

March 22, 2021

The Error in The Ambassadors

The first American edition of Henry James's novel The Ambassadors was published in 1903. But it took 47 years before anyone noticed that there seemed to be a glaring error in it, and the person who noticed was a Stanford undergrad, Robert E. Young. As told by Frances Wilson in the Times Literary Supplement:

This was no minor mistake but an error of giant proportions, sitting bang in the middle of the book and staring right at you: "Chapters XXVIII and XXIX are in reverse order" (the italics are Young’s). Chapter 28, in which Lambert Strether reports to Maria Gostrey his conversation with Chad Newsome of the night before, precedes the conversation itself which is described in chapter 29. Only when the positions of chapters 28 and 29 are reversed, Young argued, does the chronology make sense...

this reversal of chapters was missed by James, not once but twice. He missed it when he checked the proofs of the novel set by Harper and he missed it again in 1908, during his scrupulous revision of The Ambassadors for Scribner’s New York Edition of his work.

The chapters had actually been printed in the correct order in a British edition, published before the American one. But every subsequent American (and British) edition had used the incorrect order, until Young pointed out the mistake.



Young blamed James's writing style for the error. He concluded his 1950 article in the journal American Literature (in which he exposed the error) with this paragraph:

That James possessed many virtues as a novelist is indisputable; however, this discovery seems to add weight to the contention that the style of writing he affected in his later novels is not one of them. Indeed, there must be something radically wrong with a writing style that has managed to obscure an error of this magnitude for so many years from the probing eyes of innumerable readers, publishers, editors, critics, and even the author himself. It does not seem necessary to labor this point.

Naturally, this charge riled James's fans, some of whom sought to defend him. Most notably, in 1992 scholar Jerome McGann argued that James might have intended for the chapters to be in that order. From Wikipedia:

McGann explained the chronological discrepancies by noting that the start of (the Harper edition) chapter 28 tells that it will describe a conversation that will occur in the 'future' (relative to the juncture reached in the story), and that the 'that evening' line, at the start of chapter 29, refers not to the evening just described in chapter 28, but to the previous one.

It doesn't seem that many people buy McGann's argument, so the consensus remains that the chapters were out of order and James never noticed.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Mar 22, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Literature, Goofs and Screw-ups

Rafael Trujillo, Partying Dictator

Not that Rafael Trujillo's murderous reign is redeemed by his party animal ways, but it's always nice to see someone who doesn't let his work stand in the way of having fun.

First he arrives at LA and smashes another boat, then avoids fees by declaring himself a ship of war.

Source: The Los Angeles Times 21 Jun 1958, Sat Page 2

Then he insults our national holiday and causes an uproar on Catalina Island.

Source: The Los Angeles Times 05 Jul 1958, Sat Page 1


Of course, none of this jovial playboy behavior prevented him from getting assassinated three years later.












Posted By: Paul - Mon Mar 22, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Dinners, Banquets, Parties, Tributes, Roasts and Other Celebrations, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1950s, Outrageous Excess, North America

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