News of the Weird

LEAD STORY -- Undignified Death

In the northeastern town of Teesside, England, last August, 22-year-old Jordan Easton of Thornaby was at the home of a friend, hanging out in the kitchen, when he boasted that his vest was "stab-proof." To prove it, he "took hold a knife to demonstrate," Karin Welsh, Teesside assistant coroner, testified, "and sadly realized it wasn't the case." Teesside Live reported Easton was rushed to the hospital, but doctors weren't able to save him. Detective Superintendent Ted Butcher also testified at Easton's inquest on June 16 that he found no evidence Easton intended to harm himself and died after "a boisterous act." Welsh recorded a verdict of "misadventure." [Teesside Live, 6/16/2018]

News You Can Use

Louis Cote of Mascouche, Quebec, Canada, became suspicious last August of the DNA test results obtained from the samples he collected in his work for the Confederation of Aboriginal People of Canada, whose members use DNA testing to determine their native ancestry. So, CBC News reported on June 13, Cote launched his own experiment. He collected two samples using his own inner-cheek swabs, and a third from his girlfriend's Chihuahua, Snoopy, and sent them off to Viaguard Accu-Metrics. The results indicated that all three samples had identical DNA, including 12 percent Abenaki and 8 percent Mohawk ancestry. "I thought it was a joke," Cote said. "The company is fooling people ... the tests are no good." [CBC News, 6/13/2018]

Public Servants

In Putnam County, Florida, the sheriff's office provides a wide variety of services. So when Douglas Peter Kelly, 49, called the office on June 12 to complain that the methamphetamine he had been sold was fake, officers happily offered to test it for him. Kelly told detectives he had suffered a "violent reaction" after smoking the substance and wanted to sue the dealer if he had been sold the wrong drug. He arrived at the sheriff's office and "handed detectives a clear, crystal-like substance wrapped in aluminum foil," the office's Facebook post explained, according to The Washington Post. It "field-tested positive for methamphetamine." On the spot, Kelly was arrested and charged with possession of meth. The Facebook post continued: "Remember, our detectives are always ready to assist anyone who believes they were misled in their illegal drug purchase." [Washington Post, 6/14/2018]

What Is Art?

-- As part of the Dark Mofo art festival, Australian performance artist Mike Parr, 73, entered a steel tomb below busy Macquarie Street in Hobart on June 14, where he meditated, drew and read as traffic flowed overhead for 72 hours until his release on June 17. Parr had water but no food, and oxygen was pumped into the box. His performance was promoted as a "response to 20th-century totalitarian violence," according to The Guardian, but the piece didn't speak to everyone. "I don't take anything away from it at all," said Carolyn Bowerman from Townsville. "I'm just amazed that someone would put themselves through this and go to this much effort." In a previous performance art piece, Parr hacked at a prosthetic arm with an ax before a shocked audience. [The Guardian, 6/17/2018]

-- Over in Melbourne, Australia, customers of the Prahran neighborhood Woolworths store will have to park somewhere else on July 9, as renowned American photographer Spencer Tunick captures thousands of willing nudes in a group shot on the store's rooftop parking lot. Reuters reported more than 11,000 people registered to disrobe for Tunick, who has done group nudes in other spots around the world. "It's well and truly oversubscribed," said John Lotton, director of the Provocare Festival of the Arts in Melbourne. [Reuters, 6/16/2018]

Smooth Reactions

When Daryl Royal Riedel, 48, was pulled over for suspected drunk driving June 14 by Monroe County (Florida) Sheriff's Deputy Anthony Lopez, he first drove off, but thought better of it and stopped to face the music. Riedel, who claimed to be scared, then stepped out of his truck with an open can of beer and chugged the contents as Lopez watched. The Associated Press reported that Riedel has four prior DUI arrests and now faces felony DUI, fleeing from a deputy, driving with a suspended license and failure to submit to a breath test. [Associated Press, 6/15/2018]

Czech This Out

Czechoslovakian president Milos Zeman called a press conference on June 14 in Prague, where Zeman instructed two firefighters in protective gear to incinerate a huge pair of red underpants as reporters watched. The underwear had been hoisted during a 2015 protest at Prague Castle, replacing the presidential flag and symbolizing Zeman's close relationship with Russia and China. Zeman told reporters, according to the Associated Press: "I'm sorry to make you look like little idiots, you really don't deserve it." Zeman's longstanding difficulties with the press include an incident last year when he waved a fake machine gun at them. [Associated Press via New York Times, 6/15/2018]

O.M.G.

Wa Tiba, 54, disappeared on June 14 while tending her vegetable garden on Muna Island in the Southeast Sulawesi province of Indonesia. Her family found only her sandals, a machete and a flashlight in the garden, but just 50 yards away, villagers located a 23-foot-long python with a severely bloated midsection. Fox News reported that when the snake's belly was cut open, it revealed the woman's fully intact body inside, still wearing all her clothes. Villager Ayu Kartika said, "Everyone cried and was in shock. ... It looked like a horror movie." [Fox News, 6/16/2018]

Fetishes

In Auckland, New Zealand, an unnamed 28-year-old man appeared in court June 18 to answer charges of stealing two human toes from the Body Worlds Vital exhibition, a traveling display that features human corpses and organs preserved through plastination. The toes, valued at $5,500 each, have been returned to the exhibition, the New Zealand Herald reported. The toe thief is looking at seven years in prison and two years for interfering with a dead body. [New Zealand Herald, 6/18/2018]

High Times

-- Two unnamed employees of the Inn at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont, enjoyed some malted milk ball-type candies left behind by guests on June 13, but they didn't enjoy the aftermath. The candies were cannabis edibles, and the employees became sick after consuming them. Police arrived to find one of them lying in the parking lot, and both were transferred to the hospital, according to the Associated Press. Recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in Vermont on July 1; police said the guests who left the edibles would not be charged. [Associated Press, 6/14/2018]

-- In California, some bed-and-breakfast establishments are employing a new marketing twist: "bud and breakfast." For example, CBS News reports, Erin Dean's Airbnb north of Sacramento is right next door to a cannabis farm. Her welcome gift for guests includes up to 1 ounce of the herb from the neighboring farm (allowable under state law). Other bud-and-breakfasts can be found in Lake Tahoe and Palm Springs. [CBS News, 6/13/2018]

Least Competent Criminal

In Youngstown, Ohio, police responding to a call about multiple gunshots on June 10 spotted Dai'ryon Mitchell, 21, speeding away from the scene in an SUV. He refused to pull over but finally left the vehicle and ran into a home, where he climbed through a window and hung from the ledge. Mitchell tried to climb back in, The Youngstown Vindicator reported, but lost his grip and fell directly into the arms of officers below, who handcuffed him. [The Vindicator, 6/11/2018]

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