From 1969, a product that mysteriously failed to catch on: Jerome Alexander's line of human-hair clothing.
He actually created a human-hair pants suit, skirt, and vest. (The pants suits, which is the only thing I could find a picture of, seems to have been only trimmed with human hair). But on the drawing board were a human-hair coat, bikini, tie, boots, and hat.
During restoration of the Statue of Liberty in 1986, the restorers noticed an area low on the statue where the patina was worn away and speculated that the damage might have been caused by construction workers urinating from the top of the statue instead of coming down to use a toilet.
Officials vehemently disagreed, insisting that the damage was actually caused by "a vinegar-like solution workers recently used in the process of stripping layers of paint inside the statue."
Perhaps the officials were right, but I prefer the urine stain explanation.
From the mind of inventor George Fullerton came, in 1973, the Belly Bongo.
It's called a "Belly Bongo," and according to inventor Fullerton, it will make you "shake, rattle and roll." Made of high-impact styrene plastic, the Belly Bongo toy is an 8-inch square composed of four open-ended chambers. A hard rubber ball hangs from a three-inch string on the front-center. A canvas strap threaded through the back fastens it to your body. When Belly Bongo is secured around the hips — "where the action is," says Fullerton — the ball moves with the motion of your body. As it hits on the hollow chambers, it produces a bongo-beat, the tone of which varies according to the chamber size. With the motion of walking, the Belly Bongo emits a bump-da-da-da, bump-da-da-da beat. "It tells you how sexy your walk is," Fullerton grins.
A rapid-motion twist produces an up-tempo pong-pong-pong-pong. With proper body movements, Belly Bongo makes you your own bump-and-grind drummer. A checker in the electro-mechanical division at Honeywell, Fullerton spends his evenings designing and tapping away at product prototypes in his Largo home. Belly Bongo is the latest in a long line of toys and crafts he's invented. Fullerton explains his wealth of entertainment ideas as a direct result of the lack of hair on his head. "It's all because I'm bald-headed," he says with a laugh, "If you're bald-headed, it means you're crazy."
Swiss artist Roman Signer is known for performing various stunts with explosives. So he's a bit like the Gallagher of the art world. He blows things up, crashes them, tosses them out windows, etc. It's all with the intent of creating conceptual absurdity.
In honor of his recent 80th birthday, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation put together this short compilation video of some of his works.
Retired professor Edwin Paget (1902-1989) decided that one of the problems with the world was that babies weren't exercising enough. Therefore, their brains started to go into decline. In an effort to correct this problem, he tried to organize what he claimed were the first ever "baby olympics" in the summer of 1980.
I'm not sure they were ever held, but events would have included "crawling, weightlifing, tug-of-war, 'head-over-heels rolling' and three aquatic events, including the 'leaping fish from the water' swim."
Paget advocated a number of other unusual ideas, such as periodic brain scans for U.S. presidents, to check that their brains had sufficient oxygen levels.
He believed that the rules of basketball should be revised so that the game would be played continuously, with all free throws shot at the end of the game.
And he also designed a line of women's clothing with built-in lighting, saying, "Unlike the bikini, which reveals almost everything, much of which is unattractive, lighting permits a homely girl to reveal only her best, possibly in color."
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.