mesmerism! presidential assassinations! circuses on fire!
May be this is far from new, but I just found this website which had some material and fluff about Mike Gittleson and some his strength and training equipment while at Michigan between 1978-2007. No pizzas involved.
Some of it is pretty effed up. Other parts are kind cool, i.e. of the He-Man, Dolph Lundgren "I must brreak you!", bone crushing sort: