CLOSE

The Weird Week in Review

Banana Attacks Gorilla

The Wireless Center, a Verizon outlet in Strongsville, Ohio, was staging a promotion on June 29th featuring their mascot, a man dressed as a gorilla. Police were called because a man dressed as a banana walked in and attacked the gorilla! The banana then fled on foot with four unidentified men. Police did not find the banana. The gorilla was uninjured, but embarrassed.

Chestnut Wins Fifth Hot Dog Title

The annual July 4th hot dog eating contest was held Monday in front of Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs in Coney Island. And once again, American Joey Chestnut defeated all the others by scarfing down 62 hot dogs.

It wasn't a personal best for the 27-year-old nicknamed Jaws, but it was enough to out-eat second-place finisher Patrick Bertoletti by nine wieners. Chestnut, of San Jose, Calif., won $10,000 and the coveted mustard-yellow belt.

"I feel great!" he said after the contest, adding that he was going to drink a lot of water and avoid hot dogs for a few days.

In a separate division for women, Sonya Thomas ate 40 hot dogs to claim the pink belt championship.

Astronaut Survives Intentional Homeopathic Overdose

A group of Swedish scientists, including astronaut/physicist Christer Fuglesang, staged a deliberate overdose of homeopathic medicine to highlight its efficacy -or rather, its lack of efficacy. Homeopathy is based on the idea that a remedy grows stronger as it is diluted with more water. In Sweden, where such therapy is popular, homeopathic medicines must be diluted with water 10,000 times the amount of the active ingredient. Fuglesang and the others took ten times the normal amount of Coffea Alfaplex, a homeopathic sleeping pill. After the experiment, Fuglesang told a newspaper he felt fine, no better and no worse.

Man Freed from Gas Tank

Earr Stokes of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, looked into the gas tank of a car he'd taken to a garage to get a tire changed. He saw that someone had stuck a chocolate bar into the tank, so he reached in to retrieve it. But his hand became stuck in the filler pipe, and eventually his cousin summoned help. After trying to pull the hand out, firefighters had to cut the pipe from the tank, while one fireman stood by with a water hose just in case a spark from the saw ignited the gas. Once freed from the car, Stokes walked to a waiting ambulance, where paramedics removed the pipe from his fingers.

Duct Tape Used for Ducks

Passersby on Victory Road in Boise, Idaho, noticed something going on in the storm drain. A mother duck was hovering over the drain, and ducklings could be heard trapped below. A small crowd gathered, and the animal lovers wrapped duct tape, sticky side out, on the end of a stick. They used the homemade instrument and a pool skimmer to retrieve three ducklings and reunite them with the mother duck. The story did not say whether the tape used was Duck brand.

Nation's Most Expensive Gas Prices Displayed Temporarily

The most expensive gas station in the United States is Sun Gas near Orlando International Airport, but you won't know it by looking -they refuse to display the prices on a sign. The city passed an ordinance requiring that prices be posted, but Sun would rather pay the $250-a-day fine than show passing motorists that their gas is $5.79 a gallon. So last Thursday, a local artist did it for them.

Performance artist Brian Feldman, known for off-the-wall art, spent nearly six muggy hours in front of the station. Around his neck hung a gas station-style sign with Sun Gas' current prices for a gallon of regular, mid-grade and premium.

"This is an art installation, and I am playing the role of the sign. Hopefully, they'll do the right thing and post their prices. But if they don't, I'll do my best to make sure they get the attention they deserve," said Feldman, who was alternately cursed and praised by passing motorists trying to puzzle out his connection to the station.

Cop in Golf Cart Eventually Catches Fleeing Suspect

A sheriff's deputy in Lehigh Acres, Florida, chased a domestic battery suspect on foot through several backyards and down streets in a gated community. The officer than commandeered an electric golf cart from one of the residents. He continued to chase the suspect, who was on foot, for almost two more miles! Eventually, Jeremiah Ellarius Haynes had to stop and rest, and that's when the deputy nabbed him. Haynes was charged with battery and resisting arrest.

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

Original image
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
arrow
Weird
The Long, Strange Story of Buffalo Bill's Corpse
Original image
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.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios