News of the Weird

LEAD STORY -- Wait, What?

Police in Mainz, Germany, responded to an apartment building after cries were heard from within one unit early on Feb. 17, The Associated Press reported. When they arrived, officers found two men, the 58-year-old tenant and a 61-year-old visitor, "hopelessly locked up" with a mannequin dressed as a knight and a large remote-controlled car. The men were too drunk to explain how they had become entangled, and one officer remarked that "the whole thing would have remained a funny episode" if the younger man had not become "more than impolite." He now faces a charge of insulting officers. [Associated Press via The New York Times, 2/17/2018]

People Different From Us

Metro News reported on Feb. 20 that travelers "remained silent" for 20 minutes while a fellow passenger on a Ural Airlines flight from Antalya, Turkey, to Moscow used the air vent above her seat to dry a pair of underwear. Witnesses reported that the woman showed no shame and that "everybody was looking with interest and confusion." Debate raged later, however, after video of the woman was posted online, with one commenter speculating that "maybe the takeoff was sort of extreme, so now she has to dry those." [Metro News, 2/20/2018]

Least Competent Criminals

-- Shanghai, China, police posted a video on social media of two men trying to break into a business on Feb. 14 by using bricks to shatter the glass storefront. But as United Press International reported, when Suspect A's brick bounced off the glass, he bent to retrieve it and ended up squarely in the path of Suspect B's brick, which struck him in the head and apparently knocked him out. In the video, Suspect B can be seen dragging Suspect A away from the store. Police remarked: "If all burglars were like this, we wouldn't need to work overtime." [United Press International, 2/19/2018]

-- A drug smuggler from Brazil apparently didn't know he was under investigation by the National Anti-Narcotics Trafficking Unit in Portugal when he arrived on a flight Feb. 12 wearing a set of false butt cheeks, filled with 2.2 pounds of cocaine, reported United Press International. The 32-year-old unidentified man was detained at the Tax and Customs Authority and searched, where his unusual derriere aroused suspicion. An accomplice, waiting for him at a Lisbon train station, was also arrested and charged with drug trafficking. [United Press International, 2/14/2018]

The Litigious Society

Crestline, California, resident Claudia Ackley, 46, has teamed with "Discovering Bigfoot" filmmaker Todd Standing to sue the state of California, requesting on Jan. 18 that state agencies acknowledge the existence of a Sasquatch species. Ackley and her daughters, 11 and 14, say they were hiking a trail at Lake Arrowhead in March 2017 when they spotted a large figure braced in a pine tree. "I ran into a Sasquatch -- a Bigfoot. We were face to face," Ackley told the San Bernardino Sun. Forest rangers insisted at the time that Ackley and her daughters had seen a bear, and Ackley fears that by not acknowledging the presence of the legendary creatures, the state is putting the public at risk. "People have to be warned about these things," she said. "They are big."

[San Bernardino Sun, 2/14/2018]


Firefighter Constantinos "Danny" Filippidis, 49, from Toronto, was the subject of a weeklong search by more than 250 people using drones, dogs and helicopters starting Feb. 7, when he disappeared from Whiteface Mountain ski resort in New York's Adirondacks. When he finally turned up in California at the Sacramento International Airport on Feb. 13, he was still dressed in his ski pants and ski boots, and he still had his helmet, along with a new iPhone and a recent haircut. But, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Filippidis couldn't tell officers anything about how he had traveled across the country, other than he rode in a "big-rig-style truck" and "slept a lot." The truck dropped him off in downtown Sacramento, but he was unable to explain how he got to the airport. He was taken to an area hospital. [The Syracuse Post-Standard, 2/14/2018]

Compelling Explanation

A woman claiming to be on a mission from God led a Kentucky State Police trooper on a chase at speeds up to 120 mph on Feb. 10, stopping only when another trooper pulled in front of her car. According to the Elizabethtown (Kentucky) News-Enterprise, Connie Lynn Allen, 52, of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, told officers that she was Mother Mary, en route to pick up Baby Jesus, and that God had given her permission to speed. She also said that she had died six years ago. She was charged with several offenses and is being held in Hardin County. [News-Enterprise, 2/12/2018]


Staffers at a Bangor, Maine, day care called Watch Me Shine were happy to receive Valentine's cookies made by a parent -- until those who ate them started to feel high. "Within 15 minutes, teachers were reporting they had concerns about those cookies," Tiffany Nowicki, director of the center, told the Bangor Daily News. About 12 staff members felt the effects of the treats, which were confiscated by the police and are being tested. "If they find something that shouldn't be in those cookies," Nowicki said, "that's a big problem and we'll make sure it's addressed." The day care has instituted a new policy that no outside food can be brought in for the children or staff. [Bangor Daily News, 2/16/2018]

The Continuing Crisis

Donna Walker of Linthwaite, England, just wanted a nice night out to celebrate her 50th birthday; she wasn't anticipating a trip to the emergency room. Walker, along with her husband, Carlton, 45, and their two sons, was waiting for takeout food at the Atlantis restaurant in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, early on Feb. 18 when a brawl broke out. The Walkers don't know what started the fight, but Carlton told Metro News: "When the fight spilled out of the takeaway, I said to Donna to stay inside. When I turned round my wife was at the doorway being attacked and was covered in blood. My son was being strangled." Donna sustained a 2-inch gash on her forehead and was bitten on the arm by the young woman who attacked her, calling for a tetanus shot and antibiotics. "I wiped my eye and saw all the blood," Donna said. "I had no idea I had been struck." Police were still looking for the attackers at press time. [Metro News, 2/19/2018]

Weird History

Union College in Schenectady, New York, excitedly announced on Feb. 13 that a librarian flipping through the brown pages of a 1793 almanac found a real historical treasure: a lock of President George Washington's hair. Librarian John Myers came upon an envelope with "Washington's hair" written in script on it, and inside, tied with a thread, were several strands of grayish hair. Keith Beutler, associate professor of history at Missouri Baptist University and the author of a book called "Washington's Hair," told The New York Times that in Washington's day, it was not uncommon to exchange locks of hair as remembrances. "Exchanging locks of hair were like the selfies of the day," Beutler said. Experts are examining the almanac and its provenance to determine whether the hair likely belongs to our first president, but in the meantime, college officials are learning how to preserve it. [The New York Times, 2/18/2018]

Animal Antics

At 10 Downing Street in London, Larry the cat is an institution, charged with chasing away mice and offering pet therapy to any willing caressers. Meanwhile, at the Foreign Office, Palmerston the cat serves the same purpose. But Larry and Palmerston have a long-running feud, according to The Telegraph, and on Feb. 16, they went at it again. Jezebel reported that fur was ripped and a collar torn off as the two cats duked it out in the street. Nick Dixon of "Good Morning Britain" said it appeared that Palmerston won this round: "Palmerston seemed to strut out of Downing Street. Larry seemed a bit dazed and confused after the fight." [Jezebel, 2/16/2018]

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