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The Weird Week in Review

Girl Lost in Tsunami Found 7 Years Later

When a tsunami swept over Indonesia on December 26, 2004, one of the victims was an 8-year-old girl named Wati. She was swept away in the waters and although her body was never found, her family eventually faced the fact that she had died. However, the now-15-year-old turned up in her hometown of Ujong Baroh in West Aceh! She told workers in a cafe that she was looking for her family, but couldn't remember their names, except that her grandfather was named Ibrahim. Wati was reunited with her grandfather and her overjoyed parents, who confirmed the girl's identity by a scar she received when she was six. It is believed that Wati spent the past seven years wandering Indonesia trying to find her way home.

Man Wins, Crashes Lamborghini

David Dopp of Santaquin, Utah entered a contest and won a 640-horsepower Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster valued at $380,000 last month. He picked the car up on Saturday, and took a few spins to show it off to family and friends. Dopp said he was only going 40 or 50 miles an hour when he hit ice or gravel on a curve and lost control of the car. It crashed through fence posts and into a field. The car sustained front-end damage, scratches, and a punctured wheel. No one was injured. The good news? The Lamborghini is insured.

Corn Stolen from Moving Train

Thieves made off with 50 tonnes of corn taken from a moving train as it was traveling through an area 300 miles from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Police reports state that the thieves greased the train track beforehand, causing the 54-wagon vehicle to slow down due to uneasy controls. The criminals then proceeded to use a tow truck to remove the containers of corn.

The a-maizing highjacking went smooth as silk, so the kernel of truth is that the thieves stalked the train ahead of time.

Taxidermy Artist Used Endangered Species Parts

Enrique Gomez De Molina creates fantastic animals by splicing together parts of unrelated species as an art form. He was arrested in November for illegally importing some parts of endangered species, namely a dead mouse deer and slow loris, plus the skins of several birds, all from Indonesia. Police said he knew the imports were illegal because he asked that the parts be wrapped in carbon paper. De Molina pleaded guilty this week and will be sentenced in March. The penalty could be as high as five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. The fine should be no problem, as De Molina's works go for high dollars.

Man Eats Cocaine from Bother's Butt and Dies

Two brothers, Deangelo Mitchell and Wayne Mitchell, were detained in a police car while officers searched their vehicle in Charleston, South Carolina. Deangelo had cocaine hidden up his backside, and was afraid of being caught with it. He convinced his younger brother Wayne to ingest the cocaine to destroy the evidence. Soon after, Wayne began having difficulty breathing and died within an hour. He had eaten about an ounce of cocaine. Deangelo Mitchell has now been charged with cocaine distribution and involuntary manslaughter in the death of his brother.

Space Ball Falls from Sky

In a story reminiscent of the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, a large metal ball dropped out of the sky onto a remote area of Namibia. The 14-inch-diameter ball left a crater almost four meters wide and 33 centimeters deep when it fell into a grassy field. It was retrieved about 18 meters away from the crater. Residents reported hearing several explosions in the days before the object was found. Local police inspector Vilho Hifindaka determined the object was not explosive. Authorities have contacted NASA and the European Space Agency to identify the object, believed to be a piece of space junk.

Letter to Santa Found in Chimney is 100 Years Old

John Byrne was installing a new central heating unit in his home in Dublin in 1992 when he found a letter in the fireplace. It was a little scorched, but still readable.

On Christmas Eve 1911, a brother and sister, who signed their names, “A or H Howard”, penned their personally designed letter to Santa with their requests for gifts and a good luck message at their home in Oaklands Terrace, Terenure (or Terurnure, as the children spelled it) in Dublin.

They placed it in the chimney of the fireplace in the front bedroom so that Santa would see it as he made his way into the Howard household in the early hours of the morning.

A check of the 1911 census lead Byrne to believe the children were 10-year-old Hannah Howard and her seven-year-old brother Fred, who lived at the address with their parents and older sister.

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Weird
The Origins of 25 Monsters, Ghosts, and Spooky Things
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Though dressing up as an angel is acceptable, it’s ghouls and goblins that truly capture our imaginations during the Halloween season. As lit jack-o’-lanterns beckon and monsters lurk in the shadows, we explore the origins of 25 frightful things that go bump—or boo—in the night.

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Food
Thanks to a Wet Winter, New Zealand Faces a Potential Potato Chip Shortage
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New Zealand has plenty of unique and tasty snacks, but kiwis also love potato chips. The universal comfort food is in danger Down Under, however, as an unusually wet winter has devastated the island country’s tuber crops, according to BBC News.

Twenty percent of New Zealand’s annual potato crop was wiped out from a series of major storms and floods that ravaged the nation’s North and South Islands, The Guardian reports. In some regions, up to 30 percent of potato crops were affected, with the varieties used to make chips bearing the brunt of the damage.

Potato prices spiked as farmers struggled, but the crisis—now dubbed “chipocalypse” by media outlets—didn't really make the mainstream news until supermarket chain Pak’nSave posted announcements in potato chip aisles that warned customers of a salty snack shortage until the New Year.

Pak’nSave has since rescinded this explanation, claiming instead that they made an ordering error. However, other supermarket chains say they’re working directly with potato chip suppliers to avoid any potential shortfalls, and are aware that supplies might be limited for the foreseeable future.

New Zealand’s potato farming crisis extends far beyond the snack bars at rugby matches and vending machines. Last year’s potato crops either rotted or remained un-harvested, and the ground is still too wet to plant new ones. This hurts New Zealand’s economy: The nation is the world’s ninth-largest exporter of potatoes.

Plus, potatoes “are a food staple, and this is becoming a food security issue as the effects of climate change take their toll on our potato crop,” says Chris Claridge, the chief executive of industry group Potatoes New Zealand, according to The Guardian.

In the meantime, New Zealanders are preparing to hunker down for a few long months of potential potato peril—and according to some social media users, kale chips are not a suitable alternative. “Chipocalypse” indeed.

[h/t BBC News]

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