Category:
1900s

Monsters of Iowa

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Who would ever suspect that boring old Iowa was host to so many odd creatures?

Consider this winged monster from 1903, above.

Or this account, below, found along with more Iowa monsters in UNNATURAL PHENOMENA. (See book sidebar.)


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Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 08, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Cryptozoology, Fictional Monsters, Regionalism, Superstition, 1900s, North America, Nineteenth Century

The Views of An Angry Man

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A bracing humorous antidote to all the do-gooder cant so rampant nowadays.

Read the whole small book here.

The author at Wikipedia.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 03, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Books, Curmudgeons and Contrarianism, 1900s

Cascarets

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"Trust in God, and keep your Bowels open" is my new motto for every situation.

Original ad here.

History of Cascarets.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 17, 2013 - Comments (6)
Category: Medicine, Excrement, 1900s

Blindfold Pigs

Back in 1905, celebrities of the day were asked to try to draw a pig while blindfolded. The results were printed in The Strand magazine:


Most of the names I don't recognize. But I do know Caton Woodville (middle of the second row from the top). He was an artist who specialized in war scenes, such as his rendition of the Charge of the Light Brigade. I'm guessing his paintings aren't cheap. But I wonder how much his blindfold pig would go for?

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 07, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Art, 1900s

Outdoor Manhattan Banana Food Fight

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I would have paid good money for a safe ringside seat at this riot.

From The New York Times for April 24, 1901.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Mar 22, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Food, Riots, Protests and Civil Disobedience, 1900s, Bananas

The Philadelphia Phonograph School of Languages for Parrots


It came into existence circa 1903. Details from The Strand Magazine:

Philadelphia can boast of a phonograph school for parrots. It is said to be the only institution of its kind in the world. Here parrots are taught to speak by means of the phonograph, and during the brief time that the school has been in existence over one hundred birds have been taught to pronounce all kinds of sentences and phrases for the edification of themselves and the amusement of their owners.

This is the twentieth-century method of teaching a parrot. Hitherto he has been taught by tutors, generally women, and, if the truth must be told, he has not been altogether a satisfactory or exemplary pupil. First of all his teacher has to repeat the phrase or sentence over and over again, hundreds and thousands of times, before "Pretty Polly" is able to pronounce it. This in itself is a tiresome procedure, but it is rendered more fatiguing on account of the fact that the speaker must be hidden from the parrot. She has, therefore, to crouch behind a screen or to cover the cage of the bird with a large hood. The former is regarded as the best method, as no self-respecting parrot likes to be left alone in the dark, but to hide oneself secretly behind a screen and then repeat the words, "Pretty Polly," "Pretty Polly," a thousand times is surely not an enviable task.

By the new mode of teaching, however, no personal inconvenience of this nature is felt, for all the tutor has to do is to obtain a phonograph, secure a few records suitable for birds, and set the phonograph going in the parrot's ear. The bird, too, learns more quickly by this method than in the old way...

The fee for a full term of six months is eight pounds. Parrots are often sent, however, for a briefer period, when the rate charge is ten shillings per week, including, of course, board and lodging. Sometimes, when a pupil has to be taught unusual phrases—French or German sentences, for instance—the tuition rate is a little higher.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 22, 2013 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, School, 1900s

Doc Owens, Con Man

As early as December 1900, the notorious Doc Owens was making headlines, having established his racket of fleecing sea-going sheep.



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READ LEFT-HAND COLUMN, THEN RIGHT-HAND COLUMN, THEN SAME FOR THE TWO FOLLOWING.

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Three years later, The New York Times did a special feature on Owens and his fellows (with his photo miscaptioned).

Click here for very readable PDF download.

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But Owens was to meet poetic justice in 1912, as our final piece reveals.

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Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 15, 2013 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Death, Disasters, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1900s, 1910s, Gambling, Casinos, Lotteries and Other Games of Chance

Westphal’s Auxiliator

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[Click text to enlarge]

Here's an old-timey hair tonic with a weird name. The strange noun just means "helper."

Composed of "55% grain alcohol," it went down many an alcoholic's gullet, I'm sure.

Believe it or not, the tonic was mentioned in a SIMPSONS comicbook. If you look at their ad below, you'll see why. The mutant female user resembles the famed Springfield three-eyed fish.

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Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 22, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Elderly and Seniors, Comics, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, Nineteenth Century, Hair and Hairstyling

Marvel Whirling Spray



Marvel Whirling Spray was a feminine hygiene product marketed in the early 20th century. It stopped being made and fell into obscurity for 100 years until the early 21st century, when it earned a place in comic-book history.

Alan Moore included a reprint of one of the Marvel Whirling Spray ads in an issue of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol. 1, #5). An executive at DC (publishers of the comic) saw the ad and became worried that their rival, Marvel Comics, would take offense — even though Marvel Whirling Spray was a real product that existed before Marvel Comics. So he ordered the entire print run destroyed. The few copies that survived are now considered rare collector's items. More details at recalledcomics.com.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jan 19, 2013 - Comments (4)
Category: Hygiene, Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods, Products, 1900s

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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, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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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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