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The Weird Week in Review

Kidnap Victim Saved by Twitter Followers

Lynn Peters of Johannesburg, South Africa, sent out a Tweet that her boyfriend had been kidnapped Sunday night. He was put into the trunk of his own car by armed carjackers! However, the unnamed man was able to contact Peters via phone. Her alert, which included his license plate number, was retweeted and picked up by a network of 100,000 users who monitor roads for police activity. A private security force, alerted by the RTs, found and stopped the vehicle, and freed the boyfriend. The carjackers fled on foot.

600-pound Man Cut Out of Home

An unnamed man in Upper Burrell Township, Pennsylvania, experienced a medical emergency and needed to be rushed to the hospital. Police had to break into the home, then found the house in such a mess that they could not find a clear path to bring the 600-pound patient out. The fire department decided the home was too toxic to enter, so the Hazmat team came out and cut a hole in the side of the house with chainsaws. Then the fire department used a pulley to extract the patient, who was taken on a flatbed truck to a waiting ambulance. The man's medical condition is not known.

Indian Authorities Place Bounty on Vampires

The streets of several villages in the state of Tamil Nadu in India are virtually deserted after dark because residents are in fear of vampires. Cattle have been dying under mysterious circumstances, and villagers believe it is the work of blood-sucking supernatural forces (Ratha Kaatteri). Authorities believe the vandalism is the work of criminals who want to keep villagers terrified so they can carry on bootlegging and other illegal activities. Still, the local council has offered a reward of 100,000 rupees ($1,950) to anyone who catches a vampire. They say the reward is to challenge the residents' beliefs in the supernatural nature of the crimes.

Police Help Blind Writer Recover Work

Trish Vickers of Charmouth, Dorset, England, lost her sight seven years ago, but continues to write in longhand with a system that keeps her lines straight. During a particularly creative streak, she wrote 26 pages of a novel. However, the ink in her pen had run out. She only found out when her son Simon came to check her work.

Ms Vickers, who used to run the Bridport gift shop Zoot Allures in South Street, said: “We battled with various ideas until we thought of the police.

“We rang them and asked to speak to their fingerprint section. They said if there was anything they could do they would be happy to help.

“I was gobsmacked and so happy.”

Working in their spare time, the police officers were able to decipher and restore all 26 pages -and they said they enjoyed reading the story.

German Civil Servant Did Nothing for 14 Years

An unnamed German man retired at age 65 when his civil service position was eliminated. In an email letter addressed to his colleagues in the city of Menden, he boasted that he had done no actual work since 1998. However, in that time he had gone to his office and collected 745,000 euros ($980,000) in pay from the municipal state surveyor's office. He blamed the waste on authorities who hired another surveyor to do the same job, leaving him with nothing to do. The man has been in the same job since 1974. Mayor Volker Fleige was upset when he received the email, and said the employee had never once complained before now.

Meth Lab Found in Walmart Bathroom

A custodial employee at the Walmart store in Boaz, Alabama, found a surprise while cleaning the bathroom. It was a "shake-and-bake" (single use) meth lab! Police confirmed the apparatus included a water bottle and pseudoephedrine pills, of a brand not sold at Walmart. Police Chief Terry Davis said his department had found such methamphetamine setups before, but never in a public business. The Marshall County Drug Enforcement Unit destroyed the cooker.

Toilet Plunger Used as Weapon

Lawrence Deptola was arrested for attempted bank robbery in Utica, New York on Thursday. He allegedly went to three different banks and demanded money, each time threatening tellers with a toilet plunger. He yelled obscenities at bank employees, but left without money each time. The incidents were recorded on surveillance video. Utica police in an unmarked car found Deptola leaving the scene of the third robbery attempt. The suspect fled when he saw officers approach, but was caught soon afterward. The plunger was recovered inside the bank.

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Lists
8 Bizarre Places People Have Gotten Stuck
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Some days it just doesn’t pay to venture outside, particularly when you wind up the subject of a police and fire department rescue because you’ve somehow trapped yourself inside an ATM machine. Check out eight other strange environments that have ensnared bystanders and prompted emergency responses.

1. A CLAW MACHINE

A giant see-through container full of plush toys is any child’s idea of paradise, and they will attempt any means possible to inhabit it. For three-year-old Jamie Bracken-Murphy of Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland, that meant crawling through the small flap from which the toys can be retrieved and finding himself lodged in a claw machine. Murphy was on display for about 10 minutes before an off-duty fireman was able to coax him back out the way he came in. Jamie’s father, Damien, expressed little surprise at his son’s predicament, saying that, "He's a very mischievous, sharp kid who's always pushing boundaries."

2. A TRAFFIC CONE

A man has a traffic cone over his head
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In 2013, a man in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England thought he’d have a bit of fun by sticking a traffic cone—otherwise known as a bollard—on his head. To his dismay, the large cone slid down over and past his shoulders, entombing him in plastic. John Waterman, a witness to the incident, captured it all on his cell phone. "It was very random," Waterman told The Telegraph. "It's not the usual thing you see in the middle of Hemel Hempstead on a Sunday lunchtime." The man stumbled around for more than two hours before anyone bothered to call police.

3. A CEMENT HOPPER

Aurora, Illinois was the site of a recent cement mix-up, when an unidentified man became trapped in a cement hopper. The worker had climbed into the machine to clean it, but found he was unable to move when residual cement on the machine's floor began hardening around his legs. It took firefighters more than two hours to extricate him from the hopper. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for minor injuries, but released the same day, according to the local fire department.

4. A TOILET

A stock shot of a person stuck in a toilet
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In 2016, a Norwegian man named Cato Berntsen Larsen found himself in deep trouble after he tried lowering himself into a public toilet to retrieve a friend’s cell phone. The toilet’s tank was located underneath the seat, allowing enough room for Larsen to become trapped. To his dismay, the tank—which is not connected to a sewage system and is only emptied sporadically—was full of human waste. Adding to the putrid nature of his enclave, Larsen vomited and was bitten by an unknown animal: His situation did not improve until authorities were able to come and pull him out. "It was damn disgusting," Larsen said, "the worst I have experienced. There were animals down there, too."

5. A GIANT STONE VAGINA

Tourists and residents of Tübingen, Germany are quite familiar with Chacán-Pi, a giant stone sculpture of a vagina created by Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara. The towering display sits just outside Tübingen University’s Institute for Microbiology and Virology and has attracted curious onlookers since 2001. In 2014, an unnamed American student decided to go spelunking in the 32-ton carving for a photo opportunity and became trapped, necessitating rescue by 22 firefighters. The Guardian called them “midwives” and reported that the student was “delivered by hand.”

6. A WASHING MACHINE

A man appears to be stuck inside a washing machine
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Sometimes, games of hide-and-seek can go very wrong. That was the case for a man near Melbourne, Australia in 2014, who climbed into his top-loading washing machine fully nude to surprise his partner. Unfortunately, he was unable to climb back out. Responders were able to grease him with a liberal application of olive oil and pull him out. First Constable Luke Ingram told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that, as a rule, “My advice would be for people not to climb into appliances.” The warning went unheeded by another Australian man in 2015, who found himself lodged in a front-loading machine and had to wait while rescuers disassembled the entire unit in order to free him.

7. A BABY SWING

If you’re ever challenged by your adult friends to fit into a baby swing at a public park, you can confidently say that it won’t work. That’s because a man from Vallejo, California tried it in 2011. While he managed to slide into the seat using liquid laundry detergent, he couldn’t slide back out. As his legs began to swell, his friends abandoned him overnight. He wasn’t rescued until nine hours later, when a groundskeeper heard his screams for help at 6 o'clock the following morning. "The man sustained non-life threatening injuries to his body," the San Francisco Chronicle reported, "but there’s no word yet on the condition of his ego."

8. A CHIMNEY

A chimney sits on a rooftop
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There are many Santa jokes to be made, but when you’re the man trapped in your own home’s chimney for four hours, there probably isn’t a huge urge to start laughing. In late 2016, a Tucson, Arizona homeowner who had locked his keys in his home opted to retrieve them by re-entering his abode via the chimney. While it was a spectacularly bad idea, he actually almost made it: His feet were touching the floor of his fireplace before the space grew too narrow to allow for any further passage and he got stuck. Firefighters were able to pull him out from the roof, covered in soot but otherwise unharmed.

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Animals
This Octopus Species in Northern Australia Can Hunt on Dry Land
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Most octopuses live in the ocean—but in northern Australia, a small, shallow-water species takes to land in search of food. Abdopus aculeatus is the only octopus that’s specially adapted to walk on dry ground. Using its long, sucker-lined arms, the slimy sea creature pulls itself along the shoreline as it searches tide pools for crabs.

Witness Abdopus aculeatus in action by watching BBC Earth’s video below.

[h/t BBC Earth]

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