Things got a little heated -- which is to say 73 vehicles were utterly consumed by raging flames -- at the annual fall festival at the Robinson Family Farm in Temple, Texas on Oct. 15, an event that features a pumpkin patch, hayrides, live music, kids' games and more. The Bell County Fire Marshall's Office is seeking information about an attendee who, according to witnesses reporting on social media, flicked a cigarette butt in the grassy parking lot, which, combined with the gusty winds and dry conditions that had already prompted the county to issue a burn ban, most likely started the blaze. "I have to say that is the most exciting and expensive pumpkin patch we've been to," one attendee posted on Facebook after the disaster claimed their family van. [Autoblog.com, 10/18/2022]
David Alan Taylor, 41, of Pensacola, Florida, did not follow the guidelines for safe tackling recommended by the various youth, college and professional football organizations when he charged onto the practice field on Sept. 20, donned a helmet, got into a football stance and charged his target, burying his helmet in said target's chest before grabbing him by the arms and pushing him to the ground. But it wasn't Taylor's form that got him in trouble; it was the fact that his victim was 9 years old. The Pensacola News Journal reported that shortly before demonstrating his rusty football skills, Taylor had become enraged upon seeing his son being overpowered by the victim during a one-on-one tackling drill. The tackled youth was not seriously hurt, and Taylor was booked to the Escambia County jail on a first-degree felony count of aggravated child abuse and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct. [Pensacola News Journal, 9/29/2022]
When your horse runs off with a herd of wild mustangs, let him go, because man, he's gone. That was the reality Shane Adams of Fielding, Utah, had to accept when his 10-year-old horse, Mongo, joined a passing herd in the middle of the night during a camping trip eight years ago. Adams reported his horse missing and searched the area regularly for years, to no avail. But Yahoo Insider reported that the Bureau of Land Management recently contacted Adams with incredible news: Mongo had been found. The horse is seriously underweight due to the scarcity of food in the region where he and the herd were roaming, but Adams said Mongo is in good health and has not forgotten his training. Adams said his life had taken a downward turn in the years since Mongo disappeared; he and his wife divorced, and an auto accident in 2021 left him disabled. However, he now feels things are looking up: "My life is like down in the dumps, like the car accident. I lost my house, I lost everything. I got my horse back though." [Yahoo! Life, 10/12/2022]
A pair of Levi's jeans found in an abandoned mine in the American West sold for a staggering $87,400 at a New Mexico auction on Oct. 1, reported CNN.com. What was so special about the jeans? They dated back to the 1880s, and while it's not uncommon for "denim archaeologists" to find jeans from that period of history, it's incredibly rare to find them so well-preserved. "There's a couple of soft spots on the jeans that could use a bit of reinforcement, but otherwise they're super-duper solid jeans," said Zip Stevenson, who runs a denim repair shop in Los Angeles and placed the winning bid with a partner. Though Stevenson would prefer the jeans were purchased and put on display in a museum, he said he would consider selling them to a private buyer. "I could easily imagine Johnny Depp or Jason Momoa wearing them," Stevenson said. [CNN, 10/20/2022]
-- An overturned semi on I-95 in Cumberland County, North Carolina, on Oct. 18 gave commuters more than the usual traffic accident inconvenience. That's because when 22,000 pounds of catfish and 150 gallons of diesel fuel hits the road ... it stinks. State troopers told WBTW-13 that the semi driver was unhurt in the crash, which was caused by another driver pulling in front of him. [WBTV-13, 10/18/2022]
-- The Fairfield Sun Times reported that Ollie the black Labrador was safe and sound, but very stinky, after spending a few hours in the sewer behind his owners' home in Holbury, Hampshire, England on Oct. 18. The dog was missing when his owners returned to the house earlier in the day after a brief outing, and it was discovered that he had fallen through a manhole in the backyard into the sewer about three meters below. Neighbors were asked not to flush their toilets during the rescue operation. [Fairfield Sun Times, 10/18/2022]
People With Issues
Rorie Susan Woods, 55, of Hadley, Massachusetts, is facing multiple assault and battery charges after she took extreme measures in an attempt to prevent what she and other protestors believed was a wrongful eviction being carried out by sheriff's deputies in Longmeadow on Oct. 12. WWLP-22 reported that Woods drove an SUV hauling a trailer loaded with beehives to the residence of Alton King, the homeowner being served an eviction notice. While wearing a protective beekeeping suit, Woods shook the beehives, unleashing a swarm of angry bees on the officers, three of whom were allergic to bee stings. Sheriff Nick Cocchi said Ross' actions could have gotten someone killed: "We had one staff member go to the hospital and luckily, he was all right or she would be facing manslaughter charges." [WWLP-22, 10/20/2022]
But Is It Art?
The city of Cheadle, Alberta, Canada, is the temporary home of a newly revealed shrine to snacking. A 17-foot-tall statue commissioned by Frito-Lay was unveiled in early October. The work memorializes the signature Cheetos experience: three fingers holding up one of the crunchy snacks, their tips covered in the powdery orange residue the brand has christened "Cheetle." "We're excited to be celebrating Cheetle and Canadians' cheesy, Cheetle-dusted fingertips on such a grand scale and in such a uniquely mischievous way," said Lisa Allie, senior marketing director at PepsiCo Foods Canada. CNN reports that the Cheetle Hand Statue will be on display in Cheadle until Nov. 4, when it embarks on a tour of Canada. [CNN, 10/12/2022]
A municipal judge in Cleveland, Ohio, was ordered to be removed from the bench on indefinite suspension on Oct. 18 and will undergo evaluations for her physical and mental health after a long series of bizarre incidents and behavior, the Columbus Dispatch reported. The Ohio Supreme Court took action after Judge Pinkey S. Carr wore sneakers, spandex shorts, T-shirts and even tank tops while sitting the bench -- a bench that had become littered with so many cups, dolls and novelty items that Carr's own attorney described it as "resembling a flea market." The 58-page complaint filed by the Ohio Supreme Court states that, among many other incidents, Carr repeatedly discussed the television show "P-Valley" and joked about giving lenient sentences and accepting kickbacks with attorneys and defendants while court was in session. When a prosecuting attorney had not yet arrived for a hearing, Carr is quoted as having stated, "The prosecutor's not here. Let's see how much we can get away with." A temporary replacement for Carr will be appointed by Governor Mike DeWine and will sit the bench until voters elect a new judge in a future election. [Columbus Dispatch, 10/18/2022]
WRGB in Albany reported the arrests of Chrystal Thomas, 33, on Oct. 4, and Austin Smith, 20, on Oct. 15, for the duo's part in the illegal tattooing of a 10-year-old boy. Thomas, the boy's mother, claimed she was not in the room when Smith permanently inked the child's name on his arm "in full-size block letters." Authorities were made aware of the situation when the boy asked a school nurse for Vaseline to apply to the tattoo. Both Thomas and Smith were charged with endangering the welfare of a child, and Smith was additionally charged with second-degree unlawfully dealing with a child. [WGRB, 10/19/2022]
The Passing Parade
On Oct. 5, the Shizuoka (Japan) prefectural police were alerted to the presence of an unattended attache case, partially hidden among some roadside bushes in the Shimomata neighborhood of Kakegawa. Sora News 24 reported that the bomb squad was dispatched, traffic in the area was shut down, and an onsite command post was set up to assess the case and safeguard against an explosion, but when investigators finally opened the case, they were greeted not with a bomb, but with a collection of sex toys. No one was injured, and the site was cleared after about three and a half hours, but online commentors seized the opportunity to get off some zingers, including "Not a bomb, but still discharge-related," and "I'm sure whoever forgot their attache case there is really hard up right now." [Sora News 24, 10/6/2022]
Send your weird news items with subject line WEIRD NEWS to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.