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The Weird Week ending April 18th

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Man Unharmed by Exploding Toilet

Richard Szymanski of Johnson City, New York was flushing the toilet at his son's home when hot water came gushing out, throwing him into the shower stall. The fire department was called, but Szymanski was not seriously injured. The incident is blamed on a broken hot water line.

Eight-year-old Girl Granted Divorce125_childdivorce.jpg

A court in Yemen granted a divorce Tuesday to an eight-year-old girl who had been forced into an arranged marriage.

"I am happy that I am divorced now. I will be able to go back to school," Nojud Mohammed Ali said, after a public hearing in Sanaa's court of first instance.

Nojus had agreed to the marriage on condition that she remain with her parents until she was 18, but a week later was sent to her husband's home. She will now live with with an uncle.

Thief Deposits Loot with Victim

An unnamed thief in Dortmund, Germany stole a collection of rare coins worth about $80,000 took it to a bank for safe keeping. The clerk that handled the deposit recognized the coins as the set that had been stolen from his house! Police tracked down the suspect and found other stolen property in his home.

Mythical Giant Turtle Turns Up in Vietnam

150turtle.jpgThe Swinhoe's soft-shell turtle was thought to be extinct in the wild, although there are three in captivity. Researchers from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo have photographed another specimen in a lake west of Hanoi.

A national legend tells of a giant golden turtle that bestowed upon the Vietnamese people a magic sword and victory over Chinese invaders in the 16th century.

"˜"˜This is one of those mythical species that people always talked about but no one ever saw,'' said Geoff Hall, zoo general curator.

Handcuffed Man Steals Police Car

Police officers arrested 29-year-old Mark Robert Nolan in Brisbane, Australia and put him in the back of the police car with his hands cuffed in front of his body. As the officers went to collect evidence, Nolan jumped into the front seat, started the engine, and drove the unmarked car away! The vehicle was found later, but Nolan is still on the loose.

Man Reprograms Bejeweled for Proposal

Computer programmer Bernie Peng hacked into his girlfriend's game of Bejeweled and set it to ask for her hand in marriage when she reached a certain score. When Tammy Li reached the score, she said yes. PopCap, the maker of the game, will fly the couple to Seattle as part of their honeymoon, and provide copies of Bejeweled to hand out to wedding guests.

Pet Goldfish Weighs Over Two Pounds150_goldie.jpg

83-year-old Ada Shaw has had her pet goldfish Goldie for 15 years, 50% longer than a goldfish is expected to live even with great care. Goldie is a whopping 15.7 inches long and weighs over two pounds! Shaw, of Folkestone, Kent, cleans his tank once a week and adds a bit of boiling water to keep it warm.

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Watch Plastic Skeletons Being Made in a 1960s Factory
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The making of human teaching skeletons used to be a grisly affair, involving the manipulation of fresh—or not-so-fresh—corpses. But as this video from British Pathé shows, by the 1960s it was a relatively benign craft involving molded plastic and high temperatures, not meat cleavers and maggots.

The video, accented by groan-worthy puns and jaunty music, goes inside a factory in Surrey that produces plastic skeletons, brains, and other organs for use in hospitals and medical schools. The sterile surroundings marked a shift in skeleton production; as the video notes, teaching skeletons had long come from the Middle East, until countries started clamping down on exporting human remains. Before that, human skeletons in Britain and the United States were often produced with a little help from grave-robbers, known as the Resurrection Men. After being dissected in anatomical classes at medical schools, the stolen corpses were often de-fleshed and transformed into objects for study. The theft of these purloined bodies, by the way, started several of America's first riots. Far better they be made out of plastic.

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The Origins of 25 Monsters, Ghosts, and Spooky Things
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Though dressing up as an angel is acceptable, it’s ghouls and goblins that truly capture our imaginations during the Halloween season. As lit jack-o’-lanterns beckon and monsters lurk in the shadows, we explore the origins of 25 frightful things that go bump—or boo—in the night.

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