For as long as there has been books, there has been a need for bookmarks in order to keep track of where you stopped reading. While there are dedicated bookmarks that are created for this job, many people simply reach for whatever is close at hand. Some things are obviously more appropriate than others to use as these bookmarks, but that hasn’t stop people from shoving some pretty interesting things into books over the years. There is even a website dedicated to weird things found in books by a used and rare bookseller. Some are funny, some are personal and a few are even heartbreaking. Sometimes people also place strange objects inside books for other purposes. Here is just a selection of our favorite items found in books and where they cropped up.
The Weldon Notes (Various Books)
Students of the Western University campus in London, Ontario, found themselves baffled by cryptic messages that they discovered tucked away between the pages of library books. The purpose of these messages were probably not bookmarks, but the mystery surrounding them caused quite a stir. Each one of the notes were printed, using a custom font and came in an envelope along with some type of object, such as a leaf, feather or jewel. Deepening the mystery even further was the fact that each of the objects always contained two paint stripes, splotches or some other type of marking. Of course, the eventual revelation that the cryptic notes were created by someone in a second-year sculpture and installation class as an art project was a bit of an anti-climax, but for a while the Weldon Notes captivated everyone from code breaks to professors and social media users.
Spectacles (The Story of a Fight by Hugh Lloyd)
If you need spectacles to read, it would make sense to keep them close to your books. However, one owner of The Story of a Fight, by Hugh Lloyd decided that the best place to store their spectacles would be inside the book that they were reading. According to the owner of Forgotten Bookmarks, the glasses have been in the book, which was published in 1907, for so long that they cracked the binding.
Shard of Glass (Gunsmoke by Don Ward)
It is not unusual for people to use dangerous objects, such as knives, for bookmarks when there is nothing else nearby, but one has to wonder why anyone would opt for a six inch chard of glass. It is definitely not something you would want to forget about only to have it fall out into your lap when you open the book.
Mysterious Key (Dr. Priestley Investigates by John Rhode)
On their own, keys are not really unusual as bookmarks. However, this one which was found inside a copy of Dr. Priestley Investigates, is not just any key. It was tied to a string and tucked away inside a sealed envelope belong to the Gladstone Hotel. History buffs will know that this was a well known New York City apartment hotel where numerous famous celebrities made their home, including Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson and many others.
Sandpaper (The Original Thai Cookbook by Jennifer Brennan)
This piece of 20 grit sandpaper, stuffed inside a copy of The Original Thai Cookbook by Jennifer Brennan, raises quite a few questions. Not only is it a very impractical bookmark that can, and in this case did, cause a lot of damage to the book, but who would have sandpaper lying around while cooking food?
Bloomers (Anchors Aweigh! by Oliver G. Swan)
It takes some dedication to stuff a pair of bloomers into a book and use it as a bookmark, but whoever owned this copy of Anchors Aweigh! by Oliver G. Swan managed to do just that. Even more amazing is that along with the bloomers, the book also held a dress. Both items were designed for dolls, but on a list of bizarre bookmarks these two still rank very high.
Saw Blade (Inside Every Woman by Vickie L. Milazzo)
Inside Every Woman is a book about uncovering the feminine forces you already possess and then harnessing them to improve your life and career. However, this six inch circular saw blade that a librarian discovered inside the book is probably the least feminine thing you could possibly use as a bookmark.