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The Oddment Emporium

A Cornucopia of Eclectic Delights

Posts tagged Creepy:

Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan
Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan isan 1898 novel by Morgan Robertson whose plot, which concerns a large ship colliding with an iceberg, bears an uncanny resemblance to the real-life sinking of the ship Titanic, which happened fourteen years later.
The most obvious comparison is the ships’ names, Titan and Titanic, whilst the margin between their dimensions (Titan is described as being 800ft long, whilst Titanic was 882ft) is strikingly narrow. Eerily, both ships carried only the minimum number of life boats, or “as few as the law allowed”, as it says in the novel. On both ships this number was not enough to save even half the number of passengers and crew onboard - which was, for both, (approx) 3000.
Whilst the press labelled Titanic “virtually unsinkable”, fourteen years earlier Robertson described Titan as “practically unsinkable”. Then, both ships, travelling at similar speeds (Titan: 25knots vs. Titanic: 22 1/2knots) struck icebergs on an April night, both 400 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland. Both ships sank.
In fact, it seems the only thing the tragic real-life story of the Titanic is missing, which the novel has, is an alcoholic protagonist who jumps onto the iceberg to fight with a polar bear in order to save the life of the daughter of his ex-lover…
[Sources: Wikipedia | The novel online | Thanks to Vintage-Royalty]

Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan

Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan isan 1898 novel by Morgan Robertson whose plot, which concerns a large ship colliding with an iceberg, bears an uncanny resemblance to the real-life sinking of the ship Titanic, which happened fourteen years later.

The most obvious comparison is the ships’ names, Titan and Titanic, whilst the margin between their dimensions (Titan is described as being 800ft long, whilst Titanic was 882ft) is strikingly narrow. Eerily, both ships carried only the minimum number of life boats, or “as few as the law allowed”, as it says in the novel. On both ships this number was not enough to save even half the number of passengers and crew onboard - which was, for both, (approx) 3000.

Whilst the press labelled Titanic “virtually unsinkable”, fourteen years earlier Robertson described Titan as “practically unsinkable”. Then, both ships, travelling at similar speeds (Titan: 25knots vs. Titanic: 22 1/2knots) struck icebergs on an April night, both 400 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland. Both ships sank.

In fact, it seems the only thing the tragic real-life story of the Titanic is missing, which the novel has, is an alcoholic protagonist who jumps onto the iceberg to fight with a polar bear in order to save the life of the daughter of his ex-lover…

[Sources: Wikipedia | The novel online | Thanks to Vintage-Royalty]

Corpse Road

In medieval Britain, corpse roads provided a practical means for transporting corpses from remote communities to cemeteries in larger towns, that had burial rights. Concomitant expansion of church building throughout the UK during the late medieval period inevitably encroached on the territories of existing mother churches or minsters. Demands for autonomy from outlying settlements made minster officials feel that their authority was waning, as were their revenues, so they instituted corpse roads connecting outlying locations and their mother churches that alone held burial rights.
For some parishioners, this decision meant that corpses had to be transported long distances, sometimes through difficult terrain: usually a corpse had to be carried unless the departed was a wealthy individual. Many of the corpse roads have long disappeared, while the original purposes of those that still survive as footpaths have been largely forgotten, especially if features such as coffin stones, on which the coffin was placed while the parishioners rested, or crosses no longer exist.
Such corpse roads have developed a great deal of associated folklore. The essence of spirit lore is that spirits, that is, spirits of the dead, phantasms of the living, wraiths, or fairies move through the physical landscape along special routes. Such routes are conceived of as being straight and by the same token, convoluted or non-linear features hinder spirit movement.



Similarly, corpse roads would run in a straight line over mountains and valleys and through marshes. In towns, they would pass the houses closely or go right through them. The paths end or originate at a cemetery; therefore, such a path or road was believed to have the same characteristics as a cemetery, where spirits of the deceased thrive. As such, corpse roads became intrinsically associated with fairy roads and the supernatural entities which reside there. 
[Image Source]

Corpse Road

In medieval Britain, corpse roads provided a practical means for transporting corpses from remote communities to cemeteries in larger towns, that had burial rights. Concomitant expansion of church building throughout the UK during the late medieval period inevitably encroached on the territories of existing mother churches or minsters. Demands for autonomy from outlying settlements made minster officials feel that their authority was waning, as were their revenues, so they instituted corpse roads connecting outlying locations and their mother churches that alone held burial rights.

For some parishioners, this decision meant that corpses had to be transported long distances, sometimes through difficult terrain: usually a corpse had to be carried unless the departed was a wealthy individual. Many of the corpse roads have long disappeared, while the original purposes of those that still survive as footpaths have been largely forgotten, especially if features such as coffin stoneson which the coffin was placed while the parishioners rested, or crosses no longer exist.

Such corpse roads have developed a great deal of associated folkloreThe essence of spirit lore is that spirits, that is, spirits of the dead, phantasms of the living, wraiths, or fairies move through the physical landscape along special routes. Such routes are conceived of as being straight and by the same token, convoluted or non-linear features hinder spirit movement.

Similarly, corpse roads would run in a straight line over mountains and valleys and through marshes. In towns, they would pass the houses closely or go right through them. The paths end or originate at a cemetery; therefore, such a path or road was believed to have the same characteristics as a cemetery, where spirits of the deceased thrive. As such, corpse roads became intrinsically associated with fairy roads and the supernatural entities which reside there. 

[Image Source]

Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?
On 18 April, 1943, four boys (Robert Hart, Thomas Willetts, Bob Farmer and Fred Payne) from Stourbridge were poaching in Hagley Woods near to Wychbury Hill when they came across a large witch-hazel - a tree often confused by local residents with a Wych elm. 
Believing this a good place to hunt birds’ nests, Farmer attempted to climb the tree to investigate. As he was climbing, he glanced down into the hollow trunk and discovered a skull, believing it to be that of an animal. However, after seeing human hair and teeth, he realised that it was a human skull.
As they were on the land illegally, Farmer put the skull back and all four boys returned home without mentioning their discovery to anybody. However, on returning home the youngest of the boys, Tommy Willetts, felt uneasy about what he had witnessed and decided to report the find to his parents, who in turn, informed the police.
When police checked the trunk of the tree they found an almost complete human skeleton, a shoe, a gold wedding ring, and some fragments of clothing. After further investigation, a severed hand was found buried in the ground near to the tree. The body was sent for forensic examination and it was quickly established that the skeleton was female and had been dead for at least 18 months, placing her time of death around October 1941. He found taffeta in her mouth, suggesting that she had died from asphyxiation. From the measurement of the trunk he also deduced that she must have been placed there “still warm” after the killing as she could not have fit once rigor mortis had taken hold.
Since the woman’s killing was in the midst of World War II, identification was seriously hampered. Police could tell from items found with the body what the woman had looked like but with so many people being reported missing during the war, and people regularly moving, the records were too vast for a proper identification to take place. The current location of her skeleton is unknown.
'Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?' is a graffito that started appearing soon after the murder. In 1944 the first graffiti message appeared on a wall in Birmingham, reading ‘Who put Bella down the Wych Elm - Hagley Wood’, whilst the most recent graffiti was sprayed onto the side of a 200 year-old obelisk on 18 August 1999, in white paint.

Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

On 18 April, 1943, four boys (Robert Hart, Thomas Willetts, Bob Farmer and Fred Payne) from Stourbridge were poaching in Hagley Woods near to Wychbury Hill when they came across a large witch-hazel - a tree often confused by local residents with a Wych elm. 

Believing this a good place to hunt birds’ nests, Farmer attempted to climb the tree to investigate. As he was climbing, he glanced down into the hollow trunk and discovered a skull, believing it to be that of an animal. However, after seeing human hair and teeth, he realised that it was a human skull.

As they were on the land illegally, Farmer put the skull back and all four boys returned home without mentioning their discovery to anybody. However, on returning home the youngest of the boys, Tommy Willetts, felt uneasy about what he had witnessed and decided to report the find to his parents, who in turn, informed the police.

When police checked the trunk of the tree they found an almost complete human skeleton, a shoe, a gold wedding ring, and some fragments of clothing. After further investigation, a severed hand was found buried in the ground near to the tree. The body was sent for forensic examination and it was quickly established that the skeleton was female and had been dead for at least 18 months, placing her time of death around October 1941. He found taffeta in her mouth, suggesting that she had died from asphyxiation. From the measurement of the trunk he also deduced that she must have been placed there “still warm” after the killing as she could not have fit once rigor mortis had taken hold.

Since the woman’s killing was in the midst of World War II, identification was seriously hampered. Police could tell from items found with the body what the woman had looked like but with so many people being reported missing during the war, and people regularly moving, the records were too vast for a proper identification to take place. The current location of her skeleton is unknown.

'Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?' is a graffito that started appearing soon after the murder. In 1944 the first graffiti message appeared on a wall in Birmingham, reading ‘Who put Bella down the Wych Elm - Hagley Wood’, whilst the most recent graffiti was sprayed onto the side of a 200 year-old obelisk on 18 August 1999, in white paint.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The Strange World of Professor Copperthwaite

The Strange World of Professor Copperthwaite was a taxidermy collection of all manner of weird and wonderful creatures billed in the 19th century as having been brough to the UK by the fictional Victorian adventurer Professor Copperthwaite. The collection includes bizarre stuffed animals including [2-7] a unicorn, a bat-duck hybrid, a winged cat, a "cheasant" or "phicken", a Cambodian woolly pig, and a yeti. It is thought Victorians were fooled by these mythical creatures because they appeared alongside real animals and other curiosities such as conjoined lambs.

(Source: telegraph.co.uk)

Grýla
In Icelandic mythology Grýla is a terrible mountain-dwelling monster and giantess who ventures down from her lair at Christmas time in search of naughty children to cook in a stew and eat, with the vain hope of remedying her insatiable appetite.
According to the legend Grýla has been married three times and her current husband, Leppalúði, lives with her and her their sons, the Yule Lads - mischievous and criminal Santa-type figures who also torment the Icelandic people by harassing sheep, stealing food, and window-peeping - in their cave in the Dimmuborgir lava fields, along with the black Yule Cat.
The legend dates back to the 13th century, though it didn’t become associated with Christmas until the 17th. In 1746 a decree was issued banning the use of Grýla and the Yule Lads to scare children.
[Written with the help of Wikipedia. Image: Grýla by Þrándur Þórarinsson]

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 19th

Grýla

In Icelandic mythology Grýla is a terrible mountain-dwelling monster and giantess who ventures down from her lair at Christmas time in search of naughty children to cook in a stew and eat, with the vain hope of remedying her insatiable appetite.

According to the legend Grýla has been married three times and her current husband, Leppalúði, lives with her and her their sons, the Yule Lads - mischievous and criminal Santa-type figures who also torment the Icelandic people by harassing sheep, stealing food, and window-peeping - in their cave in the Dimmuborgir lava fields, along with the black Yule Cat.

The legend dates back to the 13th century, though it didn’t become associated with Christmas until the 17th. In 1746 a decree was issued banning the use of Grýla and the Yule Lads to scare children.

[Written with the help of Wikipedia. Image: Grýla by Þrándur Þórarinsson]

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 19th

A Curious Collection of Creepy Santa Clauses 

I actually found a website dedicated to this sort of thing which one may view here.

Do some of them remind anyone else of Victorian post-mortem photographs?

[Images Sources: 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5]

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 18th

Christmas Card Curiosties

From Christmas Curiosties: Odd, Dark and Forgotten Christmas by John Grossman.

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 11th 

(Source: doowackadoodles.blogspot.co.uk)

Krampus is a mythical creature recognized in Alpine countries. According to legend, Krampus accompanies Saint Nicholas during the Christmas season, warning and punishing bad children, in contrast to St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to good children. When the Krampus finds a particularly naughty child, it stuffs the child in its sack and carries the frightened child away to its lair, presumably to devour for its Christmas dinner.
One hoof foot, one claw foot!


Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 7th

Krampus is a mythical creature recognized in Alpine countries. According to legend, Krampus accompanies Saint Nicholas during the Christmas season, warning and punishing bad children, in contrast to St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to good children. When the Krampus finds a particularly naughty child, it stuffs the child in its sack and carries the frightened child away to its lair, presumably to devour for its Christmas dinner.

One hoof foot, one claw foot!

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 7th

(Source: Wikipedia)

Harry Whittier Frees

Harry Whittier Frees (1879–1953) was an American photographer who created novelty postcards and children’s books based on his photographs of animals. He dressed the animals and posed them in human situations with props, often with captions; these can be seen as progenitors of modern lolcats.

[Images Source - there’s loads more]

(Source: Wikipedia)

An 18th Century Concept of Mammals

The above illustrations come from ‘Die Saugthiere in Abbildungen' at Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon.

The absurd rendering of many of the animals comes about because the engravers/artists working on the project did not actually see the animals. They had to rely on descriptions and their imagination and, as was the fashion of the time, the animals were placed in contrived settings and often given human facial qualities, which only serves to heighten the sense of bizarre. And thankful we are too.

(Source: bibliodyssey.blogspot.co.uk)

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