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Archive for November, 2015

Shocking Black Friday Carnage (video)

In the camps people begin to stir. They have waited restlessly for days, leaving family and friends behind for a grim existence without luxury. While others gathered around the Thanksgiving table, they remained vigilant, preparing for this moment. Now the day is upon them.

Adrenaline quickly overcomes the bleariness of fatigue in the predawn hour, but this is not something that arrives with the sun. The attack has been coming for days and planned for weeks. Notes are consulted as each objective is confirmed. Time to go to the line.

Everyone tries to keep their focus, surrounded by enemies. “Keep your mind on the target,” one of them thinks, nervously pumping her legs in place to deal with the waiting…the endless waiting.

Finally, suddenly, the signal is given. Darkness gives way to blazing light as the doors are flung open. The line surges forward. There! There! There is the first objective! It’s in view. The throng lunges, but not everyone makes it in the first wave. Some are cast aside, the first casualties of the day, as Black Friday has begun.

Yes, its the day of dystopian shopping, where individuals from all walks of life turn into a snarling mob that looks more like something from a Mad Max movie than a start to the holidays. We don’t have any footage of this year’s carnage yet, but here are some highlights of  incredible scenes from last year.

According to this article from the Huffington Post,  the term Black Friday has nothing to do with businesses getting “into the black.” The term was coined by the Philadelphia Police sometime in the 1960s to describe the mayhem they experienced trying to keep the peace in terrible crowds and traffic as shoppers descended on the city. According to this blog, the term was not really appreciated by retailers as late as 1985. Of course, all of that changed when some marketers decided they could stir things up with customers using the term and it has all gotten more insane ever since.

LuckyLizardBlackFridayI’ll try to update this with some current footage when it becomes available, but you won’t find me out there getting it first hand. I’m going to rest comfortably in my bed and then I’ll see you at the Museum of the Weird tonight.

Of course, the Lucky Lizard is offering a great deal, that doesn’t require you to get up early. This entire weekend you can get 25% off almost everything in the store with the purchase of a museum ticket. Get away from the madness of the malls and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of our mummies, shrunken heads and other amazing oddities. It’s all November 27-29. See you there!

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Thanks for everything

Digital collage of Thanksgiving dinner themes

Digital art by Lewis Minor [cc-by]

Today is the day when the United States has our traditional Thanksgiving holiday. There are many stories about the history of Thanksgiving, but today it is largely recognized as a day where families and friends gather with a celebration of food and often football.

Of course, we aren’t the only ones to have a day to focus on gratitude. Many cultures have such days with many different customs. Honestly, it’s always a good day to give thanks for what you have.

Here at the Museum of the Weird we are grateful to have spent the last 10 years sharing our unique collection with people of the world. We are grateful for the thousands of people who come through our door and appreciate our oddities and share with their own friends. We are grateful for the employees and performers who passionately help us share all of this. We are grateful that the city of Austin is a place where we can be as weird as we need to be and it’s just not a problem. There are some cities where you can’t really do that. (Trust us on that!)

The Museum is closed today so everyone can be with friends and family. Please enjoy this blast from the past, a classic “Weird Al” Yankovic video that seems appropriate to the day. Of course, we’ll be back tomorrow. If your Black Friday gets too dark or you just want to get away from the hoards of zombie shoppers come and take some time away in the quiet of our mummies, shrunken heads, and two-headed animals. You might even find the perfect gift in our shop for those unique people in your life.

All the best to you and yours.

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Astronaut’s “UFO” tweet only latest in long history of encounters

Screenshot of Scott Kelly's tweet

At 3:56 PM on November 15, 2015 astronaut Scott Kelly posted the following Tweet from his year-long sojourn on the International Space Station. Do you see what we see in the top right corner?

Screenshot of Scott Kelly's tweet Let’s look at that a little more closely.

Enlargement of tweet photo showing a strange, cigar-shaped object with lights on either side.

Some say this is merely a reflection captured in the picture. Others suggest it was a subtle way for Kelly to share something that has been controversial for astronauts to discuss since the 1960s, encounters with UFOs. This article on syti.net reports some of the amazing encounters that astronaut have apparently had with extraterrestrials since the earliest reaches into space. Here are the highlights:

  • Major Gordon Cooper – Orbiting the earth in a Mercury capsule, May 15, 1963, he reported a glowing, greenish object approaching him. The object registered on the tracking station’s radar, so it was substantial. He had an earlier sighting as an F-86 pilot of metallic, saucer-shaped disks flying over Western Germany.
  • Donald Slayton –Another Mercury astronaut also saw an unexplained object in 1951 while testing a P-51 fighter in Minneapolis.
  • Robert White – While doing a high-altitude flight of an X-15 in 1962 he saw a “grayish” object “about thirty to forty feet away.”
  • Joseph A. Walker – Also executing X-15 flights, he filmed strange objects during high flights.

The most startling information is the following exchange that was picked up by ham radio operators who were eavesdropping on the NASA broadcasts during Apollo 11, July 21, 1969.

NASA: Whats there? Mission Control calling Apollo 11…

Apollo11: These “Babies” are huge, Sir! Enormous! OH MY GOD! You wouldn’t believe it! I’m telling you there are other spacecraft out there, Lined up on the far side of the crater edge! They’re on the Moon watching us!

Later, a professor (who prefers to remain anonymous) was talking to Armstrong about his experiences at a NASA symposium. He reported the following discussion.

Professor: What REALLY happened out there with Apollo 11?

Armstrong: It was incredible, of course we had always known there was a possibility, the fact is, we were warned off! (by the Aliens). There was never any question then of a space station or a moon city.

Professor: How do you mean “warned off”?

Armstrong: I can’t go into details, except to say that their ships were far superior to ours both in size and technology – Boy, were they big! and menacing! No, there is no question of a space station.

Professor: But NASA had other missions after Apollo 11?

Armstrong: Naturally – NASA was committed at that time, and couldn’t risk panic on Earth. But it really was a quick scoop and back again.

Are these exaggerations? misquotes? misunderstandings? Is there a cover-up? The original syti.net article cites other stories with links to additional material.

Are we heading toward some big revelations involving alien life? The recent Mars disclosures are preparing us for bigger news. Perhaps it’s true. I could certainly handle the truth, as long as it’s not like the Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man.” (If you haven’t seen it you really need to. It’s on Hulu.)

I guess we continue to wait and wonder.

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Man attacked by brain-eating worm given only 30 minutes to live

Luis Ortiz, a California college student, was suddenly struck by a crippling headache and became very ill. His mother rushed him to the emergency room of a Napa hospital where neurosurgeon Soren Singel ran a brain scan. What he saw was terrifying.

A tapeworm larva was eating into Luis’s brain and unless something was done immediately he had only 30 minutes to live! Ortiz was rushed to emergency surgery where the still-wriggling parasite was extracted. Here is video of an interview that CBS News did with this fortunate survivor.

According to this report by the US centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) these larval cysts in the brain – neurocysticercosis – can develop after a person swallows microscopic eggs passed in the faeces of a person who has an intestinal pork tapeworm. They can also come from swimming in infested water.

The eggs hatch inside the body and the worms sometimes make their way to the brain. According to the CDC approximately 1,000 people end up in the hospital with these larvae. Few are such an extreme case as this Luis.

You can’t go through life worrying all the time about brain-eating worms, but clearly there are a few things we should pay attention to. Cook that pork! Be cautious where you swim. Try not to eat people’s faeces, especially people who eat raw pork!

We are glad that Luis survived this ordeal. What a terrifying experience! If you’ve had an amazing medical encounter, tell us.

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What happens when this squirrel leaps from a 21-story building? (video)

A squirrel managed to climb its way to the top of an apartment building but then found no place to go. Onlookers were surprised to find the little creature so they couldn’t help but record it. Then this happened.

Assuming this was a typical building, that was a leap of about 210 feet! As you saw, the little guy seemed to be unharmed. How is this possible?

They answer is wonderful! According to this article, squirrels  seem particularly suited to falling. They are small, light, fluffy and tend to spread themselves out when they fall. All of this creates a tremendous amount of air drag on the plummeting squirrel. This opposing force usually counteracts the pull of gravity enough to let them survive. We certainly can’t argue with the video evidence.

Is it time for a squirrel-based superhero?

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