News of the Weird

Lead Stories

Saskatchewan physician John Schneeberger, 38, implanted a thin, six-inch tube of someone else's blood in his own arm in order to beat a DNA test ordered because two female patients said Schneeberger raped them. He cut open his bicep, inserted the tube and pushed it down to the crook of the arm from which blood is usually drawn. He confessed to his scheme early in his trial in Regina in September but said he was forced to do it to protect himself because someone had broken into his house and stolen a used condom. However, in December Schneeberger was convicted.

A two-day, hands-on euthanasia technology conference was held in Seattle in November, in which various techniques and products were presented, with the most promising invention the "debreather" submitted by a Vancouver, British Columbia, man. The device's mask and hose run to a jar containing a substance the man would not identify but which he said made death from lack of oxygen "quick and painless" because it filters out carbon dioxide, thus supposedly preventing the body's natural panic reflex.

Least Competent Criminals

People Who Haven't Quite Figured Everything Out: Alexander Nemeth was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany, in September and charged with attempting to extort $14 million from the Nestlé food company by poisoning its products on supermarket shelves; the ransom money was to be placed in pouches around the necks of his homing pigeons, but police merely put radio transmitters into the pouches before sending the pigeons on their way. And Donald Mallison, 20, and Robert Mims, 18, were arrested in Irving, Texas, in November and charged with robbing a Blockbuster Video; they were caught outside their getaway car, having locked the keys inside.

Can't Possibly Be True

Reuters news agency, citing a Hanoi newspaper (Science and Life), reported in October that Ms. Nguyen Thi Tu of southern Ca Mau has not slept, even under doctors' care, since 1967. She tires normally and rests, but cannot sleep. (In a 1986 Reuters dispatch from San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba, with quotes from several of that country's leading neurologists and hospital officials, a man was reported not to have engaged in what is medically regarded as a sleep state in 40 years, though he did rest and close his eyes, especially when administered narcotics.)

After an unsuccessful appeal to the Nebraska legislature, South Dakota's Oglala Sioux Tribal Court said in August it would have to find other ways to stop beer sales in the nearby border town of Whiteclay, Nebraska (population 22). Stores there, far away from any populated area except the Oglala reservation, sell an average of 1,800 six-packs a day.

Also, in the Last Month...

Robbers in Manila stole the $50,000 life savings of a government retiree who had withdrawn the money from a bank out of fear of Y2K computer problems. The Russian parliament passed a bill making it specifically illegal for people to eat their pets. An Austin record label issued The Charmer, an album of calypso songs recorded by Louis Farrakhan before he became the leader of the Nation of Islam.

-- By Chuck Shepherd


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