Haunted bunk beds and the Tallmann house in Horicon, Wisconsin

Tracking Down the Haunted Tallmann House of Horicon, Wisconsin

Tormented by a seemingly haunted bunk bed, the Tallmann family endured a horrific series of events before fleeing their home in the middle of the night.

Victorian Cast Iron Grave Monument in Alabama

Victorian cast iron grave monument in Greenville, Alabama's Magnolia Cemetery
Victorian cast iron grave monument in Greenville, Alabama’s Magnolia Cemetery.

While searching for catfish photos yesterday, I somehow stumbled upon this photo of an amazing, rusted iron grave monument on the blog Deep Fried Kudzu. This particular grave is in Magnolia Cemetery, but the post states many more iron monuments can be found in Greenville’s Pioneer Cemetery.

I’ve never stumbled upon anything like this while wondering the cemeteries here in Wisconsin, so I did some digging. A page on RootsWeb explaining types of headstones has this to say about iron monuments:

Iron grave markers and decorations were popular during the Victorian era in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, often being produced by specialist foundries or the local blacksmith. Many cast iron headstones have lasted for generations while wrought ironwork often only survives in a rusted or eroded state.

The Alabama Historical Commission published A Guide to Common Alabama Grave Markers (PDF) which says:

Fences, sometimes incorporating funerary motifs such as inverted torches, draped urns, weeping willow trees and reclining lambs, are the most common cast iron features in cemeteries. Grave markers and above-ground tombs were occasionally made of cast iron.

Closeup detail of the cast iron grave monument

More graves and graveshelters from Alabama right here.

Happy National Catfish Day

Today is the day when, thanks to Ronald Reagan, we take a moment to honor the majestic catfish.
280-pound wels catfish caught in Italy
280-pound wels catfish caught by Dino Ferrari in Italy, 2015.

Happy National Catfish Day!

Not to be mistaken for the “documentary,” Catfish or the more recent, Catfish: The TV Show. This is not a day to celebrate deceptive internet trolls, cyber bullying people or trying to date others by making fake Facebook profiles. Let this be a friendly reminder to anyone reading this: if a person online tries to talk to you, look them up on Google. Seriously, look up “How to reverse image search” on Google. This has been a Public Service Announcement from the Cult Of Weird Headquarters. We now return you to your regularly scheduled weird news.

So what was I writing about again… oh yeah!

Today is National Catfish Day, thanks to President Ronald Reagan. On June 25th in 1987 at 4:13pm, Reagan signed Presidential Proclamation 5672, making Catfish Day official. In 1987 farmed-raised catfish were the third highest volume of consumed finned fish in the United States. Which also created thousands of permanent jobs due to the production costs of catfish farming, which averaged only 65 cents per pound from 1977 to 1985. Also the production of farm-raised catfish increased by 1200 percent between 1975 and 1985. I’m curious to find out what these numbers are at currently and if these farms are still providing permanent jobs. These farm-raised catfish are kept in freshwater ponds and fed soybean meal, corn, fish meal, vitamins, and minerals. Which helps attribute a more nutritious, low cholesterol, and low-calorie source of protein.

If you plan to catch your own catfish keep in mind that they are bottom feeders and depending on where you catch them, they could be too big for you to handle if you don’t have the right equipment! As most of us have witnessed on Animal Planet’s River Monsters with Jeremy Wade.

It’s time for random weird facts about catfish! Did you know?!

  • There’s 3000 known species of catfish in the world.
  • Antarctica is the only continent where catfish do not inhabit.
  • They are known for their skin because they don’t have scales like other fish.
  • Catfish are omnivores, so they’ll eat anything that will fit in their mouth.
  • They have a very powerful sense of smell and they spend a majority of the day eating.
  • Dino Ferrari caught and released a Wels Catfish in Italy, that weighed 280 lbs and measured 8′ 9″
  • Catfish can lay up to around 4000 eggs per pound of their body weight per year.
  • They’re the fourth most populated fish in the world.
  • Jeremy Wade caught 166 lbs Goonch catfish in the Kali River where months earlier an 18 year old was killed by a catfish. Wade made the suggestion that the catfish had to be much larger then the one he caught to consume a human.
  • The largest catfish was caught in Thailand weighing 646 lbs and measured 9 feet in length.
  • In 2003 Nashville commissioned local artists to design 51 7-foot catfish statues that were put on display around the city.
  • There’s also two giant statues in Canada. One in Selkirk, Manitoba and another in Dunnville, Ontario.
  • When I lived in Kentucky from ’83-’86 we had a catfish farm in our back yard!

Now you know…

In conclusion, June 25th became a National day because President Reagan and Congress, thought that the value of farm-raised catfish should be recognized and have their own day of celebration!

So I ask you this, Weird Cult Members, how do you plan on celebrating this fine Catfish Day? Maybe by making your favorite catfish meal or going fishing? Well, I want to know all of your weird inner thoughts! Better yet, I want pictures or it didn’t happen! Please, comment below, share this article and tag us, post pictures to our wall on Facebook, #CultOfWeird on Instagram, pin this on Pinterest… oh why am I telling you this! You know what to do, you’re Cult Of Weird Members and you’ve all drank the KoolAid! Check back in with us soon for more weird news and don’t forget your white robe and tinfoil hat!

National Catfish Day

Anniversary of Weird: The Cult Turns 5 Today!

Cult of Weird is celebrating five years of mysteries, oddities and weird history.
Happy birthday Cult of Weird

Today marks the fifth anniversary of Cult of Weird, which I almost forgot about because I was distracted by pink flamingos.

So anyway…Cult of Weird has been broadcasting mysteries, oddities and weird history to the world since 2010, when I was scrambling to throw together a website where I could share my obsession with the bizarre and macabre. Since then, the Cult has grown exponentially, with hundreds of thousands of daily views from around the world.

These days, almost every time I post something about a specific location, at least one person comments that it’s just down the road from them.

Even when months go by that I don’t have time to focus on the site, the Cult still grows. Since it’s inception, Cult of Weird content has been featured by the Comedy Central series @Midnight, National Geographic, Disinformation, Rense, Elvira and numerous other personalities and media sources I respect.

That is completely surreal.

I offer my sincere gratitude to all of you that visit Cult of Weird every day and share these abominations with your friends and loved ones. 9 out of 10 grandmas stalking family members on Facebook agree: WTF?

Also, the Cult would not be possible without contributions in various forms by J. Nathan Couch, Rob Reysen (Mad Taxidermist) and Christina (Slasher Betty).

Thank you all for the support!

So what’s next? Earlier in the year I talked to Mysterious Heartland about the past, present and future of Cult of Weird. You can read that here: Interview with Charlie Hintz, Cult of Weird

Cult of Weird art by Capitan Houdy
Created by Capitan Houdy

Share your Cult of Weird birthday wishes on Instagram: #cultofweird

Creator of the Pink Flamingo Lawn Ornament Dies at 79

Fly your flamingos at half staff today: Don Featherstone, the man who invented the pink flamingo lawn ornament, is dead at 79.
Don Featherstone, creator of the pink flamingo lawn ornament
Don Featherstone, creator of the pink flamingo lawn ornament.

Don Featherstone created the pink plastic flamingo lawn ornament in 1957. They hit the store shelves in 1958, and have been terrorizing lawns in flocks ever since. An artist with nine years of formal training, featherstone created over 600 products during his 43 years with Union Products.

But none of them changed the world of lawn ornamentation quite like the beautifully tacky pink flamingo, which was his second assignment for the company.

Pink Plastic Flamingo Facts

Don Featherstone submerged in his pink flamingos

  • Featherstone didn’t have real flamingos, so he sculpted his lawn ornaments from National Geographic photos.
  • In 1987, Don inscribed the original pink flamingo mold with his signature in order to distinguish his from the knock-offs. Union Products removed his signature in 2001, but quickly replaced it when the Annals of Improbable Research and the Museum of Bad Art launched a protest and encouraged people to boycott the false flamingos.
  • For his flamingos, Don won the Ig Nobel Prize for Art in 1996.
  • The 1972 John Waters film Pink Flamingos, considered an abomination as well as an instant classic, was highly influential in establishing Featherstone’s lawn ornament as a mainstay of American lawns and pop culture.
  • In 2009, the city of Madison, Wisconsin Common Council designated the plastic flamingo as the city’s official bird.
  • Some homeowners associations forbid plastic flamingos and will issue fines due to the belief that they lower real estate values.
  • Featherstone and his wife dressed alike for 35 years.
  • The plastic lawn flamingo spawned a lawn greeting industry where flocks of pink flamingos are installed on a victim’s lawn at night while they sleep.
  • Production of pink flamingos was stopped when Union Products closed up shop on November 1, 2006. However, HMC International LLC, a subsidiary of Faster-Form Corporation, purchased the copyright and molds of Featherstone’s original plastic flamingos in 2007.
  • Don personally tended a flock of 57 plastic pink flamingos in his yard.

How can you tell if you have a Don Featherstone signature flamingo?
Look for his signature:

Don Featherstone flamingo signature
Don Featherstone’s signature pink flamingo.

Don lost his long battle with a form of dementia called Lewy body disease and died Monday at the age of 79, a day before Pink Flamingo Day which has been celebrated in his home town of Leominster, Massachusetts since 2007.

Dead skeleton flamingo lawn ornaments for Halloween
Cult of Weird HQ, Halloween 2014. Skeleton flamingos available here.