News of the Weird

Week of September 12, 1999

-- For an August feature on Rhonda Lenair, a Newbury, Mass., "medical intuitive," a Boston Globe editor confirmed that Lenair had discerned the editor's various body problems with "75-80 percent" accuracy on the basis of a mere telephone call. Lenair (fee: $275) said she is like an ultrasound machine in that she can mentally scan the body and tap into the patient's energy field, and sometimes can even feel the patient's pain by transference. Said one fawning Harvard-clinic psychiatrist, "Sitting in front of her is like being in front of an X-ray machine," that it was "almost embarrassing" how well she could read him.

-- Among the men's fashions introduced in Paris in July were a crocheted face mask (reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter) and a flower-print jacket and matching headscarf, from Belgian designer Walter Van Bierendonck; a white full skirt for men to wear over blue jeans, from Dutch designer Dries Van Noten; and, also to be worn with blue jeans and a white shirt: a formal black dorsal wing extending five feet out on each side (by a designer unidentified in an Associated Press dispatch).

God, the Micromanager

Debtors Norman and Melissa Cameron said in court documents that God told them they didn't have to pay their mortgage (Hartford, Conn., August). Dean William Trammel, 22, charged with assaulting a flight attendant, said in court that God told him he didn't have to remain seated during the landing (Baltimore, January). Donald R. Delgade, 37, arrested for driving through the front door of the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, said God told him to (June). Priscilla Lee Jansma, 44, arrested for killing her husband, told police, "Jesus told me it was OK to do it" (Aurora, Colo., June).

Police Blotter

-- Driver Lamarn Williams, 27, and his three passengers were arrested in August near Washington, Pa., by a state trooper who had intended only to warn Williams for driving too fast. However, when the trooper asked the obligatory question about whether the car contained any guns or drugs, passenger Marlon Martez Lee's eyes rolled back in his head, and he fainted. The trooper called for drug-sniffing dogs, and about 10 kg of cocaine (value: $1 million) was found in the trunk.

-- The "ugly robber" plaguing the Phoenix area was arrested in July in Peoria, Ariz. Karen Marie Tribby, 33, reportedly confessed to 12 robberies in which police bulletins afterward in each case described the robber as a "very ugly woman." A police spokesman justified that description by pointing out that "every victim who has seen her" has described her as "very ugly."

-- From the Police Blotter column of the State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill., July 29: A 41-year-old man reported that another man who lives at the same residence on East Adams Street may have stolen his glass eye. Both men have glass eyes, but the alleged victim said his was missing from his pocket but that another one was left in its place. The victim admitted he "did not see the exchange."

-- Ex-Marine Stanley Heiserman, 41, pleaded guilty in Allentown, Pa., in May to six convenience-store robberies, four of which he pulled off while naked. Heiserman told police that during a previous stint at robbery, he had been identified by his clothing and was determined not to let that happen again.

-- Milestone in Ambisexual Achievement: Patricia McGrath, 65, was arrested in Philadelphia in July and charged with robbing the First Federal Bank and was suspected in at least five other bank robberies. According to police, McGrath was dressed as a man during the job but fled the scene in women's clothing. During a strip search at the police station, McGrath was revealed to possess physical characteristics of both sexes and was classified as male, though he insisted on being called Patricia and confined in the women's section. On the other hand, said the arresting detective, "I definitely have to commend his professionalism. He's pretty good at (bank robbery)."

Feuds

-- The United States and Canada recently squared off aggressively over a dispute about rights to the popular walleye fish that roam rivers and lakes near the Manitoba-Minnesota border. Canada bars U.S. anglers from its side of the lakes unless they stay at Canadian resorts; President Clinton says that policy violates the North American Free Trade Agreement. Minnesotans on a U.S. peninsula attached to Manitoba have threatened to secede and join Canada in order to get better access to walleyes, but in retaliation, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura threatened to block the Canadian National railroad, whose track makes a short dip into Minnesota to get around one of the lakes.

-- In August, the Pikeville, Ky., City Commission granted permission to the McCoy family for a three-day reunion in June 2000, to which members of the Hatfield family have been invited for a McCoy-Hatfield softball game. (During the 1870s and 1880s, the two Appalachian families had one of the most notorious feuds in U.S. history, marked by 12 deaths.)

Recent Moonlighting Cops

In April, Nashville, Tenn., police officer Clinton Lien was fired after superiors found out he was running an on-premises sex club for swingers in his spare time. And in May, officer Shayne Simmons was fired from the Carl Junction, Mo., police force after superiors found out he and his wife were the principals in a nude-dancing club just north of town.

Recurring Themes

Latest episode of someone stopping on the shoulder of the highway to urinate and then accidentally falling down an embankment to his death: Mr. Orlando Aros, 26, in June on Interstate 10 near Phoenix. And the latest instance of someone's emerging from a long coma by an inspirational presence in his hospital room: Tom Bendall, 19, Gloucester Royal Hospital, England, brought out of a six-month coma in April by his rugby team's holding its winning trophy in front of him.

Least Competent Criminals

People Who Should Have Kept a Lower Profile: Bobby Lee Allison, 26, who habitually carries a live snake around his neck, escaped from police in Tennessee (suspicion of DUI) but was arrested six hours later in Athens, Ala., when people reported seeing a guy with a snake around his neck (July). And Dorothy Joyner, 57, who evaded a warrant for burglary in Baltimore, was spotted by a police officer as she was being interviewed on TV in connection with her candidacy for mayor of Baltimore (subject of interview: crime-prevention).

Also, in the Last Month ...

A 30-year-old woman faced assault charges for kicking a catcalling man in the crotch (Toronto); cleaning ladies in Bologna, Italy, and at Dulles International Airport in Virginia cheerfully returned lost handbags containing $30,000 and $20,000 (in jewels and diamonds), respectively; a 26-year-old woman, headed home from a bar, fell off a rooftop and was wedged between two buildings for five hours (St. Catharines, Ontario); airport authorities confiscated a mysterious canister from a Yale researcher that turned out to be the semen of a 91-year-old professor, packed in dry ice and headed for an experiment in Wisconsin (New Haven, Conn.); two men stole a safe from a Swiss Chalet restaurant and spent a half-hour in the parking lot driving back and forth over it trying to get it open, but by then, police arrived (Ajax, Ontario).

(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, Fla. 33679, or Weird@compuserve.com.)

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