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Fascinating True Stories from the Flip Side of History

Author Archives: Steve Silverman

The Shoeless Hillbilly

Useless Information Podcast

When Peter Grainger walked into a US Army recruiting center in San Antonio, Texas back in 1951, he had quite the story to tell.  He had spent nearly his entire life living high in the mountains of New Mexico with virtually no contact with the outside world. But was there more to this story than what he was telling them?

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Murder in the Mail

Useless Information Podcast

On an October day back in 1941, John Kmetz received a trial supply of herbal pills that would supposedly restore vitality to his 54-year-old body. Shortly after taking the pills, Kmetz was dead. Learn about the man suspected of the crime, another bizarre event that occurred prior to the murder, and his ultimate fate.

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The Penny Covered Desk

If we had taken a trip to the Liberty National Bank at 3158 Roosevelt Road in Chicago, Illinois on September 18th of 1949, we would have found bank floor manager William H. Oglesbee sitting at his very unusual desk. What made the desk so unusual was that it was covered with more than 12,000 pennies that had been individually glued to it using 77 tubes of airplane cement.

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The Great Venus Swindle

Useless Information Podcast

In 1953 Harold Jesse Berney, head of a Washington, DC television antenna manufacturing operation, was chosen by the US government to be its main contact with Uccelles, a prince visiting our planet from Venus.  If that sounds a bit bizarre, check out this story to learn about one of the most fantastic swindles ever conceived.

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Stolen Coffee Truck

On January 22nd of 1958 thieves in New York City stole a tractor trailer loaded with $22,000 worth of green coffee.  (That would be about $175,000 today.) They drove the truck to another garage at 564 Carroll Street and unloaded the coffee.  What they didn’t anticipate was that in removing all of that weight, the truck’s body would rise higher than the garage door through which it had entered.  

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