News of the Weird

Lead Stories

Life imitates Weekend at Bernie's: In November government officials in East London, South Africa, thwarted an attempt by two men and a woman to register a corpse for pension benefits. According to the South African Press Association, the three propped up the recently deceased man (who they said was merely ill) at the window serving the illiterate and held his hand out to be fingerprinted before a clerk got suspicious.

A November feature in Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper recounted the exhibits in Philadelphia's Mutter Museum of medical oddities, including the preserved corpse of a woman with a condition that turned her fatty tissue, upon her death, into a soaplike mass that halted decomposition; the "Muniz collection" of circular-sawed Peruvian human skulls; the extensive 70-year-old Chevalier Jackson Collection of Objects Swallowed and Inhaled; and the huge colon (described as "about the size of a large basset hound") that caused fatal constipation.

Latest Inappropriate Nude Activities

Parishioners at Saint Andrew's Church in south London, England, overpowered a naked sword-wielding man after he had attacked nine people during a children's service (November). Two former Rutgers male basketball players filed a lawsuit against the school and its coach for making them run laps naked during a practice two years ago (November). A naked University of California at Santa Cruz student was hit by a car, commandeered it, drove off and promptly crashed into a tree (October). A judge released often-nude gardener Robert Norton, 76, of Pekin, Illinois, after his 19th arrest but said he will go to jail if he is seen naked again (August). ("I can't [promise] anything," Norton said.)

Latest Rights

Milwaukee's Thomas Rollo, 53, chopped off his arm at the elbow with a homemade guillotine in October, but authorities found the arm in his refrigerator and made plans for reattachment surgery. However, Rollo refused the surgery, threatened to sue and promised to chop the arm right back off if it were reattached. However, a week earlier, a judge in Norwalk, Connecticut, acting on an emergency request from Norwalk Hospital, ordered a 42-year-old man who had severed his penis to submit to reattachment surgery.

Also, in the Last Month...

A man and his son, ages 54 and 17, were arrested in Columbus, Mississippi, for burglarizing a home, both dressed in ninja costumes, armed with swords and star-shaped throwing blades. An armed-robbery suspect, hiding from police in a tree at 4 a.m., was arrested when his wristwatch alarm sounded (Reno, Nevada). Officials at a landmine museum adjacent to two schools finally acceded to demands to defuse its 463 live mines (Zendajan, Afghanistan). A 37-year-old woman was cited for driving on a major freeway while reading a book (Ottawa, Ontario). An ultra-Orthodox religious court in Jerusalem banned women from using cell phones in public, ruling that it makes them look like prostitutes.

-- By Chuck Shepherd


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