Alan Mays' photos with the strange

Will You Be My Socialist Valentine?

Will You Be My Socialist Valentine?
"To my valentine. I'm a socialist, will you be one? Free drinks, free money, free love. Ellam."

Postmarked Saginaw West Side, Mich., Feb. 4, 1911, and addressed to Ward Brown, 820 North Mason, Saginaw West Side.

Handwritten message: "I hope you are as I…
Added on January 22, 2018

A Happy Christmas?

A Happy Christmas?
John Grossman included this puzzling postcard in his book Christmas Curiosities: Odd, Dark, and Forgotten Christmas (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2008), p. 110. He suggests that the actions of this mean Santa Claus derive from earlier European traditions li…
Added on December 15, 2017

Turkeys Breaking the Wishbone on Thanksgiving Day

Turkeys Breaking the Wishbone on Thanksgiving Day
A 1908 Tuck postcard with an apparently cannibalistic Thanksgiving scene of two turkeys pulling on a wishbone.
Added on November 20, 2017

Here's to a Jolly Thanksgiving Feast

Here's to a Jolly Thanksgiving Feast
"Here's to jolly feast with Thanksgiving greetings." Printed on the back: "Thanksgiving Series No. 26."

A male turkey with a woman's head? Or a woman wearing a turkey costume? Just another quirky American Thanksgiving postcard from the early twentieth ce…
Added on November 13, 2017

Costume Creepiness (Full Version)

Costume Creepiness (Full Version)
See also a cropped version of this real photo postcard.
Added on October 29, 2017

Costume Creepiness

Costume Creepiness
An additional Halloween photo for the Vintage Photos Theme Park (post as many photos as you want--no limit!--that relate directly or indirectly to Halloween).

I'm not certain whether this photo was actually taken at Halloween, but I wouldn't want to run…
Added on October 29, 2017

Pumpkinhead Boy with Witch and Black Cat

Pumpkinhead Boy with Witch and Black Cat
Why is the witch holding a knife? Is that a plate of ice cream with a wedding ring on top? Is that a black cat or could it be a big rat? What is pumpkinhead boy smiling at? Why are some early twentieth-century Halloween postcards so puzzling?
Added on October 24, 2017

Merry Halloween from Brunswick, Maine, 1943 (Cropped)

Merry Halloween from Brunswick, Maine, 1943 (Cropped)
For more information, see the full version of this real photo postcard.
Added on October 20, 2017

Merry Halloween from Brunswick, Maine, 1943

Merry Halloween from Brunswick, Maine, 1943
Yet another Halloween photo for the Vintage Photos Theme Park.

A real photo postcard with a Halloween portrait of kids (including twins?), a cat, and a jack-o'-lantern all posing on the front porch (see also a cropped version of the photo). The family se…
Added on October 20, 2017

Halloween Cabbages—Is My True Love Tall and Grand?

Halloween Cabbages—Is My True Love Tall and Grand?
"O, is my true love tall and grand? O, is my sweetheart bonny?"

Mirrors, cakes, apple peels, and chestnuts (see below) have all figured in the Halloween fortune-telling games depicted on early twentieth-century postcards. So I guess I shouldn't have bee…
Added on October 16, 2017

A Jolly Halloween with Witchy Woman, Scarecrow Man, and Screechy Owl

A Jolly Halloween with Witchy Woman, Scarecrow Man, and Screechy Owl
A quirky Halloween postcard addressed to R. D. Bell, Bellwood, Penna., and postmarked Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 2, 1910.
Added on October 12, 2017

Have Just Run Across Some Old Friends

Have Just Run Across Some Old Friends
"Have just run across some old friends."

A postcard addressed on the other side to Master Willie McClinton, Black Bank, Ont., and postmarked Toronto, Ont., March 6, 1911.

Handwritten message: "Sunday [March 5]. Dear Willie, Your mother was up to see us…
Added on September 29, 2017

Gas on Stomach for 20 Years

Gas on Stomach for 20 Years
"Gas on Stomach for 20 Years. Exercies to help constipation (page 8). What to eat (page 12)."

Constipated? Bloated? Nauseated by ads that discuss such topics? Then this small 1930s advertising booklet is for you! It discusses the benefits of Adlerika, a…
Added on October  6, 2014

No Man Loves a Tired Nervous Woman!

No Man Loves a Tired Nervous Woman!
"No Man Loves a Tired Nervous Woman! Nor does a woman love a pepless man. How to get friends (page 9). How to hold your husband's love (page 12)."

Are you tired, nervous, or--ahem!--pepless? If so, then you would surely benefit from reading this small 19…
Added on October  6, 2014

The Ghosts of Christmas Presents

The Ghosts of Christmas Presents
A mother and son-—along with a tree and wrapped presents-—seem to be materializing out of the ether in this Christmas double exposure.

For other haunted holiday happenings, see The Ghosts of Christmas Past and The Ghosts of Easter Past (below).
Added on June 15, 2017

I'm All Ears

I'm All Ears
"I'm all ears. Tell me all about it. Wall."

A corny postcard by illustrator Bernhardt Wall.
Added on March 28, 2017

I Surrender My Heart and My Love for Thee

I Surrender My Heart and My Love for Thee
Although this postcard--with a postmark dated February 13, 1911--is intended to convey a patriotic sentiment, the idea of Cupid kneeling down and holding up what appears to be a still-steaming heart makes it feel too much like a sacrificial offering to me…
Added on February 12, 2016

Too Small for His Britches?

Too Small for His Britches?
"Roberts & Co., leading clothiers, 'glass front,' 797 Broad St., Newark, N.J. Copyright 1883 by J. H. Bufford's Sons."

A winged Cupid, who's wearing a shirt but no pants, waits patiently as two women use needles and thread to mend a gigantic pair of pant…
Added on February  6, 2017