Category:
1900s

Noah’s Ark Found—in Alaska!

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The supposed remnants of Noah's ark have been "discovered" in a wide range of places.

But this 1902 discovery in Rampart, Alaska, on the Porcupine River, seems totally forgotten now.

I wonder if a followup expedition ever was mounted...?

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 13, 2012 - Comments (10)
Category: Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Regionalism, Religion, Unsolved Mysteries, Myths and Fairytales, 1900s, North America, Native Americans

Mrs. Jones’ Flesh Grower

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Who knew bioengineering and stem cells were in use so long ago?

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Oct 10, 2012 - Comments (7)
Category: Body, Bodybuilding, Body Modifications, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Self-help Schemes, 1900s

Follies of the Mad Men #187

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If Zu Zu were witnessed offering cookies to a child today, he'd be in the sniperscopes of a SWAT team's rifles faster than a cocaine-covered bank robber.

Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 03, 2012 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Clowns, Food, 1900s

Electric Bitters

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I can't find the ingredients for this patent medicine, but I'll bet it packed a kick.

Here's the story of its creation, as given also below.

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Posted By: Paul - Mon Jul 23, 2012 - Comments (11)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Medicine, 1900s, 1910s, Alcohol

The man who crossed the Atlantic in a box

Back in 1901, Johann Beck was having trouble finding work in Germany, so he decided to seek his fortune in America. Problem was the cheapest steerage ticket cost 120 marks, and he didn't have that much. But he calculated that if he packed himself in a box and shipped himself as freight, he could go for half that price.

He built a box that he could seal from the inside by a series of hooks. He arranged to have it picked up at his home, telling the freight company that the box contained "artist's models." Then he sealed himself in it along with what he thought would be enough food to last him the trip: a dozen cans of condensed milk, a box of prunes, 36 chocolate bars, coffee in bottles, some bread, sausages, and a little whiskey.

Of course, things didn't go quite as he planned. For a start, he hadn't realized how cold it would be in the hold of the ship. And then there were the rats:


The ship (the steamship Palatia of the Hamburg-American Line) departed Hamburg on November 17, and its passage was slowed by a winter storm. So what was supposed to be a 14-day voyage took two days longer, and Johann ran out of food:


The one detail of Beck's transatlantic voyage that I haven't been able to find discussed was how he disposed of his bodily wastes. I suppose he used a bottle, but the smell must have been pretty bad, which would have added to the discomfort of the experience. More details about Beck's voyage here and here.



Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 25, 2012 - Comments (2)
Category: Travel, 1900s

The Wellingborough Carnival

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The town of Wellingborough, UK, has been holding a carnival for over 100 years. The old affairs certainly featured things that look weird to us today. Here's a photo album to peruse.

And the Wellingborough Carnival home page reveals this year's affair is on July 7th! Plenty of time to make your plans to attend!

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jun 22, 2012 - Comments (4)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Holidays, Parades and Festivals, Weird Theory, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, Europe

The Prayer Duel

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LAYDEEZ 'N' GENNELMEN! On yer left, John Alexander Dowie, weighing in at 162 pounds with robes!

On yer right, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a trim 158 with turban wrapped tight!

Watch them in a prayer duel to the death! Mixed Martial Arts ain't got nuthin' on them!

As Dowie was an enemy of all religions but his own, it is not surprising he had no use for Islam — although the extent of his animus remains a point of controversy among various Muslim sects even today.

In the summer of 1903, this brought a well-publicized challenge to an Islamic prayer duel to the death, or Mubahila, from the Indian subcontinent: "Whether the God of Muhammadans or the God of Dowie is the true God, may be settled...he should choose me as his opponent and pray to God that of us two, whoever is the liar may perish first.... I am an old man of 66 years and Dr. Dowie is eleven years younger; therefore on grounds of age he need not have any apprehension.... If the self-made deity of Dr. Dowie has any power, he shall certainly allow him to appear against me and procure my destruction in his lifetime." Dowie's Punjabi challenger, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was a remarkably well-matched opponent: he too had founded his own sect, Ahmadiyya, and believed himself a reincarnated prophet — in his case, Hazrat Eisa Ibne Maryam (a.k.a. Jesus Christ).

Whether the Almighty took any interest in their contest, its rules leave no doubt about the winner: in short order Dowie was deposed (amid rumors of sexual and financial malfeasance); suffered a stroke; and, in 1907, died — a year before Ahmad.

Posted By: Paul - Thu May 24, 2012 - Comments (11)
Category: Death, Eccentrics, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Religion, 1900s

Strange Iconography

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A Scottish child and a Native-American child pour hair tonic on the head of an elderly Anglo man and massage it in, while a child soldier out of some European comic opera stands by with sword upraised in tribute.

The only sensible part of this weird iconography is the Scottish kid. Once upon a time, right up to, oh, the 1960s, "anything Scottish = cheap and economical" was standard advertising shorthand.

Original ad here, with accompanying text.

Posted By: Paul - Mon May 07, 2012 - Comments (10)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Stereotypes and Cliches, Hair Styling, 1900s, Weapons, Hair and Hairstyling

O. J. Wangen, Evil Paint Seller

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It makes no difference whether you want your house painted or not; whether you want to use Sherwin-Williams or another brand; whether you plan to do it yourself or employ a different company. None of this counts in the face of O. J. Wangen's plan for world domination. "Let us have our way... We will have it, all or part of it in the end."

Original ad here. (Scroll down at link.)

Posted By: Paul - Sun Mar 18, 2012 - Comments (6)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Evil, Newspapers, Interior Decorating, 1900s

Long Lance



I'm trespassing on Alex's territory here, with an hour-length documentary on what was once a famous hoax.

Here's the story in a nutshell.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jan 21, 2012 - Comments (2)
Category: Eccentrics, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, North America, Nineteenth Century, Native Americans

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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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