A Tramp-art Cross

January 11, 2017

In my previous blog, “A Tramp-art Picture Frame,” I focused on a typical work of that folk-art genre. Here is a very different example (see photograph).

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A Tramp-art Picture Frame

January 03, 2017

A folk-art phenomenon of yesteryear was so-called “tramp art”— wood items handcrafted from discarded materials, ostensibly by hoboes, either to sell or to barter for food or drink. Pictured here (see photo) is a tramp-art frame with its religious oleograph (which I acquired for my collection in 2002).

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December 21, 2016

More funny riddles from a skeptical view

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Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root

December 14, 2016

Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root Kidney medicine began in the mid-1870s and in time became a household name. It was the creation of Dr. S(ylvester) Andral Kilmer (1840–1924) who developed a line of patent remedies in Binghamton, New York.

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Herkimer Diamond Mysteries

December 06, 2016

Although not a precious gem like the diamond, the so-called “Herkimer diamond” is itself the focus of much attention. In June 2016 I was able to add to my collection of curious stones by searching for “Herkimers” at a mine in New York state and learning more about their natural and allegedly magical properties.

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Stagecoach Tavern Ghosts

November 29, 2016

Where my travels take me, I often have occasion to check out a “haunted” tavern or inn. In several months’ time in 2015–2016, for example, I visited two such places in Australia, others in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, Vancouver’s Gastown, and Niagara Falls, NY, and then in June 2016, the Tavern on Main in Chepachet, RI.

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Old English Black Oil Liniment

November 22, 2016

“Black Oil” is an old English name for a horse liniment. It eventually came to be sold in America as “a never failing Remedy for Man and Beast.”

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Mother Gray’s Sweet Powders

November 18, 2016

LeRoy, New York, has many claims to fame—apart from the mysterious twitching outbreak I investigated for Skeptical Inquirer in 2012. It was the birthplace of Jell-O in 1897 (the museum is well worth seeing) as well as something called Mother Gray’s Sweet Powders for Children, among other products.

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“Miraculous” Infant Jesus of Prague

November 07, 2016

The Infant Jesus of Prague is a small (18.5 inches tall) wax-covered wood statue of the child Jesus in a church in Prague, Czech Republic. Many of the faithful believe it to have magical powers.

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October 26, 2016

More funny riddles from a skeptical view.

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