Americans invent some pretty creepy stuff and, every Halloween, the US Patent and Trademark Office looks through its archives, digging up some of the strangest, scariest and, often unsettling, inventions to come through the agency.
Americans celebrate Halloween every Oct. 31. Even though it’s a fun event that’s more about dressing up in costumes and going out to trick or treat for candy from neighbors and friends, the occasion has spooky origins. It may have evolved from traditions in England, Ireland and Scotland — where the Celts believed the dead could walk among the living during the transition between the seasons
The USPTO grants U.S. patents and registers trademarks which give authors and inventors exclusive rights to their writings and discoveries for a limited time.
Some of the discoveries these inventors assumed were worth stealing include a device that alerts people that you’re not quite dead in the event you are mistakenly buried alive.
And then there’s the coffin seat belt in case the ride in the hearse is a bumpy one.
The Spirit Message Conveying Device helps summon spirits and purports to cause less strain on the user when compared to similar devices.
In 1871, long before tamper-proof or children-safe medicine bottles, J. Harrison devised a spikey, not-very-safe-looking Precautionary Attachment for Bottles Containing Poison.
Dr. Thomas Holmes of Washington, D.C., patented a coffin/bodybag in 1863, during the Civil War.
A chin rest for the dead, patented by J.W. Sexton in 1893, could help corpses keep their chin up about no longer being alive.
W. Hanlon patented his version of a beheading block and ax in 1890.
The patented Shark Protector Suit from 1989 looks a little like a modern-day Halloween costume.
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