CLOSE
Original image
Stuart Kettell

The Weird Week in Review

Original image
Stuart Kettell

Man Pushes a Brussels Sprout Up a Mountain with His Nose

Stuart Kettell of Balsall Common, West Midlands, UK, is in the process of climbing to the 3,560-foot summit of Mount Snowdon, on his hands and knees, while pushing a sprout along with his nose. He began his quest on Wednesday and hopes to reach the top in four days. Kettell is no stranger to strange stunts, like spending a week in a box and walking the streets on stilts. He does it to raise funds for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support. So far, he’s raised over £40,000, but has lost most of the skin on his knees.

Woman Finds IKEA Bags Stuffed with 80 Skeletons

Kicki Karlén was shocked when she checked inside an IKEA bag among a large number of bags in the basement of her church in Kläckeberga parish, Sweden, and saw human bones. She counted 80 bags of bones, and became angry. Folks from the parish told her the bones had been there since 2009. They were the bones of parishioners who had been buried under the floorboards of the church. They were disinterred when the church renovated to add a wheelchair ramp.

"I was on the team called in to dig out the bones five years ago," archaeologist Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay told The Local.

"Our mission was to document and rebury the bones, which may be as much as 500 years old. But the reburial was delayed and I have no idea why. The plan was to rebury them as soon as possible, but that's up to the church. The county board said they couldn't leave church ground, and it became complicated."

Papmehl-Dufay said it wasn’t he who put the bones in IKEA bags, but from a preservationist’s standpoint, it wasn’t a bad idea. Karlén calls the bags disrespectful.

Indian Women Still Sew in Advanced Age

A government program in Chhattisgarh, India, aims to distribute bicycles to women between the ages of 18-35, and sewing machines to women aged 35-60, to make the lives of working women easier. But records provided by the Chhattisgarh Labour Department under a sunshine law shows some shenanigans. A list of women who received sewing machines includes 6,189 women listed with an age of 114 years, and a dozen who were in their 200s. Fourteen women were listed with ages between 300 and 500 years, and one had an age recorded as 532 years! Around 19,399 sewing machines have been distributed under the program. Although women have been known to lie about their age, they usually keep it within the realm of possibility. Read the rest of the story at The Times of India.

Cat Stuck in Bird Feeder

We make jokes about how cats look at bird feeders as food traps, but this bird feeder trapped the cat instead of the bird. A cat nicknamed Butterscotch in Brandon, Manitoba, got his head stuck inside a bird feeder. The stray is wandering the neighborhood and evades attempts to catch him. Traps, tuna, and sardines do not tempt him. The cat can see around the feeder with one eye, and can even leap fences. No one has yet stepped forward to claim ownership of Butterscotch. It was hoped that he would enter a trap when he is hungry enough, but according to a Brandon & Area Lost Animals Facebook thread with updates on Butterscotch’s predicament, the cat has adapted to the contraption and is able to eat and drink around it, but still has not been caught.

Stem Cell Therapy Patient Grows a Nose in her Spine

An American woman suffering from paralysis volunteered for experimental surgery at Hospital de Egas Moniz in Lisbon, Portugal. Doctors took stem cells from the woman’s nose and implanted them in her spine, hoping that the cells would help her spinal cord regenerate nerve tissue. Other clinical trials involve growing these cells in the lab and classifying and separating desirable cells before transplant. The procedure on this woman, which took place nine years ago, skipped this step. The cells were transplanted directly to her spine, but they failed to regenerate her spinal tissue. Then last year, she was treated in the U.S. for a painful growth in her back.

The surgeons removed a 3-centimetre-long growth, which was found to be mainly nasal tissue, as well as bits of bone and tiny nerve branches that had not connected with the spinal nerves.

The growth wasn't cancerous, but it was secreting a "thick copious mucus-like material", which is probably why it was pressing painfully on her spine, says Brian Dlouhy at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, the neurosurgeon who removed the growth. The results of the surgery have now been published.

The team in Lisbon reports that about 140 patients have received the same therapeutic procedure, and that most showed signs of improvement. Still, it’s a cautionary tale that reminds us that stem cell research is still in its infancy.

Octopus Protects Eggs for 4.5 Years

A female octopus lays eggs once in her lifetime and dies soon after. But until the eggs hatch, she guards them fiercely, to the point of not eating. For one octopus in the Monterey Canyon of the Pacific Ocean, that meant a record-breaking four and half years of diligence! Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute first observed this octopus in 2007, traveling to a brooding site. She was seen again 18 times over the next 53 months, always guarding her eggs. Scientists recognized it was the same octopus by her distinctive scars. In 2011, divers finally found the egg cases empty and the octopus mother gone. The low temperature at the depth of the nest is suspected to be the reason the eggs took so long to hatch, and would also explain how the mother lived so long without food. The 53 months is now a world record for egg brooding, not just for octopuses, but for all animals.

5 Strange News Stories From This Week

Welcome to The Weird Week in Review, where we bring you odd news stories from all over.

1. MAN PAYS FINE WITH FIVE WHEELBARROWS OF PENNIES

On January 11, Nick Stafford of Cedar Bluff, Virginia, carted 1600 pounds of pennies into the Lebanon Department of Motor Vehicles to pay taxes on two of his vehicles. It was the end of a saga that began in September, when Stafford tried to find out which of his homes (which are located in two counties) he should use to register his son's new car. When he tried to call his local DMV, he was routed to a larger call center—and so, to get the local number he wanted, he submitted a successful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Then he went one step further, filing three lawsuits to get the direct numbers for nine other local DMVs. “If they were going to inconvenience me then I was going to inconvenience them,” Stafford told The Herald Courier.

A judge ultimately dismissed the lawsuits when the state's Attorney General physically handed Stafford the phone numbers in the courtroom. But Stafford still had to pay sales tax on his vehicles, and he got in one last dig at the DMV while doing so: First, he bought five new wheelbarrows. Then, he bought a bunch of rolls of pennies. He hired 11 people to help him unroll the pennies—300,000 in total—and drove them to the DMV, where he put them in the wheelbarrows and, with the help of people he had hired, rolled them in. (“I’m not used to lifting,” Stafford said. “These are heavy.”) The lawsuits, wheelbarrow, and hired help cost Stafford more than $1000 above the amount of the vehicle tax.

2. MOTORIST JAILED OVER KITTY LITTER

When he was pulled over in early December 2016, Ross Lebeau thought it was a routine traffic stop—but Houston sheriff's deputies arrested him on drug charges. In his car, the officers had found a substance in a sock, which, when field tested, was positive for meth. A press release stated that Lebeau had been found with a half pound of meth in his vehicle; the release contained both Lebeau's mugshot and a picture of the substance seized.

Lebeau spent three days in jail, but he was released when lab tests revealed that the substance was not meth after all—it was kitty litter! As WMC Action News 5 reported on January 7:

Lebeau said the substance was cat litter inside a sock.

His father left one in his car and gave the other to his sister for her car. It's supposed to keep the windows from fogging up.

The problem was that two field tests done by deputies came back positive for meth.

The county's forensic lab tested the substance as well, and no drugs were found. The case was then dismissed, but the damage was already done to Lebeau's reputation. "People have been calling me a kingpin or drug lord," Lebeau said, adding that he's lost out on work because of the accusation. “I was wrongly accused, and I'm going to do everything in my power to clear my name."

3. SWISS TOWN DENIES PASSPORT TO "ANNOYING" DUTCH VEGAN

Nancy Holten was born in the Netherlands, but she's lived in Switzerland since she was a child. The outspoken vegan and animal rights activist has campaigned against the cowbells that local livestock wear, saying the tradition is animal abuse, and has complained about loud church bells, hunting, and pig races. Holten, who is seeking Swiss citizenship, as been denied twice. Local residents can approve or deny villagers' requests, and they have deemed Holten too annoying. As Yahoo News UK reported on January 11:

"Tanja Suter, the president of the local Swiss People’s Party, claimed Ms Holten has a 'big mouth' and that residents did not want to grant her citizenship 'if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions.'"

Holten's citizenship case has been transferred to the Cantonal (regional) government body, which can overturn the local decision.

4. MAN FOUND STUCK IN KITCHEN VENT

Gjyste (Julie) Margilaj heard a crashing sound in her first-floor Manhattan apartment kitchen just after midnight on January 10. “I freaked ... out for a couple of minutes, and then I went over to the kitchen and I heard someone panting and breathing like they were in obvious pain. They were freaking out," she told the New York Daily News. “I opened the kitchen vent so he could breathe.” The man, a new resident of the seven-story building, had been on the roof hanging with some friends when, according to the FDNY, he removed the cover of an exhaust fan and slid down into the ductwork. "The shaft was so small that his body took up the entire vent," FDNY Chief Patrick Tansey told Pix 11 News. "So, using power tools was out of the question. We had to expose him by hand." The man—who was wearing just his underwear—only had minor injuries after the ordeal. "He had told the occupant who called us something about a pool in the basement," Tansey said, "but I don't know."

5. GOLFER RUN OVER BY TOILET

This week, Brian Berg filed a lawsuit over an incident that occurred last summer at Fox Run Golf Links in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The golfer was enjoying a day on the green when he was run over by a portable toilet. An employee of the course was using a forklift to move the toilet but couldn't see where he was going because the toilet obscured his vision. According to CBS Chicago,

"After he was knocked to the ground by the porta-potty’s “initial blow,” it did not stop, hitting him in the face and knocking him unconscious, the suit says. It injured his shoulder, cut his chin, cracked a rib, bruised a bicep and caused 'a large, deep bruise to his leg.'"

Berg is asking $50,000 in damages from the Elk Grove Park District, which runs the golf course, and the forklift driver.

Original image
iStock
5 Strange News Stories From This Week
Original image
iStock

Welcome to The Weird Week in Review, where we bring you odd news stories from all over.

1. CALF GETS LASSOED FROM THE HOOD OF A POLICE CAR

When authorities got a call about a calf that was loose on Tennessee's Highway 79N, David Bevill of Paris, Tennessee, volunteered to help local police capture it. Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew drove down the highway with Bevill on the hood, ready to rope in the calf. According to a Facebook post,

Belew said the calf became loose when a man was driving through town and his cattle trailer door broke. “There were actually two that got loose, but Dr. Lyons at Mineral Wells Animal Clinic and his crew were able to get the other one,” Belew said.

“So everybody is happy—we roped one calf, Dr. Lyons got the other one and the guy who was hauling them through town is happy, too,” Belew said.

It's always handy to know a cowboy when you've got a job to do.

2. CAT STUCK IN SUPPORTS OF DOUBLE-DECKER HIGHWAY FOR NINE DAYS

Erin McCutcheon's cat Juno escaped a zippered cat carrier and jumped out of a moving car on the upper deck of I-93 in Boston on Christmas Day. McCutcheon couldn't find her cat, and so distributed posters and put out a call for help on Facebook. On Tuesday, a Local 103 crew of electricians doing maintenance work spotted Juno high above the lower deck, perched on the support girders under the upper deck. Juno had been stuck 80 feet above the highway for nine days! The crew couldn't catch the frightened feline, but eventually lured her out with cans of cat food. Juno, hungry and thirsty, went home with electrician Jay Frazier, and was later reunited with the McCutcheons.

3. MAN CARRIES SCISSORS IN BODY FOR 18 YEARS

Ma Van Nhat underwent surgery at Bac Kan Hospital in Vietnam in 1998 after suffering injuries in a traffic accident. Recently, he complained of pain in his abdomen, which doctors dismissed as a stomachache. But on December 27, during a routine checkup, a doctor determined there was a foreign object there. Last Saturday, surgeons removed a pair of surgical scissors, which had apparently been inside Nhat for 18 years. The scissors had broken and adhered to Nhat's abdominal organs. According to The Huffington Post,

The hospital’s director, Trinh Thi Luong, is now taking great pains to find out who may have left the scissors inside Nhat.

“Even if they are already retired, we will still inform them,” Luong said, according to Reuters. “This is a lesson to all doctors.”

4. MAN OPENS DOOR TO BRICK WALL

An unnamed man in Mainhausen, Germany, woke up Monday morning and got ready for work as usual—but when he opened his front door, he couldn't leave: Someone had built a brick wall over the door opening. The perpetrators had built the wall quickly and quietly during the night. He had to tear out the bricks to leave his house. Police don't know whether the wall was a prank or an act of revenge.

5. NEW SHERIFF GETS ARRESTED

The citizens of Roane County, West Virginia, elected a new sheriff in November. Bo Williams began his new job last Sunday, but on Tuesday, according to the New York Daily News, he was was arrested on charges of grand larceny for stealing meth from an evidence locker at his previous job with the Spencer, West Virginia, police department. Bags of meth with evidence numbers were found in his desk and in his car. Williams had resigned from that job after admitting to drug addiction in December. The Roane County commission removed Williams from office that same day, and asked a former sheriff to step in to run the department. Williams is out of jail on bond and may face up to 10 years in prison.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios