News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORY -- Sign of the Times

Superstitious residents of Naples, Italy, experienced what some see as a bad omen on Dec. 16, according to Reuters, when the dried blood of the city's patron saint, San Gennaro, failed to liquefy when put on display. The saint's dried blood is contained in a vial that is brought out three times a year in the city's cathedral, where faithful Catholics pray for it to become liquid in a phenomenon known as the Miracle of San Gennaro. But after hours of praying and a special mass in the afternoon, the blood remained dry. Scientists have no explanation for why the substance in the vial sometimes liquefies and sometimes doesn't, but Naples' Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe told his flock not to be too concerned: "If something needs to melt, it is the hearts of people." [Reuters, 12/16/2020]

Obsessions

Real estate agent Sevenraj, 58, of Bangalore, India, has always wanted to be unique, he told the Mirror on Dec. 15, so when he was 18, he decided to make red and white his signature colors and has worn only those two colors ever since. Today, his home, his car and even his family -- Puspha, his wife of 25 years, and their two children -- sport nothing but red and white. Along with his color scheme, Sevenraj is fixated on the number 7. He was named after the number because he was the seventh child, and he now embroiders a crown symbol and the number 7 on all his suits and even has it stitched into the headrest of his red and white car. Sevenraj also speaks seven languages. "Wherever we go, people recognize us. They know us (as) the red and white family. I enjoy all the attention," he admitted. [Mirror, 12/15/2020]

It's Come to This

China's Civil Aviation Administration issued updated COVID-19 safety guidelines in early December that drew attention by encouraging flight crews to wear diapers and avoid airplane lavatories. Titled "Technical Guidelines for Epidemic Prevention and Control for Airlines," the document included information on wearing masks and other personal protective equipment and also stated, "It is recommended that cabin crew members wear disposable diapers and avoid using the lavatories barring special circumstances to avoid infection risks," United Press International reported. [UPI, 12/10/2020]

Police Report

The Lee County (Florida) Sheriff's Office said Jonathan Hernandez, 32, died on Dec. 12 while apparently trying to burglarize a home in Lehigh Acres after the window he was crawling through closed on him. According to the incident report, Hernandez's neck was caught in the window and he was dead by the time sheriff's deputies arrived. WBBH reported friends and family of the budding rap artist, who performed as Taz UFO, deny the burglary accusation and call for further investigation. [WBBH, 12/15/2020]

Only in Canada

Police in Sarnia, Ontario, arrested two suspects after they allegedly broke into the wrong house on Dec. 11 and offered to pay damages after they realized their mistake. CTV reported that residents of the home were watching television when two unnamed 27-year-old men broke through a door, one holding a hammer, and demanded money they claimed was owed to them. They apologized and left the home after discovering their error, according to police, who quickly apprehended them. [CTV, 12/15/2020]

Likely Story

Barry Joseph Watts told police in Fort Dodge, Iowa, that he had been walking by the building police found him in on Dec. 15, pulling on doors to see if they were unlocked and "entered the property to get warm," according to the police report, "but after spending some time looking around the building, he decided to start taking items." Watts told officers he had taken gold teeth and a laptop from a dental business, but police also found cash, a $5,000 digital camera and burglary tools on him, including a screwdriver and a flashlight. KCCI reported authorities also found five doors damaged. Watts was arrested and held at the Webster County Jail. [KCCI, 12/16/2020]

Suspicions Confirmed

Twenty-year-old Kaleb Kleiss was arrested in Clearwater, Florida, on Dec. 12 after a witness saw him driving with the barrel of an AR-15 rifle sticking out the driver's side window of his 2016 Volkswagen, The Smoking Gun reported. Kleiss, who was intoxicated, according to arrest affidavits, told officers he carries the gun for self-defense because he's "seen crazy stuff since moving to Florida." When police tracked him down, Kleiss was standing next to his car outside a laundromat, with the assault weapon "displayed carelessly ... on the dashboard ... in plain view of everyone walking by the store," police said, and the gun was "loaded with a full magazine and a round in the chamber." Kleiss was charged with drunk driving and improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon. [The Smoking Gun, 12/14/2020]

Bad Dog

An unnamed "pug-like" dog was found at the wheel of a family's van after it plummeted into a ditch on Dec. 9 in North Grenville, Ottawa. The Ottawa Citizen reported that police determined the owners had left the dog in the running car, and it probably bumped the gear shift into reverse, causing the van to slowly back up as the driver ran alongside, trying to get in. "Of course, the dog wasn't charged," said Grenville County police acting Sgt. Anne Collins. [Ottawa Citizen, 12/16/2020]

'Tis the Season

While children across the world await Santa's visit, naughty kids in some parts of Europe have already been visited by Krampus, the Christmas devil, a half-goat, half-demon with horns, who, according to legend, appears on Krampusnacht, Dec. 5, bearing whips and chains to beat wicked children before stuffing them in a sack and taking them away. The Mirror reports the centuries-old tradition takes place in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech Republic and had its origin in German and Norse mythology. [Mirror, 12/15/2020]

Horsing Around

A 25-year-old Russian man identified as Vasily was out with friends on the evening of Dec. 9 in St. Petersburg when he encountered two women riding a horse through the streets and decided he wanted to pet the horse, Fontanka.ru reported. He said the rider offered him a carrot to give to the horse, but "the horse turns sharply to me and bites!" -- taking off a chunk of Vasily's nose, then spitting it out. The missing piece was retrieved, and doctors were able to sew it back into place, but they expect there will be scarring. Vasily denied the police report of the incident that claimed he was drunk and tried to kiss the horse. [Fontanka.ru, 12/10/2020]

Oops!

Matt Hightower, of Overland Park, Kansas, was home alone with his three kids in mid-December when he switched on the oven in preparation for making dinner. Inside, unfortunately, were the family's three Elves on the Shelf, who had been put there the night before to "warm up" after a day of being held captive in the refrigerator by the "bad milk," KCTV reported. "Babe ... I cooked the elves," Hightower confessed to his wife, Chelsea, who was out Christmas shopping. "Thankfully," said Chelsea, after a frantic search around town, "Jingle, Belle and Magic have made a miraculous recovery and are back to their silly ways." [KCTV, 12/14/2020]

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