We are coming to the end of the traditional Silly Season. Last year I did a post on popular images of sea serpents from vintage newspapers. This year, we move on to an equally popular Silly Season topic: mermaids, as seen in newspapers and book illustrations.
In 1873 the Ohio newspaper, the Cambridge Jeffersonian asked a burning question: IS IT A VOLCANO? Three miles from Bainbridge, Ross County, is located a hill of considerable altitude known as “Copperas Mountain.” Out of the top of this mountain issues a constant stream of smoke, while, on its summit and general surface the vegetation has withered […]
Any sky-gazing culture has traditions about faces or figures in the moon: the proverbial Man, a hare, two children carrying water, a thief laden with cabbages or sticks. A lady miniature artist of Boston, a woman of keen, albeit sentimental vision, had a startling night-sky revelation in 1906 of the Madonna of Seven Moons.
“It was rather dark, for the lower half of the windows were boarded up; but in one corner, on the floor, was plainly distinguishable what looked like a heap of clothes flung together in disorder. It appeared to be in motion, however, and the mistress of the house once more turning to her follower had just time to utter the mysterious words—”Don’t be frightened. If she likes you, she’ll hoot; if she doesn’t, she’ll scream…”
Reading about the astonishing variety of figures and faces recently seen on Mars, I was reminded of this topical foray into cartographical simulacra: faces of British politicians found in the maps of the world.
An unassuming little man who worked for an insurance company found that he had a strange gift. He had only to touch a writing sample for it to conjure up accurate visions of the person who had written it. Sometimes those visions solved crimes.
When Charles Julius Guiteau was hung for the assassination of President James A. Garfield, it was just the beginning of a macabre, post-mortem career for his head–or rather his deboned face embalmed and preserved in a vat of alcohol….