Surprising and Strange

The man who made it rain, rain, rain in 1916

Charles Hatfield made it rain 106 years ago in San Diego. The only problem was he couldn’t make it stop. A deep dive through the San Diego Historical Society archives courtesy of the OB Rag reveals the legend and facts surrounding this strange, and wet, episode of local history. And, as they said about Liberty Valance, when the legend becomes fact, print the legend. Since…



Idiosyncratic dinosaur ‘museum’ went extinct

Always a bit of an oddity, and itself a colorful exhibition of an Escondido antique dealer’s lifelong hobby, the Roynon Museum celebrating all things dinosaur, went the way of the creatures celebrated within, that is to say, extinct, on June 30, 2019. Applying the lofty title of Roynon Museum of Earth Sciences and Paleontology to its decidedly idiosyncratic exhibit and purpose, museum officials this week…


In search of…Big Tepee

Big Tepee? Do you know the way, Jose’? Go around Escondido. Ask anyone about the Big Tepee. Since we can’t bet dollars against donuts anymore — some donuts cost much more than a dollar — let’s wager dollars against Chargers super bowl appearances that people asked that question will believe you should go to a big tepee of the medical kind. There’s an answer to…


Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps: He was a giant

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps: He was a giant Oh, what a long —- and sudsy —- trip it has been for Dr. Emmanuel H. Bronner and the soap he created, then popularized along with a cleansing dose of proselytizing. Bronner may be gone now, but nowhere near forgotten given the hundreds upon hundreds of Web pages devoted to his memory. These pages are devoted to…


Ghosts are in the house, but have no fear

Editor’s Note: As Halloween approaches, scary clowns are everywhere. And that’s just Donald Trump and his minions. In more ghostly news, consider this… October is the greatest month to explore all things ghostly. I’ve talked about poltergeists before and we learned that if you don’t actually see what threw the plate at you then it was, most likely, a poltergeist instead of a ghost. Ghosts…


Why won’t scientific evidence change the minds of Loch Ness monster true believers?

You may have noticed a curious recent announcement: An international research team plans to use state-of-the-art DNA testing to establish once and for all whether the Loch Ness monster exists. And for those locally, check out The Grapevine’s consideration of our local monster wannabe, Hodgee, the friendly Lake Hodges Moster, posted  here… Regardless of the results, it’s unlikely the test will change the mind of…


Death and dying with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

The archive of the influential psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who developed the theory of the five stages of grief, has been given to Stanford Libraries, Stanford University officials said this week. What does that have to do with Escondido? Plenty. Of special note in the archive are complete runs of newsletters from the Shanti Nilaya Healing Center, which Kübler-Ross founded in Escondido, as well as manuscript…


Poltergeists? Ghosts are just people, too

Having a ghost in your house doesn’t necessarily mean pictures fly off the wall at you and the dog cowers and growls at the top of the basement stairs.  Spirits are everywhere, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and intentions Hollywood has led people to believe that ghosts are not only real but vicious things that rip flesh and possess children to…


It’s National Fluffernutter Day. Hooray?

Every dog has its day, they say, and apparently so does every cause, effect and plain old thing. Welcome to Friday Oct. 8, 2021. It’s National Fluffernutter Day. Correct, National Fluffernutter Day is observed annually on Oct. 8, according to the National Day Calendar. This is a day set aside each year to make, and enjoy, the savory sandwich consisting of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Fluffernutter dates…