Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Eye" Saw You...!

This time of the year seems to call for creepy stories, doesn't it? That's where the Victorian Era folks come in handy.

In past post, we've seen some of the strange practices they had. So, from the folks at Listverse, here is another!

Imprinting On The Eyes Of Condemned Criminals

Photo credit: The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice

Optography is the practice of analyzing the eyeball to reproduce the last image it saw. If that sounds nuts, it’s because it is. Not that this stopped the Victorians from trying. From 1880 onward, scores of condemned men were asked by scientists to look at dramatic things just before they were executed.

Wilhelm Kuhne led the charge. In 1880, he acquired the head of guillotined murderer Erhard Gustav Reif and examined his eyeballs for images of violent movement. As time went on, the experiments became more elaborate. One condemned man was asked to keep his eyes completely shut as he was led onto the scaffold and to snap them open the second before he was hanged. Strangely, he acquiesced.

Such experiments were so numerous that optography acquired a respectable sheen. As late as 1927, murderers destroyed their victims’ eyeballs to prevent identification by optography.

I reckon to some of the so-called scientists of that time, this somehow made perfect sense. Like I said, strange studies were going on at that time!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I have some cheese cake I'll share.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Catchy Recruit Song...!

Trouble is, this little ditty was a recruiting song for pirates. That's right...pirates!

Ya see, many of the songs that we sang with our kids had some rather disturbing origins. This is only one of many!

“Sing A Song Of Sixpence” Was A Pirate Recruiting Song

Photo credit: Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Originally, “Sing A Song of Sixpence” wasn’t sung by kids—it was sung by pirates. And it wasn’t just a song. It was a coded message.

When a crew would dock into a harbor, they’d often need to hire more people. Pirates, though, can’t exactly put up a billboard advertising that they’re looking for people to rob and plunder. So, they started singing a song of sixpence whenever they wanted to let people know they were hiring.

The “sixpence” was advertising the daily pay on the ship, and “a pocket full of rye” was a promise to provide each pirate with a leather bag full of rye whiskey. The “blackbirds” were pirates, and a pie was a trap. With us, the song promised, you’ll lure rich ships into thinking you’re their friend—and then spring out and raid their riches.

If you want to know of some other songs with strange origins, you can find them right here!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Low 70s right now...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Now This Is Shocking...!

Sometimes I have to wonder if the folks of the Victorian Era were mostly nuts! Sometimes there isn't any doubt!

Electrocuting Their Own Genitals

Photo credit:

The Victorians liked men to be men, and any sign of unmanliness was a serious cause of concern. To battle weakness and deficiencies of “masculine energy,” Victorian scientists came up with one of the most absurd cures ever: a belt that delivered constant electric shocks to the subject’s genitals.

These were the days when electricity was so new that it was considered a potential cure-all for just about everything. Just as wackos in the 1950s claimed that radiation could heal anything, so too did Victorians consider electricity a kind of wonder drug.

The experiments were considered such a success that their use expanded to curing impotence, and they started appearing for sale in magazines. Strangely enough, they never really caught on with the general public, who seemed unwilling to embrace severe shocks to their genitalia.

I have a pretty good idea as to why this didn't catch on with the general public. I know I wouldn't have used one, thanks just the same!

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ned Christie For Western Wednesday...!

Here is another character from the days of the old west that gave lawmen a run for their money.

Turns out he was in the right to do so. Here is his story straight from the folks at Listverse.

Ned Christie

People said Ned Christie was a shapeshifter, able to morph into an owl or hog when enemies approached. That would’ve been a good trick, since Ned Christie had a lot of enemies. For five years, this giant fought the best lawmen in the Indian Territory, and each time, he outwitted, outgunned, or outran his foes.

His life as a fugitive started in 1887 when Deputy US Marshal Dan Maples was gunned down. Authorities arrested a man who claimed Christie was the killer. Ned was a member of the Cherokee National Council and had been in town on tribal business when Maples was shot. When he learned he was a suspect, Christie refused to turn himself in.

He skipped town and hunkered down inside his home. With friends and relatives acting as sentries, the Cherokee held off lawman after lawman, including the legendary Bass Reeves, until 1889, when they set his cabin on fire.

Though the flames blinded his right eye, Christie escaped into the hills, where he built his Cherokee castle. It was a fort inside a heavy wooden wall with sand filling the gap. And for good measure, Christie built the thing on a cliff inside a natural rock barrier.

Christie defended his fortress for three years until Deputy Marshal Paden Tolbert showed up with 25 men, a load of explosives, and an Army cannon. Over the next few days, lawmen fired 38 cannonballs and 2,000 bullets before rushing the cabin with an improvised wooden shield and several sticks of dynamite. The fort exploded, forcing Christie to make a run for it. With a pistol in each hand, he charged the posse like Butch and Sundance but was cut down.

As Christie’s corpse made its way to Fort Smith, crowds gathered to get a look at the famous outlaw. Ned’s body was even propped up for photos at the Fort Smith courthouse. Then in the early 1900s, a witness came forward and testified that someone else had shot Dan Maples. Ned Christie was an innocent man.

Many innocent folks were hung back in those days, it seems. Kinda a rush to justice, I reckon.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Now Those Are Tall Shoes...!

I often think that today's fashion is crazy, but it seems that it has always been that way!

Once in a while there comes something so bizarre it needs some attention. This is one of those crazy styles that thankfully didn't last that long.

High Heels That Were 0.6 Meters (2 Ft) Tall

Photo credit: Victoria And Albert Museum

In the Middle Ages, Florence was the style capital of the world. There, the ladies pulled out every stop to make sure that they looked good. No trend, though, compared to the dignity and beauty of wearing chopines, platform shoes with massive wooden heels that were sometimes more than 0.6 meters (2 ft) tall.

The look became so popular that it spread to men, too. Since people were essentially walking on stilts, getting around was pretty hard. But Florence’s fashionistas made do by hobbling with canes.

Most people outside of Florence thought that the look was ridiculous. Some even called it “sinfully vain.” The church, though, begrudgingly accepted it. At the very least, they accepted that wearing chopines kept women from dancing—and that, after all, was the worst sin of all.

If anything, the fashion back then was way far crazier back then, know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio today!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Urban Legend For Monday Mystery...!

Today we are going to post about just one of the many urban legends that abound in our society. Let's consider the legend of the man under the Bunnyman Bridge.

There is a kernel of truth to this story You can read more about it right here, if you want.

Bunnyman Bridge
Clifton, Virginia

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to legend, a very strange figure haunts a railway overpass outside Clifton, Virginia. The sinister soul, sometimes dressed in a white costume with long ears and wielding an axe, is the inspiration for Colchester Overpass’s more widely-used nickname: Bunnyman Bridge (or Bunny Man Bridge).

One of the most common origin stories asserts that in 1904, a murderer from an insane asylum, Douglas Grifon, escaped a transport vehicle which crashed into the overpass. Rabbit carcasses, some of which looked as though they had been ripped apart by human teeth, began littering the area. The escapee was eventually caught, and subsequently killed by an oncoming train. His spirit, though, is said to haunt the area to this day.

Somehow, just knowing where a story comes from doesn't stop it from being more than a little disturbing to me...know what I mean?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Just stay in the light, OK?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bluegrass Sunday For A Change Of Pace...

Instead of cartoons today, we are going to have a little bit of music! Hope you like it!

And this next one ain't Bluegrass, but it's a memorable piece!

Have a great Sunday! Coffee is ready on the patio!