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Archive for July, 2014

The Long-Lost Bigfoot Board Game

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Anybody looking for a present to get Steve Busti (owner of Museum of the Weird)? Well, here ya go, but you’ll probably have to scour some thrift stores and yard sales for some time to track down a copy.

Milton Bradley put out this 4 player board game in 1977 and sadly, time seems to say it wasn’t a big hit (or we’d all have a dusty copy in our closet next to our “Monopoly”, “Life” and “Sorry” games. Here’s the description on the box and of the gameplay from Boardgamegeek.com :

“You and your buddy come to Alaska looking for gold even though the dreadful BigFoot has been sighted in the mountains. Other prospectors and you must avoid crossing paths with the creature or else you must leave the mountains forever.”

The game centers around a model of the BigFoot. 10 plastic disks (5 blank and 5 with the footprint of the Bigfoot) are secretly loaded into the base of the creature. Players start with two tokens of matching color. Each player rolls the dice and must move one of his tokens the full dice count, in either direction. The board features various locations and special action spots. When a player’s token lands on a Bigfoot space, he/she rolls the dice again and moves the creature the full count. If the creature moves over an opponent’s token, a disk is dispensed and if it is a footprint, that player’s token is out of the game. The winner is to be the survivor after Big Foot has removed all other opponents. The game is intended Ages 8 – 14, but it’s fun for adults as well.

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Hmm, on second thought, I’m not so sure it would be a good idea to get Steve this. I can see all our employee meetings going on a bit too long when Steve unfolds the board for all of us as a ‘treat’. Perhaps it’s best if we let this one sink into obscurity and legend…

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Oh, who am I kidding. Now that Steve’s seen it, nothing can stop him in his quest.


Wednesdays are also weird at the Alamo Ritz!

The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz is right down the street from the Museum of the Weird and just to show how much we love ’em, if you and a friend are heading down to check out their “Weird Wednesday” screenings at 10 pm (ish), you can get your friend into the Museum of the Weird for free! How, you ask? Show up early to pick up your ticket (at least an hour) and bring it into the museum. Show it to the staff, buy an admission for yourself, and your friend gets in with you for free!

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With writer/director William Dear in attendance!

“All you gotta do is have long hair, wear colors, and ride a scooter, then everything you do is illegal.” In the wave of biker movies that rolled across American drive-in screens in the late 60s and early 70s, a similar narrative played out over and over: the cops and the bikers will always be at war. NORTHVILLE CEMETERY MASSACRE takes that premise to extremes, framing the bikers as true emblems of freedom and individuality who are repeatedly victims of a violent and corrupt  police force. These fun-lovin’ goofballs may have some questionable fashion choices (I’m looking at you, Swastika Joe), but should they be hunted down like wild animals? Like The Wild Bunch on Wheels, a series of violent encounters lights a fuse that eventually explodes in an unforgettable climax. NORTHVILLE CEMETERY MASSACRE will be presented on director William Dear’s personal 35mm print. He will be joining us for a special introduction and Q&A.


Say Hello to the Gigantic Sea Creature, The Ninjen

Say hello to the latest creature on the block in the Cryptid community: The Japanese sea creature called, The Ningen.

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First spotted in the 1990s by fishermen who initially thought they had discovered a foreign submarine, the Ninjen was described as 60-90 feet in length and as a “blubbery whale-like creature” only with human-like arms, legs (or sometimes a tail instead) and facial features (only eyes and a mouth). They’ve been spotted in the Antarctic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans and are invariably described as being huge and very white and always out at night…because any cryptid worth its salt (water) wouldn’t be caught dead out at noon.

Various stories circulated about the monster but it wasn’t until 2007 when a Japanese magazine called “Mu” published a story about it, that suddenly the world was flooded with sightings, photos, and even a grainy video. Immediately stories began of cover-ups by the Japanese government and even MIB-like folks who warn off those who claim to have seen the Ninjen about telling others their stories. Taking over the web in Japan, much like the (entirely fictional) Slender Man has been over here in the states lately, theories abound from them being alien life to ancient sea gods. I’m just glad to have a new beastie on the block. Time to update the Monster Manual.


Wednesdays are also weird at the Alamo Ritz!

The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz is right down the street from the Museum of the Weird and just to show how much we love ’em, if you and a friend are heading down to check out their “Weird Wednesday” screenings at 10 pm (ish), you can get your friend into the Museum of the Weird for free! How, you ask? Show up early to pick up your ticket (at least an hour) and bring it into the museum. Show it to the staff, buy an admission for yourself, and your friend gets in with you for free!

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Outrageously stupid dubbed Italian comedy about policeman David Speed, played by comedy spaghetti western icon Terence Hill, who stands a little too close to an exploding nuclear missile. Just as in real life, the exposure to devastating atomic shock waves and high levels of radioactive plutonium gives him super powers. He has telepathy, telekinesis, he can catch bullets in his teeth, jump through walls, fall from great heights with no consequences, walk on water, stop time and pretty much do anything else that’s convenient for the plot. But his powers don’t always work, which leads to some wacky complications – you’re going to LOVE those wacky complications. With Ernest Borgnine as his by-the-book partner, who just gets all steamed up when Officer Dave won’t follow the rules. This movie is dumb, but are you really all that smart? I mean, come on. (Lars)


Terror Tuesday at the Alamo = Free +1 at Museum of the Weird

Tuesday is the day that the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz on 6th street features their curated “Terror Tuesday”. At 9:45 pm they show some of their favorite horror films, accompanied by weekly drink and food specials. And you can get a two-fer if you show up early! Give yourself an extra hour before the show starts, pick up your ticket, bring it and a friend into the Museum of the Weird, just down the block, show our staff your ticket, and if you buy admission to the museum, your friend gets in with you for free!

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In the ’70s and ’80s, lovable real-life serial killer Ed Gein made cannibalism and human-flesh wardrobes into youth culture sensations. When not blaring Journey or learning macrame, the era’s teens could often be found enjoying the latest Gein-inspired cinematic masterpiece, from TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE to the incredible DERANGED. MOTEL HELL takes the crown as the most deeply pleasurable, fun-powered man-as-meat tale ever set loose on the public. Affable aging country boy Farmer Vincent (the great Rory Calhoun) and his sister run a backwoods “resort,” where road-weary visitors can enjoy a night’s rest and a slit throat. The most honored of these guests end up ground into Farmer Vincent’s Fritters, a popular local delicacy. Besides boarders, other sausage ingredients include snoops, bikers and even a heavy metal band whose tour van sports a giant mustache on its front bumper. If you don’t want to see a man wearing a giant pig’s head have a chainsaw war with a cop, you’re just an idiot. (Zack Carlson)


The Giant Hole at the Top of the World

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Scientists are confused by the sudden appearance of a giant 80 meter wide hole that has appeared in a remote part of Siberia (you know it’s gotta be remote if it’s the most remote part of Siberia) called Yamal, which means “end of the world”.

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Not a good omen.

A scientific crew is preparing to investigate but the reason for the hole’s existence is a mystery. Some experts say that from analyzing the images, scorching is visible around the sides of the hole which indicates ‘severe burning’. Enter the UFO folks, natch. Another expert says global warming is the cause with expanding gases under the surface that mixed with salt and water and BOOM…high school chemistry class on a massive level.

I’m certainly not thinking they’re going to find Atlantis or any other versions of the occasionally resurfacing Hollow Earth theories, but I admit to feeling trepidation as to what they’re going to find down there nonetheless. Where’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer when you need her?

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The Mummified Mannequin of Mexico

Have you ever seen a mannequin in a store that was perhaps a little TOO real looking? No, I’m not talking about Kim Cattrall in that 1987 comedy (?) film. You know what I’m talking about. But I guarantee you, no creepy old department store shopping experience you’ve had can hold a prayer candle to a little shop in Chihuahua, Mexico. The bridal store, called La Popular, is the talk of the town because of a suspiciously realistic mannequin in the store’s window.

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The figure was first displayed in the store in 1930 and immediately the locals thought something was up. Incredible detail (down to varicose veins in her legs apparently), real human hair, and a creepy gaze drew folks from far and wide to look at the strange figure. Then the rumors started: according to the tales, the figure bore an uncanny resemblance to the owner’s daughter, Pascuala Esparza, who (allegedly) had died of a spider bite on her wedding night. Soon whispers began that the figure was indeed the immaculately embalmed and preserved body of Pascuala herself. Despite denials from the poor owner, the legend continued and even today is widely believed.

Even the employees aren’t sure: only two who work there are allowed to change the figure and then, only behind closed doors. Some (of course) even say she changes position all on her own in the middle of the night. True believers have decided she is a saint and they regularly leave candles in front of her display and pray to her for guidance in love and (fortunately for the store) help in deciding which dresses to buy.

Naturally, skeptics say that the preservation that would be involved to keep a body in such pristine condition for 75 years is just not possible, but folks who’ve seen Pascuala up close walk away shaken. But both the current owner and Pascuala herself just dummy up about it (snicker). I would too if it encouraged sales like that.

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The Grave That Would Not Move

Welcome to Amity, Indiana (why is weird stuff always happening in places called Amity?), a small community, seemingly normal enough. But then there’s this:

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“Honey, did you see that? There was a grave right in the middle of the road!”, said no few amount of out-of-the-way travelers, one would expect, heading down Amity’s County Road 400. Why in the world would they leave a grave there like that? The answer: the road crews were terrified of disturbing it.

Back in 1808, a happy family settled here, Nancy and William Barnette, who had 11 children together before Nancy died in 1931 and William buried her on her favorite hill. The spot ended up becoming an official graveyard for a number of locals who wanted to be buried there as well. Flash to years later when the county was building its roads (as they do) and the process of moving the graves began. But Nancy’s ancestors weren’t having it.

Daniel, her grandson, grabbed his shotgun and camped out right on her grave. Nobody would come near it or the clearly irate and trigger-happy Daniel. Finally, the county gave up and just split the lanes down the middle around the site and to boot, gave it a protective concrete slab and a historical marker.

Now you can’t just put a grave right smack dab in the middle of the road and not start some ghost stories. Sure enough, the neighborhood kids tell tales and visit the grave late at night to scare themselves silly, as neighborhood kids have been wont to do in any given neighborhood near the creepiest monument accessible, probably since the birth of civilization. But the grave doesn’t represent the eternal spirit of Nancy, I suspect, so much as the eternal stubbornness of Hoosiers.

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The Salesman, The Lights, His Alien Lover and a Mummy

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The Place: The Appalachian Mountains

The Time: 1965

The Story: Pretty wild, man.

Meet Ralph Lael, a furniture salesman who was scouting a mountain in North Carolina that was famous for what was called “The Brown Mountain Lights”. On certain nights, many claimed that mysterious lights would rise up from the forest and into the skies. Pre-1947 and the beginning of the UFO craze, they were believed by Native Americans and early settlers to be ‘spirit lights’, but of course after…

But back to Ralph…he encountered these lights, and in a very direct way: “I’m frightened, don’t know what to do,” he wrote. “One light moves forward. It is now about ten feet from me and it is glowing. I could read a newspaper by the shining of it. It is ten to twelve feet across. Almost a perfect circle. It has a brown center that does not look solid. The shape of the brown center is like a tumble bug but without a head standing on its back end. Not touching the ground but suspended in the center of the glowing ball. It seems to have three hands or feelers protruding out from each side.”

Ralph claimed in the book he wrote about his experiences that after learning to communicate with the light using basic yes-no questions, it led him through crystal walled tunnels into a secret cave base in the mountain where he met an alien race called The Pewam. They took him to the planet Venus (which he said was made entirely of crystal), warned him about the dangers of nuclear science, and totally let him nail a hot alien chick named Noma who showed up to greet him in just a bra and panties.

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Yeah, that too. I kinda want to get abducted now.

After he was brought back, he says he found a small mummified alien body in one of the caves and he brought it back to town where he displayed it in a glass case in hit furniture store for years until he died and the store was bulldozed….AND NO ONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BODY!!!

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Naturally, stories of the Men in Black showing covering up evidence immediately surfaced, but many have more reasonably tied the mummy to being a sideshow attraction created by the legendary Homer Tate. Regardless of it’s earthly or unearthly origins, we still don’t know what happened to it.

Ok, so Venus isn’t made of crystal, and Ralph was almost certainly a huckster trying to attract folks coming to see the lights (which appear to be a real and probably naturally occurring phenomena), but it’s certainly more fun to imagine Ralph on a sexy space adventure.

 


The Ghost in Your Home Might Just be a Crazed Meth-Head

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A Seattle couple came home at 10 pm to find their house had been ransacked…but in a very strange way. “Someone — or something had torn open their mail, spread clothing throughout the house, smeared lotion on a door handle, removed the inner soles from all of their shoes, screwed a single screw into a piece of scrap wood — which had been crammed into the space between a door and its frame — and placed an upside-down can of paint on top of their toilet,” read a media release from the Seattle Police Department. “A purse, containing a 27-year-old women’s ID card, had also been placed on top of the couple’s bed.”

There were no fingerprints or signs of a break-in so the police left the nervous couple to their own devices and called it a night. As if you could sleep soundly after that…

A few nights later, in the middle of the night, the terrified couple phoned the police again to report noises coming from under the bed. I mean, you’ve got to be pretty freaked out if you’re an adult and you call the police about monsters under the bed without checking for yourself, right? Turns out, it’s a good thing they did. The monster they were scared of was spotted immediately by arriving police leaving the couple’s bedroom: a 27 year old woman.

It turns out the lady in question had been on a ‘meth rampage’ for several days and had also broken into another house earlier that evening. The purse and ID found earlier on the bed belonged to her.

It just goes to show you that there often is a perfectly good rational explanation sometimes for reports of the paranormal. Really, really, freaky and frightening rational explanations. Me? I’d rather have had the poltergeist.


Dead Grandmother Sends “Selfie” from Hell

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This is the picture that Gina Mihai of Romania received on her cell phone that she believes was sent by her dead grandmother. “When I switched the phone on I was horrified to see my dead grandmother’s face. She had what looked like a snake around her neck, and the whole image looked as if it had been taken through a hole, like it was shot through a tear in the fabric that separates the living from the dead. I took it to a fortune teller who told me that my grandmother was sending me a message from the other side, the snake around her neck was a symbol of the fact that she was being punished in the other life for some sin. By contacting us she was telling us that if we were to pray for her, we would still be able to save her soul.”

In Romania once a year there is a feast called “The Service of Alms” where Romanians give food to their ancestors in the graveyard. Gina apparently hadn’t made the effort since her grandmother died 3 years previously and received the photo while she was making doughnuts. Since then, she’s been bringing doughnuts every day out to grammie’s grave to placate her afterlife tormenters. A relative said, “The village priest told me that we need to do 40 Days of Alms to make up for those that we missed and we are doing it now. We want to help her soul to be saved.”

Hmm, I wonder if there’s an instagram filter for hell? Someone might want to get on that. My first step would have been to check to see if I had a trade-in available with my phone contract. Either way, free ghost doughnuts! It seems win-win to me.


Millionaire Guru Kept Frozen by Followers Who Argue: Dead or Asleep?

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Although doctors in India say that wealthy guru Shri Ashutosh Maharaj is definitely dead after a heart attack, his followers aren’t so sure. They say he may be ‘clinically dead’, but they believe he is spiritually alive and in deep meditation. Some of his followers were quoted as saying, “This is nothing unusual. Medical science does not understand things like yogic science.” and “He is not dead. His holiness will return to life as soon as he feels it is right. We will preserve his body until then.”

And sure enough, the head of the Divine Light Awakening Mission, who is worth 100 million pounds, has been put in a freezer by his followers, who say it won’t harm him since he was used to meditating in the deep cold of the Himalayas. But relatives of the guru claim the followers are just trying to keep control of his money. A court has been asked to investigate for the family who want his body released for cremation.

In his follower’s defense, there have been examples of holy men in recent history who could slow down their body functions to an incredible level through concentration. However, I can’t find any case where anyone could actually stop their heart, at least to the level where modern doctors couldn’t detect life. I wonder how long it will take for the oversized freezer’s electric bills to run through the guru’s fortune?

 


The Island of Lost Dolls

Ready for a creepy vacation? And this time you don’t have to go to Romania or somewhere crazy far away to visit. Welcome to Isla De Las Munecas, or “The Island of the Dolls”. Located south of Mexico City, this abandoned island is accessible by nothing more than a rowboat, but you might want to plan for a quick escape as well.

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Thousands of creepy dolls and doll parts hang from the trees over every part of the small island. Nearby mainlanders claim the dolls move on their own at night. How did these horrible things get here? What kind of crazy person does this? And why?

 

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The answer is, a strange loner in  nearby Xochimilco named Santana Barrera. Locals would see him in the town digging through trash cans and dirty canals. It turns out he was looking for these abandoned dolls. Santana believed that the spirit of a young girl was willing him to collect these dolls and hang them up all over his island to repel evil spirits. He also believed that the dolls were truly ‘alive’ and would at night roam around the island killing animals. Sadly, Santana was found dead from drowning on the island in 2001. You can only imagine the stories that circulate about that. But the dolls still remain, waiting for whoever is brave enough to visit the strange island.

 

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Not me, mind you. but, you know, whoever. Brrrr.


The Spider-Sisters Finally Find Love

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Meet Ganga and Jamuna Mondal, 45 year old conjoined twins who have spent a lifetime on the road with a traveling circus in India. Sadly, the pair were abandoned by their impoverished family when they were teenagers who believed they were a ‘sign of God’s fury’. Fortunately for them, they were found by the circus and have lived their lives in relative comfort. But not so much human comfort.

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Enter Jasimuddin Ahmad, a school teacher and part time sound engineer for the circus. ‘It was love at first sight. When we met Jasimuddin we both felt this was a man who would truly love us. And he does – he loves us straight from the heart,’ said Ganga. Jamuna added: ‘We have been very happy since he came into our lives. We have suffered in the past but we don’t want to suffer anymore. We really hope to spend the rest of our lives with him.’

I’m not one to stand on ceremony, but their community is, which is why they have no plans at this time for a formal union of any kind. But it’s a love story for two women who thought they’d never find someone and I say, whatever works.


Cryptozoologist raising funds to study Lovelock Cave Giants

Despite my colleague Chris Cox’s article the other day (see A Bad Day for Bigfoot), I remain optimistic that there will be some proof of an unknown, living, upright-walking primate found — eventually.

As cryptozoologist Scott Marlowe points out in response to that article, “The researchers DON’T claim any sweeping generalization whatsoever. They are simply reporting on those samples they worked with — and say as much in the report.”

“Good science is about patience, not easy gratification.”

Well now Scott is putting his money where his mouth is (or more accurately, your money). Marlowe is starting a GoFundMe campaign to raise $10,000 to conduct a DNA study on the skeleton of one of the mysterious Lovelock Cave Giants. According to his GoFundMe page:

Having located the remains of one of the Lovelock Cave “Giant” skeletons, and verifying that the keeper of it is willing to permit me to extract a tooth for the purpose of doing a DNA study on the creature, I am attempting to raise the funding necessary to complete the expedition and subsequent DNA work upon it to determine its origins and phylogeny.

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In 1911 mummified remains were found by guano hunters in Lovelock Cave, a large rock shelter in Nevada’s Lake Lahontan region. According to legend, these skeletons belong to a cannibalistic tribe of red-haired giants.

Known to the Paiute indians as the Si-Te-Cah, these cannibals were at war with the Paiute until a number of tribes came together and trapped the Si-Te-Cah in Lovelock Cave, started a fire and asphyxiated them.

There may be some factual basis for the legend. During a 1924 expedition, some human bones found in the cave showed evidence that they were split to extract the marrow, which may indicate cannibalism. In addition several large fiber sandals were found in the caves, one measuring a whopping 15″. Now that’s a Big Foot!

If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of a potential new discovery, I’d say here’s your chance. To help Scott reach his goal, you can contribute to his study here:

Red-Haired Giant Research


BUY 1 GET 1 FREE to the Museum with your Alamo “The Elephant Man” ticket

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Today at MUSEUM OF THE WEIRD show your Alamo Drafthouse ticket for tonight’s screening of “The Elephant Man” and get BUY 1 GET 1 FREE admission to the Museum!

Come to the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz tonight at 7pm for a special screening of the David Lynch classic THE ELEPHANT MAN.

The Museum of the Weird’s own sideshow performer “Obi-Juan” Martinez will be on stage doing some old-school sideshow acts and maybe a surprise or two!

The BUY 1 GET 1 FREE admission to MUSEUM OF THE WEIRD is good for all day Wednesday and Thursday, July 9 and 10, but you must show your Alamo Drafthouse ticket to qualify! Limit 1 free admission per ticket.

You can reserve your tickets here

 


The Haunted, Alien Hotspot, Dimensional Portal Forest of Hoia-Baciu

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Right off the bat, I’ve got to give full credit to a website called “Travel Creepster”. You gotta give props for that as a concept. It was through one of their posts that I first discovered the bizarre forest of Hoia-Baciu in Romania where for the paranormal, it’s always business time.

This small 1 square mile forest located to the west of the city of Cluj-Napoca has a lovely biking trail and facilities for paintball, airsoft and archery. It’s also thought to be absolutely terrifying and filled with all manner of bogeymen, time distortions, ghostly visitors, ufos, etc, etc. While the locals have traditionally been wary of the place, which has had its share of urban legends associated with it, not until relatively recently a story was reported widely that created infamy for the woods.

In the 1960’s a biologist named Alexandru Sift started investigating the very odd trees that fill the forest.

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He never did find an explanation for the shape of the trees, but after a series of scientific surveys, Alexandru claimed that he constantly felt the ‘shadows’ were watching him, and experienced mysterious sound phenomena, such as giggling female voices, rustling, and chattering teeth. His experiences have been shared by many, many visitors to the strange forest, especially the experience of ‘living’ shadows.

Later in 1968, a ufo was photographed above the forest, which has been held up by Ufologists since as one of the more plausible pieces of photographic evidence. Visitors reporting strange lights and floating orbs here is relatively commonplace, as is the strange effect reported by hundreds of people upon entering the forest of experiencing extreme nausea, panic attacks, headaches, and even skin burns. Is this UFO radiation? Geiger Counter wielding visitors say no, but what’s causing these unpleasant symptoms?

There are TONS of stories relating any number of other bizarre things associated with the woods, my personal favorite being the little girl who entered the forest, disappeared for years, and eventually exited with no awareness any time had passed and who hadn’t aged a day. Stories such as this have led to conjecture that a time or dimensional portal lies within the woods. Regardless of WHICH paranormal thingee is goin’ on in them thare woods, I’d imagine it’d make a great destination location for anybody interested in the otherworldly.


A Bad Day for Bigfoot

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I’m sort of gobsmacked that it took this long for anyone to actually do this, but Michel Sartori, an entomologist at the Museum of Zoology in Lausanne, Switzerland and his co-author Bryan Sykes, a prominent human geneticist at the University of Oxford, have gathered ‘bigfoot’ and ‘yeti’ hair samples gathered from various cryptid museums and submitted them for DNA testing.

Sykes believed that science hadn’t really given a fair shake investigating claims of ‘anomalous primates’ and suspected that they might actually be remnant neanderthals. Certainly, they wouldn’t be the first species believed to be extinct only to pop up in the modern age. Cryptozoologists were more than happy to help as well, like Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. “The proper scientific point of view is not to dismiss any hypothesis out of hand but simply to subject it to testing,” is the thought of Norman MacLeod of The Natural History Museum in London, author of an accompanying commentary on the research. And we agree.

But unfortunately…

Of the more than 30 hair samples gathered for testing, none were unidentified. They were found to be from bears, horses, porcupines, cows, and members of the canine family. “I cannot say that the sasquatch or related animal does not exist,” says Sartori, “But at the moment I have no evidence of the existence of these creatures.”

The most interesting thing to come from the study was that one of the bear samples matched DNA from a polar bear bone found in 2004 which was dated as being 10,000 years old. Although the result is still preliminary and requires further testing, it certainly stirred up interest and speculation that perhaps the ‘yeti’ sightings are not in fact a new species of hominid but instead a new or very, very old unknown species mix of a polar and brown bear.

While the study didn’t yield the results desired, at least for cryptozoologists, I would imagine that they were glad just to know for sure what they had. While it may not have shown proof for the existence of a Sasquatch as previously speculated, perhaps we’ve gotten the first lead in this mystery as to what the source of the hundreds of sightings over the years actually were. Would you be terribly disappointed to find out Bigfoot was a unknown species of bear instead of a primate? From a cryptozoological point of view, it seems like a win either way.


Conjoined Twins about to beat long-held longevity record

This Saturday, history will change…forever. At least in a Guinness Book of World Records sort of way. Already extremely rare (like, between 1 in 50,000 births to 1 in 200,000) and with only a 25% chance of early survival, while a staple of the traveling freakshow (although many were faked), conjoined twins aren’t exactly something you see every day. Which is why Ronnie and Donnie Gaylon of Beavercreek Ohio are celebrating.

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The brothers are about to hit the 62 years, 8 months and 7 day mark, which will make them the longest lived conjoined twins in recorded history. They’ve been counting down for months and have been excitedly marking down the days on the calendar. Hoping the Guinness Book contacts them in October when they celebrate their 63rd birthday is hopefully going to be the absolute cake topper for the pair.

Having lived in poor health for years, the community raised 170,000 dollars for the brothers to renovate their home where they were being cared for by their younger brother Jim and his wife. “It was to the point where they couldn’t do anything on their own anymore,” said Jim. But since getting community help and a special bed donated by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, their health and disposition has greatly improved.

The twins performed in circus sideshows up until 1991 when they retired, and since getting all the help, they’ve been able to regularly attend baseball games, go fishing, and have a normal life. But the big goal is to outlast the famous Chang Twins.

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More power to you, Ronnie and Donnie. The Museum of the Weird is rootin’ for ya! The Chang’s reign of long-lived terror will finally be over.


Have a Happy 4th of July!

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I had to steal this pic from the great website “Bigfoot Buzz” from their post from last year. Happy July 4th to all you fans of the Museum of the Weird, Cryptids, Ghosts, UFOs and everything that’s strange, unexplained or just plain goes bump in the night!


The Most Dangerous Museum in the World

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Ed and Lorraine Warren: two of the most controversial and famous figures in the history of the paranormal. Haven’t heard of them? Well, of course you have. Indirectly, maybe. The 2013 film “The Conjuring” had Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson playing the two adventuresome occultists as they tried to save a family from their severely haunted home in Rhode Island. But did you know that “The Haunting in Connecticut” and “The Amityville Horror” were also based (loosely) on some famous hauntings that they were involved in? And that’s far from all, as many of the most infamous haunted locations in the 20th century were investigated and reported on by the couple, who claim to have looked into over 10,000 cases over the length of their career.

Of course, there’s been no end of skeptics of the pair over the years. The Amityville Case was pretty much entirely debunked point by point and the pair’s claims on cases such as their exorcism of a ‘werewolf demon” got them more than a few sharp looks. But that has never stopped the legions of fans from following their exploits.

Recently with the exposure to their history that came with “The Conjuring” Lorraine (sadly now widowed) has appeared in lots of media to talk about their experiences and give tours of the museum they built below their home in Connecticut, filled with some of the creepiest artifacts ever collected in one place. Not the least of which, and certainly the biggest lure to seekers of the creepy, is their rag doll named “Annabelle”.

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A creepier looking version of the doll was featured in “The Conjuring” but the actual doll’s story is just as frightening: bought in the 1970’s the doll would move about on its own and leave handwritten notes for the family who bought it. When it started spontaneously leaking blood, they thought it was time to get professional help and called in a medium who claimed the doll had been possessed by the spirit of a girl named Annabelle who had died under mysterious circumstances on their property, and just wanted a family to be loved by. Welcoming the spirit in their home, the family learned the most important rule about dealing with the dead: they lie.

After several of their friends were attacked by the doll (seriously), the fam got clued in that something was rotten in Denmark, and it probably wasn’t the ghost of Hamlet. Cue the Warrens who got called in by a priest who realized the case was beyond his abilities. Ed and Lorraine concluded it was an inhuman demonic spirit inhabiting the doll that was given power when attention was paid to it by the medium. They had an exorcism performed and took the doll with them when they left.

It didn’t take. Even on the way home with the doll in the car, their vehicle was buffeted about the highway dangerously. The doll would spontaneously levitate and move about their residence. Many people, especially those who verbally doubted the veracity of Annabelle’s power, were hurt and killed over the years while it took up residence in their home. Eventually they moved her into the basement and put her in a specially made locked case with warnings all over it. But even then, one loud doubter died on his way back from the museum.

You can still go to Lorraine’s home and take the tour, where you can see voodoo dolls, satanic altars, cursed mirrors, and any number of reportedly paranormally infested items that all have stories behind them and with some, fatalities. But Annabelle seems to be the one to be polite to. Or steer clear of entirely.

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NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE.


Classic Sideshow Acts: The Girl into the Gorilla

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A crowd is brought into a darkened tent. A beautiful girl is in a cage, often in jungle clothes (tiger-skin bikini and the like), and she stares forlornly out into the crowd. Sometimes it’s explained that she’s a genetic abnormality found deep in the forbidden jungles of the Amazon. Sometimes, she was the sad by-product of a mad scientist’s experiments. Regardless, the crowd knows what they’re there for: this beautiful girl to change into a gorilla right in front of their very eyes.

This trick, or varieties of it, has been a staple of the sideshow since the 19th century and it’s still performed today in a variety of forms. The technique is called “Pepper’s Ghost”, named after the British scientist and inventor John Henry Pepper who expanded upon and improved an earlier trick called the “Dircksian Phantasmagoria”. Using angled glass, lights, and a second identical room that is slowly transposed or morphed onto the primary, the concept is used daily at Walt Disney World in The Haunted Mansion, is seen in the Bond movie “Diamonds are Forever”, various museums in the UK, and even in an episode of the children’s show. “The Magic School Bus”.

Regardless, we miss the wonder of the original sideshow effect, as the woman became a beast, burst through her bars and chased the screaming audience out of the tent past carnies prepared for the mad rush of laughing and scared locals. While we don’t (currently) have a Girl-to-Ape attraction at The Museum of the Weird, we like to think we capture the spirit of these traveling shows. The next time you’re in Austin, Texas, make sure to come see us down on historic 6th street…and prepared to possibly run screaming out of a room yourself!


Cursed Church saved by spooky art exhibit

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No, this isn’t a scene from “Insidious 2” (although it sure looks like it). What you’ve actually got here is an art installation inside of an abandoned church in the Czech village of Lukova. Locals had abandoned the medieval church believing it cursed after the ceiling fell in during a funeral service in 1968, which artist Jakub Hadrava thought was a shame.

“I wanted to install the sculptures on the benches to remind people the church had a history and a past,” said the artist. Using plaster and creepy lighting, Jakob gave the ancient building an unearthly feel and it’s been attracting tons of tourists who are now donating their cash to keep the building open. Mission accomplished…but damn….just these pictures are gonna freak me out for awhile. I don’t so much feel filled with the holy spirit as wanting to run out while screaming, “Holy S#%t!”

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