the porn queen and the goose

If you’re interested, you can read an obituary of Melvin Harris here. It details his life as an oboe enthusiast, radio and television personality, author and researcher of Jack the Ripper. But it’s the story he told about world famous oboist Leon Goossens that interests me the most.

In 1952 Goosens lost his diary while walking across a field. The field was searched but the diary remained hidden in the grass. Over a year later he was walking across the same field when he spotted the lost diary. By then it was a battered relic, the elements had warped and split its bindings open, revealing that the covers had been stiffened with squares of newspaper in the manner used at that time. 

By strange coincidence, the piece of newsprint he uncovered was a 19 year old gossip column referring to his own marriage in 1933…..


Leon had an older brother named Eugene Aynsley Goossens who was very well known in Australia as the conductor of the Sydney Symphony.  

In the early 1950s, Goossens met Rosaleen Norton, the so-called Witch of Kings Cross. Norton was known as an artist of the grotesque and for her interest in the occult and erotica, which Goossens secretly shared. They conducted an intense affair, exchanging a number of passionate letters; although Goossens asked Norton to destroy all of them, she kept a bundle hidden behind a sofa.


In early 1956, Goossens visited Europe, unaware that Sydney police were already in possession of his letters to Norton and photographs of her occult activities. When Goossens returned to Australia on 9 March 1956, he was detained at Sydney Airport, following a tip-off by informants in London; his bags were searched by customs officials, who found a large amount of what was then considered pornographic material, which included photographs, prints, books, a spool of film, some rubber masks, and sticks of incense.


Coincidentally, Rosaleen Norton’s house is within walking distance of Gimcrack Hospital……..

Published in: on April 2, 2009 at 7:27 am  Comments (29)  

champion of the battel

The story of the “identical” Erdington murders can be read here. Basically it’s about two murders with striking similarities that happened 157 years apart. On 27 May 1817, 20 year old Mary Ashford was found dead in Erdington, and on the same day in 1974, 20 year old Barbara Forrest’s body was found in the same place.  There are many identical details about these two cases including the surname  of the men who were arrested for the crimes. They were both called Thornton.


(Not Thornton, I just want an excuse to post Stalin’s mugshot)

The Thornton accused of Mary’s murder made legal history by being the last man in Britain to call forth an old law……

“Lord Ellenborough allowed Thornton to take advantage of an archaic law called ‘Trial by Battel’. This ancient right necessitated Thornton renewing his plea of ‘not guilty’ before throwing down a gauntlet from the dock. This signified a challenge to William Ashford for a fight to the death, unless one of them surrendered or was incapacitated during the fight.


Abraham Thornton held what resembled a heavy leather mitten with a trailing feather attached, and invoked the ancient English law. He declared he was innocent and lifted the gauntlet above his head, then hurled it down from the dock as the pressmen scribbled furiously.


Because William Ashford had not responded to Abraham Thornton’s challenge by 21 April in the following year, the latter was thoroughly discharged. 

The Wager of Battel was founded on the belief that God would give victory to the party in the right. The kings maintained control over the practice, and it came to be reserved for cases affecting royal interests, such as serious criminal cases or disputes over land.

A party could, therefore, hire someone, a champion, to swear that the champion’s father had told him on his deathbed that the party was the true owner of the land. The other party also produced a champion who swore just the opposite. The winner was held to have good title to the land. It was said that many monasteries, which owned vast tracts of land, had virtual stables of champions in waiting to settle disputes that might arise.

katie-sandwina josephine-blatt-minerva-1

female champions found here

Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 7:06 am  Comments (29)  

I can see clearly now


Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen discovered the X Ray by accident in 1895. The London Pall Mall Gazette reported in 1896:

“You can see other people’s bones with the naked eye…..On the revolting indecency of this there is no need to dwell.” 


Shortly thereafter many scientists including Edward Waymouth Reid began conducting experiments with x rays before the safety issues were considered

“Passage of the rays for an hour through the head of a laboratory boy of medium intelligence did not in my hands cause deterioration or improvement thereof.” Scot.Med.Surg.J. 1897

“Professor Kuenen, who in those days himself made all the college vacuum tubes, was my colleague in the sport. In his attempts to get a picture of a fountain pen in the pocket of my waistcoat worn front to back, he succeeded in damaging a good square foot of the varnish of my casing, though luckily the insulation of my field coils held out, and I can still command enough amperes to electrolyse a lobster mayonnaise.

“The early X-rays shadow pictures were a real delight. We groped for swallowed teeth within the entrails, of criminals supplied by the Bell Street authorities, and located bullets within the skulls of living men.”


The use of protective goggles became commonplace in the early 1900s but sadly it was too late to save the sight of many of the early experimenters who had not understood the risks.


Advanced Intelligence say they can give you x ray vision in colour if you buy their glasses for the introductory price of $2800.00. Here’s a sample of what to expect if you’re prepared to spend time hanging out at the pool in a pair of their specs


Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 7:35 am  Comments (27)  

Frigorific ways of restoring hair


Lightning is rumoured to be responsible for lots of strange things. In 1971 Edwin Robinson became blind and deaf as the result of an accident. Nine years later he was struck by lightning while feeding his chickens.


Tesla’s coil

Within hours he could again see and hear and was also conscious of another new and strange sensation. After being bald for 35 years he sprouted hair.

We’ve talked about “electrified” people and things here before. Galen thought electric eels could cure a prolapsed anus. He speculated that it was the “frigorific” principle of animal spirit coursing through the creatures that was responsible.


With the discovery of static electricity centuries later much stronger shocks than those of an eel could be produced. On one occasion at Versailles, 180 of the King’s guards were caused to leap simultaneously by all  holding hands and connecting the soldier on the end to a Leydon jar. A similar exercise was conducted at a Carthusian monastery where a “mile of monks” leapt together after also receiving a charge from a capacitator. 

In the 19th century hot and cold electric air baths were all the rage. Negative breezes were supposed to cure baldness. That theory has been thoroughly disproved but it still sounds a lot safer than standing around waiting to be struck by lightning.


Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 8:58 am  Comments (31)  

let down your hair vicar


Robert S Hawker  (born 1804) loved a practical joke. Parson Hawker, as he was known to his parishioners, was something of an eccentric, both in his clothes and his habits. He loved bright colours and it seems the only black things he wore were his socks. He built a small hut (that became known as Hawker’s Hut) from driftwood on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, where he spent many hours writing poems and smoking opium. Other eccentricities included excommunicating his cat for mousing on Sundays. He dressed in claret-coloured coat, blue fisherman’s jersey, long sea-boots, a pink brimless hat and a poncho made from a yellow horse blanket, which he claimed was the ancient habit of St Padarn. He talked to birds, invited his nine cats into church and kept a huge pig as a pet.

macaroni-dandy ronnie-peterson-paper-doll


At full moon in the July of 1825 or 1826, he swam out to a rock at “some little distance from the shore, plaited seaweed into a wig, which he threw over his head, so that it hung in lank streamers halfway down his back, enveloped his legs in an oilskin wrap, and, otherwise naked, sat on the rock, flashing the moonbeams about from a hand-mirror, and sang and screamed till attention was arrested. Some people passing along the cliff heard and saw him, and ran into Bude, saying that a mermaid with a fish’s tail was sitting on a rock, combing her hair, and singing.


A number of people ran out on the rocks and along the beach, and listened awe-struck to the singing and disconsolate wailing of the mermaid. Presently she dived off the rock, and disappeared.

Next night crowds of people assembled to look out for the mermaid; and in due time she re-appeared, and sent the moon flashing in their faces from her glass. Telescopes were brought to bear on her; but she sang on unmoved, braiding her tresses, and uttering remarkable sounds, unlike the singing of mortal throats.


This went on for several nights; the crowd growing greater, people arriving from Stratton, Kilkhampton, and all the villages round, till Robert Hawker got very hoarse with his nightly singing, and rather tired of sitting so long in the cold. He wound up the performance one night with an unmistakable “God save the King,” then plunged into the waves, and the mermaid never again revisited the shores of Bude.”


Reverse Mermaid found here

Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 5:50 am  Comments (24)  

t shirt friday 27.3.2009

laced-up-004 laced-up-010

laced-up-020 laced-up-015

Inkspot noticed the top from a previous corset friday post was from Wheels & Doll Baby which is the coolest shop in Sydney. I’m always on the lookout for their clothes and picked up this t shirt at a market for $5.00 🙂

any players for T shirt Friday?

GnuKid is in, so is Sledpress and renalfailure followed by 70s as Robin


Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 8:08 am  Comments (29)  

… the better to taste you with, my dear


My favourite Peter Greenaway film is The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. The cinematography and the costumes were sumptuous as was the food prepared by chef Giorgio Locatelli.

For those not familiar with this movie there is a scene where a roasted human is presented at the dining table. Locatelli says it was difficult to create a convincing replica. A prototype engineered from pink foam rubber  needed to be coloured to a crispy brown by multiple applications of veal stock.


To enable actor Michael Gambon to make inroads into the dish with a knife and fork, a slab of roast pork was inserted invisibly into the abdomen. He was then able to realistically dig in and extract a morsel to eat while being filmed.


Another cannibal film is Human BBQ Pork Buns about a restaurant owner who was caught selling human flesh-filled bread rolls. This Chinese production is supposedly based on a true story. A misanthrope kills a man and takes over his restaurant. When another accuses him of cheating at mah jong, he kills him too by beating him to death with a soup ladle. Then, the misanthrope cuts him up and cooks him into a batch of barbecue pork buns.


us mah jong addicts will play anywhere

But for pure melodrama nothing beats the Tennessee Williams’  play filmed as Suddenly Last Summer with Elizabeth Taylor at her most beautiful. The cannibal scene is n0t shown explicitly but her expressive eyes reflect it all. 


have you seen any of these films…. if so what did you think of them?

Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 6:42 am  Comments (36)  

everyone wants a slice of the pi


One of my favourite food groups is shiraz. But my body only allows me two glasses a day because I’m one of those people who get drunk on very little alcohol. Three glasses and I’d be falling off my walker and spraying urine round the room like the patients I lock in the cellar lovingly care for. 

so how come other people can down a couple of bottles and still be standing? Is it because they’re bigger than me or more experienced at grog swilling?

L0005221 The Life of John Hunter: male Persian dwarf.

Michael Deakin thinks it’s because our bodies contain two types of tissus – those that absorb alcohol and those that don’t. Neither fat nor bone will absorb alcohol so much depends on the total weight of the remaining tissue.  This “reduced weight” can be difficult to calculate but if you’re a 70 kilo man perhaps 48 of those kilos will absorb what you’re drinking. As a slim woman I might only have 25 kilos working for me. 

Have a look at the guide below to see what your healthy weight should be.

Metric Measurement
Height Without Shoes Healthy Weights (Min/Max)
142 cm 40-51 kg
145 cm 42-53 kg
147 cm 44-54 kg
150 cm 45-56 kg
152 cm 46-58 kg
155 cm 48-60 kg
157 cm 49-62 kg
160 cm 51-64 kg
163 cm 53-66 kg
165 cm 54-68 kg
168 cm 56-70 kg
170 cm 58-73 kg
173 cm 60-74 kg
175 cm 61-77 kg
178 cm 63-79 kg
180 cm 65-81 kg
183 cm 67-83 kg
185 cm 69-86 kg
188 cm 71-88 kg
191 cm 73-91 kg
193 cm 74-93 kg
196 cm 77-96 kg
198 cm 78-98 kg

Then the way to calculate approximately what your “reduced weight” will be is to weigh yourself and compare your actual weight with what you should weigh. Take the lower figure and multiply it 68% if you are a man and 55% if you are a woman


wine rack bra found at Gizmodo

This is what Michael Deakin calls the Mathematics of Getting Drunk. I’ve already had my allotted two glasses tonight so the math is temporarily beyond my capabilities but I’m not about to start spraying urine any time soon. Speaking of the urge to piss, here’s a cute little tutorial on how to do it while sporting Morning Wood*** 


*** thanks Mark for sending me this. 

Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 7:11 am  Comments (39)  

why do you ask so many questions, Grasshopper?


when it comes to strange and exotic foods I’m usually game to try something new, especially when travelling. Pigeon soup, fertilised duck eggs, jellied eel, black pudding, dried squid sandwiches, crocodile… they’ve all passed my lips and made it into my stomach at some time or another.


William Buckland (1784-1856) went a lot further. 

“He boasted that he had eaten his way through the whole animal creation, from mouse to bison. No sentimentality held him back as he devoured slices of crocodile, hedgehogs, puppies and snails.

His laboratory was his own stomach. Buckland could state quite categorically that mole was the nastiest meat of all (although he later changed his mind to blue bottle). Hapless friends were also guinea pigs.


John Ruskin, more sympathetic than some to Buckland’s eccentricity, wrote: “I have always regretted a day of unlucky engagement on which I missed a delicate toast of mice.” 

His son, Frank Buckland, followed in William’s footsteps, both as a popular scientist and as an omnivore, serving up elephant and rhino, kangaroo and Chinese sea slugs to bemused dinner parties.


(“Tortellini” by Sergei Voichenko, Vladimir Zessler)

Once, when the Bucklands were visiting an Italian cathedral together, they came upon a stain on the flagstones, supposed to be martyr’s blood. Buckland senior dropped to his knees and licked the spot. “I can tell you what it is: it’s bat’s urine,” he announced.

For my adventurous readers I have sourced this delicious recipe for Parcht Locusts enjoyed in 1687 by William Dampier

“The Natives would go out with small Nets, and take a Quart at one sweep. When they had enough, they would carry them home, and parch them over the Fire in an earthen Pan; and then their Wings and Legs would fall off, and their Heads and Backs would turn red like boil’d Shrimps, being before brownish. Their Bodies being full, would eat very moist, their Heads would crackle in one’s Teeth. I did once eat of this Dish, and liked it well enough….”


Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm  Comments (26)  

banana wine knocks you out


umbilical cord clamp found here

ok I know most of my male readers won’t want to know about cesareans and forceps deliveries but this is really interesting.

The invention of forceps was kept secret for more than a century. Developed in the 17th century by Peter Chamberlen, he and his family soon realised its value as a life saving instrument.

Whenever they were called in to help a mother in obstructed labour they ushered everyone else out and covered the mother’s lower half so even she couldn’t see what was going on. Three generations on, Hugh Chamberlen divulged the secret to Dutch surgeon Roger van Roonhuysen who kept the technique within his own family for sixty years. 


(This lovely “corset knife” is not a medical instrument – unless David Cronenberg gets his hands on it)

Once revealed, the forceps quickly gained wide acceptance. When Princess Charlotte’s delivery failed in 1817, her obstetrician was reviled for failing to use them and subsequently shot himself.


The first recorded successful cesarean in the British Empire was conducted by a woman. Sometime between 1815 and 1821, James Miranda Stuart Barry performed the operation while masquerading as a man and serving as a physician to the British army in South Africa.


While Barry applied Western surgical techniques, nineteenth-century travelers in Africa reported instances of indigenous people successfully carrying out the procedure with their own medical practices. In 1879, for example, one British traveller, R.W. Felkin, witnessed cesarean section performed by Ugandans. The healer used banana wine to semi-intoxicate the woman and to cleanse his hands and her abdomen prior to surgery. He used a midline incision and applied cautery to minimize hemorrhaging. He massaged the uterus to make it contract but did not suture it; the abdominal wound was pinned with iron needles and dressed with a paste prepared from roots. The patient recovered well.

L0034922 A mesmeric physician taking advantage of his female pat

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 5:15 am  Comments (36)