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Day 2 - Symphony of Speed

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This Hypertour occurred in 1993; some info may be outdated. Links to current info have been added.

Daybreak finds us at Wood County Historical Museum in Bowling Green, OH, for a look at their most famous (at least to us) display -- three human fingers in a jar (#11). More Info

Fingers in a Jar.

Back on the road, Pepsi unleashes a counterpunching info-juggernaut. The message: "It's a hundred-person, multi-state series of unrelated hoaxes." DJs are unanimously on Pepsi's side. "Why would people do that?" they ask rhetorically. The answers: power, greed, and a sick desire to "hold large corporations hostage." Eight, or "nearly all," have already admitted falsifying. Arrests are made. Listeners are told bluntly, "You can get five years for making false statements about a corporation."

12) Former Home of Bob Evans, Rudolph, OH; 13) Bathtub from The USS Maine, Findlay, OH; 14) America's First Concrete Street and Statue of Concrete's Inventor, Bellefontaine, OH.

Syndicated host Paul Harvey tells us that greedy hoaxers could short-sell Pepsi's stock, reaping millions in ill-gotten profits if the stock cratered. "Rest assured that the SEC is looking into it." Never mind that a hoaxer would have to be a millionaire upfront to pull off such a stunt, a smug Harvey concludes, "It didn't work. Yesterday, Pepsi's stock closed unchanged." The similarity of coverage from station to station, national to local, news talk to country, is astonishing. "Experts" tell us that the perpetrators' chicanery "makes them feel kind of like a hero." Normal Joes are interviewed on the street; no one has lessened their Pepsi intake.

p>Titanic MuseumWe pass through little towns with big graveyards; more people dead than alive. In Sidney, OH, we find the Titanic Museum (#15), run single-handedly by a single-minded visionary, John Whitman.Whitman saw the movie, "Titanic," on May 16, 1957 "and it took over my life.People don't know what an obsession is." Whitman, chain-smoking cigarettes and chain-drinking caffeine-packed Mountain Dews, speaks rapid fire, illuminating the museum's impressive contents.

Six outfits from survivors are displayed, though the one item he would save from a fire are the ship's original interior design blueprints.

Whitman works on his museum some 120 hours a week; "I hate sleep." Out back, Whitman is building a full-sized replica town from 1912, the year the Titanic went down. Though it won't be finished until 2012, projected start and completion dates for all 14 buildings and 18 businesses are stored in Whitman's computer as part of his master plan. Town officials don't support him, and wouldn't visit even when bagpipers flew all the way from Scotland to play at the outdoor Titanic memorial.

Still, says Whitman, whose obsession broke up his marriage years ago, "I can't wait to get up in the morning. I love it." [At last report, Whitman has closed the Titanic Museum]

Shrine.The Shrine of the Holy Relics (#16) in Maria Stein is a tranquil, off-the-beaten-path retreat, and today's second Ohio bone stop. More Info

A Cincinnati host and his livid listeners loudly condemn a GQ article that they think slights their town. But neither the host nor any of his callers has actually seen or read the subject of their hostility. "No one I know even gets the magazine," snorts the host.

gas station.
17) Recreated "Andy Griffith Show" Filling Station, Circle Hill, Ohio.

By six PM, Pepsi's one-time problem is "The Conspiracy That Never Was." There is no need to panic. The evening topic of ire: "Do hugs among 13-year-old girls constitute sexual harassment?" Listeners fume: "What's happening to this country!?" "The teacher who reported them is the one who is sick!" Again, no one pays attention to the tiny half-inch news clip that starts it all, in which no one is accused of sexual harassment. The misguided rage goes on for three hours, and the vitriolic host concludes, "I could do a whole week of shows just on this!"

18) Joe Palooka Statue, Oolitic, IN. 19) Odd Tombstones, Green Hill Cemetery, Bedford, IN. At our last stop of the day, we watch a drug deal go down outside Red Skelton's Birthplace, in Vincennes, IN (#20), before taking the Red Skelton Bridge the hell out of town.

Also see: Tour Day 3 | Symphony of Speed

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