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The Weird Week in Review

Bear Saves Man from Mountain Lion

Robert Biggs was hiking in Bean Soup Flats, California, on Monday morning when he had a close encounter with Mother Nature. The 69-year-old observed a mother bear with her cub, but did not approach them. As he walked away, a mountain lion jumped on him, grabbing him by the backpack. Biggs fought back with a rock pick. The cougar screamed but did not let go. Then the mother bear showed up and attacked the cat! The two animals fought for a short time and then ran away in opposite directions. Biggs' arm was scratched, bruised, and bitten, but he opted not to seek medical attention.

Thief Steals Clothing, Wears Clothing

A man in East London, South Africa, knocked on the door of a home and asked if they had any work he could do. The couple who lived there were astonished to see what the man was wearing -their clothes!

He was decked out in the resident's shoes, socks, belt, a pair of trousers and one of his fiancee's blouses.

"When I opened the door I was surprised because he was wearing our clothing," said the resident, who asked not to be named.

The man said he immediately went to the back garden and noticed their storeroom had been looted.

The couple held the man for police for 45 minutes, but he escaped before they arrived. The thief was later caught by security guards.

Swan Terrorizes River Traffic

A section of the Grand Union Canal in Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire, England is unusable to humans for the time being, because a swan named Tyson has claimed it for his own. Tyson is a large swan with an eight-foot wingspan and has attacked canoeists, capsized kayakers, and even swooped down on pedestrians on the shore. The territorial swan considers a two-mile stretch of the canal as his personal territory. Officials plan to capture the bird and relocate him about 50 miles away for the safety of the people who use the waterway.

Texting and Eating Leads to Crash

Some advice from the police: don't text while driving, don't eat while driving, and don't steal vehicles. A pickup truck left the road and went into a ditch, plowed through some logs and lawns, and then crashed into a house in Kennewick, Washington on Wednesday. The truck had been stolen from nearby Richland. The homeowner and his neighbors saw the driver flee the scene. Soon afterward, a Benton County sheriff's deputy arrested 32-year-old Jeromy Kirkendall on suspicion of possessing stolen property. Kennewick police say that Kirkendall had been eating and texting while driving, which is thought to have contributed to the accident.

Dead Snake Bites Man

A 41-year-old homeless man in Mobile, Alabama was treated with antivenom after he was bitten by a decapitated cottonmouth. A friend had seen the snake in a creek and cut its head off with a machete. The unnamed victim was playing with the severed head and stuck his finger in the snake's mouth. By reflex, the snake head bit down on the finger. The man first refused medical treatment, but after he started showing symptoms of venom poisoning, he was taken to USA Medical Center, treated, and released.

Lost Parrot Finds Owner at School

Shannon Underhill of Laleston, Wales, was upset when her African Grey parrot, Scarlet, escaped from her cage last Saturday. The family thought they'd seen the last of the bird. On Monday, 9-year-old Shannon went to school as usual, a quarter of a mile away from home. She was out on the playground during lunch break when Scarlet flew down and landed on her shoulder!

When a teacher approached Shannon in the playground following Scarlet's arrival, the bird squawked: "Do you want a kiss?"

The school then called Shannon's father, Mark, and four-year-old Scarlet greeted him with the words "Hello daddy".

Meth Lab Operator Camped in Stranger's Yard

A homeowner in Live Oak, Florida, called police to report a stranger had pulled a camper into their yard and was living there without permission. Officers entered the camper and found apparatus for manufacturing methamphetamine. They woke and arrested 24-year-old Andrew James Britt on charges of manufacture and possession of drugs. Britt later admitted to both camping without permission and manufacturing meth.

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The TSA's Top 10 Strangest Finds of 2017
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Airport security checkpoints are dull for everyone except Bob Burns, the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) witty social media lead. For the uninitiated, Burns—who’s also known as “Blogger Bob”—keeps track of the strange, hilarious, and dangerous things people try bringing on planes, and posts pictures of the more unusual items onto the organization's Instagram page. Among the many strange items Burns has encountered are countless knives and guns, a tiny dog trapped in a checked suitcase, a sandwich slicer, and even a life-size corpse prop from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Bob Burns, the TSA's social media lead
Courtesy of Bob Burns

To commemorate yet another year on the job filled with bizarre checkpoint finds, Burns recently created the video below. It highlights the top 10 weirdest TSA finds from 2017, which range from bladed metal knuckles Burns dubbed “Satan’s Pizza Cutter” to narcotics disguised as Christmas presents.

“We hate to tear open a perfectly wrapped gift, but as you can see from this [video], the contents of the gifts aren’t always sweaters, socks, and underwear,” Burns tells Mental Floss.

While making the video, Burns didn’t have pictures on hand of every single strange object he wanted to include. If so, he might have added a weaponized paint roller that was discovered inside a carry-on bag at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. It “looks like something out of a Mad Max movie,” Burns says. “It’s as if Mad Max wanted to paint the Thunderdome with the blood of his victims. It’s a paint roller wrapped in sandpaper and wire with nails protruding.”

A weaponized paint roller discovered by the TSA in 2017
Courtesy of Bob Burns

Other items that weren't captured in Burns's video that piqued the social media guru’s interest included grenade-shaped salt and pepper shakers and a knife concealed inside a container of Dove men’s deodorant. “Now I get why [the label] reads ’48 hours of protection,'” Burns says.

A knife hidden inside a deodorant container, discovered by the TSA in 2017
Courtesy of Bob Burns

Watch the video below to view Burns’s entire top 10 list of unusual checkpoint finds, and when you're done, check out the TSA's Instagram for more of his signature hilarity.

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Declared Dead, Spanish Prisoner Wakes Up in Morgue Just Before His Autopsy 
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A prisoner in northern Spain survived his "death" and lived to tell the tale when he woke up in a hospital mortuary after being officially certified as deceased. He was scheduled for an autopsy, and remains under hospital observation in Oviedo, Spain, according to the BBC.

Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez, 29, was discovered unconscious in his cell on Sunday, January 7, Spanish news outlets report. It's now thought that he might have suffered from catalepsy, a condition in which people become immobile and cease responding to external stimuli. With waxy, flexible limbs and slowed vital signs, patients with catalepsy can appear dead—which might be why not one but three physicians concluded that Jiménez had crossed over to the other side. 

Jiménez was moved to the Institute of Legal Medicine in Oviedo after doctors ordered an autopsy on the inmate's body, IFL Science reports. Family members—who had been informed that Jiménez was dead—said the prisoner’s body was already marked up for dissecting when he began showing signs of life. A forensic team noticed and moved Jiménez to an intensive care unit, where the patient ultimately regained both his memory and speech.

Catalepsy is associated with epilepsy, schizophrenia, nervous system drug toxicity, and other conditions, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Jiménez reportedly has epilepsy, and it's unclear whether prison doctors knew that when they first declared him dead. 

[h/t BBC News]

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