Weird Photos of “Olga the Headless Girl” in the Late 1930s and 1940s

The Headless Lady illusion was a popular magic trick performed at sideshows in the 1940s. As the story goes, the poor woman lost her head in a horrible accident, but doctors were able to keep her alive through the miracle of new scientific technology.

Fargo, “Olga the Headless Girl” was an illusionary sideshow and was first brought to the United States in 1937 from Hamburg, Germany, by a man who billed himself as “Doctor” Heineman. It was also a featured exhibit at the New York World’s Fair of 1939 and became a very popular sideshow amusement

Heineman staged “Olga, the Headless Girl” in Blackpool, England before bringing the exhibit to America. Its popularity in England at the time is substantiated by the fact that in 1938 there were at least nine Olga shows.

 

A “Headless Girl” giving a radio interview in New Jersey.
A “Headless Girl” giving a radio interview in New Jersey.
Egon Heineman with “Olga the Headless Woman,” Blackpool, England late 1930s.
Egon Heineman with “Olga the Headless Woman,” Blackpool, England late 1930s.

Novelist, editor, and magician, Clayton Rawson with a “Headless Woman” at the New York World’s Fair, 1939. Rawson authored a mystery novel ‘The Headless Lady’ in 1940.
Novelist, editor, and magician, Clayton Rawson with a “Headless Woman” at the New York World’s Fair, 1939. Rawson authored a mystery novel ‘The Headless Lady’ in 1940.

The “Headless Girl” routine was a rather terrifyingly realistic looking illusion, especially given the time period in which it came to be. When Olga was displayed in a store window in London, shocked onlookers recoiled at the headless torso of a woman with tubes running from her throat to a contraption that supposedly controlled her food intake.

Olga would be copied by other illusionists who called her “Tina” and the classier sounding “Mademoiselle Yvette” who all claimed that the woman—despite not having a head—was being kept alive by the feeding tubes and unexplainable technology. As you will see in the photos, the headless girl act is optically baffling. To help bolster the authenticity of the headless girl, many of the attractions would include backstory as to how the poor thing lost her head—such as a shark attack or an unfortunate showgirl who parted ways with her head thanks to a truck.

 

You might also like Headless Photos of the Victorian Era.

According to Sideshow World, the headless girl illusion continued to appear around the U.S. and the world through the 1980s and a version even made an appearance at Ozzfest in 2002.

(via Sideshow WorldDangerous Minds)

27 Reefer Madness Posters From 1930s Will Make You Cry Laughing!

Originally, Reefer Madness was the title of a 1930s American propaganda film that told the story of how an entire high school student body was introduced to smoking marijuana cigarettes (also known as, reefers).  However, while the film was intentioned as a cautionary tale to parents about the grave and immoral consequences of allowing their kids to smoke marijuana (i.e. murder, kidnapping, rape, automotive homicide), it was soon made satire by critics and advocates alike. Following its release, a series of Reefer Madness-provoked images, novels, songs, and movie posters became popular. Many of these images and posters were distinctly labeled with Adult Only warnings, featured explicit images of devilish creatures and seduced females, distressed male and female figures, and satirical text describing the wrecked lives and shattered hopes of those who smoke marijuana (e.g. Marijuana Girl, Marijuana Insanity, Reefer Blues ). The caricatures on the fronts of these advertisements were drawn with dramatic and popping colors of red, blue, and yellow (e.g. the clown in The Circus of Reefer Madness ), large block-shaped text (e.g. Road to Ruin), and the fiery red background motif resembling assorted items including fire, danger, the Devil, passion, etc. Characteristically, the contents of the posters drew from the original films other names, including: The Burning Question, Dope Addict, Doped Youth, and Love Madness.  Additionally, the aftermath of Reefer Madness spanned new productions such as Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical and the song Reefer man. Thus, Reefer Madness, as well as the influence of two other films Marihuana (1936) and Assassin of Youth (1937) dictated the public perception of marijuana in the 1960s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 Old Main Street Barber Shop Photos

The main street barber shop was a place to relax, get a great haircut and catch up on gossip.  These 18 vintage photos of old town barbershops bring back these happy memories!

Bivalve, New Jersey. Barber shop, October 1938. Rothstein, Arthur, 1915-1985, photographer
Photo shows eight women standing in front of a camp barber shop. Japanese-American camp, war emergency evacuation, 1942 or 1943.
Stores in center of mining town. The barber is also the Justice of Peace. Osage, West Virginia, 1938
Barber shop in Negro settlement on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.
“John Vachon, photographer. Published 1937 Sept.”
Barber shop in the Black Belt, Chicago, Illinois
Rosskam, Edwin, 1903-1985, photographer 1941 Apr.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Barber shop at 19th and Bainbridge Streets
“Vanderbilt, Paul, photographer 1937 Spring.
Barber shop on [Hillsboro] street. Oxford, Granville County, North Carolina
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer. Published 1939 Nov.
Barber shop in Negro quarter of Durham, North Carolina
“Delano, Jack, photographer Created / Published 1940 May.”
Union barber shop in mining town, Scotts Run, West Virginia
Marion Post Wolcott, photographer. Published 1938 Sept.”
Barber shop in village of Twig, Minnesota
“Lee, Russell, 1903-1986, photographer Created / Published 1937 Aug.”
Barber shop and pool hall. Berwyn, Maryland
“John Vachon, photographer. Published 1937 Sept.”
San Juan, Puerto Rico. A barber shop
Jack Delano, photographer. 1942
A barber shop in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania
Jack Delano, photographer. 1941 Jan. 
Barber and shop, South Omaha, Nebraska
“John Vachon, photographer. 1938 Nov.”
Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Barber shop
Jack Delano, photographer. 1941 Dec.
Klamath Falls, Oregon.A main street barber shop.
“Lee, Russell, 1903-1986, photographer 1942 July.”
A main street barber shop, Key West, Florida
“Rothstein, Arthur, 1915-1985, photographer 1938 Jan.”
Barber shop. Winton, Minnesota
“Lee, Russell, 1903-1986, photographer1937 Aug.”

19 Bizarre Old Photos of Women and Guns

women and guns photo

These 19 old photos of women and guns show that American’s have a long and bizarre obsession with this instrument of death. There is something quite disturbing about a women or anyone for that matter, who cracks a big smile for the camera as they pose with their favourite rifle.  Guns are known to blow holes in people’s heads, but oh what a great fashion accessory they make!

 

women and guns photo
Maryland woman takes skeet shooting title. Westmoreland Hills, MD. Jan. 5. Mrs. Albert F. Walker of this town has been declared 1937 women’s skeet shooting champion of the country by the National Skeet Shooting Association. The Association has released the averages on which the ratings were based, but one day last year at the Kenwood, MD, skeet club, Mrs. Walker set the woman’s record fall with 99×100 (skeet for 99 birds out of a possible 100). In addition to her national title, she outranks both men and women shooters in the District of Columbia and Maryland, 1/5/38
women and guns photo
women and guns
women and guns photo
A sure shot, 1910
women and guns photo
1911 cartoon shows a woman, possibly Coco Chanel, wearing a large hat with feathers, shooting at large white birds with a rifle; two dogs labeled “French Milliner” place the dead birds on a pile at her feet.
women and guns photo
Woman policeman with gun feigning arrest of a man, 1900
women and guns photo
The .25 caliber Colt advertisement, 1912
women and guns photo
women and guns – seated at table, inspecting 45 automatic pistol parts, at Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Plant, Hartford, Connecticut, 1914
women and guns photo
Woman in cowgirl clothing, seated at table with deck of cards and chips, pointing pistol, with arm on table. 1912
women and guns photo
The moonshiner’s daughter, 1901
women and guns photo
Blanche Rogers with pistol, 1910
women and guns photo
Grace Stockman of Natl. Museum with Andrew Jackson pistols, 1926
women and guns photo
Miss Grace Stockman with President Andrew Jackson’s dueling pistols, at the National Museum , 1926
women and guns photo
Training a policewoman–target practice under the direction of Inspector Cross of the police department–Inspector Cross demonstrates the correct way to hold a “gat” , 1909
women and guns photo
In the field, 1876
women and guns photo
Photograph shows occupational portrait of taxidermist Martha A. Maxwell with animal specimens, palette, and rifle. 1876
women and guns photo
women and guns – Washington Univ. Girls Rifle Team, 1927
women and guns photo
Annie Oakley, with gun Buffalo Bill gave her, 1922
women and guns photo
Annie Oakley – famous rifle shot and holder of the Police Gazette championship medal, 1899
women and guns photo
Mary Agnes Shanley, New York City detective, half-length portrait, facing left, pulling a pistol out of her handbag, 1937

Charming Black and White Old Barn Pictures

Frank Chyle, Jr. Barn, Main Street, Protivin, Howard County, IA

There is something romantic about old barn pictures, even more so, when they depict abandoned barns falling apart!  Old red barn pictures are almost a cliche, so I’ve not included any of those here. All of these black and white photos were taken in 1933 and show barns in states like Washington, Ohio, Virginia, California, Wyoming and New York. Continue reading

17 Old Photos of People Eating Ice Cream Pictures & Classic Ice Cream Truck

Farm boys eating ice-cream cones. Washington, Indiana

These old eating ice cream pictures and photos of the classic ice cream truck will have you smacking your lips!

The ice cream girl

Eating ice cream pictures, 1913

Eating German ice cream
Eating German ice cream, 1930
Ice cream social, Blackduck, Minnesota
Eating ice cream picture: Ice cream social, Blackduck, Minnesota, 1937
Fussell-Young Ice Cream Co., trucks
Classic ice cream truck, the Fussell-Young Ice Cream Co., trucks, 1921
Syracuse ice cream vendor, New York
Syracuse ice cream vendor, New York, 1941
Ice cream advertising near Berlin, Connecticut
Ice cream advertising near Berlin, Connecticut, 1939
Harvey Isaac’s Ice cream parlor & trolley station, Chapman Beach, Conn., 1910
Classic ice cream truck, the Reid Ice Cream Co. truck, probably in Washington, D.C., 1919
["Soda jerk" passing ice cream soda between two soda fountains
Eating ice cream pictures: Soda jerk” passing ice cream soda between two soda fountains, 1936

Washington, D.C. Good Humor ice cream truck
Classic ice cream truck, Washington, D.C. Good Humor truck, 1942
Semmes Motor Co. Fussel Ice Cream truck, [1926] En
Semmes Motor Co. Fussel Ice Cream truck, [1926]
Women selling ice cream to parade watchers, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1938
Women selling ice cream to parade watchers, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1938
Bethlehem-Fairfield shipyards, Baltimore, Maryland. A welder eating ice cream, 1943
Bethlehem-Fairfield shipyards, Baltimore, Maryland. A welder eating ice cream, 1943
Farm boys eating ice-cream cones. Washington, Indiana
Farm boys eating ice-cream cones. Washington, Indiana, 1941

Model of ice cream cone in front of candy store, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Model of ice cream cone in front of candy store, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, 1937

15 Vintage Pictures of Old Gas Stations

Gas station. Edcouch, Texas

These rare pictures of old gas stations (also known by the lesser term of “filling stations“), are a slice of Americana. The first places that sold gasoline were pharmacies, as a side business. The first filling station was the city pharmacy in Wiesloch, Germany, where Bertha Benz refilled the tank of the first automobile on its maiden trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim back in 1888.

pictures of old gas stations
Gas station. Edcouch, Texas, 1939
pictures of old gas stations
Paul Bunyan atop gas station, Bemidji, Minnesota, 1939
pictures of old gas stations
New Jersey, Atlantic City, gas station at Texas & Atlantic Ave. This pictures of old gas stations shows two automobiles parked near gas pumps at the Co. Service Oil & Gas Co., Inc. service station; a row of houses and other buildings surround the station. 1900
pictures of old gas stations
Twin Falls County, Idaho. Gas station, 1942
Gothenburg, Nebraska. Gas station and grain elevator
Gothenburg, Nebraska. Gas station and grain elevator, 1942
Cooperative gas station in Minneapolis, Minnesota
This picture of gas stations the Cooperative gas station in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1941
North Platte, Nebraska. Gas station
North Platte, Nebraska. Gas station, 1942
Gas station, Butte, Montana
Gas station, Butte, Montana, 1939
Gas station, Benton Harbor, Michigan
This picture of gas stations shows one located in Benton Harbor, Michigan, 1940
Gas station. Minneapolis, Minnesota
This picture of gas stations is one located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1937
Gas station. Washington, D.C.
Gas station. Washington, D.C., 1939
Gas station. Washington, D.C.
Gas station. Washington, D.C., 1937
Old gas station in Old Havana, Cuba
Old gas station in Old Havana, Cuba, 2010
Old, abandoned gas station in North Carolina
Old, Abandoned Gas Station in North Carolina, 1980
Gas station, Wibaux, Montana
Gas station, Wibaux, Montana, 1939

You might also like these old photos of car lots.

 

Scary Clown Pictures Will Creep You Out

Titta Ruffo, half-length portrait, facing front, as a clown, 1913

These old, scary clown pictures from the turn of the century will creep you out! It’s hard to imagine any of these costumed entertainers showing up at a kid’s party without creating a bit of a stir!

Scary Clown Pictures
Pilar Morin, 1895
Scary Clown Pictures
Detroit, Michigan. A Venetian night party at the Detroit yacht club, whose members represent the wealthier class of manufacturers and their friends. Woman clown, 1940
Scary Clown Pictures
Clown at July 4th celebration in Salisbury, Maryland, 1940
Band and clowns at Labor Day celebration, Silverton, Colorado, 1940
Scary Clown Pictures
Clowns perform at Children’s Hospital, 1923
Titta Ruffo, half-length portrait, facing front, as a clown, 1913
Scary clown pictures like this one make you wonder what they were thinking! He looks like he has the measles! Titta Ruffo, half-length portrait, facing front, as a clown, 1913
Enrico Caruso, 1873-1921, dressed as clown, holding back of chair, in “Pagliacci”, 1908
This guy certainly qualifies for scary clown pictures category. G.K. Fox? in full costume, full length, standing, with hands on hips, 1868
Pilar Morin, 1895
Pilar Morin as clown/mime
Pilar Morin, 1895
Pilar Morin as clown/mime
Pilar Morin, 1895

Maybe it’s time to look at something a little more beautiful like this silent movie star.

Rare B&W Pictures of the Empire State Building

vintage photo empire state building

These vintage pictures of the empire state building were taken with black and white film and make for interesting views.

Smog obscures view of Chrysler Building from Empire State Building, New York City/ World-Telegram photo by Walter Albertin. 1953
New York City. Empire State Building from 41st St. and 5th Ave. Horydczak, Theodor, approximately 1890-1971, photographer Created / Published 1933 July 4.

old pictures of empire state building
New York City, view looking south from the Empire State Building, lower New York skyline, 1931.
Photograph shows view looking upwards towards television antennas atop the Empire State Building.
1954 Oct 16.

Check out these 10 rare old photos of New York’s Flat Iron Building.