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The Weird Week in Review

Ned Kelly's Head Possibly Found

The remains of famed Australian outlaw Ned Kelly were identified from a mass prison grave and returned to his family earlier this moth, with the exception of his head, which was missing. Now 74-year-old New Zealander Anna Hoffman has come forward and says she has Kelly's skull, given to her years ago by a security guard while she was visiting Melbourne. Hoffman has a collection of more than 20 human skulls. Forensic investigators will conduct DNA tests on the skull to determine if it is Kelly's, although an examiner says it's a long shot.

Cow Stuck In Tree Rescued By Firemen

A farmer in Cumbria, England, noticed one of his cows was missing, and found that it had toppled ten meters down an embankment. The cow didn't fall to the bottom, as its fall was broken by a tree growing out of the hill. The Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service was called, and firemen were a bit surprised to be asked to get a cow out of a tree. They used a winch and other specialized equipment to remove the cow from the tree. A veterinarian checked the animal out and declared she was fine after her misadventure.

Wisconsin Cow Patties Scarce Due To Drought

The drought that has gripped the midsection of the U.S. this summer has far-reaching ramifications. The Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival in Prairie du Sac is finding it hard to scare up enough quality cow patties to throw. Cows tended to stay near the barn for food and shade, and manure didn't dry out in the sun as much as it should have. Organizers have only collected a third of the usual number of chips. Since they keep unbroken patties from previous years, they have a reserve supply they will have to dip into.

Student Asked to Change His Name for School

Three-year-old Hunter Spanjer is deaf and talks with his hands. In the S.E.E. (Signing Exact English) language, the gesture that means his name violates his school's weapons policy. Grand Island Public School wants Hunter to change his name so he won't have to use the sign. The sign may look a bit like a gun, but Hunter's name is a slightly modified sign to designate it as his personal identifier, in which he crosses his fingers. His fingers still look too much like a gun for school authorities. The National Association of the Deaf has been notified, and is expected to send lawyers to talk to officials from the school.

Lost Woman Looks for Herself

A bus driver alerted police and emergency personnel when one of the tourists went missing. The excursion to Iceland's Eldgjá volcanic canyon was put on hold for hours while a search was carried out.

However, the search was called off at 3 am when it turned out that the missing woman had been on the bus all along and even participated in the search for herself, mbl.is reports.

Before reentering the bus after the stop at Eldgjá, the woman had changed her clothes and freshened up, resulting in the other passengers not recognizing her.

According to information from the Coast Guard, a helicopter was ready to be sent to the area to assist with the search but the plans were put off due to foggy conditions. Around 50 people participated in the search on vehicles and by foot.

The unidentified woman hadn't recognized herself in the description of the lost woman, as her clothing had been described incorrectly.

Lion Hunt in Essex

A big cat sighting in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England had authorities on the prowl for about 24 hours. Residents reported seeing a "lion" roaming the neighborhood on Sunday evening, and one person gave police a fuzzy picture of the cat. Officials called in zoo experts and a heat-seeking helicopter for the search, but turned up nothing. Police called off the search the next day, saying that they believe the creature was actually a wildcat or a big house cat. They say many doctored photographs were circulated on the internet, but those were not the original picture that police were using.

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Animals
Bizarre New Species of Crabs and a Giant Sea Cockroach Discovered in Waters Off Indonesia
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
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A crab with green googly eyes, another with "ears" resembling peanuts, and a species of giant sea cockroach are among the dozen new kinds of crustaceans discovered by scientists in the waters off Indonesia, Channel News Asia reports.

These finds are the result of a two-week expedition by Indonesian and Singaporean scientists with the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition (SJADES 2018), which involved exploring deep waters in the Sunda Strait (the waterway separating the islands of Sumatra and Java in Southeast Asia) and the Indian Ocean. Using trawls, dredges, and other tools, researchers brought a huge variety of deep-sea life to the surface—some species for the very first time.

"The world down there is an alien world," Peter Ng, chief scientist of the expedition, told Channel News Asia. "You have waters that go down more than 2000 to 3000 meters [9800 feet], and we do not know … the animal life that's at the bottom."

The giant sea cockroach—technically a giant isopod, also nicknamed a Darth Vader isopod—is a new species in the genus Bathynomus, measuring almost a foot long and found more than 4000 feet deep. The isopods are occasionally seen on the ocean floor, where they scuttle around scavenging for dead fish and other animals. This marked the first time the genus has ever been recorded in Indonesia.

Another find is a spider crab nicknamed Big Ears, though it doesn't actually have ears—its peanut-shaped plates are used to protect the crab's eyes.

More than 800 species were collected during the expedition, accounting for 12,000 individual animals. Researchers say it will take up to two years to study all of them. In addition to the 12 species that are completely new to science, 40 were seen for the first time in Indonesia. Creatures that the scientists dubbed a chain-saw lobster, an ice cream cone worm, and a cock-eyed squid were among some of the rarer finds.

A "Chain-Saw Lobster"
Nicknamed the "Chain-Saw Lobster," this creature is a rare blind lobster, found only in the deep seas.

Researchers took to the giant sea cockroach quickly, with some of the crew members reportedly calling it “cute” and cradling it like a baby. Check out Channel News Asia Insider's video below for more insight into their creepy finds.

[h/t Channel News Asia]

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Weird
The Mysterious Case of the Severed Feet in British Columbia
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While walking on the beach, many people look out for a number of things: Shells, buried treasure, crabs, and dolphins among them. But if you’re on a beach in British Columbia, you might want to keep an eye out for something a little more sinister—about 15 severed feet have washed up on the shores there in the past few years. The latest was found on May 6, wedged in a mass of logs on Gabriola Island, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The feet have been surprising unlucky British Columbians for over a decade. The first appeared back in 2007 on Jedediah Island; it was eventually matched to a deceased man whose family declined to provide additional information. Bizarre, but not particularly alarming—until another one showed up on Gabriola Island less than a month later. More feet followed, and though some were matched to missing persons, most remained anonymous (feet, unfortunately, don’t contain much identifying information). Instead, police focused on the fact that each foot was encased in a running shoe—though sizes, genders, and brands differed.

This seems like a real-life episode of The X-Files, but it turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the severed feet: They’re not really “severed,” which would indicate cutting or slicing, at all. According to scientists who tested the theory, the feet likely belong to suicide, drowning, or plane crash victims. It’s common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joint, making it natural for the foot to come apart from the leg. But if that’s the case, wouldn’t hands be similarly susceptible to washing up on beaches? Nope, that’s where the shoes come in.

While the rest of the body naturally decomposes in water, feet are surprisingly well protected inside the rubber and fabric of a shoe. The soles can be pretty buoyant, and sometimes air pockets get trapped inside the shoe, making it float to the surface. Most of the “severed” feet have been clad in jogging shoes such as Nikes and Pumas, but at least one case involves a hiking boot. In that instance, the boot (and foot) was matched to a man who went missing while fishing more than 25 years ago. The most recent case also involves a hiking boot.

That leaves the question: Why British Columbia? According to Richard Thompson, an oceanographer with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences, it’s connected to ocean current. “There’s a lot of recirculation in the region; we’re working here with a semi-enclosed basin. Fraser River, False Creek, Burrard Inlet—all those regions around there are somewhat semi-enclosed. The tidal currents and the winds can keep things that are floating recirculating in the system." Several feet have also been found further south, in Washington state, which shares a network of coastal waterways with British Columbia.

Others aren’t so quick to accept this scientific analysis, however. Criminal lawyer and crime author Michael Slade still wonders if a serial killer is afoot. "We also have to consider that this could be a serial killer," he said. "Somebody who right now is underneath the radar. That has to be on the table."

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