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The Weird Week in Review

For some reason, this week's weirdest news stories are overwhelmingly about people in "sticky" situations.

Pumpkin Dump Snarls Traffic

A truck lost its load and hundreds of pumpkins were strewn across a freeway near Detroit, Michigan, Wednesday morning. Other vehicles smashed many of the pumpkins, leaving a pulpy, slippery mess. A road maintenance crew had to bring in a snowplow to clear the road. No injuries were reported, but one driver had a smashed windshield. The truck driver was stopped, and may be cited for an unstable load.

Man Stuck Inside Tree

Orange County Deputies in Laguna Hills, California were summoned by residents who heard screams from a creek bed Tuesday morning. They arrived to find an unnamed man stuck inside a tree trunk. Part of his body was underground, as the hole in the hollow tree extended four or five feet below the surrounding landscape. Firefighters with specialized equipment were summoned, and took about 90 minutes to cut the tree safely off the man. Officials at the site could offer no reason why the man climbed into the tree. He was checked for injuries and mental health.

60 Elvises Have Left the Building

An Elvis tribute at the Holiday Inn in Rochester, Kent, England was held Saturday night to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. An unplanned event was added when a malfunctioning smoke machine set off a fire alarm, and the building was evacuated. Hotel guests were surprised to see about 60 Elvis impersonators in full regalia outside with the other evacuees. It caused a bit of confusion, but the fundraiser continued after the all-clear from the fire brigade. About 250 people attended the event.

"Heroin for Sale" Sign Raises Suspicions

You know there's a problem in your neighborhood when you see signs saying "heroin for sale" -with an address! That's what happened in north Portland, Oregon, last week. Portland police served a warrant on the address and found marijuana, heroin, pills, and cash. Six adults were arrested. There was also a teenager in the home at the time of the raid. Many assume that the neighbors, who had been complaining about the house for a year, made the signs, which they presented to the police before the raid.

Man Spends Nine Hours Stuck In Swing

An unnamed 21-year-old man in Vallejo, California, was rescued by firefighters after spending the night stuck in a child's swing. He had accepted a $100 challenge from friends who said that he wouldn't fit into the playground swing. The man fit into it, all right, after he "lubed himself" with laundry detergent. But then he couldn't get back out. The friends left him there alone. A groundskeeper found him the next morning and called the fire department. Firefighters removed the swing from its frame and took him to a hospital, where they cut the swing from his body with a cast cutter. There is no word on whether he ever collected the $100.

Modern-day 'Robinson Crusoe' Saved in White Sea

Sergei Ganyushev, a 25-year-old from Arkhangelsk, Russia, was stranded on an island in the White Sea only 150 kilometers from the Arctic Circle for 16 days. He set out alone on October first to gather seaweed, but his boat sprang a leak. Ganyushev swam to the tiny island of Malaya Sennukha, where he survived on seaweed and rainwater.

He said he gave up looking for passing ships three days before rescue and was about to take his own life when the helicopter flew overhead. When he heard the rotor, he managed to get up and wave down the aircraft.

Curiously, no one had reported Sergei missing. The helicopter was looking for survivors from another seafaring incident, in which a motorboat with a monk and a worker from a nearby Orthodox Christian monastery sank in the vicinity of the archipelago last Thursday.

The monk was found dead, but the search continues for his companion. Ganyushev was treated for hypothermia and malnutrition.

Man Reports 'Other Woman' as Burglar

He thought fast, but he didn't think well. Kevin Gaynor of Colorado Springs, Colorado, met a woman on Craigslist and invited her to his home around 3AM Wednesday. While she was there, Gaynor's girlfriend arrived home unexpectedly. The 24-year-old Gaynor quickly called police to report the presence of the other woman as a burglary in progress! The ruse didn't last long, and Gaynor was cited on suspicion of false reporting.

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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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