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The Weird Week in Review

Email from Beyond the Grave

Jack Froese of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, died suddenly last year at age 32. Six months later, his friends and family began to receive mysterious email messages from Froese's account. Childhood friend Tim Hart got a message warning him to clean his attic, a subject Froese had teased him about before his death. Cousin Jimmy McGraw got an email from Froese referring to an ankle injury McGraw sustained after Froese's death. No one knows who the messages came from, but Froese's mother told the recipients to accept it as a gift, even if it is someone playing a prank.

Exploding Milk Causes Havoc on Highway

A truck transporting milk and cream on the A75 in Galloway, Scotland, caused chaos Tuesday morning when the cargo began to explode. Other drivers saw that the truck was on fire! It took some time for motorists to alert the driver, Phil Sykes, because he couldn't see the fire in his mirrors. Firefighters responded, and had the flames out in abut two hours. They were hampered in their efforts by exploding cream containers and milk cartons. A firefighter said there was milk everywhere.

Mr Sykes said: “I phoned my boss to let him know but he said it was no use crying over spilled milk.The main thing was that no-one was injured.

World Record Guinea Pig Jump

A guinea pig in Rosyth, Fife, Scotland, named Truffles took a leap into the record books in front of Guinness-appointed witnesses, his 13-year-old owner Chloe Macari, and her scout troop. Truffles jumped for neither fame nor fortune, but for his favorite snack, cucumber. The jump was measured at 30 centimeters, which was 10 centimeters more than the previous record set in 2009. When Macari learned of the 2009 record, she knew her guinea pig could jump further, and petitioned Guinness officials for a chance to prove it. Truffles now goes into the record book, and Macari earned credit toward a community events scout badge. The jump was captured on video.

The Battle of the Barber Poles

Growing tensions have a couple of states considering legislation to spell out who can display the iconic spiral-striped barber pole. Licensed barbers say their profession has the exclusive right to the symbol, while beauticians, cosmetologists, and salon owners say that since they cut men's hair, they should be able to use a barber pole, too. The professions that serve men and women have been at odds with each other for centuries. At least ten states have already reserved the pole for barbers only by law, and Minnesota and Michigan have such bills in the legislative process.

Sex-deprived Fruit Flies Turn to Alcohol

Studies in human addictive behavior have found that alcoholism is only partially genetic, so scientists turned to fruit flies to see if social triggers could cause excessive drinking. It turns out that fruit flies are not so different from humans after all. They separated groups of flies and arranged for one group to be rejected as mating partners. That group tended to seek out alcohol-laced fly food more than the group that mated successfully. The drunk flies bumped into walls and each other, fell down, and eventually passed out. The researchers found a correlation in the level of a particular neuropeptide molecule that determined which group would prefer the alcohol-laced food.

Bigamy Exposed via Facebook

You know that feature of Facebook in which it suggests new friends for you among your friend's other friends? In the case of a Seattle man, the social network suggested that his first wife "friend" his second wife. See, he is still married to the first wife.

According to charging documents filed Thursday, Alan L. O'Neill married a woman in 2001, moved out in 2009, changed his name and remarried without divorcing her. The first wife first noticed O'Neill had moved on to another woman when Facebook suggested the friendship connection to wife No. 2 under the "People You May Know" feature.

"Wife No. 1 went to wife No. 2's page and saw a picture of her and her husband with a wedding cake," Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist told The Associated Press.

Wife No. 1 then called the defendant's mother.

She also called authorities, and O'Neill was arrested for bigamy. He was freed until his court appearance, as he is not considered a threat.

BASE Jumpers Skip Out on Bar Bill

Four men in business suits carrying a suitcase enjoyed drinks at the Vue de Monde restaurant atop the Rialto Towers in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday evening. They visited the restroom and then threw themselves off the balcony! The four parachuted down the 243-meter skyscraper to a waiting car below. The parachutes were hidden under their suit jackets, and the helmets were in the suitcase. Police are on the lookout for the BASE jumpers, not only because jumping from the towers is illegal, but also because they didn't pay their bar tab.

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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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