Category:
Weapons

Cutting a sheep in half with one stroke

Swordsmanship shows often used to include demonstrations of the ability to cut a dead sheep in half with one stroke.

I've never been to a swordsmanship show, but I'm guessing that this particular display of ability is no longer a standard routine.

I'm also guessing that it must be pretty hard to do.

Birmingham Gazette - Apr 16, 1920



Ithaca Journal - Sep 23, 1922

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 06, 2022 - Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Weapons

Ideal Fighter Jet Toy



Posted By: Paul - Sat Mar 26, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Toys, War, Weapons, 1950s

Ann Frickman, Sharpshooter

During World War II, one of the best rifle shots in the United States was a housewife — Ann Frickman. Remarkably, she hadn't grown up shooting rifles. She first picked up a rifle in her late twenties, and eighteen months later she was beating the Army's top sharpshooters.

San Francisco Examiner - Dec 20, 1942



Pasadena Star News - Feb 24, 1942

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 15, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: 1940s, Women, Weapons

The Voice Bomb

This is another example of the military's interest in using sound to demoralize the enemy. This device was rather straightforward: "Dropped from a plane, the balloon bomb would drift to earth while the recorder blared out surrender demands or other morale-breaking messages to the enemy."

See also: Weird alien sounds designed to terrify and panic, and Ghost Tape Number Ten


The Pantagraph - Oct 12, 1951

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 07, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Psychology, 1950s, Weapons

Mystery Illustration 102

What type of publication is this dramatic illustration from? A true-crime magazine? A government report on urban violence? Publicity for a cop movie?

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 07, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Photography and Photographers, 1970s, Weapons

Square-Wheeled Tank

In 1957, Albert Sfredda secured a patent (No. 2,786,540) for a square-wheeled tank. He explained:

A vehicle equipped with square wheels of the type contemplated by my invention gives better traction and a smoother ride when used on rough terrain than one having circular wheels. Following are the reasons: the sides of a square wheel constitute large flat surfaces for bridging ruts and cavities in the ground whereas a circular wheel follows the surface of the ground and enters many ruts; and the sides of a square wheel provide a large contacting area with the ground when they lie parallel thereto, and, hence, afford better pushing effect, whereas a round wheel affords only a small pushing area, which often results in causing a digging effect.



Sfredda was correct that square wheels would provide better traction on rough terrain than circular wheels would. The video below explains why. But the problem, of course, was that his tank would have difficulty moving on a regular, flat road.



Along similar lines, Macalester College has had a square-wheeled bicycle on permanent display since 1997. More info: macalester.edu

image source: StanWagon.com

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 21, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Motor Vehicles, War, Weapons, Patents, 1950s

Weird alien sounds designed to terrify and panic

In 1969, Alfred Mardarello et al. were granted a patent for a "noisemaking device" which could be attached to a missile. When the missile was fired and flying through the air, their gadget would create "weird, alien sounds" intended to terrify the enemy. From their patent:

The invention relates to a projectile that is adapted to produce frightening noises while in flight, whereby such alien sounds will have a terrrifying effect on people nearby.

The psychological effects of weird or unexpected noises, which accompany an artillery projectile or missile, have been explored in many ways, prior to this invention, with minimum results. The Germans, in World War II, attached a noise producing device to aerial bombs, somewhat similar in construction to the organ pipe. A high pitched noise was created. This could be used only on large bombs and was too massive for use on artillery projectiles...

The insufficiencies of the prior art are overcome by the noisemaking adapter of the instant invention. The adapter ring is so designed that they attach to an existant missile without requiring modification of said missile. Centrifugal force, as a result of the spinning motion of the missile after being fired, causes the noisemaking arms or fins to extend and to produce weird, alien sounds of such magnitude as to be heard over a substantial area. The psychological effect, to create panic to those in the vicinity, is thus effected.

I have no idea if this patent was ever used in combat. But I don't really understand the point of making something that's already terrifying (a missile) even more terrifying by having it produce weird, alien sounds. Isn't the terror of the missile itself enough?

I guess it was part of the psychological warfare effort during Vietnam. See also Ghost Tape Number Ten.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 11, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Patents, 1960s, Weapons, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

Horse Spike

In 1899, Patent No. 636,430 was granted to Franz and Konrad Hieke of Philadelphia for what they described as "cavalry equipment". It was essentially a large spike attached to the front of a horse. From their patent:

This invention relates to cavalry equipment; and it has for its object the provision of novel means for protecting the horse from the missiles of the enemy and in the provision of a cutting projection designed to injure the enemy or cause him to evade the projection by stepping to one side where an attack by the rider would be effective.



A better view:

Argos Reflector - Feb 8, 1900



I wonder if one of these was ever actually used in combat?

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 22, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Inventions, Patents, Weapons, Nineteenth Century

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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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