Movie Fan Opens His Own Beetlejuice Museum

Beetlejuice might have been very popular back in the 80s and 90s, but the character is hardly remembered these days. Of course, things are different for New Yorker Bruce Christensen, a loyal Beetlejuice fan. The owner of the only Beetlejuice museum in the world, run out of his rent-stabilized studio apartment on West 34th Street, 48-year old Christensen has over eighty artifacts related to the 1989 movie character.

Christensen’s obsession with all things Beetlejuice began in 1991, when he was just looking around at a KB Toys outlet on Long Island and found a Beetlejuice figurine with a removable head for just 99 cents. He bought one, but he couldn’t stop thinking about it all night. So the next day, he ran back to the store and bought as many varieties of the action figures as he could, like the Showtime Beetlejuice, Spinhead Beetlejuice, Shish Kabab Beetlejuice and Phantom Flyer. His collection started off very small and expanded as he travelled. When he went to Amsterdam he found bottles of Beetlejuice; in Hollywood he found the typewritten script and the original press kit of the movie. Over the years, friends also started gifting him Beetlejuice merchandise and memorabilia. When the 400 sq. ft. museum opened, he had only 57 artifacts, but now the collection has grown to over 80. Some of the other gems in Christensen’s collection include a VHS tape of the movie, Michael Keaton’s autograph, and a Beetlejuice comic that he purchased off EBay. And in case you’re wondering about those bottles of Beetlejuice, well, they do contain a liquid of some sort, which according to the label is five-and-a-half percent alcohol.

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Peter Bulow – New York’s Subway Sculptor

Peter Bulow, a psychiatrist from Washington Heights, is just like any other New Yorker – he spends a chunk of his day commuting on the Subway. But unlike others who tend to doze off or are busy on their smartphones, Bulow prefers doing something much more creative and artistic – he sculpts. He has actually managed to convert the A-train into his own personal studio and his fellow commuters, into models. Armed with a blob of clay and a sculpting knife, he picks a subject and creates miniature busts of them. His completed works are usually stored in his violin case. Among several sculptures, you can find things like a school-girl on her way to a violin lesson, a macho guy with headphones, a couple snuggling, a woman wearing a fur collar, a few sporting dreadlocks and turbans.

Bulow started his unique Subway pastime about four years ago. “I had a long commute to work, so I thought it would be a good time to practice sculpting portraits,” the 52-year-old says. He has degrees in clinical psychiatry and art, and is a researcher at Columbia University. Not only is he an artist and a psychiatrist, but an immigrant and the son of Holocaust survivors. Born in India to a German father and Hungarian mother, Bulow’s sculpting days go far back into his childhood in Berlin when his uncle took him to the zoo and he made clay lions. Before his son Isaac was born, he would go to a stone carving studio after work. But now, he does it to and from work. So far, he has completed over 400 sculptures and he views them as portraits that help him “capture a moment in time.” Bulow feels a live connection with his subjects, especially because he has a fascination for people’s inner lives. He is so deeply moved by his art that he says, “When you look at a sculpture you feel all these emotions, but it’s not the sculpture that’s doing it; it’s you. It interests me how art affects the brain.” In fact, he is so much into sculpting miniature busts that he is writing a book in which he is attempting to connect all the portraits he’s made with his research in neuroesthetics (how the brain interprets music and art).

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Thailand’s Cobra Village – Where Men and Snakes Live in Harmony

Sixty years ago, a doctor from Thailand had a vision for his small, dusty old village – to convert it into a major tourist attraction. And in an attempt to do so, he actually convinced his fellow villagers to raise pet snakes in their homes, putting them in shows for tourists. Surprisingly the ploy worked, and today the village of Ban Kok Sa-Nga in Thailand’s Northeastern Province of Khon Kaen is better known as ‘The Cobra Village’, among tourists.

All of the 140-odd homes in Ban Kok Sa-Nga have at least one pet snake, which they place outside in wooden boxes. The pet snakes range from deadly ones, such as king cobras or monocled cobras, to less dangerous ones such as copperheaded racers and pythons. The atmosphere in the village itself is always festive; it is one big snake show theme attraction. The snakes are bred in captivity and put together in daredevil shows such as – you won’t believe this – man vs. snake boxing matches. Obviously not for the light-hearted, these shows involve the handlers taunting an already enraged giant king cobra. As the snakes slither across the stage, the men pull their tails to provoke them further. Despite all the weird stunts that take place in these shows, what spooks out most tourists is the level of comfort the villagers share with the snakes. Most people are terrified of these creatures, but the people of Ban Kok Sa-Nga don’t even bat an eye-lid. Even the children are completely at ease; they are taught how to handle snakes, how to fight them and feed them, at a very young age.

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In Thailand People Change Their Names to Improve Their Fortunes

You might have heard of people changing their names because they didn’t like the ones their parents gave them. Or in an attempt to change their identity and escape their past. But in Thailand, name changes are common for a different reason altogether – to bring good luck.

A case-in-point is 46-year-old Baramee Thammabandan, formerly known as Teerapol Lilitjirawat. While neither name strikes us as charismatic, the change has made a world of difference to Mr. Baramee. About 10 years ago, he had suffered a major misfortune, when his garments business had failed. His eyesight became poor, he couldn’t manage his affairs and to make matters worse, his wife left him. And so he did what is natural to the people of Thailand – he changed his name. “I wanted to become a new person,”  the now clean shaven and slim Baramee says. Ironically, his new name does mean ‘charisma’.

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Bacon-Scented Shaving Cream Makes Men’s Mornings Smell Like Heaven

As if bacon perfume wasn’t enough to help people carry the smell of the tasty treat with them wherever they went, a Seattle-based food company has just launched a ‘high end’ limited-edition Bacon Shaving Cream.

Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow, the two man behind J&D Foods, have just released their newest idea – a bacon-scented shaving cream that will allegedly make users ‘smell and feel like a champion’. Yup, the smell of bacon usually has that effect on people, but what I’d like to know is how does one restrain from having a taste of the heavenly-smelling shaving cream. After all, as inventor Justin Esch himself admits, “there is nothing more powerful than the smell of bacon, nothing.”  Company co-founder Dave Lefkow also wrote in a press release: “Bacon Shaving Cream is a high end, luxurious bacon-scented shaving cream for all skin types. Our advanced heat-activated aromatic technology lasts for hours and delivers maximum bacon scent when you need it most.” He recommends using it after a hot shower or before an important date with a potential soul-mate. It will probably make them want to eat you up.

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Aogashima Island – Living inside a Volcano

Can you imagine yourself living in a giant volcanic crater? Well, for starters, you can forget about Starbucks. But it sure would be the ultimate destination to get away from it all. It’s not all that surprising then, that about 200 people actually inhabit the Japanese volcanic island of Aogashima, with only one school and a single post office.

Aogashima, a part of the Izu Archipelago, lies two hundred miles south of Tokyo, in the Philippine Sea. The island and its 205 inhabitants (as of 2009), are a part of Japan and governed by Tokyo. When I first saw pictures of this breathtaking location, it sort of reminded me of an inverted pudding on a plate. Or an oddly shaped donut. But Aogashima is really a volcano within a volcano. The island is quite well known for having a volcanic caldera within a larger caldera. So what you have is one big, giant crater, which is the island itself, inside which is nestled a much smaller version of itself. This gives the whole island a rather mysterious appeal, almost like something out of a fantasy movie. It’s hard to believe there are such places still left in the world, untouched by noisy human activity.

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Controversial Riot Training Experience Teaches People How to Cause Havoc

English company Wish.co.uk has sparked controversy for giving people as young as 16 the chance to take part in an actual riot, during a day-long activity called the  Riot Training Day Experience. Organizers promise noise, fire, smoke and fear as the main ingredients.

If the name Wish.co.uk sounds familiar, it’s probably because they’re the guys behind other unique experiences we’ve featured on Oddity Central in the past, like the Zombie Boot Camp and the Zombie Shopping Mall experience. After pitting people against zombies and werewolves, they decided it would be a good idea to offer them the opportunity to experience riots from both sides of the fence – the rioters and the baton wielding riot policemen. The adrenaline-packed staged riot takes place on an industrial estate, near the town Droitwich, Worcestershire, costs £79 ($127) per person, and has apparently been booked up every weekend for the next four months. Despite its commercial success, local authorities aren’t at all pleased a “riot training” is being allowed to take place. ‘Not only are they showing people how to instigate a riot, they are showing them how to instigate a riot well. It is utterly irresponsible,’ local Member of Parliament Peter Luff told the Daily Mail.

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Prowler – New York City’s Real-Life Female Superhero

It’s not the first time we’ve reported cases of real-life superheroes here on OC. But this sure is a first – a female superhero who has gladly shared her identity. And that’s not all. She’s also probably the first superhero to be concerned about her own safety. So she only patrols the streets of Brooklyn with fellow male superheroes. She is ‘Prowler’ by night, dressed in black spandex, red cat mask and clawed gloves, and Nicole Abramovici by day, a 32-year-old home-organizing businesswoman.

Abramovici is a part of the Big Apple chapter of a group called Superheroes Anonymous (only, she isn’t). She came to know about this group of male superheroes patrolling the city through a newspaper article and was inspired to join them. “I am one of the very few females active as a real-life superhero,” she said. “I wanted to help the homeless and the abandoned animals of New York, so pretty much immediately I decided on the name Prowler.” Abramovici admitted that the name Prowler isn’t always seen in a positive light, and is perceived as a person who creeps around at night, stealing. “But I wanted to make the prowler a force for good,” she said. On most nights, you can find her seeking out the needy with her superhero mentor, ‘Life’.

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Bald Billboard – Man Uses His Head for Advertising Space for $320 a Day

Last month, 27-year-old entrepreneur Brandon Chicotsky launched a unique service called Bald Logo, turning his bald head into a billboard for businesses willing to pay him $320 per day, and walking around Austin, Texas to get as much exposure as possible.

How does the old saying go, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? That’s exactly what Brandon Chicotsky did after he lost most of the hair on his head at a very young age. “Because I didn’t get to choose to be bald I thought I’d bring bald and beautiful back,” said Chicotsky, who also decided to use his head as an actual business. Last month, the young entrepreneur launched Bald Logo, and since then he’s been flooded with inquiries from businesses interested in having their logos temporarily tattooed on his or one of his coworkers’ heads, for a fee of $320 a day. Brandon and his team have perfected the tattoos to withstand any weather conditions, and will spend six hours a day walking the streets of Austin garnering attention for their clients. Bald Logo currently has three “bald angelicals” on its staff, but the ambitious businessman plans to hire more walking advertising spaces and expand to other cities.

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Meet the Flintstones in Arizona’s Real-Life Bedrock

If you are a loyal Flintstones fan, then you’re going to love this, especially if you live around northern Arizona. Because that’s where the real-life Bedrock city is located. Not an actual city of course, but a place to go to 365 days a year to experience Stone Age with your favorite cartoon characters. Closed only on Christmas day, it’s an improvement over the first Bedrock city in Cluster, South Dakota, which is open only from the middle of May through Labor Day.

Arizona’s Bedrock City was built in 1972, by Francis Speckles, son of an investor. At the time it used to feature a live Fred and Barney. But that wasn’t easy to sustain, given the isolation of the area and the shortage of local workers. But the isolation is actually a blessing-in-disguise, because it gives the place a whole lot of charm, and an authentic Stone Age feel. Today, the place consists of colorful concrete structures that recreate the magic of the 1960s animated series. Located at about a half hour’s drive south of the Grand Canyon, Bedrock City is a great roadside stop for people who want to relive some wonderful memories, especially those who grew up in the 60s and 70s.

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Fart By Mail – A Stinky Mail Service for the Adventurous

Fart By Mail, a California-based mail order service started by Zach Friedberg, offers people the chance to send friends or enemies stinky greetings that actually “smell like real poo”.

Holidays are just around the corner, and if you’re looking for a really original way to send your season’s greetings, you might want to check out Fart By Mail. This unusual mailing service delivers audio greeting cards with your custom message, the hilarious sound of a fart, and a nice heinous odor to go with it. Sure, there are nice Hallmark greetings cards out there to choose from, but how many of them smell like passing wind? The stinky greeting cards are sealed in a clear polyethylene envelope  with a warning that the recipient check the back of the envelope for more information on what they are holding. But, if you really want to surprise them, you can go for the “Stealth” option, to have Fart By Mail remove any warnings on the package. Sending one of these stinky cards will set you back just $8.99 (with free shipping in the USA), a small price for such a cool service, if you ask me.

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Russian Company Sells Apocalypse Survival Kits

December 21st is less than a month away, but don’t despair, there’s hope for you yet. A Siberian company has started selling end-of-the-world survival kits containing must-have items like a bottle of vodka and a notepad and a pencil.

Just in case you can’t make it to the French town or Bugarach, or buy an apocalypse-proof Atlantis pod, you can still take your shot at surviving the end of the world, by getting one of the survival kits offered by a very resourceful Russian company. It’s not likely to keep you alive for long, but at least you tried, right? For a mere 890 rubles ($28), you get a med kit (complete with heart medication), soap, some candles and matches, a can of fish, a pack of buckwheat, a bottle of vodka, a notepad and pencil, and a rope. Although I can think of a few uses for the rope, in case of a natural disaster, some might see it as a means to an end for those less optimistic of their survival chances. The kit also includes  a blank ID card, to be filled by the buyer, in case their original ID card gets demagnetized during the apocalypse, an instruction card with rules to various games to pass the time, in case you get stuck somewhere with friends and family, waiting for the end of the world to pass you by.

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Man Brings Virtual Girlfriend to His Real-Life Wedding, Bride Retaliates

Talk about pushing your luck, right? As if having his future wife put up with a virtual girlfriend wasn’t enough, a Japanese geek actually had the nerve to invite his video-game lady and two of her friends to their wedding and even reserved seats for them. But the bride had some plans of her own…

For obvious reasons, the real names of the protagonists in this story were not revealed, but photos from their wedding were posted online by guests surprised to see three Nintendo DS handheld video-game consoles seated as guests. Their screens showed three different anime-like girls, one of which was revealed to be the groom’s girlfriend. Nene Anegasaki, Manaka Takane and Rinko Kobayakawa are characters from the hugely popular Konami video game, Love Plus. The addictive open-ended dating simulator has reportedly sold in over 250,000 copies in Japan, and stories of men caught by their girlfriends and wives while tending to their virtual partner’s needs began surfacing online a while ago. In 2010, we posted photos of gamers celebrating Nene’s birthday with cakes and candles and presents, just to show how popular the Love Plus character was. But this is probably the first time Nene attended a real-life wedding, as a guest.

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Strange Wedding Customs – The Crying Ritual of the Tujia People

Throughout history, various cultures have had strange requirements of their women. But none perhaps as strange as the custom of crying before marriage, as followed in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. According to the custom, it is mandatory for a bride to cry at her own wedding, whether she likes it or not.

The crying marriage ritual was at its peak during the early 17th century and remained so until the end of the Qing dynasty in 1911. It is said to have originated during the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BC), when historical records reveal that the princess of the Zhao State was to be married into the Yan State. At the moment of the princess’ departure, her mother is said to have cried at her feet, asking her to return home as soon as possible. This is said to be the first crying marriage ever. Although the custom is not as popular now as it used to be, there are still a large number of families that practice it with gusto. In fact, it is a necessary procedure for marriage among the Tujia people, in China’s Sichuan Province. The ritual itself is pretty simple – the bride has got to shed tears. If she doesn’t or is unable to, her neighbors will look down upon her as one of poor breeding. Worse still, she could even become the laughing stock of her village. In one extreme case, the bride was beaten by her mother for not crying at the wedding. Perhaps the girl was too happy to be free from her mother?

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Fearing a 2012 Apocalypse, Man Tries to Build His Own Ark

No, God didn’t reveal himself to Lu Zhenghai in a vision. The man from Urumqi, China was simply afraid the rumors about the apocalypse happening in December of 2012 might be true, so he decided to follow Noah’s example and build an ark.

Scientists and researchers are going out of their way to assure people that December 21, 2012, the so-called Mayan end-date, will be just an ordinary date but many of them are simply not buying it. While some are travelling to the French village of Bugarach, said to be the only place that will survive the impending apocalypse, others are building their own survival equipment. Take Lu Zhenghai, from Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, who spent all his life savings of 1 million yuan ($160,500) on building his own ark, capable of keeping him safe in case of a disastrous flood. The vessel, designed by Lu himself, is 21.2 meters long, 15.5 meters wide, 5.6 meters high and displaces about 140 tons of water. It’s not much to look at, but Lu claims that once it’s finished, it will fulfill its purpose.

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