This week’s roundup of weird news and media includes the trial of a corpse pope, Hemingway’s 6-toed cats, and spiritualists in Wisconsin.
Hearse Fest artwork by Robert Paul Nixon
Last year I had the opportunity to hang out with the denizens of Hell, Michigan for the annual Hearse Fest. Yes, a hearse car show…in Hell. Plus some great vendors, including my friends at Dead Sled. It really doesn’t get any better than that. Sadly, I didn’t manage to crawl my way out of poverty far enough to make it this time, but here’s my recap from last year.
The Mothman Festival is also happening this weekend
…though it’s difficult to see in this photo
Harvey washes up fanged creature on Texas beach
Brazil is investigating alleged massacre of uncontacted tribe
Hemingway’s six-toed cats rode out Hurricane Irma in Key West
Mysticism and rudely-shaped rocks: why 17th-century palaeontology is worth revisiting
Photos from the Chicago flying humanoid flap
Biologist tests an electric eel’s shock with his own arm
Siberia’s ‘Doorway to The Underworld’ is getting so big it’s uncovering ancient forests
The trial of the corpse pope
Manson Family member Leslie Van Houten granted parole
Last person executed as a witch in Europe gets a museum
Is this the face of Mary Magdalene?
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Born into spirit-life
My latest expedition into the wild weird yonder of Wisconsin turned up a group of spiritualist graves on a hill in Fond du Lac county’s historic Rienzi Cemetery. The epitaph above belongs to Abby Tallmadge, wife of politician and spiritualist Nathaniel P. Tallmadge. Appointed by President John Tyler in 1844, Tallmadge briefly served as the governor of the Wisconsin Territory until the newly elected President James Polk removed him from the position the following year.
In the 1853 book Spiritualism, Volume 1 by John Worth Edmonds and George T. Dexter (with an appendix written by Tallmadge himself) Edmonds recalls a letter he had recently received from his friend in Wisconsin.
“My youngest daughter, aged thirteen, plays on the piano by the instructions of the spirits, like an experienced performer,” Tallmadge wrote. “She knows nothing of notes or music, and never played the piano before in her life. The first tune she played was Beethoven’s Grand Waltz, and then several others with which we were familiar. After that, she played many we had never heard before, and improvised words suited to the airs, beautiful, and of the highest tone of religious and moral sentiment.”
Panel from a vintage Eerie comic