Desperately Dancing till you drop: Dance Marathons of the 1920s -1930s.

On 31 March, 1923, the first U.S. dance marathon ended in New York City but began a strange fad with sometimes fatal consequences!
Less than a decade later, in 1932, a young woman dropped dead after dancing non-stop for 48 hours in a dance marathon!
And when the people raided a ballroom during a Marathon World Championship, the promoters simple transferred the contestants, who were still dancing, into a van.
From there they were taken onto a sloop, a small sailing ship, which sailed out of territorial waters and so beyond the area of police control. The plan worked perfectly, until the contestants got seasick.


Marathon dancing competitions brilliantly depicted in the movie “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?”, which were the rage in the 1930’s, were more than just tiring, and often torturous, dance sessions.
Contestants had their teeth extracted during these marathons; others got married. A few even went mad!
If you are wondering why so many people bothered to take part in these competitions, it is because the prizes were simple too good to resist – the top prize was as much as $2,000!
You may not think that large enough a sum to entice thousands of people to sacrifice sleep and food for days on end.
But remember, 60 years ago, $2,000 was a lot of money. Plus, these marathons took place during the period when times were hard.
To win or survive almost to the end of a marathon usually meant that one could become an instant celebrity. The rules of these seemingly endless dancing sessions were strict: out of every hour, contestants had to spend 45 minutes in constant motion.
Only 15 minutes were allowed for rest (not sleep), first aid and toilet needs. And this grueling schedule went on for 24 hours a day.
It was pure entertainment for the large audience which often turned up to watch. Many brought presents for their favorite contestants.
Other placed bets on the final outcome. And there were some who simple enjoyed watching the judges mercilessly torture the weaker contestants by speeding the music and flicking with towels at their swollen legs.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest marathon lasted over 30 weeks; however, in 1933, this form of ‘entertainment’ was banned in the USA.
via Dance Until You Drop! – Cracked History.

Superheroes, “The Originals.”

Or was it the First Wave of the Superheroes?
And yes, I consider Popeye was a Superhero for a cartoon character that is.
You only have to go to YouTube and watch caroons of him winning World War II for the Allies in a series of propaganda cartoons.

The Isolator an Insane Anti-Distraction Helmet from 1925.

A full-face helmet made from solid wood, Gernsback’s invention claimed to cut out 95 per cent of any noise bothering the wearer.
Another handy feature was the minimal vision it allowed.
A small piece of glass granted the person wearing it sight, but even that was painted black, with only a thin segment scraped clear to allow you to see paper in front of them.
The good (and maybe bad) of being both an inventor and publisher, is no one can stop you publishing images of your own ridiculous inventions.
This contraption was featured in Gernsback’s own magazine, Science and Invention, in 1925.
Later, the inventor added an oxygen tank when it was found wearers were getting sleepy inside the quiet, dark and – as it turns out – carbon-dioxide-filled helmet.
Laugh all you want, but it seems as though the Isolator may have actually worked – at least for Gernsback.
His editing and writing output was so vast that some now dub him the Father of Science Fiction.
Source: The Isolator: This Insane Anti-Distraction Helmet From 1925 Would Fit Into Any Modern Open Office ~ vintage everyday

The mysterious Greenland Shark, Arctic Zone.

shark_loresThey can be as big as great white sharks, but that’s about as far as the comparison goes.
Their maximum speed is a lethargic 1.7 miles per hour, many are almost blind, and they are happy to eat rotting carcasses.
They may be common throughout the ocean, but you’ve probably never heard of them. Meet the Greenland shark.
Looking like nothing so much as a chunk of weather-beaten rock, Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) can grow up to 7.3 metres (24 feet) long, making them one of the largest of all fish, and the biggest in the Arctic.
But they prefer to live in deep, cold water, so humans rarely see them.
Studies in the Arctic have revealed a few snippets of information about Greenland sharks, and more data is now starting to come in from elsewhere.
It turns out that Greenland sharks are bizarre, and may be crucially important for the ocean ecosystem.
Greenland sharks only come close to the surface in places where the shallow water is frigid enough for them – primarily in the Arctic.
Read on via BBC – Earth – Mysterious giant sharks may be everywhere.

The Cave of Zugarramurdi, Northern Spain.

Contributors: philoursmars, EricGrundhauser
The yawning caves near the town of Zugarramurdi in northern Spain may not be covered in impressive rock formations, but the cavernous space has long been rumored to have been home to witchcraft and other pagan practices that were once the focus of the largest single witch trial in history.
According to popular belief, during the 17th century (and before) these wide rock enclosures were witness to bonfires, wild parties, and other generally pagan festivities staged by the town locals.
The caves themselves were carved by the Olabidea stream which is said to originate in Hell itself, which may be where the stories of witchcraft began. However the haunting space could easily be taken for a hotbed of black magic via its atmosphere alone.
Whether true or not, the caves and the town of Zugarramurdi caught the attention of the Spanish Inquisition’s witch hunters who investigated the area and identified a number of citizens who were tried at the largest witch trial in history (over 7,000 cases were seen).
A number of the accused were put to death and the town and its large caves were forever associated with the dark arts.
Today the town embraces this legacy and in addition to establishing a Witch Museum, the town holds a raucous yearly feast in the Cave of Zugarramurdi.
Every year, around the time of the summer solstice (a pagan holiday) scores of lamb are roasted on spits in the traditional manner and bonfires are lit in and around the cave.
Hundreds of people flock to the event to celebrate the area’s supposed occult history, and thankfully not one of them is burned at the stake.
See more via Cave of Zugarramurdi | Atlas Obscura.

“Robots” show Up in Iconic Images by Geoffrey Gersten.

GEOFFREY-GERSTEN03Surrealistic works, with robots the recurring theme, influenced by a wide range of classic and modern paintings.
Painting is who I am. There was always something in me that was going to grow into an artist.
As a youth, two images profoundly impacted me; I will never forget the fear and distraction I felt when I first took in the eternal repose of the characters in Grant Wood’s great American Gothic.
Then, I saw The Persistence of Memory, or Soft Watches, by Dali. I have a romance with the old memory.
GEOFFREY-GERSTEN07I cannot remember many details of the painting, but I saw it differently then.
When I view the painting now, my mind goes hastily to work, examining perspective, composition, atmosphere.
I cannot help but conduct automatic analysis. This is how I learned to create.
See more Images via Faith is Torment | Art and Design Blog: Paintings by Geoffrey Gersten.