Almost every post appearing on these pages is the result of several days of specific study, finding sources, visiting the National Library, etc. It often happens that this continuous research makes me stumble upon little wonders which perhaps do not deserve a full in-depth analysis, but I nonetheless feel sorry to lose along the way.
I have therefore decided to occasionally allow myself a mini-post like this one, where I can point out the best bizarre news I’ve come across in recent times, passed on by followers, mentioned on Twitter (where I am more active than on other social media) or retrieved from my archive.
The idea — and I candidly admit it, since we’re all friends here — is also kind of useful since this is a time of great excitement for Bizzarro Bazar.
In addition to completing the draft for the new book in the BB Collection, of which I cannot reveal any details yet, I am working on a demanding but thrilling project, a sort of offline, real-world materialization of Bizzarro Bazar… in all probability, I will be able to give you more precise news about it next month.
There, enough said, here’s some interesting stuff. (Sorry, some of my own old posts linked here and there are in Italian only).
- Spectacular National Geographic article, with exceptional photos, on Tana Toraja funeral rites (I wrote about this here).
- The vicissitudes of Haydn’s head: Wiki page, and 1954 Life Magazine issue with pictures of the skull’s burial ceremony. This story is reminiscent of Descartes’s skull, of which I’ve written here. (Thanks, Daniele!)
- In case you missed it, here’s my article (in English) for Illustrati Magazine, about midget pornstar Bridget Powers.
- Continuing my exploration of human failure, here is a curious film clip of a “triphibian” vehicle, which was supposed to take over land, water and the skies. Spoiler: it didn’t go very far.
- In the Sixties, the western coast of Lake Victoria in Tanzania fell prey to a laughter epidemics.
- Remember the Aurora shooting? Here’s my weird find: on a website marketing serial killer memorabilia, a victim of the shooting is selling the bullets retrieved from her body to pay off medical expenses.
- Victorian trends: high society Egyptian mummy-unrolling parties.
- More recent trends: plunging into a decomposing whale carcass to cure rheumatism. Caitlin Doughty (whom I interviewed here) teaches you all about it in a very funny video.
- “Wonder injector” Mariano Tomatis in a funny and enlightening talk before high school kids, on magic, psychology and word deceit: “The incantatory universe of narratives: poisons and antidoctes” (Italian only).
- Found what could be the first autopsy ever recorded on film (warning, strong images). Our friend pathologist says: “This film clip is a real gem, really beautiful, and the famous Dr. Erdheim’s dissecting skills are remarkable: he does everything with a single knife, including cutting the breastbone (very elegant! I use some kind of poultry shears instead); he proceeds to a nice full evisceration, at least of thoracic organs (you can’t see the abdomen) from tongue to diaphragm, which is the best technique to maintain the connection between viscera, and… he doesn’t get splattered at all! He also has the table at the right height: I don’t know why but in our autopsy rooms they keep on using very high tables, and therefore you have to step on a platform at the risk of falling down in you lean back too much. It is also interesting to see all the activity behind and around the pathologist, they were evidently working on more than one table at the same time. I think the pathologist was getting his hands dirty for educational reasons only, otherwise there would have been qualified dissectors or students preparing the bodies for him. It’s quite a sight to see him push his nose almost right into the cadaver’s head, without wearing any PPE…”
- Mütter Museum now has an online virtual version of its collection, with tons of interesting information.
- A long, in-depth and thought-provoking article on cryonics: if you think it’s just another folly for rich people who can’t accept death, you will be surprised. The whole thing is far more intriguing.
- For dessert, here is my interview for The Thinker’s Garden, a wonderful website on the arcane and sublime aspects of art, history and literature.