Nº. 2 of  120

The Oddment Emporium

A Cornucopia of Eclectic Delights

Batyr the Talking Elephant
Batyr was an Asian elephant captive at Karaganga Zoo in Soviet Kazakhstan who could, by using his trunk to manipulate his tongue, utter a number of human phrases. He would ask zoo keepers for water, would chant “one, two, three” whilst hopping and dancing, and would sometimes use rude Russian slang. In total Batyr had a vocabulary of around 20 phrases. In 1980 a recording was made of Batyr saying “Batyr is good” amongst other words. [Source]

Batyr the Talking Elephant

Batyr was an Asian elephant captive at Karaganga Zoo in Soviet Kazakhstan who could, by using his trunk to manipulate his tongue, utter a number of human phrases. He would ask zoo keepers for water, would chant “one, two, three” whilst hopping and dancing, and would sometimes use rude Russian slang. In total Batyr had a vocabulary of around 20 phrases. In 1980 a recording was made of Batyr saying “Batyr is good” amongst other words. [Source]

Priest Holes

In England, during the reign of Elizabeth I, laws were passed forbidding Catholics to celebrate their faith. Any found disobeying these laws were put to death for treason. This led to many old Catholic families in the country constructing concealed chapels within their large homes where Mass might be conducted in complete privacy. Adjacent to the chapel there would be a ‘priest hole’. This would appear as storage cupboard, a pillar, floorboard, or wall panel, but in fact provided a place where the officiating priest could run and hide should the priest-hunters arrive.

Priest-hunters would carry out thorough checks of the premises, which included the taking of measurements, sound checks, and the pulling down of suspicious parts of the house. A search could last weeks whilst the object of the priest-hunters’ desire lay silently within their hole. It was not unheard of for priests to die of starvation or lack of oxygen in these circumstances. The priest-holes were also used by cavaliers during the English Civil War.

Images 1 and 2 show a cupboard-come-priest-hole at Salford Prior Hall. 3 shows a priest-hall at Ufton Hall. 4, a stairway at Boscabel in Trent reveals the entrance to a handy hiding place, and 5, this wall panel in a summer house in Salisbury was discovered accidentally when: 

one of the panels was found to open, revealing what appeared to be an ordinary cupboard with shelves. Further investigations, however, proved its real object. By sliding one of the shelves out of the grooves into which it is fixed, a very narrow, disguised door… can be opened. This again reveals a narrow passage, or staircase, leading up to the joists above the ceiling, and thence to a recess… In this there is a narrow chink or peep-hole. [Source]

[Sources: Images from Secret Chambers and Hiding Places by Alan Fea | Priest-holes]

sangbleu:

Catherine the Great’s sexually charged furniture, read more on www.sangbleu.com

http://sangbleu.com/2013/10/16/catherine-the-great’s-erotic-cabinet/

I learnt about Catherine the Great at school. This gem, however, was rudely omitted from my education!

(via corprusarium)

Hey, have you heard of cannibal forks? I was watching Oddities: San Francisco recently and a customer brought one in and they're fascinating. asked by serendipitous--

Hi! Is this what you mean? Tis interesting stuff indeed!

The Asylum Artwork of Adelaide V Hall
Whilst working at Washington DC’s National Museum of Health and Medicine, art historian and author John M Macgregor came across this curious lacework depicting images from the fantasies of Adelaide V Hall, an inmate at St Elizabeth’s insane asylum in 1917. 
Hall had been a dressmaker before two incarcerations at St Elizabeths in 1901 and 1911. According to the reports of her psychiatrist, Dr Arrah B Evarts, Hall was “depressed and retarded, timid, apprehensive, and anxious … excited, profane in language, [and] untidy.” She was also prone to bouts of rage.
Her fragile psychological state rendered Hall unfit to do the work some inmates were put to and she was left to continue her sewing, and it was under these circumstances that she created the above piece. She told Evarts that she did not remember where it was she learned to sew, that it was ‘as if she aways knew how.’ 
The artwork measured just ‘9-and-one-half-by-11-and-one-half-inch’ and shows several figures amidst snakes, insects, and birds, as well as various other symbolic images. Hall explained to Evarts how the work told the story of a woman who longed to be simultaneously a virgin and yet a mother, told with a cast of characters each symbolising some type of sexual relationship: some have anatomically incorrect male genitalia, there is a skeleton, the Virgin Mary, and various couples. Then there is the protagonist, the One Woman, who apparently symbolised Hall herself.
As Hall’s therapy progressed the true meaning of the lacework became increasingly apparent to Evarts: it was associated with the complex relationship Hall had with her father who had molested her as a child. As Macgregor suggests, “In the end [Hall’s] the one caught in the webbing of that lace.” Hall died at St Elizabeths shortly after WW2.
[Sources: Lunatic Fringe (see also for a more in-depth analysis) | See Also: Agnes Richter’s Straight Jacket Embroidery] 

The Asylum Artwork of Adelaide V Hall

Whilst working at Washington DC’s National Museum of Health and Medicine, art historian and author John M Macgregor came across this curious lacework depicting images from the fantasies of Adelaide V Hall, an inmate at St Elizabeth’s insane asylum in 1917. 

Hall had been a dressmaker before two incarcerations at St Elizabeths in 1901 and 1911. According to the reports of her psychiatrist, Dr Arrah B Evarts, Hall was “depressed and retarded, timid, apprehensive, and anxious … excited, profane in language, [and] untidy.” She was also prone to bouts of rage.

Her fragile psychological state rendered Hall unfit to do the work some inmates were put to and she was left to continue her sewing, and it was under these circumstances that she created the above piece. She told Evarts that she did not remember where it was she learned to sew, that it was ‘as if she aways knew how.’ 

The artwork measured just ‘9-and-one-half-by-11-and-one-half-inch’ and shows several figures amidst snakes, insects, and birds, as well as various other symbolic images. Hall explained to Evarts how the work told the story of a woman who longed to be simultaneously a virgin and yet a mother, told with a cast of characters each symbolising some type of sexual relationship: some have anatomically incorrect male genitalia, there is a skeleton, the Virgin Mary, and various couples. Then there is the protagonist, the One Woman, who apparently symbolised Hall herself.

As Hall’s therapy progressed the true meaning of the lacework became increasingly apparent to Evarts: it was associated with the complex relationship Hall had with her father who had molested her as a child. As Macgregor suggests, “In the end [Hall’s] the one caught in the webbing of that lace.” Hall died at St Elizabeths shortly after WW2.

[Sources: Lunatic Fringe (see also for a more in-depth analysis) | See Also: Agnes Richter’s Straight Jacket Embroidery

erikkwakkel:

Siamese twins

The bookbindings above are as odd as they are rare. In fact, I encountered my first only a few days ago while browsing Folger Library’s image database of bookbindings. The binding is called “dos-à-dos” (back to back), a type almost exclusively produced in the 16th and 17th centuries. They are like Siamese twins in that they present two different entities joint at their backs: each part has one board for itself, while a third is shared between the two. Their contents show why this was done: you will often find two complementary devotional works in them, such as a prayerbook and a Psalter, or the Bible’s Old and New Testament. Reading the one text you can flip the “book” to consult the other. The last image above is a unification of no less than seven devotional works printed by the same printer (Feichtinger, Lintz, 1736-1737), showing that the constructions could also encompass much more than just two texts. In the 20th century this type of binding enjoyed a revival with the Double Ace books, which featured two short science fiction stories.

Pics: St Andrew’s University Library, Bib BS2085.C27 (top); Washington, Folger Shakespeare Library, STC 23811.2 (two pics), STC 2907 (broidery); Chetham’s Library, shelfmark unknown (editions from 1629, 1633); Ed. J. M. Feichtinger, Lintz, 1736-1737 (from this sales catalogue). Other examples from the Folger here. A nice one auctioned off at Christie’s here.

vintage-royalty:

crownprincely:

Get To Know Me Meme: Royalist Edition [15] Memorable Royal moments King Christian X’s everyday rides through Copenhagen during the German occupation

"Who’s that man who rides past here every morning on his horse?" the German soldier had asked. "He’s our King," the boy told the soldier "He’s the King of Denmark"

"Where is his bodyguard?" the soldier had asked. The boy looked right at the soldier and he said "All of Denmark is his bodyguard."

LSK: One of my favorite royal moments in History :)

Ywis!

—Middle English for certainly, surely (I’m not kidding)

(Source: mediumaevum)

kingedwardviii:

This is awful quality but it’s another photograph, which I think are pretty rare, from the 1965 meeting between Edward VIII and his niece Elizabeth II, and I’ve found a bit of extra information about it from Sparked:

A photographer called Ray Bellisario … was told to stop taking photographs of the royals, not only at royal occasions, but in public places too. But he continued snapping … He was denounced as a ‘pap’, but one of his photos is politically quite important. 
Using a long-range lens, he snapped the Queen walking with her uncle the Duke of Windsor (formerly Edward VIII, the abdicated King) in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in the late Sixties. The photo revealed that, despite repeated palace denials that the Queen had met with the Duke, officially an outcast from royal circles at that time, she had indeed entertained him. Bellisario’s photo was first published in Britain in 1998 by LM magazine, 30 years after it was taken. No other media outlet would touch it.

Another, better quality, photograph of the meeting can be seen here.

Edward VIII was very handsome and very interesting and I help run this blog dedicated to him, so if you’d like to stare at photographs of him, as I do, perhaps check it out..!!

kingedwardviii:

This is awful quality but it’s another photograph, which I think are pretty rare, from the 1965 meeting between Edward VIII and his niece Elizabeth II, and I’ve found a bit of extra information about it from Sparked:

A photographer called Ray Bellisario … was told to stop taking photographs of the royals, not only at royal occasions, but in public places too. But he continued snapping … He was denounced as a ‘pap’, but one of his photos is politically quite important.

Using a long-range lens, he snapped the Queen walking with her uncle the Duke of Windsor (formerly Edward VIII, the abdicated King) in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in the late Sixties. The photo revealed that, despite repeated palace denials that the Queen had met with the Duke, officially an outcast from royal circles at that time, she had indeed entertained him. Bellisario’s photo was first published in Britain in 1998 by LM magazine, 30 years after it was taken. No other media outlet would touch it.

Another, better quality, photograph of the meeting can be seen here.

Edward VIII was very handsome and very interesting and I help run this blog dedicated to him, so if you’d like to stare at photographs of him, as I do, perhaps check it out..!!

Lovers in Auschwitz

When an initial attempt to escape Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp with a friend fell through, Edek Galiński quickly revised the plan to include a woman with whom he was in love, Mala Zimetbaum. Due to her proficiency in languages Zimetbaum held a relatively privileged position in the camp, working as an interpreter and a courier, however, she used this position to help other inmates, ensuring those less able were given less physical work and sneaking family photographs to people.

Galiński planned to dress in an SS guard’s uniform he had acquired and have Zimetbaum wear a dress under male overalls and carry a washbasin. Under the pretence that he was escorting the prisoner outside the perimeter fence to fit the basin, the two would escape the camp. Zimetbaum would carry the basin in such a way that her long hair was covered, and a forged pass ought reassure any suspicious guards. When the pair were clear of the camp, Zimetbaum would remove her overalls and the pair would appear like a SS officer and his girlfriend taking a walk.

The plan was put into action in June 1944 and the pair got as far as a nearby town. Zimetbaum intended to inform the allies of what was going on inside camps like Auschwitz, thus saving lives, with some sources suggesting she was the head of a resistance group. In the town, however, she was arrested whilst Galiński tried to buy something from a local shop. Galiński handed himself in soon after as the pair had promised to stay together whatever happened.

They were taken back to Auschwitz and imprisoned in separate cells in ‘the Bunker’ - the punishment block - where they would pass notes and whistle to one another. Galiński etched their names into his cell wall [image one]. They were taken outside to be executed at the same time, though in their respective gender’s designated area. Galiński shouted ‘long live Poland’ as he was hanged, whilst Zimetbaum took a razor from her hair and slit the veins in her arms. She shouted at the watching crowds to revolt, telling them it was worth their lives, and she fought with the guards. Allegedly an order arrived from Berlin that she should be burnt in the crematorium and so she was thrown in a cart and taken there. The prisoners forced to burn the corpses cried and prayed as they carried out their orders.

[Sources: Mala Zimetbaum | Google Cultural Institute | Images: 1 : 2 : 3

Nº. 2 of  120