Odd Names

Hitler Species

There are two species of insects named after Hitler. The mystery, however, might be why more creatures weren't named after Hitler by German scientists during the 1930s, as a way to curry favor with him. The answer, surprisingly, seems to be that requests were made, but Hitler would always ask for his name not to be used. (The insect researchers never asked for his permission). Text from The Art of Naming by Michael Ohl (2018 translation):

In 1933, German coleopterist and civil engineer Oscar Scheibel, residing in Ljubjana, Slovenia, then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, purchased from a Slovenian biologist several specimens of an unknown beetle that had been found in the caves near the city of Celje. In 1937, Scheibel published in Entomologische Blätter a description of a light-brown ground beetle a mere five millimeters long under the name Anophthalmus hitleri. After the war, Scheibel is supposed to have claimed that naming the beetle in honor of Hitler had been a subversive act: after all, this was an unlovely species of brown, blind cave beetle that lived hidden from view. This defense must be squared with the original description, the final sentence of which reads, "Dedicated to Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler, as an expression of my reverence." No official response from the Reich Chancellery was documented in this case.

To date, Anophthalmus hitleri has been found in but a handful of caves in Slovenia. Particularly after the media discovered and circulated the Hitler beetle story in 2000, interest in this species has been rekindled. A well-preserved specimen of Anophthalmus hitleri can fetch upward of 2,000 euros on the collectors' market; among the bidders, certainly some wish to add the Hitler beetle to their collection of Nazi memorabilia. . .

At least one other species has been named after Adolf Hitler: the fossil Roechlingia hitleri, which belongs to the Palaeodictyoptera, a group of primitive fossil insects. Roechlingia hitleri was described in 1934 by German geologist and paleontologist Paul Guthörl. . .

Extensive research has failed to turn up any other species named in honor of Hitler. This seems surprising, as this form of salute could have proven quite expedient to aspiring German scientists from about 1933 until 1945, at the latest...

The likeliest explanation is that when Hitler patronyms were planned, approval was sought in advance from the Führer (by way of the Reich Chancellery), whether out of respect or perhaps fear of potential consequences. In 1933, for instance, a rose breeder submitted a written request to the Reich Chancellery for permission to introduce to the international market one of his best rose varieties, bearing Hitler's name. Similarly, a nursery owner from Schleswig-Holstein hoped to name a "prized strawberry variety" the "Hitler strawberry," in honor of the Reich Chancellor. They already had a "Hindenburg" strawberry variety in their catalog, he added. In reply to both cases, Hans Heinrich Lammers, Chief of the Reich Chancellery, sent almost identical letters, in which the inquiring parties were informed that, "upon careful consideration, [the reich Chancellor] requests that a name in his honor most kindly not be used." . . .

Perhaps this fundamental rejection of honorary names is the reason that so few hitleris exist.

Anophthalmus hitleri
source: Wikipedia

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 01, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Insects and Spiders, Odd Names, Science

Ugley Women’s Institute

The Women's Institute, according to Wikipedia, is a "community-based organisation for women in the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand." The first Women's Institute branch in the UK was established in 1915. And by the 1920s the village of Ugley in Essex had its own branch, making it the Ugley Women's Institute.

The jokes began soon after. An Apr 13, 1945 column in the Saffron Walden Weekley News notes:

People will still have their joke about the uncommon name of Ugley, but the Ugley ladies must have become hardened to it by now. There are as lovely ladies in Ugley as elsewhere, I have no doubt, and certainly their Women's Institute is doing excellent work.

By the 1950s the members of the Ugley Women's Institute had apparently grown tired of the jokes. Newspapers reported a name change:

Evansville Press - Mar 24, 1956

However, I find that the same story then kept popping up throughout the late 1950s and 1960s, always reported as if it was breaking news, which makes me wonder if it was true in the first place. In the UK Register of Charities the organization is still listed as the Ugley Women's Institute.

Wisconsin State Journal - Sep 9, 1962

Incidentally, the village of Ugley also has an Ugley Farmers Market. And the town of Loose, in Kent, boasts the Loose Women's Institute.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 21, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Odd Names, Women


The Wikipedia page gives the history of the name:

In 1873, the American Linoleum Company acquired 300 acres in the area to build the nation's first linoleum factory. The inventor of Linoleum, Frederick Walton, spent two years in Travis setting up the factory.[3] Many skilled English immigrants arrived to work in the factory in its early days, and the area being was named Linoleumville. By the early 20th century, 700 workers were employed, comprising half the local population. Many of these were Polish immigrants, and Linoleumville had become a Polish enclave.[4][5] The plant closed in 1931 and residents overwhelmingly chose to rename the community Travis.[1]

The name change vote prompted journalistic joshing at the time. But the second piece--by the later-famous historian Bruce Catton--stuck up for the name.

Posted By: Paul - Wed May 17, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Odd Names, Regionalism, 1930s

RIP Yon Zircle Bowlin

Yon Zircle Bowlin died last week at the age of 94. His weird claim to fame was that he was the final-born member of the Bowlin "alphabet family."

His parents, Allen and Sarah Bowlin, named all their kids in alphabetical order (first and middle names). They ended up having 13 kids, completing the alphabet.

The 13 kids: Audie Bryant, Curtis Drue, Era Faye, Grady Hampton, Ida Jeanette, Knola Leantha, Millard Nathan, Olivia Penelopi, Quincy Ruth, Sarah Thelma, Ulysses Vinson, Wilson Xava, and Yon Zircle.

Yon Zircle's obituary: Brown Funeral Home

Montgomery Advertiser - Feb 15, 1950

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 27, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, Odd Names

Ubiquitous Perpetuity God

1985: Enrique Silberg had previously tried to change his name to God, but was denied on the grounds that it would be confusing and that he also needed a first name. Finally he convinced a judge to let him change his name to Ubiquitous Perpetuity God.

1996: Ubiquitous Perpetuity God was sentenced to nine months in Marin County Jail for indecent exposure, a crime that he had 17 prior convictions for. He said that he exposed himself to women so that they "could have some type of awareness of God".

San Francisco Examiner - Apr 18, 1985

Memphis Commercial Appeal - Feb 15, 1996

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 16, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Crime, Odd Names, Religion

Stange Seasoning

The name isn't as bad as Hurff Canned Goods, but even so, Stange Seasoning doesn't sound very appetizing.

Stange was acquired by McCormick and Co. in 1980.

Food Technology - Sep 1958

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 15, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Food, Odd Names

Skina Babe

Skina Babe, produced by Mochida Pharmaceutical Co., has been a popular brand of baby bath oil in Japan for decades. Mochida trademarked the name in the U.S. However, I don't believe it ever tried to introduce the product in an English-language market, which seems just as well.

Incidentally, Mochida also sells "Skina Fukifuki," which is a skin cleanser for senior citizens.

More info:

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 08, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Babies, Odd Names, Asia


In his 1983 book Big Business Blunders: Mistakes in Multinational Marketing, David Ricks tells the following story:

A Japanese steel firm, Sumitomo, recently introduced its specialty steel pipe into the U.S. market. Sumitomo used a Tokyo-based, Japanese agency to help develop its advertisements. The steel was named "Sumitomo High Toughness," and the name was promoted by the acronym SHT in bold letters. So bold, in fact, that the full-page ads run in trade journals were three fourths filled with SHT. Located at the bottom of the page was a short message which ended with the claim that the product was "made to match its name." It simply cannot be overemphasized that local input is vital.

I've been able to find ads for SHT, such as the one below, but none exactly like the one that Ricks describes. Which doesn't mean the ad doesn't exist. Just that it isn't in any journals archived online.

Ocean Industry - July 1984

However, among the ads for SHT that I was able to find, I found one that actually improves (and possibly complicates) Ricks's story. Because it turns out that Sumitomo had another product, Sumitomo Calcium Treatment, that it abbreviated as SCAT.

Once I could accept as an honest mistake, but coming up with scatalogical abbreviations twice seems intentional. I'm guessing either someone at Sumitomo thought it was funny, or someone at the Japanese agency was having a joke at their expense.

Ocean Industry - March 1980

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 27, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Products, Odd Names, Excrement, 1980s

The new Perth Museum

In order to find a name for the new museum opening in Perth City Hall, city officials surveyed the public and considered over 450 ideas before deciding to call it "Perth Museum."

This recalls the time, in 1973, when the Army Materiel Command (AMC) held a contest to name its new headquarters and, after considering 524 different proposals, awarded the prize to the guy who suggested calling it the AMC Building.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 11, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Museums, Odd Names

Kinki Nippon Tourist

The Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. was founded in 1947. By the 1970s it had become Japan's second-largest travel agency. But trouble began to emerge when, during this same decade, Japanese tourists showed up in Europe and America, often carrying bags emblazoned with the name "Kinki Nippon Tourist." Naturally, this attracted some attention.

London Daily Telegraph - Oct 25, 1972

Saffron Walden Weekly News - July 1, 1976

The name 'Kinki' referred, of course, to the Kinki region in the south of Japan. Also known as the Kansai region. It had nothing to do with the sexual preferences of the tourists. But in a possible case of truth in advertising, the Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. was, in fact, involved in a scandal in 1979 for having arranged sex tours abroad for Japanese businessmen.

Vineland Daily Journal - Nov 28, 1979

The company quickly learned what its name meant in English, so when it opened a branch in America in 1974 it didn't use the Kinki name. Instead, it called itself Kintetsu International Express (it's still in business).

Likewise, the name Kinki has become a problem for other organizations in the Kinki region that have an international presence. For instance, in 2016 Kinki University changed its name in English to Kindai University, in order to spare the staff and students embarrassment when they traveled abroad.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 10, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Innuendo, Double Entendres, Symbolism, Nudge-Nudge-Wink-Wink and Subliminal Messages, Odd Names, Asia, Mistranslations

Page 2 of 7 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›

weird universe thumbnail
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.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
June 2024 •  May 2024 •  April 2024 •  March 2024 •  February 2024 •  January 2024

December 2023 •  November 2023 •  October 2023 •  September 2023 •  August 2023 •  July 2023 •  June 2023 •  May 2023 •  April 2023 •  March 2023 •  February 2023 •  January 2023

December 2022 •  November 2022 •  October 2022 •  September 2022 •  August 2022 •  July 2022 •  June 2022 •  May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •