May 2019 Newsletter: Curious Objects from the Cult of Weird Collection #1

By on May 1, 2019

Opening up the Cult of Weird cabinet of curiosities to share three items from the continually growing collection of oddities.
Cult of Weird oddities collection

When Cult of Weird was featured on @Midnight in 2014, the segment was called “Nightmare at the Museum.” It was fitting to me, because my goal was always to curate an online “museum” of weird history, science, folklore, curious places, and peculiar people. I’ve often considered reorganizing and reformatting the entire site to feel more like a museum experience, hoping to invoke the fear and awe I felt during my earliest experiences at the Milwaukee Public Museum for school field trips.

Besides collecting strange stories, I also collect curious objects to fill the Cult hive. Some are related to subjects I may have been researching at the time, and wanted to have a real piece of that history. Others are seemingly mundane objects that conjure fond memories of the expeditions during which they were found. I surround myself with vintage occult items, bones and skulls, taxidermy, funeral hardware, vintage Catholic iconography, hearse stuff…anything I can get my hands on.

I’ve shared many of these on social media over the years (Instagram, Facebook) but rarely here on the site. So for this month’s newsletter I decided to share three items from the Cult of Weird collection.

Horse-Drawn Hearse

Handmade horse-drawn hearse model

I prefer objects with an interesting story, even if it’s just how I found it, but this one doesn’t have one. An antiques dealer was selling this scale model of a Victorian funeral carriage as a vintage salesman’s sample, which it clearly isn’t. But, with the exception of substituting pipe brushes for miniature plumes, someone put in a lot of time building this piece. I couldn’t not have it.

Soon after I acquired it, I took it to the 15th annual Hearse Fest in Hell, Michigan where it was appreciate by a horde of hearse enthusiasts.

Speaking of Hell…

A Postcard from Hell

Postcard from Hell, Michigan

There isn’t much in Hell. A bar, a few houses…and Scream’s Ice Cream shop, complete with a wedding chapel, mini golf, gift shop, and post office. I found this postcard there, while mingling with the friendly denizens of Hell during Hearse Fest.

The corner is even singed by the fires (lighter) of Hell.

Postcards from Hell get a bit singed

Hearse Fest outgrew Hell, so this year it will be held at the Fowlerville Fairgrounds in Fowlerville, MI on Saturday, September 21, 2019. More info here.

Hasko Mystic Tray

Hasko Mystic Tray ouija board

There was a Ouija board boom in Chicago in the 1940s. The Haskelite Manufacturing Corporation was known for their fine serving trays, but in 1942 they decided they wanted in on the “fortune telling” business. They produced a variety of serving trays that doubled as talking boards.

Haskelite was producing officially licensed Disney trays at the time. For reasons unknown, they decided to add the witch from Snow White into the Middle Eastern mystic motif of this particular tray design, as you can see in the lower left corner of the board.

The box art is amazing, and the Mystic Hand is probably my favorite planchette design.

Mystic Tray ouija board planchette

Weird News

A selection of the strangest and most fascinating headlines in science, history, archaeology, travel, and more from last month:

May Observances

May 3 – National Paranormal Day
May 19Carl Akeley was born on this day in 1864
May 22 – World Goth Day
May 23 – Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed on this day in 1934
May 26 – World Dracula Day
May 27 – The Centralia mine fire started on this day in 1962 and is still burning

From the Cult of Weird Community

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makin monsters

A post shared by girl & goblin (@girlandgoblin) on

Share your oddities and weird adventures by tagging your photos #cultofweird

Send questions, photos of your favorite oddities, or share share your strange or unexplained experiences to be included in the next newsletter. Use the contact form or email info@cultofweird.com

WTFact

Oregon Trail you have died of cannibalism

In 1846, Abraham Lincoln considered joining his friend James Reed in a wagon caravan headed west for California. Lincoln’s wife disapproved of the idea, and he eventually decided against it. He gave up the pioneer dream for a life in politics, becoming one of the most important historical figures in American history. The group of pioneers that set out without Lincoln in May of 1846 later came to be known as the Donner Party.

Previous Newsletter: Unraveling the mystery of an abandoned house “cursed by death”

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