Secret Society Paraphernalia and the People Who Manufactured It

Well someone had to be the makers of all the stuff those secret societies require, right?

 

 

From the ever-beloved Atlas Obscura,

 

DeMoulin Museum
“Spanking machines, fake goats, and more devices of humiliation are on display in this museum of fraternal initiation devices

 

Today the DeMoulin family is known as the largest maker of band uniforms in America, but their museum is devoted to their origins as manufacturers of bizarre initiation devices and costumes for a once-booming number of secret societies.

 

The DeMoulin’s odd business of fraternal machinery began in the late 1800s when Ed DeMoulin began working with his men’s group, the Modern Woodmen of America, to begin crafting goats that new members would have to ride as part of their initiation. Ed had previously patented a hilarious “trick camera” that would squirt water at the unknowing subject, so his move into the prank goat industry was a natural fit. The company’s popularity soon grew and other fraternal orders such as the Odd Fellows began looking to the “goat factory” for their goofy initiation needs. Soon the DeMoulins were making spanking machines, lung tester gags, and of course their rocking goats…”

 

For the rest, click here. (Pictures!)

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The Forgotten Victims of Jack the Ripper

We are fascinated by the Ripper – he is a legend, with countless books and films dedicated to his mystery. There’s an entire field dedicated to the study of his crimes: Ripperology.

 

But who were his tragic victims? Let’s find out…

 

 

The Forgotten Lives Of Jack The Ripper’s Victims
By Elisabeth Sherman

 

Because he was the first celebrity serial killer, Jack the Ripper’s victims and their tragic lives were always overshadowed by the man himself.

 

“Head to London for a dose of the macabre, and you won’t be disappointed. Guided tours of the Whitechapel district — where in 1888 legendary serial killer Jack the Ripper brutally cut the throats of five prostitutes and removed their organs — continue to draw in droves of tourists to this day.

 

There’s the Jack the Ripper museum, too, which opened last year to controversy. According to historian Fern Riddell, the museum intended to tell the “history of women in the East End,” but activists said the museum mainly “glamorises sexual violence against women.”

 

Beyond the outcry, it’s not entirely surprising that the museum shifted focus away from Jack the Ripper’s victims and back onto the killer himself. After all, the mystery surrounding who he was and his motivations never ceases to captivate an audience — so much so that there’s a whole field dedicated to the study of his crimes: Ripperology.

 

As some have noted, though, at its core this “thriving Ripper industry” is misogynistic, and “commercially [exploits] real-life murder victims.”

 

Regardless of the truths these criticisms may highlight, fascination with Jack the Ripper and serial killers like him endure — and experts don’t see that changing any time soon. As appears in Psychology Today, “the incomprehensibility of such actions drives society to understand why serial killers do incredibly horrible things…serial killers appeal to the most basic and powerful instinct in all of us—that is, survival.”

 

This, coupled with media market dynamics, helps cement sustained public interest in figures like Jack the Ripper…”

 

For the rest, click here. And if you’re interested, here are The Ripper Letters.

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Einstein said this was impossible, but the Hubble just proved him wrong

This is how amazing the Hubble is (it’s even proving Einstein wrong lately) —

 

“Imagine a firefly moving from one side of a U.S. quarter to the other side. You have to detect this movement from 1,500 miles away,” he says. “Second, there is a bright light bulb [the white dwarf] next to the firefly. And you have to detect the small movement of the firefly in the glare of the bright light bulb.”

 

 

From National Geographic,

 

Einstein’s ‘Impossible’ Experiment Finally Performed
The Hubble telescope just weighed a star using a technique the famed physicist described but said humanity would have “no hope” of using.

 

By Nadia Drake

 

“Leave it to the Hubble Space Telescope to prove Albert Einstein wrong. Or at least, unnecessarily pessimistic.

 

Recently, Hubble spied a dead star about 18 light-years away warping the light of a more distant star that appeared to pass behind it. Einstein predicted this effect would happen based on his general theory of relativity, but he then claimed scientists had “no hope” of actually seeing it.

 

Of course, he wrote that dour phrase nearly 60 years before humans launched a rather impressive piece of hardware into Earth’s orbit.

 

Now, Hubble has managed to witness the spectacle, and astronomers were able to read clues carried in the curved starlight and discern the mass of the dead star, called Stein 2051B. The result perfectly matches a prediction of the star’s mass made a century ago…”

 

For the rest, click here.

 

 

 

 

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