News of the Weird

LEAD STORY -- Undignified Deaths

-- A husband and wife have been exposed as murderers and cannibals in Krasnodar in southern Russia, reported the Express on Sept. 28. Natalia Baksheeva, 43, has confessed to killing and eating dozens of victims with her husband, Dmitry, 35, over 18 years. Investigators were tipped off to the couple's gruesome culinary tastes after a 35-year-old waitress, Elena Vashrusheva, and Natalia fought over accusations that Vashrusheva was flirting with Dmitry. Natalia ordered her husband to kill Vashrusheva: "Following this demand, the man took out the knife that he always kept in his bag and stabbed the woman twice in her chest. The victim died from her injuries on the spot," investigators reported. Police charged Natalia with one count of goading her husband into killing the woman after they found "steamed," pickled and frozen human remains belonging to Vashrusheva in the couple's kitchen. A photo found in their apartment from 1999 showed a human head served as dinner, garnished with mandarin oranges. Dmitry, who has tuberculosis, will be charged at a later date. [Express, 9/28/2018]

-- Tu Thanh Nguyen, 32, of Sunnyvale, California, made two crucial mistakes while she was visiting Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan on Sept. 19. First, Nguyen was hiking alone, reported WLUC News. But her fatal error was stopping at a point along the North Country Trail to take selfies, where she slipped and fell 200 feet to her death in Lake Superior. Two kayakers witnessed her fall and retrieved her body, which they moved to Chapel Beach. However, first responders were unable to revive her. [WLUC, 9/20/2018]

Bold Moves

Three cheeky raccoons jolted a Toronto, Ontario, Canada, woman awake late on Sept. 18 when they broke into her kitchen. Jenny Serwylo heard noises coming from her kitchen and approached the critters with a broom, which scared away two out of the three. But a third wouldn't budge, barricaded behind her toaster oven and munching on a package of English muffins. "He was like, 'I'm eating, get out of here,'" Serwylo told the Toronto Star. She tried calling authorities but couldn't get any help, and her contest of wills with the raccoon lasted for more than a half-hour. "I was growling at him and hissing at him," she said. As she pointed the broom handle at the animal, it would grab the end and "yank it really hard." Finally, having consumed all the bread in the kitchen, the raccoon calmly went out the window, which Serwylo locked behind it. Toronto Animal Services spokesperson Bruce Hawkins told the Star that such encounters are unusual, but you be the judge: The city has created a guide for residents about how to deal with raccoon intrusions. [Toronto Star, 9/19/2018]

The Passing Parade

Gender reveal events, in which expectant parents creatively announce the sex of their unborn children, are taking on increasingly more ridiculous and, in some cases, dangerous proportions. To wit: Border Patrol Agent Dennis Dickey, 37, pleaded guilty on Sept. 28 to accidentally starting the April 2017 Sawmill Fire, which burned 47,000 acres in and around Madera Canyon in Arizona, prompting evacuations and closing highways, according to the Arizona Daily Star. It all started when Dickey and his pregnant wife hosted a gender reveal party at which he shot a target containing Tannerite, an explosive substance, and colored powder signifying the child's gender. When the target exploded, it caught nearby brush on fire, and Dickey immediately reported the wildfire and admitted he had started it. Dickey will pay $220,000 in restitution, and he is expected to keep his job. [Arizona Daily Star, 9/28/2018]

Oops

Things got tense for passengers on a GoAir flight from New Delhi to Patna, India, on Sept. 22 when a first-time flyer mistook an emergency exit door for the restroom. Travel + Leisure magazine reported that fellow passengers asked the man, in his 20s, what he was doing, to which he replied that he "needed to use the washroom urgently" and returned to tugging at the door. Airport official Mohammad Sanowar Khan explained: "Pandemonium prevailed ... and he was restrained. ... He said that the confusion happened because he had boarded a flight for the first time in his life." The unnamed traveler was questioned at the Patna airport. [Travel + Leisure, 9/26/2018]

What? Is That a Problem?

The Wagner Funeral Home in Jordan, Minnesota, made news on Sept. 26 when a judge released the details of a ruling against the mortuary for, among other violations, storing jarred applesauce in the same room where embalming takes place. Joseph Wagner, who runs the funeral home, was just helping out his brother, who owns nearby Wagner Bros. Orchard and needed some extra storage space, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But the Minnesota Department of Health took issue with the jars being stored adjacent to a hazardous waste container, where blood and other waste from the embalming process are disposed of, and under an emergency shower and blocking an emergency eyewash station. Wagner was ordered to correct the violations and pay a $5,000 penalty. [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/28/2018]

What's in a Name?

-- In the remote town of Yungar, Peru, two candidates for mayor with remarkable names are duking it out: Local politician Hitler Alba Sanchez, who served as mayor from 2011 to 2014, has been challenged by Lennin Vladimir Rodriguez Valverde. Sanchez told The Independent that his parents had been unaware of the Nazi connection to his name when he was born, but even after realizing its origins, his father liked it because it "sounded foreign." Peruvians are known for choosing foreign-sounding first names for their children: Last year, Peru's junior football team featured a player named Osama Vinladen. [The Independent, 9/24/2018]

-- Election season brings out the funny name stories: In Belgium, 26-year-old Luc Anus is running for a council seat in the city of Lobbes. But when he tried to incorporate social media into his campaign strategy, he hit a snag: Facebook wouldn't allow him to use his last name. The candidate didn't miss a beat, though: He changed his online name to Luc Anu. Metro News reported that there are 49 people in Belgium with the last name Anus. [Metro News, 9/24/2018]

Recent Alarming Headline

At a Port Orange, Florida, Walmart on Sept. 28, Tracy Nigh and her 8-year-old daughter were taking a break on a bench inside the store when 81-year-old Hellmuth Kolb approached them and asked if Nigh was married. "He didn't seem like a threat at first," Nigh told WKMG-TV, but then Kolb started offering to buy the little girl. "The first amount was $100,000, the second amount was $150,000 and then the final amount was $200,000," Nigh said. "I then said, 'No, we have to go.'" They rose to leave, but Kolb grabbed the girl's wrist and kissed it. Nigh alerted store security, and the encounter was recorded on surveillance video. Another woman reported a similar incident. Kolb was arrested and charged with simple battery and false imprisonment. [WKMG-TV, 10/2/2018]

Nature Calls

Neither rain, nor sleet ... nor need of a bathroom break could stop a postal carrier from delivering the mail -- and so much more -- to a Memphis, Tennessee, resident. FOX13 reported Sept. 28 that a homeowner's surveillance camera captured the postman looking around as he walked up the home's front porch and urinating as he approached the mailbox. He then placed mail inside the box and continued on his rounds, leaving a trail of urine on the porch and steps. The homeowner told FOX13 he still hasn't touched his mailbox because he is worried what could be on it. A spokesperson for the USPS said they are investigating the incident. [FOX 13, 9/28/2018]

Inexplicable

An employee at the Manassas, Virginia, Giant supermarket had a memorable day at work on Sept. 15 when he spotted Michael Dwayne Johnson, 27, in the produce aisle. As the employee watched, Metro News reported, Johnson pulled down his pants, picked up a piece of produce and rubbed it on his buttocks. Then he replaced the produce on the display and pulled his pants back up. Manassas Police charged Johnson with indecent exposure and destruction of property after the store was forced to destroy several pallets of fruit. Police did not release a motive. [Metro News, 9/19/2018]

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