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News of the Weird

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In July JoAnn Suggs was convicted in Raleigh, North Carolina, of hiring Bill Bateman to kill her estranged husband. Testifying in the case, Bateman said he pulled a gun on Suggs one night at Suggs's condo, but then put it away and helped Suggs unload groceries from his car. Suggs offered Bateman a beer, and the two talked into the night. JoAnn called Bateman at the condo and implored him to get on with the job. Bateman tied Suggs up with stereo wire, but then the two resumed talking. Bateman put his hands around Suggs's neck, but when Suggs objected Bateman said he was only applying a pro-wrestling "sleeper" hold. The two drove around and talked some more over beers. Bateman and JoAnn exchanged telephone calls, and she became increasingly exasperated that Suggs was still alive. She and Bateman agreed to meet, and he put Suggs in the trunk of his car. When JoAnn arrived she told Bateman to shoot Suggs. Bateman closed his eyes and fired several shots at the trunk, wounding Suggs in the hand.

People With Too Much Time on Their Hands

In August Dorolou Swirsky, 83, told the San Francisco Chronicle she's planning to give the city of Sunnyvale, California, $500,000 from her estate to finance youth sports activities, which she views as the key antidote to delinquency. She particularly wants the money to go toward interscholastic lawn bowling, which she said "embraces everything that holds a family together."

The Baltimore Sun reported in June that New York City artist Todd Alden recently asked 400 art collectors worldwide to send him samples of their feces so he can offer them for sale in personalized tins. Said Alden, "Scatology is emerging as an increasingly significant part of artistic inquiry in the 1990s." The feces of Italian artist Piero Manzoni, canned in 1961, recently sold for $75,000.

Cox News Service reported in August that Mexican professional wrestler Gerardo Palomero--who works in a mask, colorful tights, and a cape under the name Super Animal--has taken to charging into Mexico City slaughterhouses in costume to challenge workers to treat animals humanely. Said one worker, "We just wish he would come in a respectable suit." Another costumed wrestler in the city, Super Barrio, defends tenants' rights and works in AIDS education.

In June around 200 "angelologists" held the second American Conference on Angels in East Falmouth, Massachusetts. The organizer, K. Martin-Kuri, said attendees believe that each person on earth has a guardian angel who improves that person's life in many ways.

Neil McKerracher, mayor of Calmar, Alberta, held the town's first Heterosexual Pride Day in June to combat the Gay Pride Day in nearby Edmonton. McKerracher said there would be no parade or other festivities, but urged the town's straight residents to celebrate with plenty of sex.

The Albany Times Union reported recently that Stella Downing, 81, just sold her 167-piece collection of bedpans and urinals, the oldest of which, made of tin, is from the 18th century. The collection will be housed in a museum in Missouri.

In June a show in High Falls, New York, featured the paintings of Kansas City, Missouri, artist Reena Schultz, who says the works were inspired by her communing with famous dead artists (van Gogh, Renoir, Pissarro, Chagall, Rembrandt, Holbein, and da Vinci); she claims she first reached them after having several out-of-body experiences following a car crash in 1989. She said she has no talent for art but depends entirely on the artists' guidance regarding colors, brushes, and design.

In May biology professor George Hunt of the University of California-Irvine led a field trip to the Channel Islands near Oxnard, California, where he'd originally spotted what he called "lesbian sea gulls" in the 1970s. Hunt had reported then that 14 percent of the 1,200 gull pairs he studied were lesbian. Yet during the trip he admitted that he can't tell males and females apart, that in his 70s studies he'd simply inferred that hatching pairs of gulls on nests with large numbers of eggs were both female.

Inexplicable

In Mebane, North Carolina, in August, a man reported that someone had stolen his dog from his backyard but left another dog in its place. That same month, in King, North Carolina, Steve Szabo reported that someone broke into his home and took his VCR and 15 tapes; the thief also took 34 comic books from his collection and replaced them with 34 others.

The Wichita Falls Times Record News reported in July that David Garza of Henrietta, Texas, has collected 75 ballpoint pens that he says have floated into his toilet from sewer lines over the past two years. Neither he nor authorities offered an explanation.

I Don't Think So

Archie Calvin Whitehurst, 28, was arrested at the Mission Boulevard Convalescent Hospital in San Jose, California, in August, and charged with having sex with the body of a woman who'd died eight hours earlier. According to police, Whitehurst at first appeared not to have known the woman was dead; when police asked him what he'd done to the woman, he blurted out that he hadn't raped her, that she'd consented to sex.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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