I am often asked what my favourite oddments are, and although I couldn’t possibly pick an all-time favourite, please accept this list of posts that particularly tickled my fancy:
Emperor Norton - An eccentric gentleman who proclaimed himself ‘Emperor of these United States’ in 1859.
Anthropodermic Bibliopegy - Books bound in human skin.
James II: Hide and Seek Extraordinaire - the story of how James II escaped imprisonment by being very good at hide and seek.
Tear Catcher - an ornate jar for capturing one’s tears.
The Real Lost Boys - The inspiration behind J M Barrie’s Peter Pan and various other Neverland characters.
The Victorian Obsession with Hummingbirds - a cabinet of hundreds of taxidermy hummingbirds.
Bol Sein de la Laiterie de Rambouillet - Marie Antoinette’s jugs.
Hand of Glory - The pickled hand of a hanged man.
Edward VII’s Sex Chair - An innovative contraption which allowed the obese monarch to have sex more easily.
Mushroom Hat - A hat made out of a mushroom.
Saint-Germain - An immortal being.
The Bright Young Things - A club of rich posh people from the 1920s.
Galileo’s Finger - The famous astronomer’s finger in a jar.
Leatherman - A leather clad vagabond.
Princess Caraboo - The story of a servant who fooled an entire village into thinking she was royalty from the island of Javasu.
The Back of Queen Elizabeth II’s Head - A photograph of the back of the Queen’s head in 1927.
Lover’s Eyes - fancy brooches depicting a single eye of one’s mistress.
The Dauphin’s Heart - Louis XVII’s heart in a jar.
Creeping Baby Doll - creepy mechanical toy from the Victorian era.
Franz Reichelt - The inventor of the parachute died when his parachute failed to open.
Crap Taxidermy Lion - Precisely what it says on the tin.
Thomas Edison’s Last Breath - In a jar.
Zora Neale Hurston on Voodoo - A description of a Voodoo ceremony in Jamaica from Hurston’s book, Tell My Horse.
Mike the Headless Chicken - A chicken that lived for 18 months after being decapitated.
Portrait of an Unknown Duchess - A decidedly unflattering16th century painting.
Sculpture - of a child being stung by a bee.
Prince Leopold - Queen Victoria thought her son was ugly.
An 18th Century Concept of Mammals - creepy anthropomorphic animal illustrations.
Top Hat Riot - a riot which broke out after the top has was first witnessed on the streets of London.
The 17th Earl of Oxford - a little story about a man who farted in front of the Queen.
Edward VIII - my favourite photograph of him.
Tsar Nicholas II - snogging his wife.
The Swing - an 18th century painting that tells the story of a scandalous love affair.
Embroidered Straightjacket - the intricately embroidered straightjacket of a German seamstress who was a patient at an insane asylum in the 1890s.
Figures Made to Move by Means of Living Birds - potentially creepy 18th century toys animated by placing living birds inside them.
Peter the Wild Boy - a feral child employed to entertain the court of George I.
The Man in the Iron Mask - a mysterious prisoner who’s identity has never been uncovered on account of the iron mask he was forced to wear at all times.
Sin-Eater - beggars employed to eat the sins of the dead.
Mummy Brown - paint of a specific shade of brown which could once only be achieved by mixing in the remains of Ancient Egyptian mummies.
No Nose Club- clubs for people with no noses.
Paris Morgue - a 19th century morgue where the bodies of suicide victims were laid out for members of the public to view and identify.
Edelweiss Pirates - a German Youth group that resisted Nazi ideology.
Peter the Great’s Dwarf Wedding - a wedding organised by Peter the Great for the royal dwarf, which featured only other dwarfs, whilst average height people watched.