Category:
Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature

The Creeping Devil Cactus



The Wikipedia page.

In cool maritime climate of Baja California Sur, creeping devil cacti can grow at a rate of up to two feet per year, forming large, sometimes impenetrable colonies of thorny stems, but when transplanted to more arid climates, their growth rate drops to two feet per decade. But even in their endemic environment, these succulents are isolated from pollinators so they rely on self-cloning for survival.

As it grows parallel to the ground, the stem of the creeping devil cactus will start to take roots toward their tip, and once it is solidly fixed into the sandy soil, the old body dies, rotting and eventually turning into nutrients that help the new stem grow. It is this process that also allows the cactus to creep through the desert over time. In a way, the cactus has to die in order to survive.

Posted By: Paul - Mon May 03, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Nature, Natural Wonders, Regionalism, North America

Armpit Reading

Useless Superpower: In the 1970s, Chinese researchers investigated reports of children who had the unusual ability to read with their armpits. The kids supposedly could describe what was written on folded pieces of paper tucked beneath their armpits. And not just their armpits. Some kids could see with their ears, hands, or feet.

After careful study, the researchers concluded that, yes, the children did seem to have this ability.

Edmonton Journal - Feb 15, 1980



The researchers published the results of their study in Nature Magazine, which is a Chinese journal not to be confused with the British journal Nature. Thanks to the U.S. military's translation service, you can read these articles in English. They're posted on the website of the Defense Technical Information Center. Here's a sample:

Wang Qiang and Wang Bin sat in the middle of the room and the observers sat in front and behind them. The lamp in the room was not very bright. They began with pieces of paper that had been written on before the test. They were placed in the ears of Wang Qiang and Wang Bin and the two girls were allowed to hold it in with their hands. After a little while, both girls said that there was no image and wanted to test it under their armpits.

Therefore, other pieces of paper were written on in another room by Shen Hanchang and Zhu Chiayi. The papers were folded twice and squeezed through the shirt from the backs of the subjects and placed under their armpits. The two girls held the sample against them with their hands. Besides the two writers, no one else in the room knew what was written on the paper.

After 2 minutes 40 seconds, Wang Qiang said that she "recognized" it. Everyone told her not to speak but to write it down on the side. She wrote a "3" and also wrote "blue". They opened the paper and found there was a "3 6" written with a blue ball point pen. The "3" and the "6" were separated some distance and thus she had recognized one half.

I jokingly referred to armpit reading as a useless superpower, but the Chinese researchers would disagree. They concluded their study with this remark:

Research on this type of special physiological phenomenon will not only have a deep and far reaching influence on medical science but will also influence the semiconductor industry.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 27, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Forteana, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Human Marvels, Science, Eyes and Vision

George the Giant’s Strange Museum of Oddities and Wonders

I found out at the last minute about a weird "pop-up" museum that was opening for a few days in Bakersfield, CA: George the Giant’s Strange Museum of Oddities and Wonders. It was a four-hour drive from San Diego, but I figured I had to see it. So my wife and I did a road trip on Saturday to check it out.

It was an excellent collection of oddities, but the best part might have been the live displays in which George demonstrated sword swallowing and drove a long spike into his nose. He also performed the 'blade box' trick with an assistant.

George hopes to be able to return with his Strange Museum next year. So if you're in the Bakersfield area next October, check it out!

By the way, you might have seen George in the movies. He played the character of Colossus in Tim Burton's Big Fish.





Alligator Boy



Fiji Mermaid




More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 22, 2018 - Comments (2)
Category: Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Human Marvels, Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand

Ted Serios and his Thoughtographs



Theodore Judd Serios (1918-2006), a bellhop from Chicago who appeared to possess a genuinely uncanny ability. By holding a Polaroid camera and focusing on the lens very intently, he was able to produce dreamlike pictures of his thoughts on the film; he referred to these images as "thoughtographs..."


Full article here.

Collection of thoughtographs here.

Wikipedia page here.


Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 28, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Eccentrics, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Photography and Photographers, Unsolved Mysteries, 1960s

Cobra Asparagus

Weird biology.


Green Bay Press Gazette - July 20, 1965

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 22, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, 1960s

Kenny The Tiger


Of course Kenny the tiger did not have Downs syndrome, his deformities were due to inbreeding. He was an interesting looking cat though. Unfortunately, Kenny's lifespan was significantly shortened as well, he only lived for 10 years. So to the breeders, in the words of Kyle and Stan on South Park, "They killed Kenny!" "You bastards!"

Posted By: patty - Sat Jan 16, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Health, Nature

The Tallest Man

Perhaps you would like to spend some time at The Tallest Man website, which is devoted to giants and giantesses. As a teaser, below are the male and female recordholders from the historical archives.

image

ROBERT WADLOW

image

ZENG JINLIAN

Posted By: Paul - Wed Dec 09, 2015 - Comments (5)
Category: Body, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Human Marvels

Severed Stream



You will also find Mars's artwork on this great new collection of weird fiction, a nice Xmas gift for lovers of "cosmic horror."



Posted By: Paul - Mon Nov 30, 2015 - Comments (1)
Category: Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Outsider Art, Surrealism, Fictional Monsters

Shortest Man Who Ever Lived, RIP



Please mourn the passing of Chandra Bahadur Dangi, most miniscule male human ever recorded.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 05, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Death, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Asia

Unfortunate Allergy

image
Some women, aproximately 12%, are allergic to their partner's semen. Even worse, some men are allergic to their own semen. The allergy causes some nasty reactions in both cases unfortunately.

Posted By: patty - Mon May 25, 2015 - Comments (1)
Category: Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Health, Can’t Possibly Be True, Sex Lives Worse Than Yours, Genitals

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Who We Are
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.

Paul Di Filippo
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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