If you google “bag collectors” you can get a pretty clear idea of how strangely popular this hobby is. Top results include sites like “Runes Barf Bag Collection” and “Kellys World of Airsickness Bags”. Believe it or not, there is even a “Virtual Sickness Bags Virtual Museum” with over 3,000 residents in his collection. However, Vermeulen lets them all beat; He began collecting them in the 1970s and had amassed more than 6,000 by 2012. Not a word on how many he has amassed since then or if he’s still around, but luckily for his closest relatives, they don’t have to look far to find someone to put your inheritance on.
You would think that since no one has been on the moon in a few decades, there wouldn’t be enough moon rocks to keep the collectors market going. Well, as fate would have it, there were just enough people willing to steal just enough from their rightful owners for business to be booming all these years later. Not to mention just enough people willing to spend millions of dollars on things no bigger than gummy bears that they can’t even openly display in their homes for fear of arrest. Or literally everyone laughed at.
After the Apollo 11 and 17 missions, 842 pounds of lunar rock and earth came to Earth, and samples were given as gifts to over 100 countries and each of the 50 United States (instead of the alien stool samples hoped for). Dozens absence Illegal today, of course, and there is such an interest in them and their recovery that there are people who actually call themselves “moon rock hunters” trying to track them down as we speak. A retired special agent for NASA named Joseph Gutheinz has worked and found close ties with nearly 1,000 PhD students over the past two decades almost 80 stolen stones. A word to the wise, his “Moon Rock Project” is still alive and well, and we’re pretty sure it had nothing to do with showing his ass to Dwayne Johnson.
But they have detective work ahead of them: a stone was found after it was received by a casino owner in Vegas whose connection was a Baptist missionary who picked it up in Costa Rica. And that doesn’t take into account all of the fake moon rocks that have been floating on the black market since the 1960s. Real or fake, at the end of the day you are essentially dealing with a group of millionaires who are being ripped off. If one of them is Elon Musk, so much the better.
Tony Alpsen contributes a weekly comic about conjoined twins Yingandyan.com, for whatever reason.
Upper picture: Franz Xaver Winterhalter / Royal Collection