New Addition To The Museum: Thurston’s Book Of Magic

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16-page booklet from the 1930s that is filled with magic tricks, supposedly ones performed (or at least endorsed by) Columbus-born magician, Howard Thurston. All the tricks in this booklet have been given bizarre names, my favorites being “The Healing Tongue” and “Futile Blows”. The “Library of Magic” listed on the cover was the name given to all 6 “volumes” (ie: booklets) in the series. As you can see, this was Volume 1.

Booklet was a giveaway from Swift and Company, who manufactured baking products like shortening. So there’s a great 2-page ad for Swift’s Silverleaf Lard that asks “what magic can you do with pastry-tested shortening” and then encourages readers to “eat more baked goods” because they are “wholesome, digestible, delicious.” Ain’t that the truth!

You can check out some other pieces of Howard Thurston memorabilia in the Historical Memorabilia wing of the Strange and Spooky Museum. Go on, click away!

 

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MetroParks of Butler County’s April Fools Joke Angers the Internet

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On April 1st, 2014, an article appeared on cincinnati.com, reporting an alleged close encounter at the Voice of America Park in West Chester. According to the article, a man, “who wished to remain anonymous”, was driving southbound on Butler Warren Road around 1:30 am when he noticed something strange “near the park’s new athletic fields.”

The man decided to pull over to take a closer look. As he exited his car, he was shocked to see several “workers” around what appeared to be some sort of strange craft. Those workers, upon being spotted by the man, scrambled into the craft, which began to make strange noises before it “disappeared completely.” The man was able to snap a single photo with his cell phone before the craft disappeared. That photo, shown below, accompanied the newspaper article (the text is also from the original article).

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The man said he waited several days before coming forward and reporting the incident to Butler County Park rangers, who were now “investigating” the whole thing. Spoooooky!

To be honest, I didn’t make it all the way through the cincinnati.com article before I began smiling. I knew it was all a joke as soon as I saw the photograph of the “strange object”, which is actually a house in Carlisle, Ohio. Known locally as Futuro or, my personal favorite, the Mating UFOs House. It’s actually become quite the roadside attraction over the years.

Now, you’d be forgiven if you didn’t recognize the Mating UFO House because you’re  either not from the area or you’re not like yours truly, who enjoys hunting down bizarre roadside attractions like this house. Case in point, I dragged my wife, daughter, and father-in-law to go see it just last year:

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But where you really can’t be forgiven for is reading this story on APRIL FIRST and not at least pausing for a second to allow your morning caffeine to kick in before taking to the InterWebs and lashing out at everyone and anyone. But that’s just what happened in Southern Ohio on this April Fool’s Day.

Almost as soon as the article was posted, people were angrily posting comments about how “fake” the whole thing was. Not that it was part of an April’s Fool Day joke, mind you. Rather, that we, as full-blooded tax-paying Americans, were being duped into believing that UFOs had landed. And that’s what makes this joke so perfect; people fell for it!

One commenter, who actually identified the Futuro House (even adding a “duh” at the end of her post), still apparently missed that it was a joke because her post implied that she thought park rangers really were investigating the whole thing. In fact, she was so angry that she went so far as to ask the Powers That Be to please “stop wasting taxpayers’ money by using rangers’ time on this”.

One gentleman’s post was so funny that I just had to include it here in its entirety (typos and all):

Like ALL the other BS pics of UFO’s and Sasquatch. This is just out of the light or too dark, or fuzzy or…… with all the camera’s out there, still not ONE really good picture. All fakes. How else could the thriving media business of ghosts and all the rest make any money? Facebook is alive with other crap cures and phony claims. Time to put on my suit and sneak around the woods.

Can’t you just feel the anger in his words? I mean, this silly April Fools joke got so stuck in this guy’s craw that he actually took the time to log onto his Facebook account in order to leave his scathing message before dashing off to put on his “suit and sneak around in the woods.” My guess is that the suit he’s referring to is either an alien costume or perhaps a Bigfoot one. Well, either that, or he just some sort of weird stalker guy who simply enjoys formal wear.

But the best part of all this was that one guy took the time to create a YouTube video specifically about “busting this hoax”. Now, the guy who created the video is my kind of guy: he specializes in “underground world news” and has video posts of all sorts of things like conspiracy theories, False Flag attacks, and even the Illuminati (it’s like we’re kindred spirits or something).  So he should be used to reading about all sorts of weird stuff , the bulk of which is BS. So why, on April 1st, of all days, not hold back a couple of hours and wait to see if Cincinnati.com posted the obligatory “April Fools!” note later in the day (which they did) before proclaiming the whole thing a “hoax” and intimating that people were reporting things without looking into them thoroughly by stating “if any of them are any type of news crew, they would know the truth behind this.”

To be sure, this was not a hoax. Nor was it simply an April Fools joke. It was actually a bit of guerrilla marketing designed to make people aware of the fact that there were new athletic fields available at Voice of America Park. And it worked brilliantly. If you read the original article, not only were people made aware of Voice of America Park and their new athletic fields, but they even gave the name of the street the park is located off of. And if people still thought the story was real and decided to drive out to the park, they were greeted by several blow-up aliens near the front entrance, posed around a sign about the new athletic fields.

So see? Nothing to be angry about here. Just a MetroPark using April Fools Day as an opportunity to raise awareness about a new feature at one of their parks. No alien invasion. No conspiracy. No waste of taxpayers’ money…unless, of course, you want to take issue with a park ranger getting paid to blow up a couple of alien-shaped inflatables.

But you know, I did see something weird on the news the other night that I think might be a hoax. This guy had a picture of a Sasquatch that looks too good to be true. It’s my expert opinion that this is a hoax and that some major corporation is behind it all. I just don’t know what their End Game is…yet. I am suddenly hungry, though.

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Here’s the link to the original Cincinnati.com news article, which now has the “April Fools!” blurb added to the top of it.

ONW: Meet The Critter Cap Bandit

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OK, I realize this guy had a gun. But really, how menacing can one think they are when they are wearing that on their head? it’s not like he was going to blend in, either. And dude, look behind you; it’s called a hood. Every good bandit knows that if you’re going to rob a bank and go Old School, you use a red bandana. Otherwise, you go with the hood. Or at least an ill-fitting mustache and dark sunglasses.

But whatever the reason, this guy chose to don an ill-fitting Critter Cap, march into the Chase Bank on East Main Street in Bexley on the morning of January 7th, and demand cash. It’s unknown if the man’s headwear or his gun startled the teller more, but the bandit managed to escape the bank and is still at large. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 614-461-TIPS, e-mail a tip to www.stopcrime.org, or text a tip to “CRIMES”, using the keyword CMH.

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NBC 4’s complete article, including how you can collect a sweet reward if you help catch this guy (with or without the hat, I’m assuming), can be found here.

The Top 10 Strange And Spooky Of 2013

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Happy new year!

One of the things I enjoy doing on New Year’s Day is looking back at the stats for my blog. I really get a kick out of seeing not only what people were typing into search engines to end up here, but also which stories were the most popular. For the most part, stats for particular pages will be really high right out of the gate and then decline over time as it becomes “old news”. Same with the search terms. Still, for every random The Tokoloshe He Eat My Dog, there were several terms and phrases that kept popping up time and time again.

So here they are (in reverse order to build suspense): The Top 10 Search Terms for 2013:

10.    Mothman
Over 1,000 people landed on my site searching for Mothman, which is interesting to me since apart from a   couple of mentions of my appearing at various Mothman Festivals over the years and the Mothman Plush in my Museum, I don’t have that much stuff on my blog about Mothman.
 
9.     Eggshelland
Still can’t believe that Eggshelland is gone. 
  
8.     Paul Is Dead
Since this conspiracy is well over 40 years old, it makes me smile to see that so many people are still intrigued with it!
 
7.     Ghost Sightings
With all my strange and spooky stuff, good to know people still come to me for what started it all: ghosts.  
 
6.     Strange And Spooky World
There was a huge number of hits from this term in October, no doubt caused by my presentations and public appearances. 
 
5.     Amanda Berry
When the whole Amanda Berry/Sylvia Browne thing blew up, I couldn’t keep up with all the hits to my site. It died down shortly afterwards, only to spike again when Browne passed away later in November of 2013. 
 
4.     What Is A Tokoloshe
I’m still asking myself that very question!
 
3.     Fiji Mermaid
I get at least 5 e-mails a month from people asking me if the mermaid I have in my museum is real. I simply tell them I can see it sitting on my shelf, so of course it’s real!
 
2.     Tokoloshe
To be honest, I was a little surprised this wasn’t #1. And it wasn’t even close.
 
1.     Big Butter Jesus 
Guess it doesn’t matter if you call him Touchdown Jesus, Cream Cheese Jesus, Terminator Jesus, or even the 5-Dollar Footlong Jesus. Folks just can’t get enough of that giant weird statue alongside I-75 North.
 

So what were the top 10 stories/posts from 2013? Glad you asked! BTW, you can click on them if you need to do a little catchup reading.

10.  The Final Eggshelland

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9.    Roadside Oddities

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8.    The Museum

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7.    My Books

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6.    The Boy With The Boot

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5.    The Paul McCartney Death Clues

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4.    ONW: In 2004, Sylvia Browne Told Amanda Berry Mother Her Daughter Was “Not Alive

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3.    My Strange & Spooky World Is Coming To Oxford, Ohio

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2.    What Magical Spell Did Ghost Adventures Cast Over Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery?

--via the Travel Channel

1.    Behold the Power of Hug Me Jesus

Apparently, Jesus will even welcome highway speeders with open arms. (via Fox 19)

And there you have it. Happy 2014! Hope it is a strange and spooky one!

My Interview With Tiffin Life Magazine

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2-page article from the October 2013 edition of Tiffin Life, featuring your favorite strange and spooky guy!

Click on the images to view/read them in hi-res.

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New Acquisitions For The Strange & Spooky Museum

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The first round of editing for my Big Book Of Ohio Ghost Stories is now on its way back to the editor. Which means I’ve now got some time to start uploading my latest acquisitions for the Strange & Spooky Museum for everyone to see!

In the coming week, here’s just a few of the items I’ll be adding:

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All Strange & Spooky Museum Images Now Available In High Resolution

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For your viewing pleasure, all of the images in The Strange and Spooky Museum can now be viewed in high resolution. Just hover over the image of your choice, wait for the Bony Finger to appear, then give it a click. The image will open up in a new window, where you can zoom to your heart’s content!

Why don’t you give it a try now? Below is one of the most popular additions to the Entertainment wing of The Museum: The Haunted eBay Painting. Go ahead and click on the painting to open it in a new window, then click on it again to zoom in, where you’ll be able to see all sorts of creepy little hands hidden in the glass panes.

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You can access The Strange and Spooky Museum by hovering over The Museum link at the top of this page or just click here to begin your journey!

The Virtual Doors to the Strange & Spooky Museum Will Swing Open This Week

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It has been a long time coming (and thanks for your patience), but the time has finally come: The Strange & Spooky Museum is set to open up this week! It’s still a work in progress, so it will open up a little at a time, with at least 4 “wings” of the Museum to be fully open by this Sunday, February 10th.  As the wings open up, you will be able to access them directly simply by clicking on “The Museum” at the top of this page, which will activate a drop-down menu so you can jump right to the wing of your choice.

And with this grand opening, I’m asking all my readers to help grow the Museum. You can do this in one of two ways. First, since the Museum is made up of a collection of items that I have a personal connection with, I want you to share YOUR personal connection to them, too. Let’s face it; I can’t be the only one out there who is obsessed with The Boy with the Boot. And surely, there are many of you who got the chance to ride the ferris wheel at Chippewa Lake Park when it was still in operation. So let me know about it and I will, in turn, add your story to the Museum (giving you full credit, of course). In this way, we’re not only growing the Museum, but also making sure the people and places within are never forgotten.

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Tokoloshe Goes Viral…To Promote A Web Site

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The tokoloshe mythos took a bizarre turn recently, beginning with a video posted to YouTube, showing a South African couple being interviewed by a television reporter. In the segment, the male homeowner described how a tokoloshe has been repeatedly breaking into his home and generally creating chaos. It had gotten to the point where the homeowners were thinking about moving. But all was not what it seemed to be.

But before we get into the big reveal about the truth behind the video, let’s take a closer look at some of the highs and lows of the clip.

After a brief introduction by an unnamed news reporter, we are introduced to South African Albert Dlomo, a homeowner whose house has recently come under siege by a tokoloshe.

Meet frazzled homeowner Albert Dlomo (via YouTube)

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This October, Take A Peek Inside The Strange & Spooky Museum

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Running a distant second behind requests for more information about the tokoloshe are e-mails asking me where one can go to see the contents of my Strange & Spooky Museum. Up until now, the answer has always been “nowhere”. But all that’s going to change beginning October 1st, 2012.

To the uninitiated, my Strange & Spooky Museum is a collection of odd things I have collected over the many years traveling across the United States in search of all things strange and spooky. And when I say “odd things”, I mean it!

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