The Weird Universe explores a human and natural cosmos that is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine. The usual suspects are Paul Di Filippo; Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes; and Chuck Shepherd, purveyor of News of the Weird.
- Man vs. Horse, 1947The experts predicted that the man vs. horse tug-of-war organized in Waterloo, Oregon back in 1947 would be no contest at all. Due to the angle of pull (the man, 225-pound Chester Fitzwater, was lying on the ground, his feet braced against a wood block) the horse supposedly wouldn't have a chance. To win, Fitzwater simply had to remain in place for three minutes. It took about a second for "Big Baldy" the horse to prove the experts wrong. As soon as the rope tightened, "Fitzwater lurched into the air, knocked over a photographer and some spectators, and crashed into the mud." Several other brawny men subsequently challenged the horse to the same contest, believing they would last longer. They didn't. The News-Review (Roseburg, Oregon) - Dec 12, 1947 The News-Review (Roseburg, Oregon) - Dec 15, 1947
- Cattle Delivery Via MotorcycleI really wish this practice had caught on, for I would be delighted to be driving down a highway and see such a sight. Original article here.
- Hank Robar’s Toilet ArtBack in 2004, Hank Robar wanted to get a property he owned in Potsdam, NY rezoned so that he could open a donut store there. His application was rejected, and in response Robar created a "toilet garden" — which consisted of rows of old toilets with poles behind them. The toilets had flowers in them. The 'toilet garden' was apparently allowed under local zoning laws because it was "art." Since 2004, Robar has battled with the local government over other properties, and as a result Potsdam has been home to a number of his toilet gardens. He's currently in the process of creating a new one. Robar's toilet art has sparked some lively debate in the community about what exactly qualifies as art. Update: It says here that Robar's toilets are legal not because they're art, per se, but because they have flowers in them, so he can claim that they're planter boxes, which are allowed under zoning laws. Also, he's not the only guy who's thought of displaying toilets as a protest against local government.
- Follies of the Madmen #255[Click upper and/or lower half of ad to enlarge] Who knew that fresh coffee promoted dancing? Original ad here.
- One In The HoleA Norwegian golf course has been the victim of a perverse kind of vandalism repeatedly since 2005. Someone is sneaking on the golf course at night and defecating in the golf holes. The groundskeeper claims the vandal is likely a man due to the size of the...droppings. Security lights were erected to catch the offender, only to be disabled by him. So, 10 years later, this nasty person is still using the course holes as his personal potty much to the dismay of the grounds staff.
- Fertilized roses with his own bloodRalph Farrar suffered from hemochromatosis, which meant that his blood accumulated too much iron. The treatment was to have a pint of blood taken from him every week. This blood couldn't be used for other patients. So Farrar used it on his roses as an "iron-rich fertilizer instead of the commercial rose food containing dried animal blood." After eight years of weekly blood-drainings his condition began to improve, so much so that he only had to have blood taken once every two months. No word on what happened to his roses as a result. Info source: Newsweek - Sep 2, 1963 Ralph Farrar pouring blood on his roses The Tuscaloosa News - Jun 29, 1963 Update: Curious about how long Mr. Farrar could have lived with hemochromatosis, I did a google search and found what I'm pretty sure is his grave. He died at the age of 76 in 1989.