Category:
Weather

When your hair stands on end

On August 20, 1975, the McQuilken siblings were hiking in Sequoia National Park when their hair started to stand on end. They paused to take a photo of the unusual phenomenon. The top photo shows the two brothers, Sean and Michael. The bottom one shows their sister Mary.

A few minutes after taking these photos, lightning struck Sean and Michael. Luckily, they both survived.

The photos are now used in a pamphlet published by the National Weather Service describing lightning warning signs.







Michael McQuilken later wrote an article about his recollections of that day (the article is now only accessible via the Internet Archive):

Suddenly, I was immersed in the brightest light I have ever seen. I moved my head from side to side and all I could see was bright white light, similar in appearance to arc welding light. This next part is strange. I distinctly remember feeling weightless, and that my feet were no longer touching the ground. For some reason, it felt like a number of seconds transpired, even though I realize that lightning strikes are instantaneous. A deafening explosion followed, and I found myself on the ground with the others. Sean was collapsed and huddled on his knees. Smoke was pouring from his back. I rushed over to him and checked his pulse and breathing. He was still alive. I put out the embers on his back and elbows and carried him down the path towards the parking lot, with the rest of the group following.

More info: NBC News

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 28, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Weather

The Frozen Woman

Dec 20, 1980: On a cold winter's evening, 19-year-old Jean Hilliard's car got stuck in a ditch, so she decided to walk for help. She was found the next morning, two miles away, frozen solid.

Later, people told her she'd made it to her friend's yard, tripped, and crawled on her hands and knees to his doorstep. They said she lay there for six straight hours, with her eyes frozen wide open. Hilliard doesn't remember any of that.

Remarkably, doctors were able to thaw her out even though she was so rock hard that needles broke on her skin. She suffered no serious injuries — just some blistered toes.

Read the full story at MPR News

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 16, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Human Marvels, 1980s, Weather

Rain Goggles For The Motorist

I'm surprised someone isn't selling a battery-operated version of these today as a gag gift. Wouldn't even need to be for motorists. Perfect for anyone out for a stroll in the rain.

The Oklahoma Freedom Call - Feb 8, 1934



"Miss Paddie Naismith, noted English racing chauffeur, is shown wearing the very latest in motor modes, rain goggles, with wipers 'n' everything. A small fan, you can see it over the bridge of the nose, operates the wipers when the car is travelling at speeds in excess of 15 M.P.H. Its inventor is L.A.V. Davoren of London." — International News Photo, Oct 1933
image source: reddit

Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 07, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions, 1930s, Weather, Eyes and Vision, Cars

Henry Kissinger, Weatherman

Henry Kissinger fulfilling his dream of being a weatherman.

Info: Orlando Sentinel, May 15 1991

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 01, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Television, Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, 1990s, Weather

Field Umbrella

Patent No. 2,320,848 was granted to Hollie Lee Byars of Parrish, Alabama for an umbrella designed to protect people stooped over. She imagined it would be useful for field workers. Although anyone who spent a lot of time hunched over could benefit.

There have been times when I've been weeding my yard that I could have used something like this.

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 21, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions, Patents, 1940s, Weather

The History of Nuking Hurricanes

The idea of nuking hurricanes has been in the news lately. Which made me wonder: how soon after learning of the existence of atomic bombs did people start to speculate about dropping them into hurricanes?

The answer seems to be, immediately. I found the article below about nuking hurricanes, dated Aug 8, 1945 — a mere two days after the bombing of Hiroshima.

Interestingly, the article speculates that the idea may have been inspired by earlier legends about using cannons to dispel waterspouts:

Talk of bombing hurricanes stems from stories of waterspouts being dissipated in the South Seas with cannon or rifle shot, Norton said. He doubts the truth of these yarns.


The Miami News - Aug 8, 1945

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 15, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, 1940s, Weather

The Ground Breathes

What on earth is going on here?



The explanation, via IFLScience:

The phenomenon is actually quite mundane. The footage, which reportedly comes from a forest in Sacre-Coeur, Quebec, is just showing us what happens when strong winds meet soil that’s been loosened by a storm.
“During a rain and windstorm event the ground becomes saturated, 'loosening' the soil's cohesion with the roots as the wind is blowing on a tree's crown," certified arborist Mark Vanderwouw told The Weather Network.
"The wind is trying to 'push' the trees over, and as the force is transferred to the roots, the ground begins to 'heave'. If the winds were strong enough and lasted long enough more roots would start to break and eventually some of the trees would topple.”

Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 04, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Nature, Natural Wonders, Weather

Follies of the Madmen #393

Our soft drink is equivalent to a life-endangering catastrophic event.





Source of B&W ad here (scroll right).

Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 03, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Disasters, Soda, Pop, Soft Drinks and other Non-Alcoholic Beverages, 1960s, Weather

Propellor-Driven Snowmobiles

This notion goes way back.

The Russians tried them at the start of the 20th century, with the Aerosani.

Here's one from the 1930s.



And finally, one from 2016.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jul 08, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Motor Vehicles, Nature, Weather, Twentieth Century, Twenty-first Century

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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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