Monstrorum Historia

Posted in Art, Science with tags , , , , , , on September 24, 2012 by elgrayso

selections from Ulisse Aldrovani’s Monstorum Historia (History of Monsters), 1642

Aeron Alfrey

Posted in Art, Satan with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2012 by elgrayso

Aeron Alfrey is a very interesting artist who uses collage and photography to create his hauntingly detailed black and white worlds. His work reminds me of a modern Joel-Peter Witkin using Photoshop as his medium

Hidden Mother Photography

Posted in Photography with tags , , , , , , on September 10, 2012 by elgrayso

This was a practice where the mother, often disguised or hiding, often under a spread, holds her baby tightly for the photographer to insure a sharply focused image. [from Hidden Mother Flickr group]

    You can see more hidden mother photography here.

Vintage Disney Costume

Posted in Other with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2012 by elgrayso

Disneyland is known for its fun friendly environment and cute costumed characters… well, apparently they weren’t always so cute.

Sugar Rice Krinkles

Posted in Video with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by elgrayso

Daniel Pielucha

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , on August 20, 2012 by elgrayso

Higbee’s Department Store Ad (1967)

Posted in Video with tags , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2012 by elgrayso

Justin Bartlett

Posted in Art, Satan with tags , , , , , , on August 13, 2012 by elgrayso


Barefoot Gen (Hiroshima Bombing)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2012 by elgrayso

Barefoot Gen is a Japanese manga series by Keiji Nakazawa. Loosely based on Nakazawa’s own experiences as a Hiroshima survivor, the series begins in 1945 in and around Hiroshima, Japan, where the six-year-old boy Gen lives with his family. After Hiroshima is destroyed by atomic bombing, Gen and other survivors are left to deal with the aftermath. [from Wikipedia]

Today marks the 67th anniversary of the tragedy. Around 140,000 people were killed.

Automaton Clown

Posted in Video with tags , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2012 by elgrayso

Late 19th century automaton.


Posted in Art with tags , , , on July 30, 2012 by elgrayso

Earlier this month I showed you some sculpture art by Olivier De Sagazan. His sculptures are amazing, however he is probably more known for his performance art.


and a similar performance piece

Walter Potter’s Taxidermy

Posted in Animals, Death with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2012 by elgrayso

Walter Potter was an English taxidermist noted for his anthropomorphic dioramas featuring mounted animals mimicking human life, which he displayed at his museum in Bramber, Sussex, England. The exhibition was a well-known and popular example of “Victorian whimsy” for many years, even after Potter’s death; however enthusiasm for such entertainments waned in the twentieth century, and his collection was finally dispersed in 2003. [from Wikipedia]


Olivier De Sagazan

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , on July 16, 2012 by elgrayso

Princely Toys

Posted in Dolls, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by elgrayso

Princely Toys is a BBC documentary from 1976. It explores the subject of automatons; antique animated dolls manufactured for the upper classes of the 19th century. The film centers around the collection of a man named Jack Donovan, but primarily focuses on the automatons themselves. The narrator talks in an odd cryptic fashion as the aged VHS footage ushers you into the yesterworld of monkey-masked musicians, half-human harlequins and other abominations from your childhood nightmares. Many toys have their own segment and an in-depth explanation is given by the narrator. He describes the toys in detail as the film zooms in on their unforgiving mechanical eyes darting about as their stiff little limbs jerk and sway to the sounds of antique music boxes perfectly tuned to conjure demons from beyond. Most of the footage is shot in an empty studio with a minimal amount of lighting to give the viewer the illusion that each toy was filmed in it’s own personal abyss of darkness. Putting aside the creepy overtones (did I mention that one of the dolls is a man hacking a woman’s bloody torso with a butcher knife?) it’s amazing how intricate and detailed the dolls’ movements are and it’s hard to believe that their animation comes from tiny hidden gears and other simple machines. After watching it I was surprised to find that there doesn’t seem to be hardly any information available on this documentary. Just about the only reference a google search comes up with is this youtube video (below), which, as of this writing clocks in at a meer 135 views.

If any of this sounds at all interesting, I highly recommend watching the video. Also, if anyone knows of a higher quality version or has interesting info on Princely Toys, please inform me in the comments section!

On a related note, I’ve been reading an interesting book called Living Dolls which details interesting stories and the history of similar, yet less creepy, automated oddities.

HR Giger Bar

Posted in Art, Museums with tags , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by elgrayso

The Giger-Bar which, today, exists in the Swiss city of Chur, was originally planned for New York City. When it became apparent that the budget for the bar envisioned for New York was not going to be enough to allow for the design and construction of the elements which had been planned for it, Giger decided it would be wiser to wait until it could be financed properly.

Fortunately, Thomas Domenig came into Giger’s life at about the same time. Domenig is the number-one architect of Chur. He built about a third of the city. There were plans for a café in his Kalchbuhl-Center, which was already under construction, and Giger had, evidently, shown up at just the right moment. He was able to convince Domenig to change his plans and back the idea of a bar.

The furniture program for the Giger-Bar was significantly expanded by the new designs for a chair, a glass topped table and the bar itself. The establishment’s door is that of Giger’s armoire design, enlarged by one third. The oval mirrors, the wall lamps and the special coat racks were also designed by Giger and carried out with the aid of Giger’s most important team of technical experts, de Fries, Schedler, Ammann, Vaterlaus, Gruber and Brigitte von Kanel.

Construction took, approximately, two years. The bar’s official opening was on February 8, 1992, three days after Giger’s birthday.

It is Giger’s hope that, one day, a Giger-Bar can still be realized in New York City, his favorite amongst all the cities of the world.
[from HR Giger official website]

I wanted to add that in addition to his bars, Giger has made other functional art pieces including guitars, a microphone stand and various pieces of furniture.

[note: also included are photos from the other Giger Bar in Gruyéres, Switzerland]

Shrunken Heads of the Amazon

Posted in Death with tags , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2012 by elgrayso

A shrunken head is a severed and specially prepared human head that is used for trophy, ritual, or trade purposes.Headhunting occurred in many regions of the world. But the practice of headshrinking has only ever been recorded in the northwestern region of the Amazon rain forest. [from Wikipedia]

I had always thought that shrunken heads were fake until I visited the world’s largest collection at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Manhattan. I later found out of a book called Head Hunters of the Amazon: My Adventures In The Jungle 1894-1901 which is now on my future reading list.

Jules Germain Cloquet

Posted in Art, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2012 by elgrayso

Jules Germain Cloquet (18 December 1790 – 23 February 1883) was a French physician and surgeon who was born and practiced medicine in Paris. Cloquet was a skilled artist; in his best-known work, Anatomie de l’homme, most of the 1300 illustrations were drawn by him. He was the inventor of several surgical instruments, including an arterial forceps. He also had a keen interest in alternative medical practices such as mesmerism and acupuncture. [from Wikipedia]

Death Masks

Posted in Death with tags , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2012 by elgrayso

In Western cultures, a death mask is a wax or plaster cast made of a person’s face following death. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits. [from Wikipedia]

Martin Luther

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

William Shakespeare

Abraham Lincoln

Resusci Anne*

*Resusci Anne, also known as Rescue Anne or CPR Annie, is a training mannequin used for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to both emergency workers and members of the general public. The distinctive face of Resusci Anne was based on L’Inconnue de la Seine, the death mask of an unidentified young woman reputedly drowned in the Seine River around the late 1880s. [from]

For more famous death masks check out this post at

Denise Grünstein

Posted in Art, Photography with tags , , , on June 4, 2012 by elgrayso

Café de L’Enfer (Hell’s Cafe)

Posted in Photography, Satan with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2012 by elgrayso

A hot spot called Hell’s Café lured 19th-century Parisians to the city’s Montmartre neighborhood—like the Marais—on the Right Bank of the Seine. With plaster lost souls writhing on its walls and a bug-eyed devil’s head for a front door, le Café de l’Enfer may have been one of the world’s first theme restaurants. According to one 1899 visitor, the café’s doorman—in a Satan suit—welcomed diners with the greeting, “Enter and be damned!” Hell’s waiters also dressed as devils. An order for three black coffees spiked with cognac was shrieked back to the kitchen as: “Three seething bumpers of molten sins, with a dash of brimstone intensifier!” [from National Geographic]