CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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This May Surprise You

May 19, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard of the four corners of the earth, but there are actually a few more corners than that, as we see in this map from The New Art of Memory by Gregor von Feinaigle, 1813.  Recall that we previously saw how the four corners of the world technically meet at the center.

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May 17, 2016 (permalink)

The great secret of weathervanes is that they alter the direction of the wind they measure (as per the "observer effect" of physics).  Here are two weathervanes with conflicting reports, as photographed by Leslie Jones, date uncertain.  And then here's another photo of disagreeing weathervanes, not that you didn't believe us.  Plus, it's not just weathervanes: flags also flap according to conflicting winds (photo our own).

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May 15, 2016 (permalink)

Pie makers have heard of apple filling and peach filling, but lesser known is that apple and peach fillings are grown in orchards by "apple fillers" and "peach fillers."  All is revealed in The Apple: A Practical Treatise Dealing with the Latest Modern Practices of Apple Culture (1915).

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May 7, 2016 (permalink)

You know that one can hear the ocean in a seashell, but did you know that it's the shore at Atlantic City?  From 1907.

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April 27, 2016 (permalink)

After the Civil War, North and South were reunited by cotton thread.

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Here is revealed the main telephone exchange of the conscious mind and the power station of the sub-conscious mind, from Stammering, Its Cause and Cure by George Robinson Skillman, 1919.

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April 24, 2016 (permalink)

Here, finally, is an illustration of what Tim Brough calls "the anti-apple or the negative apple."  (And this may surprise you, but the opposite of an apple isn't an orange!)  This image of anti-apples appears in Apple Storage and Packing Facilities for Southern Illinois, 1963.

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April 10, 2016 (permalink)

It's commonly believed that the Q sports a tail, but it's actually a tongue.  From The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, 1920.

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April 4, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a shocking before-and-after from The Story of a Feather by George Du Maurier, 1867.

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March 30, 2016 (permalink)

Here's where postcards come from.

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March 27, 2016 (permalink)

Did you know the insect kingdom has its own grim reaper?  From Scott & Co.'s seed catalog, 1902.

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March 26, 2016 (permalink)

"A plant placed in an old kerosene tin may serve the spiritual aspirations of a village household," from The War Cry, 1911.

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March 25, 2016 (permalink)

One of the many tools we use to create ornate capitals, from St. Nicholas magazine, 1900.

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March 24, 2016 (permalink)

"For even things lost in a house abide, like forgotten sorrows and incipient dreams, and many household things are of purely sentimental value ....  In the equal light of disinterested scrutiny such things are not themselves.  They are transformed into pure object, and are horrible, and must be burned."  —Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
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March 18, 2016 (permalink)

"It may surprise you to know that you will not necessarily be expected to know all the answers." —Margaret Walshaw, Getting to Grips with Doctoral Research

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March 16, 2016 (permalink)

Here's how to write a sigil in cursive, as we learn in German Life and Manners as seen in Saxony at the Present Day by Henry Mayhew, 1865.

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March 14, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard that Australia is upside down.  Even if the earth isn't a globe, Australia is still upside down, as proven by this flat earth map from 1893.  Here's a larger view of the map over at Wikimedia.

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March 12, 2016 (permalink)

Alas, we're not the first to posit that Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart were the same person.  There's a Youtube video that overlays their faces again and again to show how the features line up perfectly.  But here are some side-by-sides we arranged to further the cause.  Because it's impossible to tell them apart, the so-called Lindberghs are all on the left, and the so-called Earhart's are all on the right.  (And even if we are being our usual half-serious, the Lindbergh/Earhart resemblance is uncanny, especially if you use image software to overlay their faces.)  (Recall also that "Two people can be the same and totally different at the same time" —Dennis W.)

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March 11, 2016 (permalink)

Once upon a time (or was it in a parallel universe?) real estate offices were highly themed and casinos were drab.  To those who seek proof that the earth's poles have shifted, we send these vintage postcards.  

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March 10, 2016 (permalink)

The phrase "thread the compass needle" delivers zero Google results, and yet that's how the North Pole was discovered.

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Original Content Copyright © 2016 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.