Brittany Maher-Kirk
Brittany Maher-Kirk

The Weird Week in Review

Brittany Maher-Kirk
Brittany Maher-Kirk

Cat Denied Gift Delivery for Lack of ID

Brittany Maher-Kirk’s mother found an advent calendar for cats that contained cat treats. She bought it and mailed it to her daughter’s cat, Ted, in London, UK. When the delivery came, Maher-Kirk wasn’t home. When she tried to retrieve the package from the post office, she was denied because she didn’t bring Ted’s ID. Ted doesn’t have any ID; he’s a cat. Maher-Kirk called the head office later to explain, and was invited to come down there. The staff was amused, but disappointed that she didn’t bring the cat. Maher-Kirk explained that Ted must stay inside due to health issues. The postal staff said that they were not obligated to hand the package over, but they did in the end. Ted is reportedly enjoying his advent calendar treats

Why the Zuist Religion is Booming in Iceland

Americans are so used to the concept of separation of church and state that we forget how rare it is in the rest of the world. In Iceland, everyone pays a church tax, which goes to the religious organization you register. If you are an atheist, or have no religious preference, your portion of the tax goes to the government, which supports the Church of Iceland. But now there’s an alternative for those who would prefer not to support a church. The new Zuist religion is inviting people to join, by promising their tax would be refunded by the church.

On the Zuist website in Iceland it was advertised that anyone over the age of 16 registering with the religion ( and thus unregistering from the National Church of Iceland) would get a refund for these fees called parish fees. However, tax authorities have responded to explaining that if Zuists go ahead to refund parish fees to their members they will have to pay income tax from these funds.

The Zuist religion is based on ancient Sumerian texts, but the church in Iceland is mainly a response to the religious tax. 

Cemeteries in Moscow to offer free Wi-Fi

Good news for Muscovites: you won’t have to give up internet access just because you die. The Moscow city government will begin offering free Wi-Fi service in funeral homes and in the cemeteries of Vagankovskoye, Troyekurovskoye, and Novodevichy. While the headline may sound silly, the purpose of the service is to provide information. The cemeteries are huge, and with downloadable maps and directories, people will be better able to find a certain grave. Previously, two of the cemeteries allowed visitors to navigate by GPS. The service is expected to roll out in the first half of 2016

Arsonist Beaver Suspected in House Fire

A home burned down in Heby, Sweden, north of Stockholm. Police investigated the fire as a possible case of arson. A forensic examination unearthed evidence that points to a beaver as the prime suspect. Police spokesperson Christer Nordström said a tree fell on a power line, which sparked an electrical fire.     

“I heard the evidence was trees that had been gnawed on and such like. I don't know anything about the forensic team's beaver expertise, but that's the information I have received,” said Nordström.

The animal, thought to have his hideout in a nearby river, was understood to still be at large on Thursday.

No one was injured in the blaze. 

Man Survives Compaction in a Garbage Truck

A homeless man in Fremont, California, was sleeping in a dumpster Monday morning when a garbage truck came and emptied it. The trash was compacted after the contents were loaded. The truck then made another stop and again compacted the trash. At the next stop, the man crawled out through a hole in the top of the truck. The unnamed man had no apparent injuries, but emergency services took him to a hospital to be checked out anyway. Once there, he was placed on a psychiatric hold.

Funeral Held for High School Lab Skeleton

Haydock High School in St. Helens, UK, had a skeleton for about 50 years. It was first used in the science lab, and later went to the art department. When the skeleton was replaced by a new plastic model, it was put in storage. Only this year, when the skeleton called Arthur was rediscovered in a school cupboard, did the school find out that Arthur was made of real human bones! Specifically, it had belonged to a small malnourished Asian man with curvature of the spine, believed to have been between 25 and 30 years old at his death decades ago. The school consulted with authorities and found that it could not be disposed of without a proper burial. So the school held a funeral.  

Mrs Dixon said: “We learnt a lot from the skeleton, drawing his anatomy, then when I found him looking a state, we needed to do something about him.

“The children are just elated to have the service because he has been part of us for so long.

“It gives him the send off he deserves for all his years of service.”

Haydock Funeral Services donated the coffin, provided the hearse, and directed the service. Arthur was buried at Greenacre Woodland Burials. There’s a video of the funeral service at the Liverpool Echo

5 Strange News Stories From This Week

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


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.


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."


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.


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."


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.

5 Strange News Stories From This Week

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


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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