The Oddities and Curiosities Expo

Sup, y’all! I have some interesting (I think) things to show you on this fine day.

If you know me well, you probably know that I have a small collection of dead things, mostly bones and fossils. I won’t run through all the fossils, but I will mention the bones: deer skull, bear skull, racoon skull, small jar of mouse skulls/bones, red-tailed hawk skull (which I have not yet cleaned), and a mummified flying squirrel that I’m terrified to try and process.

So when I saw that the Oddities and Curiosities expo was coming, I was in. For the record, I also like weird stuff. I didn’t just go to the expo for the bones.

I took some pictures. Want to see them? Of course, you do. Otherwise, you would’ve stopped reading by now.

So this was the first thing the children and I saw when we walked in.

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Aw, yeah, baby. That’s my scene. #gothgirl4ever As you can see, this fantastic display was for a brewing company.

This next masterpiece was the 2nd thing we saw.

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CAN you feel the magnificence of this, fam-squad? We have a very cool steampunk-style blimp. Let’s get a closer look at the…uh…bottom part? I don’t know what that’s called, but let’s look at it.

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O.M.G. Those are tiny skeletons. Most of them looked like rodents, but if I remember correctly there was at least one that looked like a small bird as well. I wish I had gotten a better picture, but it was a very hectic environment. The place was mad crowded.

Here are a few random shots.

rando 1rando 2rando 3

monkey 2

 

Good times.

We caught a few seconds of a magic show, but it was very crowded.

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We saw many, many dead things, horror-themed art, dolls, jewelry, fake eyeballs on forks. This Stranger Things Ouija Board!!!!!

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If I were a less responsible human, I would’ve come home with this beauty

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or possibly the one caribou skull I saw.

The only thing that really bugged me was the incredible number of dead things. Finding a single skull in an antique store is one thing, but these legions of creatures couldn’t have all been ethically-sourced. I thought about that a lot as I walked around. The number of bats really got to me. So. Many Bats.

I did end up buying a couple of things. I got this sweet mounted cicada.

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I’m not overly fond of the frame. I might switch that out or paint it or something eventually. The children also bought insects. The boy got a wet grasshopper specimen, and the girl bought a magnificent bell jar display with moths and a skull.

I also scored a cool palmistry poster, which I have not yet framed.

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Below is a link to the website for the expo. I will warn you that if you decide to watch the video, you will see a lady hanging by hooks through her leg skin. Me no likey.

https://odditiesandcuriositiesexpo.com/

 

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Ye Olde Spirit Communication Devices

Okay! Sorry for the delay on this post. I meant to schedule it for last week, but it took longer to write than I thought it would. It turns out that there are A LOT of devices that were invented to speak with spirits. Seriously, I probably could’ve written a book if so inclined. But I am not inclined to do that, so this post is what I have for you.

Back in Victorian days (my favorite time period that is not the present), there was a fascination with conversing with the dead. A religious movement called Spiritualism was prevalent, maybe because a whole bunch of people were dying of things like consumption. The living really wanted their loved ones on afterlife speed dial, and who can blame them?

Mediumship was popular. Séances were popular. Lucky for the would-be mediums, they had some tools at their disposal. Let’s check out a few of them, shall we?

Let’s start with the planchette. Here’s an old ad for one.

planchette

Planchettes are used for “automatic writing” or “spirit writing”, which is where a spirit communicates through a living person by moving their hands and forming shapes or words. If you’ve read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, one of the lady characters uses one. Here’s an example of what spirit writing might look like. This page was done by Hélène Smith.

spirit writing

A planchette can also be used with a ouija board. Participants ask the spirits a question. Planchette scoots across the board, pointing to answers. I think most people know what this one is, given that they’re pretty easy to find.

ouija

Next up, we have the spirit trumpet. I really want one of these, just because it’s so darn odd.

spirit trumpet

It works thus: the trumpet is placed at the center of the séance table. When a ghost is present, the trumpet supposedly lifts from the table, floating, and amplifies whispers from ghosts.

Groovy.

Now, we move on to the Telepathic Spirit Communicator. With such a fancy name, it simply must be legit! This bad boy is a dial-plate planchette invented by WT Braham.

Pease

There are other devices that are of somewhat similar design with dials and letters and such:
Isaac Pease’s Spiritual Telegraph
Daniel Hornung’s Emanulector
George F. Pearson’s Cablegraph
Hudson Tuttle’s Psychograph

There is another psychograph (someone didn’t trademark the name?) invented by Adolphus Theodore Wagner. This one looks far more interesting than Tuttle’s. We’ve got some paddles and arms that are used to point to letters on the table. I could see people getting mad and yanking on the arms of this thing, like séance tug-of-war.

psychograph

Okay, last one. Robert Hare’s Spiritoscope. As you can see, the medium sits where they can’t see the letters on the dial. Hare believed that this meant the medium was less able to interfere with whatever the spirits were trying to say.

spiritoscope

 

That’s it for today, kids.

Various Sources:
http://mysteriousplanchette.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_writing

https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1035&context=cpo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouija