412 E 6TH STREET, AUSTIN, TX 78701 / (512)-476-5493 / info@museumoftheweird.com

Archive for August, 2015

There be dragons

Photo of Alvin the bearded dragon

Alvin, a bearded dragon, was our official lucky lizard. He was 8 years old.

This has been a sad week for us at the Museum of the Weird. Our official lucky lizard, Alvin, succumbed to old age and went to wherever it is that good lizards go. You might not think that you would grow affectionate for a lizard, or that you would miss feeding him cockroaches, but you would be mistaken. I will miss everything about him terribly.

So, in tribute to Alvin, we’re going to talk about dragons today.

You might been told that dragons are all made-up stories, but there are some that suggest that it’s not as simple as that. We may not have the exciting, fire-breathing dragons of Harry Potter, but it’s possible, perhaps even probable, that ancients had contact with large lizard creatures that have been distorted by time. This article, on the Forbidden History site, references accounts by such names as Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, and Marco Polo. While it’s easy enough to pass off early writings as possible fiction or exageration, the city of Troy, once believed to be fiction, was discovered thanks, in part, to information provided in the Iliad by Homer. We often think of historical people as being gullible or not observant. It’s true that they did not have some of the references or tools that we have to capture and describe things today. It’s also true that they helped us to develop what we use today. They weren’t fools. So, it’s possible that there is more to these stories than we imagine.

This image from livepterosaur.com shows a sketch of what might be a living dinosaur.

This image from livepterosaur.com shows a sketch of what might be a living dinosaur.

Of course, if it’s living dragons that you are interested in, there are stories of giant flying lizard reported around the world. The Ropen, a flying creature said to resemble a pterosaur, has been reported around Papua, New Guinea. Other reports come from around the United States, including Texas. Other investigators believe that these are not creatures that resemble pterosaurs, but actually dinosaurs that have survived to the modern day. 

While this is a fantastic idea, it would not be the first time that a creature has emerged from the clouds of myth. We’ve done plenty of stories lately about newly discovered species. Is it impossible that these creatures might still exist in some capacity? Time will tell.

Finally, we’ll share one example of a living, flying dragon. He doesn’t breath fire, but this amazing lizard, Draco volans—actually commonly called the “flying dragon”—has folds of skin that open up into wings that carry it away from predators. It’s able to glide the length of a football field and come to a graceful landing at the end. Watch this National Geographic Video.

Regardless of which type of dragon captures your imagination, fantastic, historical, cryptid, or natural, we hope that you will help us all raise a toast to the sweetest dragon we ever knew and wish him wings—and maybe even a little fire-breathing—as he travels beyond our reach.

Rest in peace, Alvin.


Blood Moon

You may have heard some things about the Blood Moon in 2015. Some say it’s the Apocalypse. Some say it’s a time of strong magic and connection.

So, what is this Blood Moon anyway? Let’s see what NASA has to say about it.

 

Basically, it’s a lunar eclipse, but the corona of the sun around Earth casts a reddish light. I like the phrase they use in the video. From the moon’s perspective, you are simultaneously seeing every sunrise and sunset happening on Earth at that time.

What makes this unusual is that this is the 4th eclipse like this within a year. (A group of 4 is called a tetrad.) Humans have always gotten excited about things that connect with the numbers 2, 3 and 4. It is special that we are getting such a grouping of this event. It’s unclear how such a thing will affect you directly.

Should you prepare for this final eclipse in the tetrad, coming in September? You most certainly should consider setting your alarm clock so that you have a chance to view it. Outside of that it really depends on your traditions.

I’m not a big believer in global apocalypse scenarios, but if enough people are tensed for something to happen it won’t take much to push things over the edge. I predict that some people will have a pretty bad day on September 28. Some will have a day of growth and prosperity. Which one of those people do you want to be?

I think that we all make have free will and we get to choose a lot of things in our life. Also, my numerology calculations tell me that for me this will be a day of exploration and curiosity, so I will probably try to plan some sort of excursion or dig into something new and interesting.

I hope that you will spend that day enjoying the marvels of being alive, regardless of your own traditions.

 


Bat looks like something from a horror movie

drawing of a bat with long canine teeth

Artist rendering of the Hypsugo dolichodon

A newly discovered bat is the stuff of nightmares! This article by Mongabay introduces the Long -toothed Pipistrelle or Hypsugo dolichodon that was recently classified in Vietnam. Basically, that’s a mouthful describing a bat with a mouthful! It has enormous teeth, like something from a horror film!

The picture on the right shows an artist rendering of this amazing bat, but you can see the photos in the original article. Why such large teeth? Scientists speculate that these bats feed on beetles and other insects that are a little tougher to get into.

The new  classification is the result of 17 years of research. We can imagine that in that time there were plenty of people who told stories of monster-toothed bats who were just not believed. Let us know how this fellow turns out in your nightmares tonight.


Sweet old lady actually Hannibal Lector?

By now you may have heard the grisley tale of a 68-year old Russian Woman who may have killed 11 people. If it’s new to you, here is the video report from CNN.

The story developed easily enough. It appeared that the 68-year-old Tamara Samsonova killed a woman in her care, dismembered the body and disposed of the pieces. As this Sun (UK) article reports, it was more complicated than that. A diary that she kept in a mixture of Russian, German, and English tell a tale of as many as 21 victims and may have involved eating part of their remains. In other reports she claims that she has been haunted by someone who forced her to kill.

Clearly she is unsafe. Many reports are jumping on the idea that she had occult books—or more sensationally “books on black magic.” It is unlikely that most reporters, or police for that matter, would know the difference between black magic and kitchen witchery, though your author would not be surprised if she were into some pretty dark stuff.

There have been some bizarre killings of late. The Slender Man killings in which a pair of 13-year old girls stabbed a friend to death in order to attract the Slender Man, a bizarre modern monster who rewards those who kill. Recently released video of police questioning shows some real disconnects by these young girls. A judge has decided that these girls will be tried as adults and we will, no doubt, hear much more about this in the coming months.

Can we expect more, even stranger crimes to come? Maybe we’ll talk more about that soon as we explore some of the ideas floating around the Blood Moon phenomenon that has some people speculating.


Welcome to snake island

We’ve shown you islands of cats and bunnies. We shared the island of lost dolls. Now it’s time to stir up the nightmares with a trip to Snake Island. Ilha da Queimada Grande, in Brazil, is home to thousands of Golden Lancehead Viper, one of the most venomous snakes in the world. Thousands of these snakes inhabit the island, climbing trees to hunt birds that are migrating through the area. The local birds are too savvy to the snakes’ technique, which consist of gently wiggling the end of their tail, like a grub, as they lie otherwise still and ready to strike.

The venom is very strong and can melt human flesh! Even with treatment, someone bitten by a Golden Lancehead Viper has a 3% chance of dying!

Travel to the island is illegal without permission from the government, which is obtained by some researchers and other special visitors. A military team also goes to the island periodically to service the automated lighthouse which sits on the island. This island was once manned and there is a tale of a keeper and his family who were killed when they left a window opened and let in a dozen of the vipers while they slept.

This video shows a visit to the island by an ABC news reporter.

Did you see that snake strike the camera at about 1:52? We like lizards and snakes, but we’re perfectly happy to leave Ilha da Queimada Grande to be ruled by the serpents.


Womans body stolen in San Antonio

A grieving family was cast into further despair when someone apparently stole the body of their daughter from a funeral home. Details are shown in this shocking news story.

We are long past the days of the Resurrection Men, body snatchers who would creep into graveyards to steal specimens for medical dissection in the days before people made their bodies available for science. (In the case of Burke and Hare they went beyond grave robbing and generated their own corpses.)

Surprisingly, body snatching is not unheard of today. This 2008 report by the Daily Guardian that a group of criminals harvested more than 1,000 bodies including a famous broadcaster. The stolen body parts—including bones skin, arterial valves, ligaments and tendons—were sold to more than 20,000 transplant recipients throughout the US, Canada and Europe. Many recipients were unaware that they were receiving parts from unwilling donors. In four years, this body-snatching ring illegally harvested more than 1,400 corpses from funeral homes in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Is this San Antonio incident part of such an organization?

Our heart goes out to the Mott family. Losing a loved one is a painful experience. We cannot imagine the added horror of being victim to such an unspeakable crime.


What is that in the sky?

 

This goes quickly, but watch this…

What you are watching is known as “Case 68838 – Oak Park, IL” by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). MUFON tracks and investigates sitings of UFOs and they have some pretty interesting cases in their logs.

This is the report submitted with the video:

I was shooting video of a storm cloud emitting heat lightning from our back porch. When I viewed the video I saw a streak of light that I cannot explain or rationalize. I slowed the speed and showed it to friends. It was recommended that I forward his to your organization. I am including the original video from my phone. (which is upside down) The orb appears 11 seconds in. I also included video that I inverted and cropped.

Anyone can submit a report of a UFO siting using their online tool. They receive thousands of reports which are handled by local volunteers.

One explanation offered is that this is the elusive “ball lightning” phenomenon, where electricity forms as a mass rather than a streak we we normally see it.

Great Balls of Lightning

A photo of the ball lightning phenomenon by Joe Thomissen
(Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Does that look right to you or is it merely a convenient explanation? There was no evidence of a crash or any damage to the ground from a lightning strike. The matter is being investigated.

Do you have any interesting UFO pictures or video? Share them with us! In the mean time, keep watching the skies.


Planet X in our time?

Some people say that the image below, taken from this Google Sky link is the mysterious Planet X.

screenshot of Google Sky showing a strange, winged-looking, orange object

Is this strange shape recently revealed by Google Sky the mysterious Planet X?

There has been some controversy about this segment of sky in the Google tool as for a long time it was blacked out, showing a rectangular area of black. Google has been accused of hiding things on maps. (See 24 Places Google Maps Won’t Let You See for alleged examples.) Some of the so-called censorship seems to simply be a way of dealing with problem data. I imagine keeping accurate information on the entire planet up-to-date has some challenges and everyone who’s ever had something go wrong with a photo can probably relate.

So what about this Planet X? It’s worth reading Planet X for Dummies to catch up, but, in a nutshell, there is an old idea of a rogue planet that moves through our solar system rather than traveling in a nice orbit around the Sun. Planet X, or Nibiru as it is sometimes called, is associated with alien visitors, global disasters and any number of things that might alarm you.

Some claim that this strange, winged looking object in the picture is a revelation, that Google is finally releasing this to the people. If it is a planet bringing space gods and disasters, I’m not really sure what we do about it. There it is, though. You can see it yourself on Google Sky by tuning into these coordinates.

If you feel the need to prepare, we found a handy video on how to make a tinfoil hat.

And, because it’s just cool… here’s a bonus video on using your foil to make a fire. (batteries not included)

Watch the skies!


Roanoke mystery solved?

One American mystery that has lasted for more than three hundred years is the colony of Roanoke, Virginia. Led by John White, they were sent by Walter Raleigh in 1587. White returned to England that year for supplies and was delayed until 1590 because of the war with Spain. (Remember, there was no overseas communication in that time and travel was slow and difficult.) When he did return, the colonists were gone. The word Croatoan was carved on a post and the letters “CRO” were found on a nearby tree. There was an island nearby known as Croatoan—now called Hatteras—where there were friendly natives.

This video from the Travel Channel gives details to the story along with what might have been a solution, an artifact suggesting that the colonists were attacked and destroyed by natives.

Roanoke map 1584

This map, drawn by John White was the basis for the new analysis. (A British Museum photograph of the map. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The “attacked by natives” theory might have been appealing at one time, but as we learn more about the cultures in that time it makes less sense. This article from Ancient Origins, describes how archaeologists have been discovering clues that suggest that at least a portion of the colonists did go to the island. Pieces of rapiers, nails and other obviously European artifacts have been found on the island.

Meanwhile, work happening in North Carolina have yielded results suggesting that some of the colonists ended up there. The First Colony Foundation has been digging for three years above the Albemarle Sound, based on hidden markings found on a map drawn by John White, himself.

So, it appears that the colonists did not move to a single location but may have split up. Why? Were some of them less comfortable with adopting a more native lifestyle? Are there Roanoke descendants amongst us now who don’t even know it?

Clearly the mystery is not fully solved, but we are getting closer. I think that after the delay in White’s return with supplies that those left had to make decisions for their survival. They disagreed on what was best and broke into groups to continue on. At least they did not seem to turn to cannibalism, like appears to have happened in Jamestown.

I like mysteries. It’s fun to wonder…but it’s also good to find answers and I hope that we are closing in on a happy ending to a troubling question in American history.


Mass spider web in Texas

We really don’t mean to pick on our arachnophobes. Personally, we love spiders. Harry, our own tarantula, is a beloved part of the Museum and we respect the spider’s amazing place in the food chain (especially considering all the trouble they seem to have from wasps here and here). Creepy as some people find them, they do some amazing things.

We showed you amazing video of a spider migration a while back. This time it’s a mass web, created by a group of spiders in Rowlett, Texas. ABC affiliate, WFAA, reported Thousands of spiders have spun a massive communal web at Rowlett’s Lakeside Park South. As this video shows, the trees are literally draped in webs spun by spiders who have banded together to take advantage of all of the insect life in the region.

Spiders are normally pretty solitary creatures. But under certain conditions they will spin these amazing communal webs which blanket an area. Wired had a report in 2010 about an amazing 4-acre web that occurred in a Baltimore, Maryland water treatment plant. The original report was written by Albert Greene, Jonathan A. Coddington, Nancy L. Breisch, Dana M. De Roche, and Benedict B. Pagac Jr. for the Entomological Society of America. It contains amazing photographs and detailed data of the infestation.

This is nature at its most amazing!


You might belong in a museum

phot of a mummy

This amazing mummy rests in peace at the Museum of the Weird

At the Museum of the Weird we feature a mummy that might date back 3000 years. The process of mummification is an ancient art practiced by the Egyptians to preserve and prepare the body for the afterlife. Elaborate tombs were built to house the preserved body along with belongings and largess that showed off the wealth of the deceased. The process was very detailed and took months to complete. Poor people could not afford mummification, but would emulate the process by wrapping their dead in linen. (Read details about mummification from the Ancient History Encyclopedia.)

While many details of mummification are known, it has not been regularly practiced for centuries. The modern practice of embalming is the way that we expect to be preserved. As you may recall in our article on postmortem photos, some bodies were viewed and photographed for years after they died.

However, interest in mummification has resurrected, so to speak. In 2012 a terminally ill man willed his body to scientists so they could try to replicate the ancient mummification process. The entire experiment was explicitly captured in the documentary show, Curiosity, Season 2, Episode 2: I Was Mummified. (It’s available to watch for purchase through many outlets. This clip will give you an idea if it’s for you.)

Of course, the art of mummification is not completely lost. The U.S. company, Summum, offers complete mummification services for humans and animals. Here is video from The Discovery Channel’s show One Step Beyond, where the founder of Summum tells a little bit about his inspiration and their process. He’s a little off the beaten track, but I guess you’d have to be.

The already have a number of people willing to pay for mummification. Does that mean we can expect to see more pyramids rising up around the U.S.? If you can afford it, maybe someday you’ll end up in a museum!

In the mean time, come visit ours on 6th Street in Austin, Texas.

 

 

 


More than meets the eye

Photo of stone heads sticking out of the grind on Easter Island

Monolithic head statues of Easter island (Photo by Artemio Urbina and placed in the public domain)

If you have followed world mysteries you have undoubtedly come across the amazing head statues on Easter Island. These gigantic stone carvings depict proud heads, rising up out of the ground. If you’ve not followed them for a while you may have missed the activity over three last few years as archeologists have confirmed that these statues have full bodies and have been working to excavate them.

Called moai, these statues were created by the Rapa Nui people between 1250 and 1500 to depict worshiped ancestors. Many are near the quarry that bore the stone, but many others have been transported around the island.

For some time archeologists expected to find full bodies attached to the heads jutting out of the ground, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that serious excavation began to reveal these amazing monoliths. As you can see on their project web site there’s been a lot of progress. (This is really the site to dig into if you want to see all that has been done.)

This recent article from the Mirror in the UK highlights the discovery that the bodies are actually covered with intricate tattoos that have yet to be fully deciphered. For a quick view of what they’ve been digging up see this video.

It goes to show that even—or perhaps especially—with ancient mysteries there is more than meets the eye.


When monsters attack

Several weeks ago we had a story about legendary monster, Godzilla, receiving official citizenship from Japan. That’s odd, since he spent a lot of time destroying Tokyo. That’s what monsters do, though. They attack, and not only in the movies. Here are a few real-world encounters with monsters from the news.

Giant Raccoon

Photo from World News Daily Report shows the horrific damage to the Bakers’ SUV caused by what they describe as a giant raccoon.

This article by the Weekly World News Report describes a bizarre incident in which a Montana couple is attacked by what they described as a giant raccoon about eight feet tall. Arthur and Helen Baker say they were driving on the highway when the creature appeared in front of them. It attacked their vehicle, smashing the windows and flipping the vehicle several times. It continued to attack until it injured itself on the broken windows.

Raccoons can get large, but none have been recorded to get that large, leading authorities to suggest that this encounter may have been with a bear. Even if that was the case, something that will attack and beat up a vehicle to that extent and go after the people inside is the stuff of which nightmares are made!

Russian Chupacabra

Carnage left from the mysterious creature in Russia that is killing chickens. Image © www.moe-online.ru

According to this article at rt.com, a mysterious creature has been killing hundreds of chickens in the Russian village of Davydovka in a methodical and, perhaps, intelligent fashion. Very little blood is found at the scene, putting it in line with Chupacabra legends. This is not the first time that attacks like this have been seen in Russia. A couple of years ago similar attacks happened in the Voronezh Region in April and two years prior.

Tracks discovered at the scene are similar to a canine, but the methodology is very unlike what would be expected from a dog, wolf, or other similar predator.

Is it possible that this creature has somehow hitched a ride from Latin America to find new prey in Russia?

 Giant Squid Attacks Russian Vessel

What gods did the Russians anger? Not only are the chickens suffering, but here is footage of a fishing vessel attacked by a giant squid. This looks like something from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! Can you imagine that just a few years the idea of a giant squid was considered myth and now we have this! Attracted by their catch the monster squid forced the crew to fight hard to drive it away.

Hopefully, most of us will never encounter a real-life monster. They will remain the stuff of nightmares and scary stories. These tales are a reminder, though, that any of us, at any time, may cross the threshold where the nightmare becomes real. Pleasant dreams!


Are aliens below us?

Poster for the 1956 film Mole People (See it MST3K style)

People have been fascinated with the idea of a hollow earth and who might inhabit it for many years. Jules Verne penned A Journey to the Centre of the Earth in 1864. It’s the story of a group of explorers who find that there is a world buried beneath the Earth’s crust, a mysterious world lost to time.

The story has been made into film time and time again. There have also been films like The Mole People that have looked at fantastic civilizations that have lived beneath the Earth.

This is just fiction, though. Right? When Admiral Richard Byrd explored the North Pole he allegedly wrote in his diary an account of discovering a huge area that was lush and a meeting with beings who claimed to live beneath the earth. Is this a real accounting or a fiction attributed to Byrd? Byrd makes no specific claims about this in a 1954 TV Interview (see IMDB record). So, the hollow Earth idea is probably a myth, right?

Not so fast! in this collective-evolution.com article the author covers many reputable scientists and explorers who have expressed ideas of a hollow earth with a sort of sun at its center. This BBC Article describes test results showing that the earth’s core might actually have sun-like temperatures. An article published in Nature discusses discoveries that there could be a huge repository of water (think ocean) deep under the earth. Perhaps the idea of an subterranean world is not completely ridiculous.

Of course, the biggest argument against a Hollow Earth is how could we not know? Some suggest that we do know, or at least some know, and that the news is being kept from us for the same reasons that are applied to UFOs. There’s even discussion that the UFOs people see come from inner space rather than outer space. This video even suggests a Nazi connection!

The truth is probably out there—or in there, as the case may be. If there is an inner-Earth, how many other mysteries are connected with it? It could explain UFOs, strange creatures and maybe even more shadowy puzzles of the paranormal. Imagine if our encounter with an alien world is just a matter of looking below!


US Navy swastika building on Google Maps mystery solved?

While browsing strange news I came across this item from 2007: Google Maps forces Navy to redesign swastika building. It tells the bizarre tale about the U.S. Navy, somehow, inadvertently put up this Navy Seal training building in the shape of a Swastika in 1967. A snapshot of the building from Google Maps is shown here from 2006.

Screen capture of Google Maps showing a building shaped like a swastika

Google Map Image, captured May 8, 2006 by Flickr user Si1very

What a mess! How could this be? How could they accidentally put up a building in the shape of a swastika? In 2007 we find the Navy response in this L.A. Times article, Navy to mask barracks shaped like a swastika. Here, they outline the Navy’s plans to change the aeriel view of the building with some additional construction and landscaping. So, what must it look like today?

I took a look and here is what I found.

Swastika_Building

This snapshot from Google Maps on 8/9/2015 shows the building still in the shape of a swastika. See the map view here. (Note, the actual map view could change at any time.)

What?! It still looks like a swastika! Nothing has obviously changed! What does this mean?

Now it’s time for a little speculation. I backed the view up a little bit away from the swastika and I saw another picture, as one generally does when one steps back from something. There are another pair of very oddly shaped buildings in line with the swastika building. Do these tell a different story. Here’s the snapshot from the map.

Screen shot of higher elevation with tow other oddly shaped buildings in line with the swastika.

Pulling back from the swastika building shows two other strangely shaped buildings.

Do you see it? Those two buildings could be airplanes, navy bombers flying toward the Nazi menace. Here, I’ve enhanced everything a little to tell the story that I see.

Snapshot of Google Map is highlighted with red over the swastika building and blue over the buildings that could be bombers

Enhanced view shows what could be bombers flying toward the swastika

Are these buildings actually a memorial for the air battle against the Nazis in World War II? They very well could be! The strange airplane tail shape in the buildings is obvious.

If this is the story, why is the Navy shy to share it? Did the architect do it as a personal statement and never told his secret?

We may never know the truth, but it’s a fascinating mystery.

Know of any other architectural mysteries? Share it with us!

 

 


Spider zombies

A while back we told you about the tarantula hawk, the most painful wasp in the world, that hunts tarantulas. Apparently spiders and wasps have a rivalry as big as cats and dogs because here is another spider-hunting wasp, but this one is just weird!

Japanese scientists reported in the Journal of Experimental Biology have observed that the wasp known as the reclinervellus nielseni somehow manipulates a spider to build a special web for its young. In return for this kindness the spider is devoured by the young as they come of age. Here is disturbing video of what happens.

No one is sure how the wasp and its young manipulate the spider. Perhaps it injects a hormone that confuses the spider’s normal behavior. If you’d like to dig into the the scientific data is available.

In my experiments with people I do influence minds, but it’s nothing at all like this! Some of the things that happen in the animal kingdom, particularly with insects, is just plain unpleasant! I’m starting to actually feel sorry for spiders. The wasps are giving them a really hard time.


Photographing the dead

Victorian photo of a dead woman gracefully reclining on a couch.

Postmortem photo of a young woman

Yesterday I talked about a couple celebrating their wedding in a funeral home. Today we turn to actually celebrating the dead in a way that seems to be lost.

You may think that photographing everything is a new phenomenon. Though they didn’t have social media, the Victorians captured many images of life, and death. The woman seen in this picture is dead. It was common practice to photograph the dead in elegant remembrances. These photos give the appearance of a loved one who has simply been caught napping.

Victorian postmortem photo of a woman in a black dress laying with her eyes opened

This postmortem photo has the woman’s eyes open.

In some cases they eyes were opened for the photograph, giving a weird effect. They stare out, strangely.

Victorian color photo of a young black boy standing behind his dead brother who lays on a couch

A brother looks over his dead sibling

It was common to have people pose in the photographs, a tableau of living and dead together. Some of these pictures are incredibly poignant, such as the brother looking over his sibling, apparently napping on the couch.

Victorian postmortem photo of a standing fireman with a drawin showing the rig to pose him

This rig allows the deceased to be posed in a standing position.

JohnOconnor-postmortem

A strange, standing photo of a man two years after his death

Of course, the dead did not simply recline. Elaborate rigs were designed to pose a corpse standing. Some of the photos resulting from this technology are pretty bizarre, as the dead stand proudly, or lean jauntily, sometimes surrounded by friends and family. The photo of John O’Connor shows him standing with a couple of gentlemen two years after his death! The card is from the Livingstons Undertakers. Is this a sample of their embalming work?

There are a few photographs that seem to show the dead hanging around for some time between their death and their burial. It’s possible that, since news and people traveled more slowly in this age that they kept the embalmed bodies on view for much longer before they were buried.

Victorian postmortem photo of a teenage girl sitting with handwritten notes around

Notes around this photo indicate the emotion associated with the death and the reluctance to let go

These images are weird and heartbreaking. The emotion is clear in the faces of loved ones included. It’s also interesting the number of children that appear. “Go over there, Timmy, and hold your sister’s cold, dead hand for the man.”

Of course, our modern society has become quite removed from the process of death. Perhaps they were all simply much closer to it, so it wasn’t unusual. I think these are all a good defense if you decide to take a selfie with the deceased at the next funeral.

I’ll close out with a few more striking pictures. I find them all fascinating. Many more can be easily found on the Internet.

A sweet-looking young girl lies as though napping.

A sweet-looking young girl lies as though napping.

A dead girl stares wildly as she poses with her family. Note the base of the stand at her feet.

 


Beginning at the end

Wedding photo of Asian couple in a coffin.

Couple celebrate their wedding in the family funeral home.

We look forward to the day when an especially weird couple chooses to tie the knot at the Museum of the Weird. (We can totally make that happen with an in-house officiant!)

However, until that happy day, we always like to look at the bizarre ways that people celebrate their unions. Earlier this month, a couple in Ohio had their wedding in her family funeral home. According to this article in The Huffington Post, Chelsea and Barry Lesnick exchanged vows at the Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center which has been run by her family for years.

“We really didn’t think of it as weird, for our mindset, because we deal with death all the time. It’s the family business,” Chelsea told Huffington. “But talking to other people about it, like friends and Barry’s family, they were a little weirded out by the idea. They were a little skeptical, thinking, ‘How is this going to work? Are there going to be dead bodies everywhere?'”

Having made the acquaintance of a lovely Austin funeral director, I have seen her approach funerals as a celebration of life. That would make it a very fitting place for a wedding.

Of course, there are those who take a darker view. An Austin cake maker, Natalie Sideserf, created a most unusual cake for her marriage to husband, David. Being horror fans, they celebrated with cakes depicting their own severed heads. See this video.

 

Isn’t it wonderful when weird people find each other? Weird weddings are proof that a couple belongs together, with a celebration as unique as they are. We raise a toast to all of you lucky couples. Of course, if you are looking for a perfect way to start your weird life together, we always have some room to celebrate amongst the mummies and shrunken heads.


Open wide

What in the world is going on here?

B&W Photo of a woman with a strange photographic aparatus aimed into her mouth.Is this woman the subject of a bizarre experiment? Is this a sort of torture? Is this man using a robot to extract something from her throat?

This is actually an image from a Bell Laboratories ad from Life magazine in 1947. This technician is using an elaborate apparatus to film this woman’s vocal chords. This does not look comfortable! It reminds me of the scene from Ghostbusters when Venkman hooked people up to electric shock equipment to test ESP. Haven’t seen it? It’s worth a look. Even if you have seen it, it’s worth seeing again.

Will people in the future look back at our sophisticated scientific apparatus and laugh at how crude and barbaric it is? I can’t even begin to imagine. Considering how much that picture makes me cringe, however, I’m guessing that they will.

So, what kind of images did they get? Here is an example of footage taken by Bell Labs.

Amazing!


Tickets please

Funny ghost poster.

Poster in the London Underground takes a no-nonsense view of ghosts. Screen readers refer to this text.

I admit, I’m fond of the British. They generally have an admirable calm and dignity that is worth imitating. Submitted for your perusal is this poster, found in a London Underground, addressing the presence of spirits. It’s obviously a joke—and a good one—but reports of ghosts in the tube system are commonplace.

This Daily Star article describes encounters with “a girl with ‘coal-black pits for eye sockets’” that first emerged in the 1980s, and is still making appearances. Other regular encounters include the mad ghost of Sarah Whitehead, also known as the Black Nun, who haunts the Bank Station.

Of course, London is not the only place with haunted trains. According to this Silicon India News article there are ghosts spotted in stations all over the world. Here are a few doozies:

  • Caobao Road Subway Station in Shanghai, China, has frequent break downs that seem to get better once the trains are free of the station. One story suggests that a man was dragged onto the tracks by a spirit!
  • Panteones Metro Station in Mexico City—the name literally means “Graveyards”— was built near two old cemeteries.  Workers hear mysterious knocks on the walls and have seen indistinct, shadowy shapes moving around. Screams are sometimes heard along the tracks.
  • Guards at Waterfront Station in Canada have seen a number of bizarre reflections of past passengers. One saw a 1920’s flapper complete with music from the era that vanished as approached.
  • Connolly Station in Ireland was badly damaged during a 1941 bombing attack. A soldier in grey has been seen roaming the platform and a guard watching the security camera saw two figures in military gear who disappeared when he investigated.

Why do ghosts return to these subways? Do they think of them as special places? They are certainly places where people have spent a lot of time. When I die I hope I don’t find myself trapped in someplace that was part of my day-to-day, mundane world. Imagine spending the afterlife sitting at that red light, or trapped behind a keyboard?

We’re interested in your weird travel encounters. We’ll share the interesting ones here.

 

 


Armadillo armor works

You may have heard reports of the Texas man injured by a ricochet while shooting an armadillo. Some outlets reported that the bullet actually ricocheted off of the hard armor of the creature, but this Huffington Post article denies that claim. They report that Chief Deputy Roy Barker, with the Cass County Sheriff’s department, was by the man that the bullet from his .38 caliber pistol ricocheted off a rock and struck him in the jaw, grazing him. The injuries were not life threatening.

However, there is another report of armadillo payback from April of this year.

You would not imagine that the shell of such a little creature could protect against a bullet, but, apparently, this sort of thing happens from time to time. While their armor may do them good in some of these cases any drive down a Texas highway will show that it’s not invulnerable.

Why did the chicken cross the road? To show the armadillo it could be done.

Keep weird, everyone.