Category Archives: Strange Phenomena

The Wonderful Two Headed Girl – 1869

Advertising The Wonderful Two Headed Girl

The Story of A 19th Century Oddity – Millie Christine

Wonderful Two Headed Girl

While recently highlighting one of the silliest movies ever made, The Thing With Two Heads, we came across stories of other human anomalies.

Co-joined twins Millie and Christine (or Christina) McKoy were famous in the 19th century, sometimes billed as “The Wonderful Two Headed Girl,” “The Two-Headed Nightingale,” or “The Eighth Wonder of the World.”

The truth about this “two headed girl” was quite different than what was advertised. Continue reading

The Lighthouse Without A Light

 Sir John Barrow’s Unlit Lighthouse

Lighthouse or Memorial Sir John Barrow

Sir John Barrow Memorial Hoad Hill Ulverston Cumbria, UK

The “lighthouse” is in the town of Ulverston, a bucolic seaside town which hosts various festivals throughout the year. There’s an annual Dickens Festival each November in which many of the citizens dress in Victorian attire. Then there’s “Another Fine Fest” held in June. The title is a takeoff on the admonishing words “Well… that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!” Oliver Hardy says these words in countless films to his comedic partner Stan Laurel. Ulverston’s modern claim to fame is as the birthplace of comedian Stan Laurel, who lived here until he was six-years-old.

Levity aside, viewed from afar, the 100 tower off the northern English coast of Cumbria sure looks like a lighthouse. Continue reading

7 Strange Facts & Stories About The American Civil War

80 Years After The Civil War Ended, Confederate Ammunition Killed Two Soldiers

7 Strange Facts Concerning The Civil War

Burke Davis Civil WarTens of thousands of books have been written about the American Civil War. The book that I recently read was not a penetrating analysis of a battle or biography of a soldier. Rather it was a book containing some unusual stories about the Civil War. Well written and researched, I think a small portion of the book is worth sharing here.

In no particular order here are 7 quick stories from the book The Civil War Strange & Fascinating Facts by Burke Davis, Fairfax Press (1982) (previously published as Our Incredible Civil War, 1960): Continue reading

Video: Dove vs. Cat – (It Doesn’t End The Way You Think)

What Happens When A Dove Visits A Sleeping Cat?

You’ve heard the expression let sleeping dos lie. But what about cats? Well this daring dove is determined to wake up this cat. And the cat will have no part of it. This is not Sylvester and Tweety.

Apparently this dove regularly comes around to annoy this cat. Does the cat even attempt to slaughter it?

This is either the bravest bird or the most laid back cat.

At one minute in, the bird is laughing, at the cat, right?

The questions I have are as follows:

1) Who lets a dove into their house in the first place? Continue reading

What Was It Used For? 5 Strange Inventions From The Turn-of-the-Century

Can You Guess What These Turn-Of-The-Century Inventions Are For?

Below are five inventions that were filed with the U.S. Patent Office between 1899 – 1904.

As we noted in our other story regarding bra patents, Americans are innovative and resourceful. When opportunity knocks they will be there to answer. All of these people thought their inventions would take off. None of them did.

Originally the patent office required you to build a model of your invention. Eventually they dropped that requirement. When you see the words no model, it means a prototype was not presented. After you discover what the invention is you will understand why some of these never had a model built.

So what are they?

Invention #1 Patented by Frank May 1904

patent by Frank May

#1 patented by Frank May 1904 US793004

Invention #2 patented by Monroe Griffith 1900

patent Monroe Griffith 1900 US666605

#2 patented by Monroe Griffith 1900

Invention #3 patented by Samuel McHatton 1899

patent Samuel McHatton 1899 US628111

#3 patented by Samuel McHatton 1899

Invention #4 patented by Henry Ullrich 1900

Patent Henry Ullrich 1900 US640837

#4 patented by Henry Ullrich 1900

Invention #5 patented by Joseph Karwowski 1903

patent Joseph Karwowski 1903 US748284

#5 patented by Joseph Karwowski 1903

Here are the answers with the patent inventor’s edited description:

This innocuous looking machine was electrified and quite honestly sounds extremely dangerous if used as intended.

patent by Frank May

#1 patent Frank May 1904 US793004

#1 EYE-MASSAGE MACHINE

Be it known that I, Frank Howard May a citizen of the United States, residing at Birmingham, in the county of Jefferson and State of Alabama, have invented a new and useful Improvement in eye massage machines, of which the following a specification.

My invention is in the nature. of an eye massage machine in which mechanical vibrations are imparted to the eye through an electrically-operated vibrator and which is so constructed also as to permit the direct application of either primary or Faradaic currents to the eye. Continue reading

The Shape Of Your Head Indicates Everything! 19th Century Quackery- Phrenology

Fowler & Wells, Phrenologists – The Art of Reading The Shape Of Your Head.

phrenologyWhat sort of foolishness did people believe in the 19th century? Phrenology, which might sound silly today, was studied and taken seriously by many people.

Phrenology is the “science” of reading character traits by the shape of your head. And of course there were plenty of experts – phrenologists – who could perform such accurate assessments.

Of course it is a pseudo-science, that is absurd, and yet there are still people today who believe in Phrenology. Continue reading

Losing Your Head, 19th Century Elevators That Decapitated People – 16 True Stories

Fatal Elevators In The 19th Century

In the late 19th century quite a number of people lost their heads in elevator accidents. Most press accounts of the incidents were thankfully short. But a few of the stories were described in sensationalist and sometimes sickening detail. The most common headline, “Decapitated By An Elevator,” as you’ll see, was not very original, Continue reading

Hilarious Headlines From The Covers Of “Man’s Life” Magazine In The 1950s & 60s

“Sex Tricks That Make Women Beg You For Love!” & Other Catchy Headlines From Man’s Life Magazine Of The 1950s and 60s

Man’s Life September 1967

Man’s Life September 1956 – Weasels Ripped My Flesh

With eye-catching painted covers and over the top headlines, Man’s Life magazine provided titillating reading for men from the 1950s through the 1970s.

Man’s Life was the magazine that came up with the now infamous headline “Weasels Ripped My Flesh,” which musician Frank Zappa later appropriated with new artwork for his band’s 1970 album cover.

How could any red blooded male resist stories such as “Sex tricks that make women beg you for love”? Or in the same September 1967 issue: “American towns where vice is legal!” Continue reading

Actress Ida Lupino’s Spooky Supernatural Experience

Ida Lupino Tells Of A Strange Phone Call

Ida Lupino (left), who makes her debut as a comedy director with ABC-TV’s “The Donna Reed Show” Thursday Dec. 10 (8-8:30 PM EST) goes over the script with Donna Reed and guest star Ann Rutherford (right). 11-20-59 ABC-TV Television Photos

Actress and director Ida Lupino (1918-1995) claimed that when she was a child she had an unnerving supernatural experience.

In Spooks Deluxe: Some Excursions into the Supernatural as Told to and Recounted by Danton Walker (1956, Franklin Watts), Ida Lupino tells a tale that is worthy of being a Twilight Zone story.

After you read Lupino’s story, you might recall two episodes of the famous Rod Serling TV classic which follow a similar story line, Long Distance Call (1961) and Night Call (1964).

I’ve heard similar stories, but none from someone as famous as Lupino.

From Spooks Deluxe:

Ida Lupino’s story, also involving a telephone call, was even more dramatic. “My father belonged to a club in London similar to the Lambs Club in New York,”

Ida wrote me. “He had the title of Treasurer of Secrets, which carries with it Masonic responsibilities. The story involves a fellow member, and one of his closest friends, to whom I shall have to give the fictitious name of Andrew Meyer, for a variety of reasons.

” ‘Uncle Andy,’ as I called him, was a frequent visitor at our home and I was very fond of him, in fact, all of us were.

“At the time, we were living with my grandmother at her home in the outskirts of London, while my parents whom I always called by their first names, Stanley and Connie—were playing an engagement in one of the London variety houses.

“One night, about half past ten, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep again. I had had a disturbing dream about Uncle Andy and decided to go downstairs and tell my grandmother about it. I was nine years old and very impressionable at the time.

“Granny was in the kitchen, preparing supper for my parents, who were due back from the theater where they were working. while I was telling Granny my dream, the phone in the hall rang.

“`Answer it, Ida Granny said. I have my hands full.’ Continue reading

Bad Luck Baby Katie – In 1904, Katie Reed Had 3 Accidents In One Week

Baby Katie and Irresponsible Parenting In 1904 

Depending upon how you look at life maybe this article should not be titled “Bad Luck Baby,Katie” but “Good Luck Baby Katie,” because Baby Katie didn’t die.

Today if you leave a young child unattended for any extended period of time and somebody reports you to the New York Office of Child and Family Services, they may eventually come around to pay you a visit.

That was not the case 100 years ago. Parents would frequently leave their children alone and bad things would happen. Generally no one interfered with poor parenting.

So if a child accidentally fell down a 20 foot flight of stairs not once, but twice within a week, you might think the child is accident prone and that’s not the parents fault.

Falling out a fourth story window is another matter altogether.

If what happened to sixteen-month-old Katie Reed in 1904 were to happen today, there would be a public outcry to remove her from her home.

This is the report from the July 30, 1904 New York Times:

” BABY KATIE ” FALLS 4 STORIES
Only Breaks a Leg—Fell Down stairs Twice Last Week.

Continue reading