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The Weird Week in Review

Maggots Force Plane Down

A US Airways flight from Atlanta to Charlotte was forced to return to Atlanta when maggots began falling on the passengers. This caused an understandable commotion, and the plane was taken back to the airport. A bag in the overhead bin was found to contain spoiled meat that was infested. The bin was cleaned and the plane took off on the flight again a half-hour later but was taken out of service in Charlotte in order to be completely fumigated.

Woman Blames Crash on Vampire

An unnamed woman in Fruita, Colorado backed her car into a canal Sunday night. She told police that she saw a vampire in the road and was so scared that she put her car into reverse and backed away, ending up in the canal.

She was not injured. Her husband arrived on the scene and took her home. Troopers do not suspect alcohol or drugs to be factors in this accident.

They added that they found no evidence of a vampire.

Police search for Leprechaun

In another part of Colorado, Boulder police were called to investigate a man dressed as a leprechaun on Thursday. Callers reported the man was acting bizarrely, jumping out between cars in front of a store and making rude gestures at people. Officers looked for leprechaun but found no one matching the description.

Juveniles Steal Train

Two boys in Nelsonville, Ohio ran away from the Hocking Valley Community Residential Center and stole a train from the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway station. The 16-year-old and 13-year-old drove the train twelve miles! Police officers, who realized the train shouldn't have been in service as the scenic railway is closed, chased the train and even tried to flag it down, but the hijacked train kept going until the older boy, who was familiar with train operation, decided to stop to avoid debris on the track. The two escapees were referred to juvenile court. Lawmakers in Ohio are looking into increased railroad yard security.

Woman Sets Office on Fire to Get Off Work

A fire broke out at the offices of Bayonet Point Oxygen of New Port Richey, Florida in May of 2009. A year later, 40-year-old Michelle Perrino pleaded guilty to starting the blaze. Co-workers began to suspect Perrino when she talked about the fire in an office meeting. She mentioned it had started in a file cabinet, a detail that had not been released to the workers. A friend of hers later told investigators that Perrino said she started the fire in order to go home from work early that day without losing pay. Perrino had tripped the main electric breaker and blocked incoming calls on the phones. She was sentenced to nine months.

Cat Burglar Dresses as Cat

A woman who dresses as a cat has robbed at least two shoe stores and a beauty shop in New York City. Last week she was recorded on video robbing the Arche store in the East Village.

During the robbery at Arche, the 5-foot-6, 115 pound thief, apparently asked the a salesperson if she likes cats and then began moving like cat woman -- even making cat sounds.

Before she pounced, police say the suspect shopped for nearly 40 minutes, before turning over a note to an employee reading, "Give me the money! I have a gun!" Police say she then fled the store with $86 in cash.

The story has links to the security video and a composite drawing of the suspect wearing her cat mask.

Donald Duck Arrested on Drug Charges

Police officers in Massillon, Ohio arrested a man named Donald Duck after he repeatedly struck the vehicle ahead of him in the drive-through line at a pizza parlor. He was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Police say Duck has a history of DUI arrests.

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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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