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The Weird Week in Review

Woman Arrested for Stealing Trash

Take heed: dumpster diving can get you arrested. A 21-year-old woman took some potato waffles, pies, and ham that had been discarded from Tesco Express in Great Baddow, Essex, England. She wasn't the only one, as dozens of people helped themselves to groceries that had been set out after a power outage left the food unfit for sale. But Sasha Hall was arrested at her home later on charges of "theft by finding" of £200 worth of food. The police took her to the station in handcuffs.

Council Sends Refugees to Dog Club

The Hammersmith and Fulham Council in England is in the process of selling off a building to make room for the West London free school. Twenty community aid organizations are being evicted. One of them is the Afghan Council UK, which advises refugees from Afghanistan.

The report suggested that refugees who use the centre could instead contact the Southern Afghan Club, reports The Mirror.

The Afghan Council UK offers support to Afghan refugees - while the Southern Afghan Club is a dog appreciation society which organises shows in the south of England.

"Dead" Man Used Brother's Identity for 49 Years

Paul Woodhouse, who lives in the United Kingdom, remembers his half-brother Roy who was in and out of trouble before moving to South Africa, where he died in the 1960s. But Roy Woodhouse didn't die. Paul received a call from the immigration detention center in Hawaii, where his brother had confessed to living under an assumed identity -that of Paul Woodhouse. Paul helped immigration officials confirm Roy's true identity, which paves the way for Roy to be returned to Britain. Paul spoke to his brother for the first time in 49 years and was told that Roy had been living in Hawaii since 1995. Paul says he has forgiven his brother and said the deception had no effect on his life.

Burglars Landed in Jail Before Arrest

Two suspected burglars were being chased through Bogota, Colombia, by police. They ran over rooftops and jumped walls to evade capture. The last wall they jumped landed them inside La Picota, one of Colombia's biggest jails. The alarm went off immediately, and both men were captured. If convicted, they might stay at La Picota for some time to come.

State Sues Museum for John Lennon's Guitar

The state of Illinois has filed suit against the Peace Museum in Chicago. The museum hasn't staged an exhibit since 2004 and has effectively gone out of business. According to the suit, the museum's storage facilities have suffered from mold and water damage. The state wants to take the museum's inventory in order to preserve and protect it. The museum's possessions are not adequately cataloged, but are said to include John Lennon's guitar and other possessions, and memorabilia from U2, the Clash, the Talking Heads, and other rock bands.

30,000 Pigs Lost?

The Queensland, Australia newspaper The Morning Bulletin covered stories from the recent floods. One livestock farmer was particularly devastated.

Mr Everingham said: "We've lost probably about 30,000 pigs in the floods, we tried to get as many weaners and suckers out by boat, but we could only save about 70 weaners, and the suckers didn't survive long, because they needed that mother's milk, and all the sows have been washed away.

But later the story was corrected.

What Baralaba piggery-owner Sid Everingham actually said was "30 sows and pigs", not "30,000 pigs"

Thieves Steal Empty Safe

A cabinet store in Nanaimo, British Columbia, was robbed last weekend. Thieves took a laptop computer, a memory stick, and a safe. The safe was empty. Owner Russel Inglis said he only kept the 700-pound safe around because it was an antique. In fact, he had hired a crane to move the safe into the store. The thieves apparently gained entrance through a loading door that an employee had neglected to lock.

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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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