Opening up the Cult of Weird cabinet of curiosities to share three items from the continually growing collection of oddities.
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.
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 haphazardly 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 appreciated by a horde of hearse enthusiasts.
Speaking of Hell…
A Postcard from Hell
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.
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
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.
A selection of the strangest and most fascinating headlines in science, history, archaeology, travel, and more from last month:
- Stop taking cute photos at former Nazi death camp
- Kentucky outlaws sex with animals
- Man arrested for fighting with himself
- Melting glaciers reveal Everest bodies
- Secret to a long life: Avoid dying
- Military tries out fish as underwater spies
- Komodo island closing to stop dragon theft
- Soccer fan digs up grandpa’s skull to celebrate win
- Woman lived 99 years with her organs in the wrong places
- Animated Addams Family trailer released
- Trying to identify victims of the Hartford Circus Fire 75 years later
- Eye infection turns out to be bees
- First ever image of a black hole
- Apocalypse any day now
- Dog swims over 200km in the sea before being saved
- Notre Dame cathedral burns
- Primates with smaller genitalia compensate by being flashy and aggressive
- Don’t inject cooking oil into your penis
- Wife preserves her dead husband’s tattoos
- Images that could help rebuild Notre Dame
- Vienna cemetery offers funeral Legos
- Liquid blood extracted from 42,000-year-old foal
- Exploding aphids plaster holes in their home with bodily fluid
- Ruins of Aleister Crowley’s haunted Boleskine House up for sale
- Famed paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren passes away
- Pastor has kids cut and spit on him for Easter
- San Francisco street poop hits all time high
- Fossilized poop shows ancient forager ate entire rattlesnake, fangs included
- Spend the night in a giant potato
- 69-year-old woman kills husband over porn bill
- US Nazy drafting new guidelines for reporting UFOs
- Lookout parrot alerted drug dealers of police raid
- Woman hospitalized after watching Avengers: Endgame
- Seeing Jesus in a tortilla
- The English vegetable picked by candlelight
- Museum of Japanese folklore monsters opens
- Whale with harness could be Russian weapon
- Man goes to court to prove cellphone was actually a hash brown
- Brazil president shocked by number of penis amputations
- China plans to build a base on the moon
- Easter Island statues threatened by tourists taking photos picking their noses
- Ancient sculptors made magnetic figures from rocks struck by lightning
- Small Philippines town bans gossip
- Rabbit toaster
May 3 – National Paranormal Day
May 19 – Carl 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
Share your oddities and weird adventures by tagging your photos #cultofweird
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.
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