Welcome to Gibtown, the Last ‘Freakshow’ Town in America

“With the demise of the carnival, an important slice of American history risks being lost – but the residents of Gibsonton, Florida, are trying to keep the legacy of the town’s famous ‘freaks’ alive,” report Kim Wall and Caterina Clerici for the Guardian:

For those who didn’t quite fit elsewhere, Gibtown was a utopia. Its first settlers, the Giant, and his wife, the Half-Woman, ran a campsite, a bakeshop and the fire department. The post office catered to little people with extra-low counters, and the beer hall had custom-built chairs for the Fat Ladies and the Tallest Man. Special zoning regulations allowed residents to keep and train exotic animals in their gardens. Siamese-twin sisters ran a fruit stand. Three factories manufactured Ferris wheels and carousels.

Gibtown. Photo: janhatesmarcia

Gibtown. Photo: janhatesmarcia

 

Or at least that’s how Ward Hall, aka the King of Sideshow, remembers it.

In the golden days of American carnival, all roads led to Gibsonton, Florida.

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Life in Prison for Selling $20 of Weed

Torben Hansen (CC BY 2.0)

Torben Hansen (CC BY 2.0)

This is awful.

Abby Haglage via The Daily Beast:

PART I

On September 5, 2008, Fate Vincent Winslow watched a plainclothes stranger approach him. Homeless and hungry, on a dark street rife with crime, the 41-year-old African American was anxious to make contact, motivated by one singular need: food.

Another man, this one white, stood next to Winslow. He is referred to in court documents exclusively as “Perdue.”

It was nearly 9:20 p.m., hours after the sun had dipped below the abandoned buildings surrounding them. The lights of downtown Shreveport, Louisiana, flickered in the distance as the plain-clothes man—unbeknownst to them, an undercover cop—arrived.

“What do you need?” Winslow asked. “A girl and some weed,” Officer Jerry Alkire replied.

Perdue remained silent as Winslow and Alkire negotiated the costs. Winslow wanted a $5 delivery fee for the $20 (two dime bags) of pot. Fine. Money settled, he grabbed Perdue’s bike and took off.

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Young Goodman Brown

r reeve (CC BY-ND 2.0)

r reeve (CC BY-ND 2.0)

“Young Goodman Brown” By Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), 1835

YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN came forth at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife. And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she called to Goodman Brown.

“Dearest heart,” whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, “pr’y thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night. A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she’s afeard of herself, sometimes. Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!”

“My love and my Faith,” replied young Goodman Brown, “of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee.… Read the rest

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Thoughts on Bankruptcy by Voltaire

Robert Couse-Baker (CC BY 2.0)

Robert Couse-Baker (CC BY 2.0)

Excerpted from Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary.

Few bankruptcies were known in France before the sixteenth century. The great reason is that there were no bankers. Lombards, Jews lent on security at ten per cent: trade was conducted in cash. Exchange, remittances to foreign countries were a secret unknown to all judges.

It is not that many people were not ruined; but that was not called bankruptcy; one said discomfiture; this word is sweeter to the ear. One used the word rupture as did the Boulonnais; but rupture does not sound so well.

The bankruptcies came to us from Italy, bancorotto, bancarotta, gambarotta e la giustizia non impicar. Every merchant had his bench (banco) in the place of exchange; and when he had conducted his business badly, declared himself fallito, and abandoned his property to his creditors with the proviso that he retain a good part of it for himself, be free and reputed a very upright man.… Read the rest

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Ed Gein Cauldron That Once Held Human Entrails Up for Auction

ed-gein-cauldron

A cauldron that once belonged to Ed Gein will be up for auction in Wisconsin tomorrow (Feb. 28). Hollis Brown, a former neighbor of Gein’s, confirms its authenticity and even claims that it once held human body parts.

Charlie Hintz via Cult of Weird:

According to Dan McIntyre, the cauldron’s current owner, his grandmother Evelyn Mair purchased the cauldron from the Gein estate sale held in 1958, along with some gardening tools. She painted the cauldron and planted flowers in it as a memorial for Gein’s victims.

McIntyre says it wasn’t until 50 years later that he learned the shocking reality of the inconspicuous flower pot that ended up in his parent’s garage.

Hollis Brown, a friend of the McIntyre family, had been a neighbor of Ed Gein’s. Brown told McIntyre that, after the police had finished photographing the crime scene, they were feeling sick to their stomachs. So he and another neighbor by the name of Howard Lowellyn helped remove the bodies and various remains.

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Black Moon/Dave Cloud

Dave Cloud

Last Wednesday afternoon my Facebook wall began to light-up with the frantic news that outsider musician and Nashvillian par-excellence, Dave Cloud, was in an intensive care unit as a result of his battle with cancer. The news came out of nowhere for most of the rocker’s friends and admirers, and last Thursday’s announcement of his death came so quickly that most are still trying to wrap their heads — and hearts — around the wide, wild space Cloud and his art once occupied.

For the uninitiated, here’s a bit of the man’s bio:

By day a volunteer book reader for the blind, Cloud undergoes a transformation at night, and for over three decades has entertained patrons of local dive bar Springwater, often with his band The Gospel of Power. Cloud’s unpredictable performances can be uproarious, jaw-droppingly bizarre events, delighting some while frightening others. His musical amalgam of experimental garage rock and lounge crooning—defies easy categorization, but his delivery makes the experience hard to forget.

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Rogue Owl Attacks in Dutch Town

jennicatpink (CC BY-SA 2.0)

jennicatpink (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This is my fear. I’m that coward who ducks when the pigeons fly too close.

via BBC News:

Residents in the northern Dutch town of Purmerend have been advised to take umbrellas out at night after a spate of attacks by an owl.

Dozens of residents have suffered head injuries over the past three weeks at the claws of the rogue European eagle owl.

Two runners were attacked on Tuesday, with one requiring stitches for five separate head wounds.

The European eagle owl’s usual prey are small mammals and birds.

Falconer

One of the sites of the attacks has been a home for the disabled.

Liselotte de Bruijn, a spokeswoman for the home, told the AFP news agency that residents and workers had suffered at least 15 separate attacks by the nocturnal bird, which remains at large.

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Is Scurvy the New Diabetes?

Scurvy is the new poor people’s disease in the United States. Yes you read that right. Leigh Cowart tells the sad story at Medium:

… It’s true: Scurvy is not something that you will readily encounter in mainstream American life, since death from lack of vitamin C requires poor medical care and consistent and prolonged lack of access to fresh or fortified foods. It also often involves a cofactor such as alcoholism, being an elderly shut-in, or inadequate infant nutrition. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook: Like so many diseases with social roots, scurvy doesn’t come on like flipping a switch; it’s not as if one day you’re fine, and the next all your old scars are opening up and your tongue is covered in sores. This kind of malnutritive illness exists on a sliding scale of grays. Vitamin C deficiency is no joke, and acting like we don’t have to worry about historical diseases is arrogant and stupid.

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‘Bigfoot Smiled at Me’, says Texas Man

terry priest (CC BY 2.0)

terry priest (CC BY 2.0)

What’s up with Texans and weird Bigfoot stories?

via Cryptozoology News:

Texas — A man claims he had multiple encounters with a “Bigfoot” creature in Marion County.

Richard, who didn’t provide a last name, said he was at his house on the Big Cypress Bayou when the events allegedly took place at 10.30 p.m. about four decades ago.

“I had a house on top of the hill by Lake O’ the Pines. I was out the backdoor smoking a cigarette,” he said last month on a 20-minute call to Nite Callers Bigfoot Radio, a radio podcast with over four years of experience covering “Sasquatch and other related mysterious subjects”.

Suddenly, the eyewitness said, he noticed a strange shape next to an oak tree.

“I saw something on the edge of the tree line. I could see it from the porch’s light.”

Curious and decided to find out what the silhouette was, Richard reportedly put out his smoke and walked out of the driveway to try to interact with the animal.

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