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The Weird Week in Review

Gravestone Decorations Have Neighbors' Names

A woman in Saint Clair Shores, Michigan, set out temporary gravestones as Halloween decorations. But they aren't generic stones -they refer to her neighbors by name, by initials, and one even says "RIP Nosey Neighbors." Another says "R. U. Next." The people on her street are not happy about the decorations. They say the dispute began when neighbors complained about a large recreational vehicle the unnamed woman parked in her driveway, and the gravestones were painted in retaliation.

Coffins Stolen for Party

Police in Kielce, Poland, arrested 28-year-old Michalina Illakowicz for stealing three coffins from a local funeral home to use as Halloween party decorations. Illakowicz denies the charge. Funeral director Tadeusz Prusek is baffled at the theft, as he was also going to the party. He said he would have loaned the coffins to Illakowicz if she had asked.

Bank Robber Returns for More Money

Police in Syracuse, New York, arrested Arthur Bundrage when he returned to the scene of the crime -to complain he had been shortchanged. The Alliance Bank was robbed at about 9AM Tuesday when a man demanded $20,000 from a teller. The teller at first refused, then gave the robber an undisclosed amount of money. When he returned to demand the rest of the $20,000, police were waiting, having just responded to the original robbery. Bundrage was taken to the Onondaga County Justice Center pending arraignment.

Purse-snatching Fox Returns Loot

Jeremy Clark of Burgess Hill, West Sussex, England, was leaving home when a fox came up to his wife and grabbed her purse away from her! The fox ran into the bushes with the purse.

But a few minutes later the guilty looking fox crept back into the car park with his bushy tail between his legs. In his mouth was Anna’s bag which he dropped at her feet before running off.

Jeremy added: “I have no idea why, we couldn’t believe it. We see the fox around quite a bit. I think people feed it.”

Apparently, the purse did not contain what the fox was looking for.

Man Attends His Own Wake

Gilberto Araujo's family was gathered to mourn his passing at his mother's home in Alagoinhas, Brazil, when he walked in to explain that he wasn't exactly dead. Araujo works at a car wash in another town and hadn't seen his family in quite some time. When a car wash employee was murdered, Araujo's brother identified the body as his, as the two men bear a resemblance. The body was taken to Alagoinhas for burial, but a friend saw Araujo and told him about his upcoming funeral, prompting the car cleaner to make a mad dash to stop the proceedings. The body has since been identified as Genivaldo Santos Gama.

Stolen Cash Returned …to Bank Robber

Bank manager Otto Neuman embezzled £150,000 in cash and gold from the Erste Bank in Vienna in 1993. He covered up the theft by having accomplices stage a robbery. Of the total, only £51,000 and some gold was recovered when police arrested Neuman. The gold went to the insurer, and the cash was kept as evidence -for nineteen years. Now, the Austrian Justice Ministry is returning the money to Neuman! The insurer compensated the bank for their loss, the gold had appreciated so much in the intervening years that the insurer suffered no loss in the long run, and the ministry feels it has no claim on the cash.

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This Just In
Workers in Quebec City Discover Potentially Live Cannonball Dating Back to the French and Indian War
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Lafontaine Inc.

Quebec City is famous today for its old-world European charm, but a construction crew recently discovered a living relic of the city’s military past: a potentially explosive cannonball, dating all the way back to the French and Indian War.

As Smithsonian reports, workers conducting a building excavation in Old Quebec—the city’s historic center—last week unearthed the 200-pound metal ball at the corner of Hamel and Couillard streets. They posed for pictures before contacting municipal authorities, and archaeologist Serge Rouleau was sent in to collect the goods.

Initially, nobody—including Rouleau—knew that the rusty military artifact still posed a threat to city residents. But after the archaeologist toted the cannonball home in a trailer, he noticed a rusty hole through the center of the shell. This made him fear that the projectile was still loaded with gunpowder.

Rouleau contacted the Canadian military, which deployed bomb disposal specialists to collect the cannonball. They moved it to a secure location, where it will reportedly be either neutralized or destroyed. If the cannonball itself can be saved as a historic relic, it might be displayed in a museum.

“With time, humidity got into its interior and reduced its potential for exploding, but there’s still a danger,” munitions technician Sylvain Trudel told the CBC. “Old munitions like this are hard to predict … You never know to what point the chemicals inside have degraded.”

Experts believe that the cannonball was fired at Quebec City from Lévis, across the St. Lawrence River, during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. This battle occurred on September 13, 1759, during the French and Indian War, when invading British troops defeated French forces in a key battle just outside Quebec City. Ultimately, the clash helped lead to Quebec’s surrender.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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Weird
Sponge-Like Debris Is Washing Up on France’s Beaches, and No One Knows What It Is
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The shores of northern France are normally a picturesque spot for a barefoot stroll. That was until mid-July of this year, when walking down the beach without stepping on a spongy, yellow blob became impossible. As Gizmodo reports, foam-like objects washed up by the tide have covered close to 20 miles of French coastline over the course of a few days.

Unlike the boulder-sized "fatbergs" sometimes found on the beaches of Britain or the snowballs that crowded Siberian beaches last November, the spongy invasion has no known source. Experts have ruled out both organic sponges found in the ocean and polyurethane foam made by people. Jonathan Hénicart, president of Sea-Mer, a French nonprofit that fights beach pollution, told La Voix du Nord, "When you touch it, it's a bit greasy. It's brittle but not easily crumbled. It has no specific odor […] We do not know if it's toxic [so] it should not be touched."

The northern coast of France borders the English Channel, a waterway that welcomes hundreds of commercial ships every day. Strange cargo is constantly falling overboard and washing up on shore. Since the sponges resemble nothing found in nature or an artificial material that's commonly known, it's possible they're a combination of both. They could be a type of foam, for instance, made out of seawater and air bound together with a substance like soap or fertilizer.

Experts won't be able to verify what the mess is made of until the Cedre Association, an organization that studies hydrocarbon pollution, analyzes samples collected from the beach. That process should take about a week. In the meantime, French officials are working to clear the coastline while assuring the public the phenomenon doesn't pose a threat to their health. Nonetheless, beachgoers in northern France should think twice before kicking off their flip-flops.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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