Weird Universe Blog — September 14, 2019

Death by helicopter

Parachuting onto the whirling blades of a helicopter is both an unusual and a horrific way to die. It's definitely the worst kind of parachute accident I can imagine. It happened to one young woman — her first time parachuting — back in August 1987.

The Guardian - Aug 10, 1987

Paula Goodayle “who was hacked to death when she fell through the whirling blades of a helicopter during her first jump.”

The Sport Parachutist magazine (Oct 1987) offered some details into the subsequent investigation of the incident. The basic conclusion seems to have been that it was a colossal screw-up to have had students continue to parachute when a helicopter was in the area.

Miss Goodayle was despatched on the second pass, being the third parachutist to exit the aircraft, the parachute deployed normally, the descent was normal until just prior to landing when there was a collision between the parachutist and a helicopter approximately 430 yards from the target cross.

The conclusions of the Board of Inquiry were that Drop Zone Control or Air Traffic Control failed to suspend parachuting when the helicopter was in the area and that the helicopter pilot failed to take avoiding action or clear the area when parachiting was in progress. The Board could see no reason why parachuting was not suspended or why the helicopter was in the area whilst parachuting was taking place.

The recommendations of the Board were that whenever a student parachute programme is in operation, the Drop Zone Controller must have radio communication with parachuting aircraft for the purpose of suspending parachuting.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 14, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Death | Flight | 1980s

Mystery Illustration 85

This female figure was intended to represent something very tangible: ie, not "virtue," "justice," etc.

What was the thing she represented?

The answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 14, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Statues and Monuments | Nineteenth Century

September 13, 2019

Velvet-Lined Bathtub

Back in 1936, interior decorators predicted a popular future for velvet-lined bathtubs.

I can only imagine they would have been a nightmare to clean.

Pottsville Republican and Herald - Dec 4, 1936

Emery County Progress - Nov 27, 1936

Update: Thanks to our knowledgeable readers, Floormaster Squeeze and KDP, for pointing out that Steve Martin had a line in one of his routines about buying a fur-lined sink. I found the clip on YouTube (audio only, unfortunately). The fur-lined sink reference occurs less than a minute in.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 13, 2019 - Comments (6)
Category: Bathrooms | Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods | 1930s

Glen Falls Sequence

Creator's Wikipedia page here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 13, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Art | Surrealism | Stop-motion Animation | 1930s

September 12, 2019

Nun in a miniskirt

November 1969: The fact that Sister Joann Malone of the Order of Loreto was protesting wasn't particularly big news, but the fact that she was wearing a miniskirt as she did so was front-page news.

Sydney Morning Herald - Nov 21, 1969

Decatur Herald - Nov 20, 1969

Her superior, Sister Rose Maureen Sanders, head of the St. Louis province of the Sisters of Loreto, wasn’t too happy about the fashion decision. From a follow-up article:

Sister Rose said she feels that Sister Joanne, from her earnings on speaking engagements, could have paid to purchase a longer skirt.
“I regretted the photo when I saw it in newspapers here and thought her wearing a miniskirt was ridiculous,” said the provincial superior.
“It’s an aberration on her part. Many, many sisters are wearing modern clothes but would not choose a miniskirt. Why do the newspapers print things like that?”

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 12, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Fashion | Religion | 1960s

September 11, 2019

Hallucinogenic giraffe livers

It's possible that the livers of some giraffes might be hallucinogenic when consumed. Although the claim is controversial.

The idea was first introduced into the scientific literature in 1958 by anthropologist Ian Cunnison, in an article published in the obscure journal Sudan Notes and Records.

Cunnison had spent time with the giraffe-hunting Humr tribe of Sudan, and he reported that after a successful hunt they would often consume a drink called umm nyolokh made from the liver and bone marrow of the giraffe. Cunnison didn't try the drink himself, but its effects, as described to him by the Humr, seemed to be hallucinogenic, Here's the relevant passage in Cunnison's article:

It's noted on Wikipedia that, if the reports from the Humr were accurate, “this claim would make the giraffe the first mammal to be discovered to contain a hallucinogen in its bodily tissues,” However, Cunnison himself was skeptical, suggesting that the perceived effects might be “brought about subconsciously.”

Cunnison’s article didn’t attract much attention until 1998, when Richard Rudgely discussed it in his Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances. Rudgely was far more willing to believe that the giraffe livers really were hallucinogenic.

Since then people have speculated that the giraffes in Sudan might have been consuming plants, such as Acacia trees, that contained psychoactive substances, which then concentrated in their livers.

But to date, to my knowledge, the issue remains entirely speculative because no one has gone to Sudan to find and test some of this umm nyolokh.

Members of the Humr tribe skinning a giraffe after a hunt.
Source: Sudan Notes and Records

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 11, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals | Drugs | Psychedelic | Inebriation and Intoxicants

Cecil Jensen’s ELMO

I'm about thirty pages into this book, and can't recommend it highly enough. Pure hilarious surrealism.

Read a long article about the strip here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 11, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Comics | Outsider Art | Surrealism | 1940s

September 10, 2019

Cheetos Pareidolia

I promise this will be my last Cheetos-themed post for a while. But for some reason, I've been coming across a lot of weird stuff about Cheetos recently.

The latest is Cheetos pareidolia, which is the phenomenon of Cheetos that look like things. Often these unique Cheetos end up on eBay, where they command high prices. For instance, right now, for only $650, you can buy a Cheeto shaped like a shrimp.

In 2017, a man found a Cheeto shaped like the Virgin Mary, and he promptly put it up for sale.

Also in 2017, a Cheeto shaped like the gorilla Harambe almost sold for $100,000.

And some, such as photographer Andy Huot, find inspiration in the many shapes of Cheetos. Huot has an Instagram page dedicated to what he calls 'cheese curl art'. Below is his version of the March of Progress, rendered in Cheetos.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 10, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Art | Junk Food

Follies of the Madmen #443

A toilet seat is never, ever going to resonate with "jewels."


Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 10, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Business | Advertising | Domestic | Interior Decorating | Body Fluids | Excrement | Flatulence | 1960s

Page 1 of 19 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›
Custom Search
All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

Go to top