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The bizarre story of the ‘Seven Sutherland Sisters’ girl group & their 37-feet of hair
06.19.2017
08:59 am
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A promotional photo of the Sutherland Sisters.
 
The Sutherland Sisters were all born sometime between 1845 and 1865 in a poor, rural farming community in Cambria, New York. The Sutherland family owned a turkey farm which the girls all worked on, though their barefoot farming days would be short-lived. After their mother passed away in 1867, their father, Fletcher Sutherland—a notoriously lazy and unmotivated man who had inherited the farm from his multi-talented father—would spend the rest of his life trying to get rich by pimping his daughters out in various ways including as a musical act. A huge part of the girl’s appeal was the fact that between the seven of them, they possessed 37-feet of hair—an incomprehensible number when, if you do the math quickly in your head, would translate to each sister having at least five feet of hair on her head. Their musical performances would always conclude with their father commanding them to “Let down your hair!’ which they did to the delight of their legions of fans.

While I’m on the topic of the girls’ somewhat disturbing amount of hair, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention their dear mother’s homemade hair tonic which apparently helped her daughters grow hair like weeds. While she was still alive, Mrs. Sutherland would apply her unique “hair growth” tonic (which was made up of bay rum, witch hazel, salt, magnesia and hydrochloric acid), to her daughters’ luxurious hair. Apparently, the crazy concoction Mrs. Sutherland Frankensteined together in her kitchen smelled horrific, and this led to the girls being treated as social outcasts at school. There may have been a sense of collective relief between the sisters after their mother passed as it meant that the mysterious hair tonic, went to the grave along with her.

The shortest hair of all of the siblings belonged to the oldest sister, Sarah whose dark mane measured three feet in length. The record for the longest hair of the seven sisters would go to Victoria who quite literally had to drag seven-feet of hair along with her at all times. The rest of the girls’ hair varied in length from four and a half to six-plus feet each, and their fantastic tresses would attract oglers from all over. As I mentioned, the Sutherland Sisters were also a musical act that performed together under the name of the “Seven Sutherland Sisters” and by all historical accounts were quite talented, though there is no doubt that the real reason that their musical performances played to packed venues was due people wanting to get a look at their storied, Rapunzel-esque locks.
 

A group photo of the ‘Seven Sutherland Sisters’ and their father Fletcher Sutherland (pictured third from the left).
 
The girls’ greedy, opportunistic patriarch quickly realized the cash potential of exploiting his daughters’ alarmingly-long hair and came up with a scheme that would make the family rich beyond their wildest dreams. The crafty Fletcher whipped up his late wife’s repulsive smelling hair tonic and marketed it as the “Greatest Hair Tonic on Earth.”  Fletcher sold over 2.5 million bottles of the tonic with the help of his daughters who embarked on a non-stop promotional tour across the country, which would draw throngs of curious onlookers as well as customers willing to shell out as much as $1.50 for a bottle of the fabled hair-growth tonic, a huge sum of money for anything, especially something that wasn’t considered a necessity, at the time. They were also popular attractions at circuses including Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth, where they were billed by P.T. Barnum as “The World’s Greatest, Most Pleasing Wonders.” The girls were often solicited by individuals who would make grandiose financial promises to them in exchange for some of their hair. But for the first time in their poverty-riddled lives, the Sutherland sisters didn’t need cash as the sale of the tonic and other hair products, which, by 1890 would earn them an astonishing three million dollars in less than five years time. But like a lot of stories that involve people who have hit the financial “jackpot” so-to-speak, the lives of the Sutherland sisters would soon embark on a slow, sad slide downhill.
 

An ad for the Sutherland Sisters ‘Hair and Scalp’ cleaner that included the astonishing measurements of each sister’s hair length.
 
After Fletcher passed away in 1888, the girls all moved back into a mansion that they had built on the very site where their old farmhouse once stood. No expense was spared when it came to the construction of their new home which had fourteen rooms filled with lavish European furniture and even running water, which was a bonafide luxury reserved for the wealthy at the time. Each sister had their own maid who was required to take the very best care of their world-famous hair. Before the construction of the mansion was complete, the sisters would suffer another loss—the death of sister Naomi. Though devasted by her passing, it wouldn’t stop the girls from continuing to live their chosen lifestyle, which now routinely included a steady diet of booze, drugs, non-stop parties and sex orgies which were in stark contrast to their church-going, good-girl images. Other rumors surrounding the girls included the notion that they actively practiced witchcraft—which while it wouldn’t exactly get you burned at the stake like the good-old-days—was still not considered a respectable pastime. Mary, the youngest, who had long suffered from profound psychological issues, became progressively worse and would often spend her days locked away in a room in the mansion before she was formally committed an insane asylum in Buffalo, New York.

Frederick Castlemaine, a French nobleman and noted opium and morphine addict who was pursuing Dora Sutherland (the “pretty” sister), would end up dumping poor Dora and instead would propose to her older sister Isabella and her six feet of hair. The unstable, drug-addled Castlemaine would later commit suicide during one of the sisters’ promotional tours. Victoria Sutherland, who during good times would adorn her nails with diamonds, was evicted from the home by her siblings in disgust after she married a nineteen-year-old suitor who was nearly 30-years her junior. Sarah Sutherland would pass away in 1919 and Dora would be killed in a car accident near Hollywood that same year while her remaining sisters were trying to entice a movie studio into making a film based on their remarkable lives. The advent of the uber-stylish hairdo known as the “Bob” in 1920 would deliver the final death-blow to the family as their long hair was now considered completely out of vogue. The sisters would all die penniless including Grace who, along with her five feet of hair, outlived all of her siblings, and would end up being buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave after passing away at the age of 92.

I’ve posted some photos of the Sutherland Sisters below as well as some other historical artifacts associated with their mythical hair below.
 

Dora Sutherland.
 

Grace Sutherland.
 

Mary Sutherland.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.19.2017
08:59 am
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Terrifying nuns looking down their noses at you
05.09.2017
10:30 am
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A ‘cabinet card’ featuring an image of a nun from Quebec. Notice the strategically placed crown of thorns to the left on the table.
 
After its creation in 1860, the use of the cabinet card became a hugely popular photography trend, quickly eclipsing other emerging photographic methods. Used primarily for portraiture, the styles of vintage cabinet cards were widely variable when it came to color formats, the types of card stock to which photographs were mounted, as well as other design elements such as inscription, embossing, and lettering. Cabinet cards were derived from another widely used photographic style of portraiture known as “carte de visite” which was popularized by Andre Adolphe Disderi in Paris around 1854. It is important to note that cabinet cards were much larger than Disderi’s small 2 x 4 inch photos. The idea was that they would be large enough for someone to see clearly from across a room.

Cabinet cards were used for many purposes, such as remembering loved ones and commemorating events—happy or horrible, perhaps—through pictures. As demand rose, the cards virtually put photo album companies out of business, which was how people had traditionally displayed their photos during the heyday of the carte de visite. Another interesting historical fact about cabinet cards—and something that is rather relatable now—is that the individuals charged with taking the portraits also would often employ the services of an artist who could doctor the photograph to improve (or more accurately, remove) any unpleasant facial attributes in the portrait. So you see, the people of Victorian times were just like us—obsessed with looking flawless in a photo by any means necessary.

This background on the historical relevance of this type of photography doesn’t change the fact that the potently nightmare-inducing images of these nuns appear to be solemnly judging you. If you’re a collector of offbeat things, a wide variety of cabinet cards, such as cheeky partially nude models to hauntingly morbid post-mortem images from the past, can easily be found on auction sites like eBay.
 

Quebec, 1874.
 

Oregon.
 
Many more nuns after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.09.2017
10:30 am
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Horrifyingly detailed images of surgical procedures from the early 1800s


‘Strabismus’ 1831. From The Complete Atlas of Human Anatomy and Surgery by Jean-Baptiste Marc Bourgery. Illustration by Nicholas Henri Jacob.
 
Jean-Baptiste Marc Bourgery began what would equate to his life’s work, Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme comprenant la médecine operatoire or The Complete Treatise or the Anatomy of Man Including Operative Medicine in 1830. A series of eight books in total, Bourgery would complete the final publication just before he died in 1849. The massive 2108-page work would finally be published in its entirety in 1853.

Though the book would not have been possible without Bourgery’s deep knowledge of surgical technique and the inner-workings of the human body, it is the color lithographs by artist Nicholas Henri Jacob, a protegee of famed French Neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David, that make the publication truly remarkable. Jacob took on the task of creating lithographs that visually depicted medical scenarios such as the surgical removal of a rifle bullet, to horrifyingly detailed images of other kinds of surgical correction performed on the genitalia or eyes.

The lithographs, 726 in all, are startlingly beautiful and to this day Bourgery’s work along with Jacob’s realistic artistic interpretations is still considered to be one of the greatest contributions to the medical world where it was often utilized by the medical community as well as by artists that incorporate aspects of anatomy into their own work. In 2005 Taschen released a 714-page version of the book with the help of two French anatomy professors, Jean-Marie Le Minor and Henri Sick, both of the Louis Pasteur University of Strasbourg. I’ve posted a large selection of Jacob’s work below—all of which are NSFW in one way or another.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.08.2017
01:17 pm
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Murder, self-crucifixion & suicide by guillotine: Old-school paper ‘The Illustrated Police News’


July, 1895.
 
The first issue of what is best described as a pioneering tabloid-style publication, The Illustrated Police News hit the street corners of London back in 1864. It was modeled after The Illustrated London News (established in 1842) which used illustrations in their news reports, as their readers quite literally could not get enough of them. Essentially The Illustrated Police News ran with the notion that “readers” would rather look at pictures of the crimes that were being committed from Manchester to Birmingham than actually “read” about them. Ah, how little has changed since the eighteenth century, wouldn’t you agree?

Incredibly popular with the working class population, the paper often found itself in hot water for its ultra-sensational illustrated pictorials concerning booze-hungry monkeys run amok, a fatal impalement at a traveling carnival or an old man being eaten by his cats. The more stupefying the news, the better. Police News was Yellow Journalism at its best though the actual term “Yellow Journalism” would not actually be coined until the late 1890s. The tabloid didn’t even shy away from reporting news items that concerned folklore or supernatural shenanigans like gun-toting ghosts or a chance encounter in the woods with a giant serpent. Kind of like when the Weekly World News discovered Bat Boy (the internationally-known boy/bat hybrid created by WWN artist Dick Kulpa) hiding in a West Virginia cave in 1992. Did your neighbor drop her baby in the bucket full of boiling water? The artists behind the IPN would draw a titillating grim depiction of it to print for their blood-thirsty fans as fast as possible. In a detailed article about the publication, The British Newspaper Archive notes that in 1886 the readers of the classy sounding Pall Mall Gazette, which touted itself to be the voice of the “higher circles of society” voted The Illustrated Police News as the “worst newspaper in England.”

The owner of the IPN George Purkiss was so dedicated to capturing the essence of a crime scene that he would deploy his large team of 70 to 100 artists to wherever there was a dead body or some sort of mayhemic event had transpired as soon as the story was reported. In fact, the paper enjoyed a rise in circulation after running stories and illustrations of Jack the Ripper and “Negro Jack the Ripper” stories when the killer was stalking streetwalkers in the late 1800s. Purkiss also didn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about what the stuck-up Pall Mall Gazette had to say about his salacious paper. Here’s more from Mr. Purkiss on why he believed The Illustrated Police News was so important:

“I know what people say, but as I replied to a friend who asked me why I did not produce some other paper than the Police News I said that we can’t (have) all have Timeses and Telegraphs. And if we can’t have the Telegraph or the Times, we must put up with the Police News.”

The fearless leader of the IPN would pass away in 1892 from tuberculosis but the paper would continue to report the news using its graphic depictions of murder and crimes of passion until 1938. There’s a motherlode of images from the paper for you to eyeball below. Some are NSFW.
 

 

 
More murder and mayhem, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.05.2017
10:51 am
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Territorial Pissing: The 19th century public urinals of Paris
02.10.2017
09:14 am
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A man entering a public urinal or ‘pissoir’ at Place Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, Paris, 1875.
 
The photos in this post were taken by one of the most notable and gifted photographers of the nineteenth century, Charles Marville. So revered was Marville in his native France that he was chosen by the city of Paris to document the changing city, especially landmarks that were built by Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann who had been tasked with the job of giving Paris a makeover of sorts. According to details found in Haussmann’s biography, he was also responsible for the introduction of new and improved water supply and drainage for the overcrowded city in an effort to remove “foul odors” from the streets. Which brings me back to Marville’s fascinating photos of public urinals—or as they were called during this time period pissiors—that were located all around Paris during the late 1800s and well into the turn-of-the-century.

The pissoirs were conceived in 1834 by Claude-Philibert Barthelot, Comte de Rambuteau—a French official who pioneered and implemented improvements to the existing sewer system in Paris. Barthelot was convinced that the poor, unhealthy conditions of the streets were directly correlated to a massive cholera outbreak in 1832. However, it would be Haussmann that would be instrumental in helping install pissoirs of varying styles and sizes all around Paris, which helped confine the stench of urine that before their arrival was overwhelming the city. Thanks to Marville’s camera lens, this transformative time in Paris was beautifully chronicled in his photographs.

Most of the pissoirs that Marville photographed are quite beautiful despite their lowly utilitarian purpose, while others are not much more than a slab of carved concrete for Parisian men to relieve themselves on instead of a wall. At one time approximately 1,200 pissoirs stood around Paris and according to some the more private varieties were also used during WWII as places to discuss private matters without worrying if a Nazi was eavesdropping on you (or perhaps this was just what the men who frequented them told their wives?) By the time the 60s arrived, the city of lights had begun the process of removing its pissoirs, and only one still stands in the city on Boulevard Arago near the intersection of Rue de la Santé. Photos of Paris’ elegant pissoirs follow.
 

Boulevard Sébastopol 1875.
 

A large, elegant pissoir located at Champs-Élysées 1874.
 
More period pissoirs of Paris after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.10.2017
09:14 am
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Arsenic and old lace: When women’s clothing could actually kill you
11.17.2016
10:13 am
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A child’s dress dyed green with arsenic, 1838-1843.
 
Ah, the color green. Generally associated with good luck and four-leaf fucking clovers the color green was anything but good luck back in the 1800s. During the entire century and into the 1900s arsenic was used in all kinds of everyday products from wallpaper to paint as well as women’s clothing and beauty products. Yikes.

Originally known as “Scheele Green” in 1814 German company Wilhelm Dye and White Lead Company decided to try to modify the paint by adding arsenic and verdigris (a blue/green color that is made by using copper or brass to oxidize it). The new color was dubbed “emerald green” and was an overnight smash. It was soon being used for all kinds of things including dying dresses, shoes and flower hair accessories for women, among countless other products too numerous to mention. When the actual “recipe” for the dye was published in 1822 distributors attempted to temper the color as well as change its name so customers would keep using products that would eventually kill many of them.

Due to their constant contact with the deadly dye, seamstresses and makers of flower hair accessories were especially susceptible to the dangers of getting up close and personal with arsenic and would pay for it by developing horrific lesions on their skin or face. And they were the lucky ones. Death from arsenic poisoning was preceded by vomit that was a distinct shade of green, foaming at the mouth and convulsions. All things considered, as bad as things are now, they really seemed a whole lot worse during a time when looking good could literally kill you. I’ve included many images in this post of vintage garments, shoes and other items that drastically cut the average life-expectancy of a lot of ladies and anyone who liked cake because guess what? Arsenic was also used to color cake icing back in the 1800s! If this kind of historical weirdness is your kind of thing I highly recommend picking up the book Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present by Alison Matthews David.
 

The effect of constant contact with arsenic on the hands of perhaps a seamstress or flower maker.
 

Boots dyed with arsenic, mid-1800s.
 
More deadly clothing after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.17.2016
10:13 am
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Mugshots of grinning miscreants, murderers and malefactors from the late 19th century
08.01.2016
12:01 pm
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The cheerful mugshot of murderer George H. Ray, 1890s.
 
Of all the places to be back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Nebraska was not one of them. I recently came across some “interesting” looking mugshots from that era that struck me as a little odd. What’s odd about them—as the title of the post touts—is that some of criminals, from an unfortunate chicken thief to a couple of murderers, appeared to be smiling in them. Yikes.

Photography was a very scarce occurrence during those early decades and due to that having one’s photo taken was a very serious affair. It was also less expensive than traditional oil portraiture so that even people of lesser financial stature could have own a “portrait” of themselves or their family. In the case of the Nebraska mug shots it’s not hard to draw the conclusion that of all the the occasions to have your photo taken your first mugshot wasn’t really a time to smile for the camera. 

Of the bad guys and girls in this post the one I find most unnerving is the flat-out smiling mugshot of George H. Ray (pictured at the top of this post) who must have been pleased that he was about to do ten years in the Nebraska State Penitentiary for manslaughter. Another oddball among these various ne’er–do–wells is the curious case of Bert Martin (below) a convicted horse thief. As it turns out Bert Martin was actually “Lena” Martin—a woman masquerading as a man so she could work as a cowboy.
 

Bert Martin aka, ‘Lena” Martin, 1901
 

Murderer Frank L. Dinsmore, 1899
 
More mugshots after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.01.2016
12:01 pm
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Diabolic vintage illustrations of ‘spanking machines’
02.19.2016
11:02 am
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An illustration of a
“Strafraum” (“penalty”). A German illustration of a “spanking machine,” 1930s
 
Now before you read any further into this post, you should know that I’m not at all a fan of corporal punishment. However, I am very much a fan of the great lengths inventors and perhaps sometimes kinky “free-thinkers” are willing to go to when it comes to building an automated contraption that does things that a human would normally do.
 
Illustration for a spanking machine, 1800s, UK
Illustration from the UK of a “spanking machine,” early 1800s. The clown is a nice touch, yes?
 

“The cane and the whip in the 19th century,” 1899
 
That said, the “spanking machines” you are about to see in this post, probably never became reality. Is it possible some of them were real? Sure, it’s possible. Whatever the case may be, it appears that as early as the 1800s, a great many people from Australia to Russia and of course the UK and U.S. were dreaming up new ways to spank the crap out of people’s asses. Sometimes for pleasure and sometimes as punishment. While the words pleasure and punishment can be interchangeable in some circles (I don’t judge and neither should you), I can assure you that the vast majority of people in the following images don’t look especially thrilled about what’s happening. That said, I’d consider some of what follows NSFW. Which is usually what you’re going to get if the title of a post includes the words “spanking machines.” Duh.
 
The
The “Rub A Dub Dub” spanking machine. An illustration by fetish artist, John Willie (aka John Alexander Scott Coutts), the founder of ‘Bizarre’ magazine . 1940s
 
More retro spanking contraptions after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.19.2016
11:02 am
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