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Category: Folklore/Tall Tales
Vinegaria
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 09, 2013
Back in 1939, Lee M. Roberts won the University of California lying contest with the following discussion of the nation of Vinegaria: The Vinegarians are a peculiar people whose government has existed largely on the income from a national pickle monopoly. Vinegaria is ideally situated for the support of this industry as it is entirely underlain with large subterranean caves. Pickle farmers plant cucumber seeds on roofs of caves and they grow through the surface, avoiding the necessity for plowing the ground for planting. Through a peculiar chemical disturbance in the ocean bed the sea has an unusual briny quality — exactly right for making pickles. Until last year only sour pickles were…
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Food Comments (1)
The Science of Jackalopes
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 16, 2013
As part of its coverage of the debate in Wyoming over whether to make the jackalope the state's official mythological critter, the Casper Star-Tribune profiles Prof. James Holliday, emeritus professor of biology at Lafayette College, who's perhaps the foremost expert on the biology of jackalopes. Scientific basis for the myth of the jackalope trib.com "There is a virus that causes growths on the jack rabbit," Holliday said. The virus is called Shope papillomavirus. Growths can come out of rabbits' bottoms and heads. When they grow from the head, they can look like horns. Holliday described a rabbit that had a growth on its mouth. "The poor thing starved to death,"…
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales Comments (1)
Ithamar Sprague, a 19th Century Mormon Bigfoot Hoaxer
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jun 06, 2012
I've previously noted a connection between Mormon folklore and Bigfoot — namely that some Mormons believe Bigfoot to be the Biblical figure Cain, condemned to walk the earth forever (and apparently grown big and hairy). But I recently came across another Mormon/Bigfoot connection. Back around 1870, there was a Mormon settler named Ithamar Sprague who lived in the town of Washington, Utah. He terrified his fellow town's folk by creating giant wooden feet, three-feet long, that he used to place monster footprints all over town during the night. Rumors began to spread about a terrifying creature loose in the region. A posse was organized to hunt the beast down, but Sprague confessed before the situation got…
The Annual Overland Whale Migration
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 03, 2012
I received an email from Peter Barss recounting a 1985 April Fool's Day hoax he was involved in. It's a great story, so I'll let him tell it in his own words: In 1985 the Bridgewater Bulletin had an April Fool's front page. Turn over the bogus page and there was the true front page with the day's news. One reporter created an image of a twelve foot starfish climbing out of the sea and up the side of a fisherman's building. Another wrote a story about an international airport that would be constructed just outside Bridgewater (Nova Scotia). That story made it to the provincial legislature where the Minister of Transportation stood and demanded why…
The Nullarbor Nymph Comes To The Big Screen
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 06, 2012
I posted a brief description of the Australian legend of the Nullarbor Nymph back in 2004. This is what I wrote: Thirty-two years ago the tiny town of Eucla, Australia, on the edge of the Nullarbor plain, became famous when a few of its residents first sighted the Nullarbor Nymph. The Nymph was a blonde, feral, half-naked woman who lived in the bush and ran wild with kangaroos. News of this wild woman quickly spread around the world. Now filmmaker Matthew Wilkinson has brought the legend to the screen. ABC News quotes him as saying: It was sort of a male fantasy sort of story that there was this…
Give Grand Marais the Bird
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 10, 2009
A fake seagull perched on a billboard outside the town of Grand Marais, Minnesota recently went missing. Residents suspect it was stolen, and they want it back. So the town has organized a "give us the bird" campaign, in which they're offering a free vacation in Grand Marais in return for information leading to the safe return of the seagull. The best story wins. A strict adherence to the truth, in this case, would seem to be irrelevant. [upi.com]
Jackalope Sausage
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 23, 2008
From Cabela's you can buy actual Jackalope Sausage: The jackalope is nearly impossible to find, yet, we've successfully located the elusive animal and captured its wonderful flavoring. Jackalope (i.e. antelope, rabbit and beef) are mixed together and smoked slowly for mouth-watering results. An amusing gift for the skeptic and believer alike. Contains three 6-oz. "jackalope" summer sausages. Eating this would be kind of contrary to the idea of trying to Save the Jackalope. Nevertheless, I've ordered some to find out what it's like.
World’s Biggest Cat
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 22, 2007
Meet Angie from Chernobyl. She's the biggest cat in the world. She belongs to Dr. Maricek, who's a radiation scientist. Angie's missing a gene that controls her growth. As a result, she just keeps growing and growing (and growing!). She currently weighs about 800 lbs and eats 60 lbs of food a day. Despite her size, Angie behaves like a normal cat, though she is extremely shy with people. Angie's very cute (and looks a bit like my cat Boo), but if she ever curled up on someone's lap, I think the result would be a very flat human. Thanks to Sarah of messybeast.com for the link. Sarah says, "With some…
The Coleman Frog
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jul 30, 2007
The Coleman Frog, explains a recent article on Canada.com, is an enormous stuffed frog -- it weighs 19 kilograms, or about 42 lbs -- on display in the York-Sunbury Museum in Fredericton, Canada. According to legend, the frog originally belonged to Fred Coleman, who owned a lodge near Fredericton back in the 1880s. He used to feed it whiskey and whey, causing it to grow to its enormous size. After it died, he had it stuffed. It sat in the saloon of a hotel for a while before coming into the possession of the York-Sunbury Museum. There are skeptics who say…
Speaking of urban legends in the Third World…
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Tue Jul 17, 2007
A young Indian boy is claiming to be the reincarnation of an American scientist. According to the article linked below, he speaks mostly gibberish with a few "scientific" words mixed in. Proof enough for me! I especially like the next-to-last paragraph of the article. [Thanks to the reader who submitted this story] Indian boy claims to be reincarnation of American scientist
Chinese man cooks fish with his bare hands, cures arthritis
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Tue Jul 10, 2007
I guess with over one billion people, it's inevitable that China would produce its share of kooks, quacks and crazies. This 71-year-old man who claims to let 220 volts flow through his body as a form of exercise and says he can cook fish in his bare hands in two minutes fits into at least two of those categories. Oh, he can cure arthritis, too. I just upped him to all three categories. Chinese man cures arthritis with electricity
JT LeRoy, phantom author (Updated!)
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Mon Jun 25, 2007
This is a weird one. A book allegedly written by a young man, JT LeRoy, made a sensation recently. JT was a truck stop hooker, got involved with drugs, was possibly transgendered and generally had a pretty screwed-up life. The book was billed as non-fiction, supposedly the true story of JT's life. Naturally, it sold very well. Oprah loved it, the movie director Gus VanSant and other Hollywood types were interested in it. Then the JT LeRoy saga started coming apart. Funny story, turns out there is no such person as JT LeRoy. Even funnier, also turns out that more than one person, some of them female, portrayed JT at book signings and other…
The Legend of Deerman
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 25, 2007
A series of articles by Dave Clarke of the Star Courier has revived interest in the legend of the Deerman. The legend is local to Kewanee, Illinois. It tells of a creature, with the upper body of a deer and the lower body of a man, that lurks in the woods, occasionally popping up to scare lovers parked on moonlit nights or people wandering around alone. Supposedly if you see Deerman three times you die. Clarke credits Jerry Moriarity, the editor and publisher of the Star Courier during the '50s and '60s, with popularizing the legend of the Deerman in his column "Mostly Malarkey." Half-human/half-animal creatures are a staple of…
Japanese Poodle Scam Revealed as Hoax
Posted by Boo on Wed May 02, 2007
The Japanese poodle scam - wherein thousands of gullible buyers were sold lambs instead of the dogs they were expecting - was first reported in UK Sun newspaper. The story went that rich women were buying cut-price poodles from a company named Poodles For Pets, and were astonished to find later that they were sheep. The story itself was immediately dubious (aside from being in The Sun, which tends to be somewhat lax in the fact-checking department), when you consider snippets like: The scam was uncovered when Japanese moviestar Maiko Kawamaki went on a…
Tall-Tale Postcard Gallery
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 21, 2006
The Wisconsin Historical Society has just posted a large collection of tall-tale postcards online, along with some accompanying history. Definitely worth checking out. Highlights include galleries devoted to two early masters of the tall-tale genre, William H. Martin and Alfred Stanley Johnson. It's also possible to buy reproductions of these prints through their website. The only thing I find regrettable is that their site is full of all kinds of warnings threatening people not to use any image from the site without first obtaining written permission from them. If an image is public domain (as many of these tall-tale postcards are, since they were published before 1923), then can the Historical Society actually set…
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