Top Gun: Todd Whitehurst may be the "father" of from 42 to 60 children, based on statistical probability that recognizes his virtuosity as a sperm donor, according to a June New York Post profile (though one website, Donor Sibling Registry, claims to have documented 129 children sired by an unnamed seed demon, who is one of 92 highly productive men with 10 or more). Whitehurst, who like the others, was selected based on his sperm's profile and speed, donated weekly for about three years in the late 1980s (for $50 a session), and has been contacted so far by nine teenagers who sent him their photos after piecing together evidence identifying him (despite sperm banks' promises of confidentiality). Whitehurst, acknowledging the resemblances to his "offspring," seems to find the relationships fulfilling, however limited they are. Said he, "I love Father's Day."
-- New York scent artist Christopher Brosius had made his name with fragrances recalling childhood (such as Clean Baby Butt, Green Bean and Baseball Glove), but felt it was time, according to an April report in New York magazine, to approach the next frontier -- to make a perfume so exclusive that no one could smell it. By Brosius' reasoning, the scent's chemicals would provoke whatever reactions scents provoke in those exposed to it, but the actual scent would be undetectable to the nose; hence, no one would know why they were reacting as they were. By trial and error, he combined jasmine, sandalwood and natural amber, and scaled them down in power, yielding what he calls Where We Are There Is No Here. Said Brosius, "The question, 'What perfume are you wearing?' should never arise."
-- Blow Against the Empire: Bank of America (BA) had the tables turned on it in June after the company wrongfully harassed an alleged mortgage scofflaw in Naples, Fla. BA had attempted to foreclose on homeowners Warren and Maureen Nyerges last year even though the couple had bought their house with cash -- paid directly to BA. It took BA a year and a half to understand its mistake -- that is, until the Nyergeses sued and won a judgment for expenses of $2,534, which BA promptly ignored. The Nyergeses' attorney obtained a seizure order, and two sheriff's deputies, with a moving truck, arrived at the local BA branch on June 3 to load $2,534 worth of furniture and computer equipment from the bank's offices. After about an hour on the phone with higher-ups, the local BA manager issue a check for $2,534.
-- Police in Doncaster, England, were on the lookout in June for an organized group of four female and two male shoplifters who hit a liquor store on Bentley Road in May but left an interesting crime-scene story on the surveillance video. While five of the crew distracted employees, one woman, wearing pants, walked to the back but emerged minutes later wearing a large wraparound skirt and waddling slowly toward the front door. After the unsuspecting employees bid farewell to the six, they discovered that the office safe was missing and concluded that the waddling woman was holding it between her legs.
"Big Snake's" Company Town
China's sleepy Zisiqiao Village in Zhejiang province is actually headquarters for the country's revered snake industry, with 160 families raising about 3 million serpents a year, mostly to harvest livers and gall bladders for soup, wine, and other products consumed for their immunity-building properties. In a June Reuters dispatch, one farmer described the 25-year evolution of "Snake Town" from a place where farmers simply threw males and females together for breeding to today's sophisticated production facilities that supply proper snake diets, research measures to enrich female fertility, and provide enhanced incubation conditions.
The Continuing Crisis
-- Perhaps a kindergartner needs to have his dad wait with him and wave bye-bye as he steps onto the school bus in the morning, but Rain Price is a 10th-grader (in American Fork, Utah), and his dad, Dale Price, nevertheless waves from the bus stop every morning, right in front of Rain's friends. Furthermore, according to a June report by KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, Dale makes it a point to be wearing a different, "crazy" costume every morning (170 in all for the school year, including, once, a wedding dress).
-- Alleged gang members Barbara Lee, 45, and Marco Ibanez, 19, were arrested in Hallandale Beach, Fla., in April and charged in the assault and stabbing of four deaf people. Lee was at the Ocean's Eleven Lounge one evening when she saw several people in a group make hand signs that she interpreted as disrespecting her own gang's signs, and, according to police, left to recruit Ibanez to come administer retribution. Unknown to Lee or Ibanez, the group were deaf people using sign language and had no idea they were making "gang" signs.
-- Rescues: (1) A 93-year-old woman was rescued by medics in Philadelphia in April after spending several days stuck in her own toilet. (According to KYW-TV, she had to be carried out with a portion of the toilet still stuck tightly to her body.) (2) In Tooting, England, in May, an unnamed senior was rescued by firefighters after he got his testicles caught in a shower seat in which he was sitting while bathing.
-- Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., apologized and paid the bill in June for exhuming the body of the recently deceased Kenneth Manis. The man who had shared Mr. Manis' hospital room during his final days had reported that his dentures were missing, and the hospital determined that they had been mistakenly buried with Mr. Manis.
Fetishes on Parade
Toshihiko Mizuno, 55, was arrested in Tokyo in June after three girls, ages 9 and 10, reported that he had talked them into spitting for him so that he could record it on video, to assist with "research" he was doing on "saliva." Police later discovered 26 videotapes, featuring about 400 young girls spitting. According to local media sources, Mizuno has had the obsession for 17 years, successfully getting at least 500 girls to spit, among the estimated 4,000 he propositioned.
Least Competent Criminals
Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) Eric Cogan, 33, was arrested in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in June after (according to police) presenting a holdup note to a teller at a TD Bank. To get to the teller, Cogan walked right by a sheriff's cruiser parked in front of the bank and a deputy in uniform seated inside the bank's entrance. (2) In April, Matthew Hudleston, 33, pleaded guilty in Mobile, Ala., to robbing a Regions Bank, using a holdup note that mentioned a gun. He got away but was arrested after he returned a few minutes later to ask for the holdup note back.
The Good Lord Willing: (1) Self-described anarchist Luciano Pitronello Schuffeneger was hospitalized and placed in a medically induced coma after a bomb he was planning for a Banco Santander bank in Santiago, Chile, exploded prematurely. He suffered third-degree burns and lost both hands and his eyesight, after accidentally tripping the bomb's trigger before entering the bank. (2) Mr. Isabel Gutierrez, 53, died of a heart attack in Refugio County, Texas, in June, after taking a break during the act of raping a 77-year-old woman. He told his victim that he didn't feel well, moved away from her, and stopped breathing.
A News of the Weird Classic (January 1994)
In a report in the August (1993) Archives of Dermatology, a 39-year-old woman in Cleveland complaining of bad hair was reported to have the first adult case of "acquired uncombable hair," which produces permanently coarse, tangled hair. Her condition was attributed to a side-effect of a diuretic.
(Are you ready for News of the Weird Pro Edition? Every Monday at http://NewsoftheWeird.blogspot.com and www.WeirdUniverse.net. Other handy addresses: WeirdNews at earthlink dot net, http://www.NewsoftheWeird.com, and P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679.)