Curiosities (November 1901)


A quite large selection of curiosities this month, with the usual selection of photographs of unusual objects, optical illusions, and other oddities. There are two references to earlier articles, which I’ve linked. I’d like to go and see if that gravestone marking the woman killed by a tiger is still there.




“A month or two ago you published in The Strand Magazine a photo. in which the sunshade or umbrella looked inside out. I send you two photos. in one of which the sunshade looks inside out, the sun, as you will see, shining directly through it; the other looks natural, the sun striking somewhat over the top of the sunshade. Both were taken at the same time of day in the afternoon.” We reproduce the photograph showing the sunshade apparently inside out.–Mr. E. T. A. Boyton, 46, Sebert Road, Forest Gate, E.



“The tombstone a photograph of which I send you stands in Malmesbury Abbey Churchyard. It is one of the oldest records–perhaps the only one–of a woman being killed by a tiger in this country. In an old account, which I hold, of this dreadful affair it says: ‘Hannah Twynnoy was a servant at the White Lion Inn (an inn still existing), Malmesbury. There was an exhibition of wild beasts at the inn, and among the rest a very fierce tiger, which she imprudently took a pleasure in teasing, notwithstanding the repeated remonstrances of its keeper. One day, whilst amusing herself with this dangerous diversion, the enraged animal, by an extraordinary effort, drew out the staple, sprang towards the unhappy girl, caught hold of her gown, and tore her to pieces.’ The full inscription, which is quite plain on the photo., is as follows : ‘In memory of Hannah Twynnoy, who died October 23rd, 1703. Aged 33 years. In bloom of life she’s snatched from hence, she had no room to make defence; for tyger fierce took life away, and here she lies in a bed of clay, until the Resurrection Day.'”–Mr. Arthur Y. Hinwood, Ferndale, Malmesbury, Wilts.



“There is a peculiar shop at Fishponds, Bristol. The newsagent places the daily papers outside his shop, fastening them loosely in wire racks. Outside the windows are two slots with the following wording appended: ‘Please take paper and put money in.’ The newsagent leaves his shop for his daily news-round, and his automatic shop does the work for him in his absence.”–Mr. H. C. Leat, 2, Richmond Street, Totterdown, Bristol.



In a recent issue of this Magazine we published an account, illustrated with photographs, of the champion skipper of America. Mr. A. J. Sheen, hon. sec. of the Aberdare Athletic Club, a well-known athlete and cyclist, sends us an account of his latest feat in the same direction, which would appear to beat the record previously alluded to. An account of the  performance is given in Sporting Life for May 1st, 1901. It says: “Mr. Sheen did a very clever turn. He skipped 1,000 times in 5min. 11sec. This forms a record of its kind. The times for each 100 revolutions of the rope were:

100, 31sec.;
200, 1min. 2sec.;
300, 1min. 35sec.;
400, 2min. 6sec.;
500, 2min. 38sec.;
600, 3mm. 6sec.;
700, 3min. 39sec.;
800, 4min. 13sec.;
900, 4min. 44sec.;
1,000, 5min. 11sec.

T. H. Mosford kept the tally, and Mr. Ed. Plummer was the timekeeper.” It is noteworthy to add that during the whole time of skipping Mr. Sheen never missed once. Surely a remarkable feat.–Photo, by J. W. Fyfe, Aberdare.



“Here is a snap of my young brother ‘supporting the world.’ This large stone globe is situated at Swanage, Dorset.  This mass of stone is 10ft. in diameter, and on it have been carefully depicted the various continents, countries, seas, rivers, etc., of the world. There is also in the vicinity a large stone map of the district, with figures showing the distances from Swanage to various parts of the coast, etc.”–Mr. W. H. Scott, Westleigh, Chase Green Avenue, Enfield.



“I send you an interesting photo. of bees just about to swarm. They are crowded in a heap just outside the hive and waiting for the queen to lead them.”–Miss Ida Glen, Ashfield House, Wartley, Leeds.



“I send you a comical photo, showing Mr. Fred. Griffiths (the surviving member of the well-known ‘Bros. Griffiths’) amusing the spectators at a ‘Komic Kriket Karnival’ held at Hampton last year, by his representation of a chicken, a really excellent imitation with the exception of the legs–which are clothed in ‘duck’ trousers.”–Mr. J. R. Mathie. 10, Lawrence Mansions, Chelsea, S.W.



“Inclosed I hand you a photograph which I think may lay some claim to being a curiosity. It is a photograph of myself taken by myself in mid-air. It was taken at the wharf of the San Francisco Yacht Club. My friend dived head first from the top of the post, whilst I dived feet first from the wharf, releasing the shutter by a long thread (which can be faintly seen) as I was half-way between the floor and the water. The exposure was 1-500th of a second and a focal plane-shutter was used.”–Mr. H. G. Ponting, Sansalito, Cal.



This photograph, which was taken in one of the principal squares in the city of Lisbon, shows a curious effect obtained by artistic paving. The surface, which appears to the eye to be in waves, is in reality quite flat. The illusion is produced by alternate wavy lines of white and grey cobbles following a definite pattern.–The Rev. O. Smith, 23, Rue de Joncker, Avenue Louise, Brussels.



“Would you care for the photograph I send you for your ‘Curiosities’? It was taken-on the 1st of July last, and is of a swallow nest built over the door of a bedroom in a house at Horsham, Sussex.”–Mr. E. Vaughan, 52, Lower Sloane Street, S.W.



“The accompanying photograph shows what is known among the sportsmen of the Maritime Provinces of Canada as the Parker Lake trout. This fish was taken by Mr. Wm. Sproule, proprietor of the Royal Hotel, Campbelltown, New Brunswick, Canada, in May, 1900. It is a speckled or brook trout, which are found in great numbers in the streams and lakes of Restigouche County, N.B. This trout was taken on an 8oz. Chubb fly-rod from Parker’s Lake, and weighed 41b. 2oz. Mr. Sproule claims the title as the champion prevaricator of New Brunswick, and to substantiate his fishing tales sends this picture to his friends as an evidence of his ability. This deception was made by Mr. R. H. Rice, the official photographer for the Inter-Colonial Railway System of Canada. He first took a photo, of the empty waggon with Champion Sproule standing behind, then a photo. of the trout with a small watch chain laid over the fish. He put the two photographs together, thus producing a very clever deception. The trout fishermen believe that the fish is a sturgeon, with the spots painted on to resemble a trout.”–Mr. G. Bennett, 116, King-Street, W., Toronto.



“Perhaps this photo., which I took last summer, may be of use in the ‘Curiosities’ section of The Strand. It shows a man as he would appear to a bird flying immediately over his head. In this case, however, the camera takes the place of the bird. The man is standing in the middle of a colliery railroad, not many miles from Bradford, Yorks. The steel rope seen midway between the rails is used to pull the waggons or coal-trucks. The photo. was taken from the wall of a bridge over the railroad.”–Mr. Thos. Bairstow, West View, Birkenshaw, near Bradford, Yorks.



“I think, perhaps, you will be interested in the inclosed photograph of one of the most remarkable freaks of Nature it has been my lot to witness. The strange-looking article is a pine-apple grown at Haiphong, South-West China. It has not been faked in any way, as you can see by the photograph, but is shown as it was when cut.”–Mr. W. Goldenberg, Hong Kong Hotel, Hong Kong.



“You may care to use the photo. I send you for your ‘Curiosities.’ It is of a dog of mine, and the small object on the table before him is not, as it looks, a potato, but all that is left of an ivory billiard-ball which he has had for about three months, and has reduced to the extraordinary shape which you can see in the photo. No one to whom I have shown it can guess what it is, and it shows to such an extent the remarkable power of the dog’s jaws that it is generally considered a curiosity. It is the first thing I have been able to find that he could not splinter in ten minutes.”–Miss A. H. Hudson, Newington House, Wallingford.



“The two men are not, as would be at first supposed, standing on the little girl’s head. The height of the three figures is 16ft., and there is a piece of wood, nearly 16ft. long, driven into the ground behind them. The two young men are standing on two large spikes nailed into the piece of timber, around which their belts are fastened to prevent them falling. When the two men were in position the little girl merely stood underneath them while the picture was made. Not for an instant was there any weight on the little girl’s head.”–Mr. R. D. Von Neida, Ephrata, Penn.



Mr. Gennaro Fattorini, of Galleria Margherita, via Depretis, Rome, sends a most extraordinary photograph of a dinner taken in the water which took place on the River Tiber during the swimming contests which are held yearly in the ancient city. It appears that, notwithstanding the extraordinary difficulties under which the meal was “discussed,” the swimmers enjoyed their food immensely, while the spectators were kept in roars of laughter at this novel spectacle.–Mr. Sbisa, of Rome, took the photograph.



Mr. R. Spafford, of Bloomington, Ill., sends the following extract from the Bloomington Pantograph for July 29th, 1901, also a photograph to illustrate same. The paragraph says: “A remarkable feat was performed by a horse in the 100 block on East Front Street. A team of horses belonging to a Mr. Buck, of Normal, was hitched in front of the building at No. 116. The flies worried the horses considerably, and one of them began to kick and kept it up until the shoe on one of its hind feet was sent with a crash into the large plate-glass window, breaking a small hole in it, and cracking it to the extent of 2ft. on either side of the small opening. One of the most curious things about the whole thing was that the horse-shoe stopped just where it struck, and is still clinging by one of the nails in it to the small break. Scores of people heard the crash, and the suspended horse-shoe has attracted the attention of a great many people.” The “good luck” label was pasted on the glass by the owner of the shop, who did a roaring trade owing to this “lucky accident.”



“I send you the copy of a very old book that I possess. It is called ‘A New Hierogliphical or Picture Bible.’ This edition was published in 1834 by Mahlon Day, of New York, but it was originally issued in London, where it had already entered upon its tenth edition before being introduced into America. It contains 104 pages, illustrated by 400 wood engravings. Short passages from nearly every book of the Bible are illustrated, and, quoting the introduction to the work, ‘such parts being preferred, for illustration and embellishment, as were either thought to contain the most momentous truths or the most interesting relations.'”–Mr. A. M. Kinnear, 1323, Liberty Street, Franklin, Penn.–We reproduce a specimen page taken from this interesting book, and anyone can easily make out its meaning without first referring to the explanation which is appended at the foot of every page.


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