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The Weird Week in Review

Church Brawl

A Sunday evening brawl at the New Welcome Church in St. Elmo, Alabama, involved at least a dozen people and left one woman with a stab wound. The fight began when the pastor fired the music minister, Simone De Moore. An argument followed over the amount of Moore's final paycheck. Moore then allegedly used a taser on minister Daryl Riley. In the ensuing melee, deacon Harvey Hunt stabbed Moore's mother, Agolia Moore in the arm with a pocket knife. Agolia Moore underwent surgery and 19 stitches to repair the wound. Simone Moore turned himself in to police for the tasering. Hunt is still at large.

Black Widow Hitchhikers Invade UK

Four black widow spiders, which are native to North and Central America, were found in a shipment of jet engines sent from the U.S. to a company in Lincolnshire, England. Employees at TC Power in Barton-upon-Humber were startled when the spiders dropped out of a container. The workers stopped everything and put the deadly spiders in a glass container. TC Power engineers are feeding the black widows and plan to give them to a zoo, where they will stay under glass.

Woman Assaulted With Bratwurst

An argument between two women in Des Moines, Iowa, involved an assault with a bratwurst. The police report says 63-year-old Connie Jones got into an altercation with 31-year-old Tajuana Banks at Jones' home over the childcare of Jones' grandchildren. Apparently, Banks tried to incite a fight by yelling at Jones, and ultimately hit her with the sausage. Police noted the grease stains on Jones’ clothing as evidence. Banks was arrested on a simple assault charge.

Unidentified Flying Creature Diverts Plane

Passengers on a Delta flight from Madison, Wisconsin to Atlanta, Georgia reported a flying creature in the passenger section. One passenger recorded the event on video, while the other passengers waved and chased the animal, believed to be a bat, into the lavatory. The flight was diverted back to Madison, where the passengers were rebooked. A Delta spokesman said the plane was searched, but they never found the bat. The plane then was returned to service.

'Mystery Tree' Survives Wildfire -Again

A 20-foot juniper tree near Sunset Point, Arizona survived a wildfire last week that consumed everything around it. It’s not the first time, either. In fact, the tree is a famous survivor. It's known as the "Mystery Tree" because someone decorates the tree for Christmas and for the 4th of July every year. It also has its own watering system with water drums and pipes -but no one knows who is responsible. The other mystery is that this particular tree has survived several wildfires.

“It’s survived wildfire after wildfire” says ADOT engineer Greg Gentsch. “We’re just happy it’s still here.”

Man Caught Sneaking Into Prison

Officials at Folsom Prison in California say 48-year-old Marvin Lane Ussery was caught trying to scale a fence at the prison. But he's not an inmate; he's on parole. Ussery was trying to enter the prison grounds. He had served time and was paroled in 2009. Officers found no smuggled contraband on Ussery, so his motive for trying to get in is uncertain. He is being held at the Sacramento County Jail.

Movie Script is Assumed Bomb

An unnamed writer in Los Angeles had submitted scripts to a talent agency ad had been rejected or ignored. So he left a script at the unnamed agency's office. The script was on a computer inside a briefcase. When agency employees spotted the unaccompanied briefcase, they called police. The bomb squad responded and detonated the entire briefcase. The screenwriter then made himself known, and is distraught over the loss of his script, which apparently only existed in the hard drive in the destroyed computer. It is assumed that the writer would have preferred to bomb at the box office instead of the talent agency.

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Animals
Bizarre New Species of Crabs and a Giant Sea Cockroach Discovered in Waters Off Indonesia
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
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A crab with green googly eyes, another with "ears" resembling peanuts, and a species of giant sea cockroach are among the dozen new kinds of crustaceans discovered by scientists in the waters off Indonesia, Channel News Asia reports.

These finds are the result of a two-week expedition by Indonesian and Singaporean scientists with the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition (SJADES 2018), which involved exploring deep waters in the Sunda Strait (the waterway separating the islands of Sumatra and Java in Southeast Asia) and the Indian Ocean. Using trawls, dredges, and other tools, researchers brought a huge variety of deep-sea life to the surface—some species for the very first time.

"The world down there is an alien world," Peter Ng, chief scientist of the expedition, told Channel News Asia. "You have waters that go down more than 2000 to 3000 meters [9800 feet], and we do not know … the animal life that's at the bottom."

The giant sea cockroach—technically a giant isopod, also nicknamed a Darth Vader isopod—is a new species in the genus Bathynomus, measuring almost a foot long and found more than 4000 feet deep. The isopods are occasionally seen on the ocean floor, where they scuttle around scavenging for dead fish and other animals. This marked the first time the genus has ever been recorded in Indonesia.

Another find is a spider crab nicknamed Big Ears, though it doesn't actually have ears—its peanut-shaped plates are used to protect the crab's eyes.

More than 800 species were collected during the expedition, accounting for 12,000 individual animals. Researchers say it will take up to two years to study all of them. In addition to the 12 species that are completely new to science, 40 were seen for the first time in Indonesia. Creatures that the scientists dubbed a chain-saw lobster, an ice cream cone worm, and a cock-eyed squid were among some of the rarer finds.

A "Chain-Saw Lobster"
Nicknamed the "Chain-Saw Lobster," this creature is a rare blind lobster, found only in the deep seas.

Researchers took to the giant sea cockroach quickly, with some of the crew members reportedly calling it “cute” and cradling it like a baby. Check out Channel News Asia Insider's video below for more insight into their creepy finds.

[h/t Channel News Asia]

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Weird
The Mysterious Case of the Severed Feet in British Columbia
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While walking on the beach, many people look out for a number of things: Shells, buried treasure, crabs, and dolphins among them. But if you’re on a beach in British Columbia, you might want to keep an eye out for something a little more sinister—about 15 severed feet have washed up on the shores there in the past few years. The latest was found on May 6, wedged in a mass of logs on Gabriola Island, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The feet have been surprising unlucky British Columbians for over a decade. The first appeared back in 2007 on Jedediah Island; it was eventually matched to a deceased man whose family declined to provide additional information. Bizarre, but not particularly alarming—until another one showed up on Gabriola Island less than a month later. More feet followed, and though some were matched to missing persons, most remained anonymous (feet, unfortunately, don’t contain much identifying information). Instead, police focused on the fact that each foot was encased in a running shoe—though sizes, genders, and brands differed.

This seems like a real-life episode of The X-Files, but it turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the severed feet: They’re not really “severed,” which would indicate cutting or slicing, at all. According to scientists who tested the theory, the feet likely belong to suicide, drowning, or plane crash victims. It’s common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joint, making it natural for the foot to come apart from the leg. But if that’s the case, wouldn’t hands be similarly susceptible to washing up on beaches? Nope, that’s where the shoes come in.

While the rest of the body naturally decomposes in water, feet are surprisingly well protected inside the rubber and fabric of a shoe. The soles can be pretty buoyant, and sometimes air pockets get trapped inside the shoe, making it float to the surface. Most of the “severed” feet have been clad in jogging shoes such as Nikes and Pumas, but at least one case involves a hiking boot. In that instance, the boot (and foot) was matched to a man who went missing while fishing more than 25 years ago. The most recent case also involves a hiking boot.

That leaves the question: Why British Columbia? According to Richard Thompson, an oceanographer with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences, it’s connected to ocean current. “There’s a lot of recirculation in the region; we’re working here with a semi-enclosed basin. Fraser River, False Creek, Burrard Inlet—all those regions around there are somewhat semi-enclosed. The tidal currents and the winds can keep things that are floating recirculating in the system." Several feet have also been found further south, in Washington state, which shares a network of coastal waterways with British Columbia.

Others aren’t so quick to accept this scientific analysis, however. Criminal lawyer and crime author Michael Slade still wonders if a serial killer is afoot. "We also have to consider that this could be a serial killer," he said. "Somebody who right now is underneath the radar. That has to be on the table."

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