|Mondo Bizarro||Aug 19 2016|
Today marks the beginning of The Weird Weekend, one of the largest annual gatherings of cryptid aficionados and animal investigators in the world. For the seventeenth year Nessie nuts, Bigfoot boosters, and chupacabra champions descend on North Devon, England, to discuss the existence of hypothesized and legendary creatures.
This year's speakers include punk rock star Steve Ignorant on the hidden history of Punch and Judy, Richard Freeman, director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, on his recent expedition to Tasmania in search of the thylacine or Tasmanian wolf, and Lars Thomas from Denmark, on the Vikings' pantheon of mythical—or were they?—creatures. The weekend informs the public and serves the dual purpose of raising funds for the CFZ, which conducts searches for mystery animals.
|Vintage Pulp||Nov 7 2015|
On the cover of this Inside News published today in 1965, readers are told of Harriet Day, a twelve-year-old “mantrap” from Brackley, England who learned from watching her prostitute mother how to seduce men. The story is written not as journalism, but as sleaze fiction, with lines like, “swinging her ample hips and showing all the leg her clinging skirt would afford, she approached men with suggestive gestures and inviting glances.” There’s plenty of backseat and backalley action, and of course the men involved had no idea she was twelve. We say of course because even though the lure of the story is creepy underaged sex, Inside News could not actually afford to be perceived as promoting the practice—hence the 150 men were all unwittingly seduced. Harriet is eventually arrested and turned over to child welfare authorities tasked with “helping her grow up as a normal woman.” As for the men, we imagine they stayed abnormal. More from Inside News at our tabloid index.
|Vintage Pulp||Jun 18 2015|
Who does the woman on this issue of Harrison Marks’ Kamera No. 26 remind you of? Think carefully. If you said Rachel Dolezal that’s exactly who we were thinking of. In past times Dolezal would have been a local kook, but one considered harmless in the scheme of things. Today she’s landed smack in the middle of America’s poisonous race debate and everyone in the Western world with an internet connection is aware of her. So, while her fifteen minutes lasts, what better time could there be for Pulp Intl. to join in by sharing this Kamera?
As cover star Pamela Green shows, various degrees of race appropriation have a long history, done for show business (Al Jolson, C. Thomas Howell, Eddie Murphy, et al.), stupid fun (think frat parties of the past), economic or social gain (passing as white), malicious intent (typically the case), sex (we can only assume), and myriad other reasons. In Green’s case, she’s posing as Princess Sonmar-Harriks, a made-up Middle-Eastern persona she adopted for photo sessions conducted by Marks, who was her husband.
Green dominates this issue of Kamera, appearing in the centerfold and numerous other pages as both Sonmar-Harriks and herself, but readers are also treated to other models variously lounging on leopard skins, loitering in alleys, showing off oiled-up boobs, erased pubes, and more. We have more of these we’ll get around to posting, and meantime you can see another here, and something very rare in a smilar vein published by Harrison Marks here.
|Intl. Notebook | Politique Diabolique||Dec 19 2014|
Mandy Rice-Davies, one of the central figures in the John Profumo Affair of 1963, died of cancer early this morning. Most accounts of the scandal describe Rice-Davies as a prostitute, and indeed Stephen Ward, one of the principals in the fiasco, was imprisoned for living off the earnings of Rice-Davies and other women—another way of saying he pimped. But Rice-Davies spent a good portion of her final years denying she was a call girl, saying she didn’t want her grandchildren to remember her that way.
After the scandal Rice-Davies sang in a cabaret in Germany, lived in Spain, moved to Israel where she opened nightclubs and restaurants in Tel Aviv, released music and books, appeared on television and in film, including the The Seven Magnificent Gladiators and Absolute Beginners, and was involved in the development of a Stephen Ward-based Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. She accomplished plenty. But as long as she is remembered it will be for Profumo, Christine Keeler, the parties and scandalous revelations, and the near-collapse of the British government in 1963. If you’re interested in reading more, we talked about Rice-Davies in a bit more detail here and here.
|Musiquarium||Jan 12 2014|
A couple of weeks ago we said we’d get back to more Alain Gourdon, aka Aslan album sleeves, so above is a rather eye-catching one for a collection of Cure songs entitled The Spell’s Unbroken. It’s a live release that was recorded in Birmingham, England in 1985 and pressed in Germany in 1986, and it’s got such Cure goodies as “Kyoto Song,” “Let’s Go to Bed,” and the excellent “In Between Days,” as well some more obscure tracks. The album is unofficial—or a bootleg, if you prefer that term—so in theory it was pressed and sold without the band’s participation. We also assume Gourdon hadn’t a clue about the art. And wouldn’t you know it—the record sells for exorbitant amounts of money, routinely over a hundred dollars. We don’t know about you, but that’s enough to cure us of any urge to buy it.
|Femmes Fatales||Sep 11 2013|
Loretta Young, née Gretchen Young, began her career in cinema in 1917 and worked in both film and television until 1953, along the way appearing in such efforts as The Accused, The Bishop’s Wife, and The Farmer’s Daughter. Apart from her work, Young is also remembered for the daughter she bore out of wedlock. In a classic bit of Hollywood subterfuge, six months into the pregnancy she took a vacation to England and returned weeks after the secret birth to start a new movie. Nineteen months later, she adopted a baby daughter. The ruse fooled virtually nobody, but it did preserve her image to the extent that she could go on working without repercussions. The father, by the way, was Clark Gable. This promo of Young in astonishing fur pants was made for the classic film A Night To Remember in 1942.
|The Naked City||Mar 28 2013|
Yesterday in Manchester, England, 46-year-old Stephen Seddon was found guilty of murdering his parents for £235,000 in insurance money. Robert and Patricia Seddon were found shot dead in their home in July 2012, a sawed-off shotgun on the scene indicating a possible murder/suicide. But ballistic experts decided that scenario was not possible, and soon Stephen Seddon—who had boasted to acquaintances before his parents’ deaths that he was about to come into a large sum of money—was arrested. Yesterday’s conviction marked the final chapter of just another sad, senseless murder tale. What’s shocking, though, is the preamble.
|Vintage Pulp||Jun 13 2012|
Something a bit different today. We saw this poster and loved its colors and vibrancy. It’s for the 1968 counterculture movie Joanna, which was about a young woman in swinging 1960s London. Think of it as a distaff version of Alfie, but with the added taboo of interracial romance. The star is Geneviève Waïte, and Donald Sutherland also puts in an appearance. Like a lot of movies that tried to capture the spirit of the ’60s, Joanna has not aged particularly well, but it’s beloved by many who were in high school or college when it came out. The movie is well before our time, but we liked it anyway. It isn’t perfect, but it has some really great moments, including an interlude in Morocco. As a bonus, we’ve posted the English, Spanish and Italian promos below. You’ll note that the Italian version was painted by Enzo Nistri. He did quite a bit of nice work in the ’60s and ’70s. We’ll get back to him.
|The Naked City||Jun 30 2011|
The two victims never knew each other, but Heather Barnett and Elisa Claps are forever linked by their stolen lives, stolen hair, and tragic acquaintance with a third person, a strange, compulsive man neither of them suspected was capable of violence. Danilo Restivo, an Italian national who spent much of his life in the remote town of Potenza, Italy, was convicted yesterday for the 2002 mutilation and murder of Heather Barnett. The killing took place in the British town of Bournemouth, where Barnett lived and where Restivo had relocated. But the Restivo saga may actually have begun seventeen years ago, when young Elisa Claps disappeared from a church in Potenza, Italy.
The Church of the Most Holy Trinity, known in Potenza as Chiesa della SS. Trinità, is one of the few old churches in a town that was destroyed by an 1857 earthquake and again by an Allied bombardment during World War II. The town was shaken yet again in 1993 when Elisa Claps disappeared. Then sixteen, Claps had agreed to meet nineteen-year-old Danilo Restivo at morning mass, but he claimed afterward that Claps left while he remained behind to pray. A missing persons case was soon launched but Claps seemed to have disappeared into thin air. Police suspected Restivo, but there was no evidence against him, and with mass just ending there seemed too many witnesses to a potential crime for him to have harmed her. Yes, there was a cut on his hand, but Restivo claimed to have fallen at a construction site, and he was cool when questioned.
Claps, below, remained missing and, as often happens, the vacuum in the case was filled by the general public as rumors sprang up, articles and opinion pieces were published, and websites were launched. Perhaps Claps ran away with a lover. Perhaps she was abducted by Albanians and sold into sexual slavery. Maybe there was a police cover-up. Or perhapsthe church was involved—after all, the priest of della Trinità was a curious man named Mimi Sabia and he wasn’t entirely cooperative with police, having refused to let authorities disrupt his church with forensic investigations. The case wore on and the obsession about it spread from Potenza to the rest of Italy.
Danilo Restivo eventually left Italy. By 2002 he was living in Bournemouth, England, where he was a neighbor of Heather Barnett. On November 12 Barnett’s two children found their mother mutilated and dead in the bathroom of their home. She was partially nude, her throat was slit and her breasts cut off. She was also holding a lock of her own hair. Local police immediately suspected Restivo. They learned that Barnett’s keys had gone missing just after Restivo had been inside the house asking about having some curtains made. When they interviewed him days later they found that he was soaking his Nike trainers in bleach. But suspicions do not a murder case make and so police did not detain him—however, unlike in Italy they decided to keep him under surveillance.
What they learned was extremely disconcerting. Restivo haunted a local park, where he would spy on single women, darting between bushes or ducking behind stands of grass. He wore gloves during these outings, and he often returned to his car to change shirts or shoes. They also learned that he had a habit of stealing girls’ and women’s hair. Two teenagers reported that someone had cut their hair while they rode in a bus. They couldn’t say for sure who did it, but they were able to identify Restivo as one of the people who had sat behind them. Police also learned that at the age of fourteen Restivo had tied up and tortured two boys whose families later dropped charges in exchange for financial compensation from Restivo’s family. And perhaps most worrying, other women had been murdered and mutilated in places where Danilo Restivo resided and passed through.
All of this was uncovered through years of police work, and though the case against Danilo Restivo was looking stronger and stronger all the time, it wasn’t until this March that police caught the break they needed. That was when two workers back in Potenza, intending to repair a leak in the roof of della Trinità, found Elisa Claps’ body in the very church where she had been last seen. Her skeletonized remains, covered by mummified skin and the rags of her clothes, had been hidden in a small tower room beneath some old tiles. In one of the corpse’s hands was a lock of hair, and subsequent forensic analysis revealed that she had been mutilated in almost identical fashion as Heather Barnett. A case that had spawned numerous articles, websites, multiple investigations and hundreds of conspiracy theories, had come full circle. British police arrested Danilo Restivo, the court tried him, and yesterday, with Barnett’s family members present, a jury convicted him.
Now all eyes turn to Potenza. Mimi Sabia the uncooperative priest had long been suspected by some of hiding something. His was the only church that didn’t ring bells on the anniversary of Elisa Claps’ disappearance. Now there was a body in that bell tower belonging to a girl who would have been found probably the very day she was killed if onlyDon Mimi had helped. During investigation into the case he claimed not to know Danilo Restivo even though Restivo had been to della Trinità and Sabia was once photographed, just above, at a birthday party thrown for Restivo. But these questions will possibly never be answered because Don Mimi Sabia died in 1998.
However there are other questions. Della Trinità's newest priest claims that Elisa Claps’ body wasn’t found in March 2011, but two months earlier by two cleaners. The priest claims he informed church officials but was told to keep quiet while they decided what to do. Two months of secret deliberations later, two more workers were called in to repair a leaky roof that in fact wasn’t leaking at all. A body that had been completely covered with tiles was now partially exposed in order to ensure its discovery. Or so the new priest says, which means the Catholic Church is accused by one of its own of operating outside the law. It would be shocking if it hadn’t happened so many times before with regard to child molestation cases, but only time will tell if these specific allegations are true. Meanwhile, all the details of Elisa Claps’ last day on Earth are set to emerge—Danilo Restivo is being extradited to Italy to stand trial for her murder.
|Mondo Bizarro||Feb 18 2011|
The giant aquatic creature Bownessie, thought by some to reside in Lake Windermere, in England’s Cumbria region, was supposedly spotted this week by a pair of kayakers taking part in a corporate team building exercise. One of them, Tom Pickles, had a camera phone handy and shot the image above. Pickles says the creature surfaced about 160 meters from his kayak and swam for twenty seconds before disappearing. “At first I thought it was a dog,” he said, “then I realized it was much bigger and moving really quickly. Each hump was moving in a rippling motion and it was moving fast. I could tell it was far bigger underwater from the huge shadow around it.” Pickles’ kayaking partner Sarah Harrington corroborated Pickles’ account, saying, “It was like an enormous snake. It freaked us out. All I could think about was that I had to get off the lake.” Bownessie experts hail the sighting and photo as the best evidence yet that the monster exists. Work is now underway to positively identify the creature, with particular focus on Harrington’s descriptive phrase: “enormous snake.” No word yet on whether Davy Cameron was in the Lake Windermere region that morning.