News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORY -- Wait, What?

Cynthia Lynn Teeple, 47, of Jacksboro, Tennessee, was charged with public intoxication after Campbell County Sheriff's deputies found her topless in a LaFollette backyard with two miniature horses on Aug. 30, according to authorities. WLAF reported the homeowner told deputies Teeple had been eating grass and dirt from the horse enclosure, and also chewed on one of the horses' manes. Teeple then volunteered that "the horse's hair is made of Laffy Taffy and Airhead candy," according to the arrest report, and admitted she had taken methamphetamine the day before. [WLAF, 9/8/2020]

Bright Ideas

-- In Botswana, cattle are left to graze and roam during the day, but that makes them vulnerable to attacks by lions, leopards and other carnivores, so two conservation biologists from the University of New South Wales in Australia have come up with an idea to allow both cattle and cats to co-exist, NPR reported. Because big cats hunt using the element of surprise, the biologists came up with a way to make the predators believe they'd been seen by their prey and then abandon the hunt. "We tested this by painting one-third of a cattle herd with artificial eye spots (on their backsides)," explained Cameron Radford, and over four years, "none of the cows that we painted with artificial eye spots were killed by ambush predators." Village chiefs and native farmers "look forward to us coming back and painting more eyes on bums," Radford said. [NPR, 8/23/2020]

-- Conducting choir practice indoors was out of the question for Mark Potvin, instructor of music at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, given the school's COVID-19 protocols, and finding a space outside posed a challenge until, "I was driving past the city pool," Potvin told KCRG, and "noticed they were draining the pool." Officials at Decorah Park and Rec gave their blessing, and now choir members rehearse while standing in the empty pool, socially distanced and masked. Luther College has five choirs and one of the nation's largest collegiate music programs. [KCRG, 9/10/2020]

Least Competent Criminals

-- John Travis Ross, 33, and Joshua Ray Corban, 18, were charged with conspiracy and attempting to smuggle contraband into the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, Mississippi, after a drone they used as a delivery device became tangled in a net above the prison fence, according to a Department of Corrections statement. The Associated Press reported the drone was caught on Aug. 26 and carried 2 ounces of marijuana, a cellphone, cigarette lighters, phone chargers and headphones, corrections commissioner Burl Cain said. Investigators were able to trace the drone's flight and discovered security video showing the men launching it. Cain said officials plan to reprogram the drone and use it at the state's maximum-security prison in Parchman. [Associated Press, 9/9/2020]

-- Three teenage girls in Clinton, Connecticut, have been arrested and charged with stealing a duck after photos of them surfaced on social media, according to police. WTNH reported the girls took a duck named Quackers out of a pen in mid-August at the Grove Garden Center Nursery, where it was recovering from a raccoon attack, and posted photos of themselves with Quackers at the town beach and a house party. The girls were charged with larceny and trespassing. Quackers is still missing. [WTNH, 9/10/2020]

Suspicions Confirmed

Brittany Keech of Belding, Michigan, got an unexpected bit of news with her mail on Sept. 8. "Sitting right on top of the mail," she told WXMI, was a postcard dated 100 years ago -- Oct. 29, 1920. "Yeah, that's a little too slow," Keech said. The Halloween greeting from young Flossie Burgess was addressed to her cousins: "I just finished my history lesson and am going to bed pretty soon." A USPS spokesperson said, "In most cases ... old letters and postcards -- sometimes purchased at flea markets, antique shops and even online -- are re-entered into our system ... (and) as long as there is a deliverable address and postage, the card or letter gets delivered." [WXMI, 9/9/2020]


-- An unnamed 17-year-old girl in Bokaro, India underwent surgery on Aug. 31 to remove a 15-pound hairball from her stomach following years of obsessive hair-chewing, Metro News reported. A team of doctors led by Dr. G.N. Sahu initially thought the mass was a tumor, but discovered the hairball during the six-hour surgery. The girl was reported to be in stable condition following the procedure. [Metro News, 9/7/2020]

-- Doctors at a hospital in Dagestan, Russia, were shocked to discover the source of a woman's stomach distress was a 4-foot-long snake that had apparently slithered into her mouth as she slept outside her home in Levashi village. In a video of the procedure, a doctor is heard to say, "Let's see what this is," Yahoo News Australia reported, as a tube is inserted down the anesthetized woman's throat. Local residents say such incidents are not unheard of in the mountainous area. [Yahoo News, 9/1/2020]


Akiko Obata, who lives in Chiba Prefecture in Japan, holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of Sampuru, the fake food restaurants use to promote their offerings. Sampuru is an important part of Japanese food culture, according to Oddity Central, and after 15 years of collecting, Obata now has more than 8,000 individual items filling an entire room in her house. "Replicas are not real food, but I truly respect how each of them are made to look so real," Obata said. [Oddity Central, 9/3/2020]


Bounty Cheramy, 22, smelling of alcohol and swaying back and forth, was arrested and charged with drunk driving on Aug. 30 after his Mazda allegedly struck an electronic traffic sign flashing the message, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," according to a police affidavit. Officers in Port Charlotte, Florida, said Cheramy told them he had been on his phone and "suddenly struck something" but was unsure what it was. His car sustained heavy front-end damage, and the nearby sign was wrecked, The Smoking Gun reported. The affidavit also noted Cheramy recorded a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit in two breath tests. [The Smoking Gun, 9/2/2020]


A 34-year-old Wichita, Kansas, man died after a disagreement over leftover barbecue beans escalated, KWCH reported. On Aug. 2, Ryan Speight returned to the home he shared with his uncle, David Staley, 57, and went to the kitchen, where Staley questioned him about eating the beans, according to an arrest affidavit. Staley told police Speight became upset, pushing and punching Staley, who, in response, picked up a knife from the counter and "jabbed Ryan one time in the chest." Staley was charged with voluntary manslaughter. [KWCH, 9/10/2020]


World War II veteran Suttie Economy, 94, of Roanoke, Virginia, developed a taste for Juicy Fruit gum during the war and is well-known around town for passing out sticks of his favorite flavor to everyone he meets. Now, CNN reports, Economy has been granted his dying wish: to be buried in a casket painted to look like a package of Juicy Fruit. After initially having his request for permission turned down, Economy's friend Sammy Oakey, owner of Oakey's Funeral Service, received a call from a Mars Wrigley company vice president approving the use of its logo. The company even delivered 250 packs of gum to Economy's family. Meanwhile, Economy is living at the Virginia Veterans Care Clinic, where his health is improving. [CNN, 9/9/2020]

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