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The Weird Week in Review

One-armed Legless Man Beats Nurse

A male nurse is off work with his knee in a brace after being attacked by a disabled man he was caring for. The patient, who has only one arm and no legs, punched the caregiver with his arm and flailed around with his stumps at Royal Darwin Hospital in Northern territory, Australia. The 50-year-old nurse’s knee was severely injured. A spokesperson from the hospital refused further comment, citing privacy issues, except to say that the hospital tolerates no violence and that the matter has been resolved.

Man Proposes; Drops Ring in Sewer

John Iverson of Denver, Colorado presented a diamond ring to his girlfriend and asked her to marry him. She said yes and accepted the ring. Iverson then dropped the wedding ring that went with with the diamond engagement ring. It fell into a grate and down the storm sewer. The Denver Fire Department was called, and firefighters managed to retrieve the ring after 45 minutes of work. With video.

Woman Saves Husband from Tiger with Soup Ladle

Tambun Gediu of Kg Sungai Tiang, Malaysia, was hunting squirrels when he encountered a tiger. The 60-year-old man tried to climb a nearby tree, but the tiger dragged him down. Gediu’s wife, 55-year-old Han Besau, heard the tiger’s roar. She grabbed the first thing she came to and rushed into the woods to help her husband. Besau found the tiger attacking Gediu while the man tried to defend himself. Besau screamed and beat the tiger on its head with her weapon -a wooden soup ladle! The tiger ran off. Gediu had deep lacerations, but he had to wait ten hours to be taken to the hospital, because the village is so remote. He is expected to recover from his wounds.

The Phil Campbell Convention

Phil Campbell was surprised to find a town named Phil Campbell, Alabama. He visited the town, got a nice reception, and decided to organize a Phil Campbell convention. The first one was in 1995, and the second one is this year. So if your name is Phil Campbell (or Phyllis Campbell or Felipe Campbell), you are invited to Phil Campbell to meet other Phil Campbells in June. There is a Facebook group for the convention in which many members have the same name.

Busted by His Own Dog

A sheriff’s deputy in Moro, Oregon pulled over a pickup truck with California plates. As he approached the vehicle, a sock flew out the window. The sock was stuffed with marijuana. The driver, 32-year-old Joel Dobrin of San Diego, was busted by his own dog!

After the stop, the driver explained to Sgt. Terrel that as he was being pulled over, he tried to stash the sock. His pit bull mix dog grabbed the sock and wouldn’t let go, enjoying the tug-of-war game. The dog won, tossing the sock out the window.

Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey had high praise for the canine.

“I wish everyone traveled with their own personal drug dog. It sure would make our job easier.”

Dobrin was charged with possession of marijuana and hashish.

Stabbing Pains Due to Knife in Head

Li Fu of Yunnan Province, China got into a fight in 2006 and was stabbed in the head. He was given medical treatment for his injuries. Last month, he sought treatment for continuous migraine headaches. An x-ray revealed that Li had a four-inch knife blade embedded in his brain! The family was so shocked that they went for a second opinion, which confirmed that the blade was indeed still in his head. The knife that Li was stabbed with four years earlier had broken off, but was never detected by those who treated Li at the time. He underwent surgery last weekend to remove the blade, and is expected to recover.

Firefighters Rescue Plastic Swan

Residents of Straubing, Germany, called the emergency line when they spotted a black swan in a frozen pond. The swan did not move, and was obviously stuck in the ice. A total of 25 firefighters responded to rescue the bird, inching out over the ice to reach it. They found the swan to be a plastic decoy, which had been placed to scare other birds from the pond. Luckily, no one was injured during the operation, and the firefighters chalked it up as a training run.

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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