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The Weird Week in Review

Decorated Deer

You are used to seeing deer on lawns as Christmas decorations, but in Colorado Springs, you might see a real decorated deer! A TV news crew was there to capture video when a deer with Christmas lights tangled in its antlers roamed through a neighborhood. A neighbor tried to remove the lights, but couldn't get close enough before the deer ran away. Wildlife experts say the problem should resolve itself when the deer sheds the antlers.

Book 99 Years Overdue Returned to Library

75-year-old Stanley Dudek found a book entitled "Facts I Ought to Know about the Government of My Country" among his mother's possessions when she died in 1998. He didn't know it was a library book at the time. Last year, he noticed the book was due back on May 2, 1910. On Monday, he finally returned the book to the New Bedford Public Library in Massachusetts. The library waived the fine, which would be about $360 at the rate of one cent per day. The book, which was printed in 1894, was given to Dudek's mother in 1922 when she arrived in the US from her native Poland. The library has no records on who originally checked it out.

Drunk 4-Year-Old Steals Christmas Presents

Four-year-old Hayden Wright of Chattanooga, Tennessee was caught drinking beer and stealing Christmas presents from a neighbor's home in the middle of the night. His mother, April Wright woke up and found her son missing. Police found the child wandering the streets in a girl's dress taken from a neighbor's home and drinking a 12-ounce beer. Hayden had bypassed child safety devices on the doors and got the beer from his father's cooler. He then snuck into a neighbor's house and took Christmas presents, and rang the doorbell at another house. April Wright said he may have been looking for his father, or trying to get into trouble so he could be with his father, who is in jail. Hayden was taken to a hospital to be treated for alcohol consumption.

Cow Jumps Six Feet Onto Roof

A homeowner in Blagdon, Somerset, England called police to report damage to his roof. He suspected burglars, but later found it was a cow! Police asked neighbors if they knew anything about the incident, and 17-year-old William de Cothi showed them a photograph he had taken of a cow on the roof. The student had seen the cow on the roof and took a picture because it was so unbelievable. The animal had to jump about six feet to get onto the roof.

Woman Teaches Fox Sign Language

Beth Tyler-King of Hartland, Devon, England has taken in a deaf fox and taught it sign language. Milly the fox was injured when she was picked up by animal control 18 months ago, and found to be completely deaf. Tyler-king, who is also deaf, keeps Milly indoors most of the time as the fox was traumatized by earlier abuse. Milly has learned quite a few hand signals. Tyler King also has other injured animals she cares for.

"˜At the moment, I have got 30 hedgehogs, five owls, seven dogs, 14 cats, five pigeons, a dove, a parrot, and a squirrel.' She also has 12 hens and two ponies.

Food Fight Sends Germans to Hospital

A 74-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman got into an argument over a shopping cart at a supermarket in Aachen, Germany on Saturday. The woman's mother and brother joined in the fray and took the cart, but the elderly man caught up with them and began beating the brother with a salami. The mother grabbed a four-pound hunk of Parmesan cheese and defended her family. Police were summoned, and two of the group were taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The shopping cart was undamaged.

Man Strangles Rabid Bobcat with his Bare Hands

61-year-old James Gruver of Yavapai County, Arizona was attacked by a bobcat. He was looking underneath a trailer on his property when the cat lunged at him, knocking the man down. Gruver kept his wits about him and grabbed the bobcat by the neck and strangled him.

"I just kept a death grip on it because I realized when I was down on the ground, this is getting real serious," he says.

Gruver avoided being bitten, but sustained a few scratches. Arizona has seen a record 244 cases of rabies in animals this year.

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Kevin Burkett, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
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Restaurant Seeks Donations to Big Mouth Billy Bass Adoption Center
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Kevin Burkett, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’ve ever wondered where all those Big Mouth Billy Bass singing fish that flew off shelves in the early 2000s have gone, take a look inside a Flying Fish restaurant. Each location of the southern seafood chain is home to its own Big Mouth Billy Bass Adoption Center, and they’re always accepting new additions to the collection.

According to Atlas Obscura, the gimmick was the idea of Dallas-based restaurateur Shannon Wynne. He opened his flagship Flying Fish in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2002 when the Big Mouth Billy Bass craze was just starting to wind down. As people grew tired of hearing the first 30 seconds of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” for the thousandth time, he offered them a place to bring their wall ornaments once the novelty wore off. The Flying Fish promises to “house, shelter, love, and protect” each Billy Bass they adopt. On top of that, donors get a free basket of catfish in exchange for the contribution and get their name on the wall. The Little Rock location now displays hundreds of the retired fish.

Today there are nine Flying Fish restaurants in Arkansas, Texas, and Tennessee, each with its own Adoption Center. There’s still space for new members of the family, so now may be the time to break out any Billy Basses that have been collecting dust in your attic since 2004.

And if you’re interested in stopping into Flying Fish for a bite to eat, don’t let the wall of rubber nostalgia scare you off: The batteries from all the fish have been removed, so you can enjoy your meal in peace.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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The Long, Strange Story of Buffalo Bill's Corpse
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You probably know William Frederick Cody, a.k.a. Buffalo Bill, as the long-haired Wild West icon who turned the frontier experience into rip-roarin’ entertainment. But the story of Buffalo Bill’s body and its many burials is almost as outrageous as the man himself.

When Cody died of kidney failure in January 1917, his body ended up on a mountain outside of Denver, Colorado—a counterintuitive choice given his close ties to the town in Wyoming that bore his last name. Cody, Wyoming was founded in the 1890s with help from Buffalo Bill, who employed many of its residents and was responsible for its tourism business. It might seem natural that he’d be buried in the place he’d invested so much in, but he wasn’t. And that’s where the controversy began.

Though Cody spent much of his time in the town named after him, he also loved Colorado. After leaving his family in Kansas when he was just 11 to work with wagon trains throughout the West, he headed to Colorado for the first time as a 13-year-old wannabe gold prospector. During his short time in the area, he chased the glittery fortunes promised by Colorado’s 1859 gold rush. Even after leaving the territory, his traveling vaudeville show, which brought a glamorous taste of Wild West life to people all over the United States, took him back often. Later in life, he frequently visited Denver, where his sister lived. He died there, too—after telling his wife he wanted to be buried on Lookout Mountain.

The mountain, located in Golden, Colorado, has a commanding view of the Great Plains, where Buffalo Bill experienced many of his Wild West adventures. It was also a place to contemplate the giant herds of buffalo that once roamed the West, and from whom Cody took his nickname. (Denver still maintains a small herd of buffalo—direct descendants of original American bison—near the mountain.)

But weather almost thwarted Cody’s burial plans. Since he died in January, the road to Lookout Mountain was impassable and his preferred burial site frozen solid. For a while, his body lay in state in the Colorado Capitol building. Governors and famous friends eulogized Cody in an elaborate funeral service. Then his body was placed in a carriage that moved solemnly through the streets of Denver, where thousands showed up to say goodbye. Afterwards, his body was kept in cold storage at a Denver mortuary while his family waited for the weather to change.

Meanwhile, Colorado and Wyoming started a heated feud over one of America’s most famous men. Wyoming claimed that Cody should be buried there, citing an early draft of his will that said he intended to be buried near Cody. Colorado cried foul, since Cody’s last will left the burial location up to his widow, who chose Lookout Mountain. Rumors even began to circulate that a delegation from Wyoming had stolen Cody’s body from the mortuary and replaced it with that of a local vagrant.

In part to stop the rumor mill, Cody was finally buried in an open casket on Lookout Mountain in June 1917. Twenty-five thousand people went to the mountaintop to bid him farewell before he was interred. To prevent theft, the bronze casket was sealed in another, tamper-proof case, then enclosed in concrete and iron.

Pennies on Buffalo Bill's grave
V.T. Polywoda, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Yet his rocky grave was anything but safe. In the 1920s, Cody’s niece, Mary Jester Allen, began to claim that Denver had conspired to tamper with Cody’s will. In response, Cody’s foster son, Johnny Baker, disinterred the body and had it reburied at the same site under tons of concrete to prevent potential theft [PDF]. (Allen also founded a museum in Wyoming to compete with a Colorado-based museum founded by Baker.)

The saga wasn’t over yet. In 1948, the Cody, Wyoming American Legion offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who could disinter the body and return it to Wyoming. In response, the Colorado National Guard stationed officers to keep watch over the grave.

Since then, the tussle over the remains has calmed down. Despite a few ripples—like a jokey debate in the Wyoming legislature about stealing the body in 2006—Buffalo Bill still remains in the grave. If you believe the official story, that is. In Cody, Wyoming, rumor has it that he never made it into that cement-covered tomb after all—proponents claim he was buried on Cedar Mountain, where he originally asked to be interred.

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