Nebraska History August 10, 2015
by Delana Lefevers The 5 Weirdest And Strangest Things That Have Ever Happened In Nebraska
People seem to think Nebraska is boring – nothing but cornfields and cows. But we’ve seen our share of really weird stuff over the years. These five crazy events are all a part of Nebraska’s weird past.
1. The Lucky Scalpee
In 1867, William Thompson, a Union Pacific employee in Omaha, was sent to Lexington to work on a malfunctioning telegraph wire. The train he was on was attacked by a group of 25 Cheyenne. Everyone else on the train was killed and Thompson was shot in the shoulder, then scalped and left for dead. Thompson lost consciousness, but miraculously woke up and found his scalp lying nearby. Upon returning to Omaha, his doctor was unable to reattach the scalp. Eventually, Thompson donated the bizarre keepsake to that doctor, who in turn donated it to the Omaha Public Library. It was on display at the main branch until the mid-1970s, but now is only brought out periodically.
2. Why the University of Nebraska Medical School Moved Out of Lincoln
In the late 19th century, the University of Nebraska medical school was widely known to be short on cadavers for students to study and practice on. Several corpse-snatching and grave robbing incidents were connected to the school, prompting the legislature to cut the school's funding, leading to its closure in 1887. In 1909, a new campus was built in Omaha.
3. A "UFO" is Caught Live on the Air on a TV Station's Towercam
This weird acorn-shaped object was seen hovering far above the ground in Lincoln early in the morning on September 4, 2013. The meteorologist watched the object for a good 45 minutes until it disappeared into the sunrise. Was it just a twinkling star or something more supernatural? Click the source link below the photo to watch the video and judge for yourself.
4. The Magical Sandhills Healing Machine
Emery Blagdon lived on a farm near Stapleton, a bachelor who mostly kept to himself. In his shed, however, something magical took shape over the course of two decades. In the late 1950s, a personal tragedy inspired Blagdon to start building a unique "Healing Machine." He used wire, plastic, beads, wood, ribbon, pieces of metal, Christmas lights, and geometric paintings to make around 450 sculptures which he thought gave off healing power. He eventually filled the entire 800-square-foot shed with his bizarrely beautiful work. After his death in 1986, a pharmacist he'd befriended a decade earlier bought the healing machine and exhibited parts of it for 18 years. The huge work of art is now part of the permanent collection at the Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The quiet Nebraskan man with the long beard, crazy hair, and admirable goal to heal the world is now known as a visionary self-taught artist.
5. God in Court
Nebraskans have a weird relationship with God and the court system. In 2007, Senator Ernie Chambers wanted to prove a point about frivolous lawsuits, so he filed one of his own - against God. He said the deity had caused untold death and destruction and made terroristic threats against his constituents. The entire suit was a tongue-in-cheek protest against inappropriate lawsuits, but many media outlets chose to leave that part out. The case moved around a bit in the court system before being thrown out nearly a year after it was filed - partially because God had no physical address and could not be served notice; partially because the court is not a forum to settle hypothetical or theological issues. In 2015, Sylvia Ann Driskell was completely serious when she sued every homosexual person on Earth...as God's own ambassador. The U.S District Court of Omaha threw her suit out two days after she filed it. The judge in the matter explained that the Federal Courts are meant to resolve actual cases, not to debate theological matters.
Nebraska may not be as weird as, say, Florida…but that’s not really a bad thing, is it? What other weird things do you know of that took place right here in the Cornhusker State?
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