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The Weird Week in Review

Man Jailed for Tortilla Dough

Antonio Hernandez Carranza drove from Carson, California, to visit his sister in Johnson City, Tennessee. He missed an exit and ended up in Asheville, North Carolina. There, he was arrested and sent to jail for driving while intoxicated and cocaine possession, among other charges. Carranza said he was sleepy and the powder police found in his trunk was part of a shipment of food he was taking to his sister, which included cheese, shrimp, and dough for tortillas and tamales. After four days in jail under a $300,000 bond, police determined that Carranza had not been drinking, and did not possess 91 pounds of cocaine as they had thought. All but one misdemeanor charge was dropped and the traveler was released, but the food is gone, and Carranza cannot afford to redeem his truck from the impound lot.

Leg Reattached Backward

Dugan Smith of Fostoria, Ohio, was ten years old when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. After chemotherapy, his leg was removed, but part of it was reattached -backward!

Known as a rotationplasty, his surgery involved removing a large section of his right leg that surrounded the tumour - from below his knee to about mid-thigh - then reattaching the lower limb to the shortened upper thigh.

The twist, so to speak, is that Dugan's lower leg was rotated 180 degrees and sewn on backwards.

His ankle now acts as his knee, his calf has replaced the lower part of his thigh and his backwards-facing foot slips into a prosthetic and powers the reversed muscles and joint with an up-and-down motion.

It took 18 months of physical therapy for Dugan to learn a new way to use his leg. Now 13, he is playing baseball again.

Batman Arrested on Rooftop

Police in Petoskey, Michigan, responded to a call and found Batman hanging over the edge of a 30-foot-tall building. Officers pulled the caped crusader back onto the roof, and unmasked him to find 31-year-old local resident Mark Wayne Williams. Williams was searched, and police found a telescoping steel baton, a spray can of chemical irritant, and lead-lined gloves in his utility belt. Williams was arrested for public disturbance and carrying concealed weapons. At his arraignment hearing the next day, Williams said he was not aware that the items were illegal. This is not Williams' first brush with the law.

Man Goes Home Somewhere Else

According to police, Mark C. Sirben of Spring Hill, Florida, was so drunk that he went home, made himself a snack, and passed out on the couch. But it wasn't his home. It wasn't even in Spring Hill -the home was in Palm Harbor! The sleeping woman who actually lived there heard someone coughing in the middle of the night. When she found Sirben, a complete stranger, she woke her husband. Sirben argued that he lived there before he passed out again. Pinellas County Deputies responded, and found Sirben still asleep on the couch, a plate of food beside him. The couple found food in a frying pan they had not prepared. Sirben, who has a record of DUI convictions, was jailed for trespassing and criminal mischief.

Cat Spends a Week Alone in Camper after Wreck

New Yorker Ann Laubacker wrecked the family camper in Charleston, South Carolina, on the trip home from Florida. Neither she nor her mother were hurt, but they were traveling with several pets. They recovered all but two cats, one of which was seen in the nearby woods. The other, an 11-year-old cat named Spencer, was still missing. A week later, an insurance adjuster took a look at the damaged camper and found Spencer, still hiding. He was dehydrated after a week alone, but with veterinary care, is expected to recover completely.

Man Walks Through Peanut Butter Art Exhibit

A museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, has an art installation that consists of peanut butter covering 14 square meters of the floor. The smooth peanut butter "carpet" has no fence around it because museum directors believe it would detract from the art. You can guess it would be easy for a visitor to walk into it -and that's exactly what happened.

Bemused tourists watched as the man sank into the 1100 litres of peanut butter - enough to fill more than 2000 regular-sized jars. He has been asked to pay for the damage after leaving a trail of footprints.

"It is normal that people pay if they damage the art," spokeswoman Sharon Cohen told the Rotterdam-based newspaper.

The pricey installation - created by the artist Wim T. Schippers in 1962 and known as the Peanut Butter Platform - has suffered similar mishaps in the past.

He was the third person to step into the exhibit.

Schoolboy Wears Skirt to Protest Discrimination

The rules as Impington Village College near Cambridge, England state that shorts are not allowed, but skirts are. Boys were roasting in long pants, while girls bared their legs in cooler skirts. So 12-year-old Chris Whitehead dressed for the weather -in a skirt. He went to school and addressed an assembly in a knee-length skirt, which is part of the approved uniform. Rules that ban sex discrimination mans the school cannot prevent a boy from wearing a skirt. Chris' parents are proud of their eight-grader for standing up for what he believes in. Only time will tell if the school will begin to allow shorts, or if more boys will wear skirts to stay cool.

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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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