This is an engraving accompanied by what I thought was merely a tree branch, but as with everything here it was much more than that. It belonged to Miranda Racardi the Queen of Fools. She was the youngest daughter of a rich Italian family, distantly related to the Mediciâ€™s. She was the youngest and honestly the dumbest of the family, barely able to count to a hundred, incapable of remembering any words with more than three syllables it was thought that she would simply be married off and that would be the end of it.
Fate had a different plan. All in one year, her brother was thrown from a horse into a rock quarry, her sister struck by lightning, her father crushed by a millstone, another sister slain by roadside brigands, and her poor mother eventually dying from the stress of it all. Rumors shot up like weeds, the Racardi family had been abandoned by God and all that was left was the poor simpleton Miranda. Terrified that her family had done something to warrant divine wrath she began to seek some way to reach the Holy Spirit, to communicate with Him, so that she could ask forgiveness. While most would simply pray and give the church some money, Miranda traveled to the closest monastery to ask itâ€™s elder, one Brother Sebastian, a bookish fellow with a deep love of botany, what was the wisest and holiest of Godâ€™s creations. The Monkâ€™s answer was the tree.
She stared of into the distance, her normally placid brow twisted into deep furrows. The old monk, worried at the sudden look of pain on Mirandaâ€™s face, asked what was the matter.
So she sat very still while the shadows grew until suddenly she bolted up exclaiming, â€œI will become a tree!â€ Leaving the perplexed monk she searched the grounds of the monastery. Finding a fallen acorn, she caked her head in mud, twisting and piling up her hair until it formed a filthy wet nest, in which she placed the cornerstone of her bridge to salvation. That night, and for many more there after, Miranda slept with her head propped up in a bedpan full of water so that the nut might take root. She was perpetually sick as this kept her head cold all through the winter months, but eventually the acorn sprouted, along with the greater difficulty, keeping the fragile green twig alive. Her maid staff massaged into her once bright blond locks the finest soil and manure they could find. They kept it pruned in the spring and in the fall they swept the leaves from her bed. So the sapling grew larger and larger, itâ€™s gangly branches reaching higher and higher. She thought she could feel it reaching out, stretching, clutching for the hand of God. One summer day she began to fill a tingle in her head, a tingle that grew to an itch, and in her heart she knew it was God, He would soon speak to her. She retired to her room and demanded absolute isolation to prepare for His divine words. After three days of silence a worried maid crept into Mirandaâ€™s room, where she sat upright in bed a thin line of blood marking where her skull was split open by the saplingâ€™s taproot.
March 15, 2006
March 13, 2006
Lot#44444 really caused a double take, first I didnâ€™t know an Octopus could get this big, this specimen is ten feet long even as curled up as it is, secondly it wasnâ€™t an octopus. It was a biological anoamly known as The Quadrapus, the star attraction of Dr. Wonderâ€™s House of the Strange and Astounding. Obviously a sideshow, which toured the country from 1890 to about 1905, it was never tied to any specific Circus or Carnival but joined up with whoever would pay the most. Apparently it was a hell of a sideshow, creating lines that would wrap around an entire fairground. The Quadrapus, better known as â€œNeptuneâ€™s Pitchforkâ€ was the main attraction, hauled around in a huge gilded water tank with a tacky baroque framework, it would be thrown random predatory animals to decimate while the crowds shouted on. Thereâ€™s an itemized list, which includes 10 alligators, 4 sharks, 3 snapping turtles, a mountain lion, 2 gorillas, and at least 8 bears of different species. It also ate three humans, two handlers Fitch Malone and Roy Oâ€™Doyle, and one Rupert McCoy â€œThe Human Pillarâ€ who dived into the tank to wrestle the beast and prove that he was â€œThe most dangerous creature on earth.â€ Mr. McCoy also had his own successful run of slaying, with his bare hands, an assortment of wild beasts, notably 2 tigers, 3 lions, 6 crocodiles, an enraged bull, and a couple of bears for good measure. He was justly torn to bits after about fifteen seconds of paltry struggle. Unjustly he was torn to bits in front of a crowd of about six hundred who were a bit upset that the billed â€œtitanic clash of man against savage beastâ€ was so anticlimactic. There was a riot. It took some time to get the crowd under control but by then a flurry of chairs had shattered the beastâ€™s tank. Dr. Wonder managed to get it in a bath of formaldehyde, and tried to tour with the pickled creature, but no one was interested. He ended up selling it to a rich eccentric in the Catskills, my Uncleâ€™s father, Fredrick Goodman.
March 9, 2006
I admit to being quite confused by this item, the two zeppelin stamp, admittedly Iâ€™m confused by a lot of the oddities here, but still, thatâ€™s its value, two zeppelins. Someone paid two zeppelins for this? How heavy was this object they needed to mail? So heavy that the owner wasnâ€™t able to move it by using the two zeppelins they already had? The stamp bought what, the use of three zeppelins? Uncle Laurenceâ€™s notes donâ€™t help much either, he just blabbers on and on about how unfortunate it is he couldnâ€™t find a specimen with glue. Which implies that there was more than one of these stamps, which means there were multiple owners of surplus zeppelins all of whom with the need to move some absurdly heavy parcels. The world is a strange place, and this house accounts for about 83% of that strangeness.
March 8, 2006
My uncle died. Well I should say my rich uncle died. Actually it’s something more like this, my astronomically wealthy Uncle Laurence Goodman, whom I never knew, and who was apparently a lifelong collector of many rare and strange items, has been missing for six years and, as per his will, is presumed dead.
Now, I am completely bereft of any knowledge of this man so I’ve begun to sort through his vast menagerie of the bizarre to learn about him. Luckily he was very meticulous with his collection, it’s all cataloged with detailed descriptions of each item’s known history, with cross-references to his Journal’s, which I have yet to find.
So I present the above item Lot#35668, the steam driven heart. Built somewhere around 1843 by one Virgilio Bordino, it was the only part built from a much larger set of plans. Made for some one referenced only as Mr. Drebbel, it was to be the main driving mechanism for what looks like a little metal boy. The scraps of information here say that Mr. Drebbel had a young son, named William, who was very sickly with a weak heart. Due to his condition he was never allowed to run, or climb trees, or swim, or yell or do much of anything that normal boys do. So the William obeyed, and never did any of it, until his father was called away due to a business emergency. After the housekeeper had gone to sleep the young boy snuck out to play in the moonlight.
The next day the housekeeper found the boy sitting flaccid on the stairs to the house, his bare porcelain feet stained brown and green from running all night, his face locked into a soft smile, the only smile the housekeeper could ever remember seeing on the boy. He had expired watching the sun come up. One year later the steam driven heart was built, apparently modified sixteen times before the project was abandoned, Virgilio just couldnâ€™t make the heart strong enough to satisfy Mr. Drebbel.