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News of the Weird

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The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences could not determine the origin of the 50 pounds of "meat-like" mass found in the grease trap of a McDonald's restaurant in Clanton, Alabama, in June. It was determined to be cellulose, in "skin-like" strips that were highly absorbent, "had the color and feeling of an old bacon strip," and when dried became translucent like onion skin. The state said only that it was "plant-derivative," and the restaurant owner said he was certain it came in from the outside.

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In February police in Oakland, California, sought a con man who preyed on female immigrants by telling them over the phone that he was "from a clinic," that they carried a rare germ requiring special treatment, and that they would be deported if they weren't treated. The special treatment was that the "doctor" would have himself injected with a serum (for which the immigrant had to pay $650), which could then only be passed to the victim through sexual intercourse.

Axel Bremermann, 31, who has multiple sclerosis, was convicted in February in North Bay, Ontario, of sexual assault. A woman had testified that while she was in Bremermann's apartment he pinned her to a wall with his motorized scooter and forced her to take her clothes off and perform fellatio on him.

In March Britain's Independent Television Commission denied a channel permission to air a 12-minute documentary titled Dick, composed of 1,000 shots of flaccid penises from various camera angles and a female voice-over.

Among the prostitution clients turned up during an April investigation in Elkhorn, Wisconsin: a 98-year-old man who had spent $7,000 over two years with three women. Witnesses said the man had sex at least once with more than one woman at a time. The man denied the charge, claiming that if he had had that kind of money he'd "invest it in bonds."

In April eight male inmates of the county jail in Mount Clemens, Michigan, arranged a liaison with eight females housed one floor below by pounding on pipes in code and then broke into the women's section for consensual sex. The men were discovered when they did not make it back in time for bed check.

Questionable Judgments

Kathleen Finney, a nurse at a maximum-security institution for the criminally insane in Ontario, was recently reprimanded by the Ontario College of Nurses for overzealously monitoring her patients' personal property. She had confiscated blueprints of the institution's grounds (depicting escape routes) from a patient, but the college pointed out that the patient had obtained the blueprints legally under Canada's freedom of information act and that Finney had no right to take them. (In May she was cleared of wrongdoing.)

A brothel in Reno, Nevada, reported in April that more than 100 unmarried Persian Gulf military men had taken advantage of its welcome-home offer of one night on the house (carry-out only). (Management waived its fee but still paid the hostesses. Said one woman: "I feel good about the money. And it's patriotic.")

Harold Keith Lone, 40, set for sentencing last summer for driving his school bus while drunk near Encino, California, showed up in court staggering, shouting obscenities, and gesturing wildly, with alcohol on his breath. Asked if he were presently drunk, Lone replied, "No way. No way, Jose."

A judge in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, awarded Jesse Wayne Grantham custody of his six-year-old son last September despite Grantham's having kidnapped the boy five years before (for which he was currently on probation); having been currently on probation on a separate federal fraud charge; having been on court-ordered substance-abuse and mental-health counseling; having been married to two women at the same time; and having falsely told the son that his mother was dead.

Billy Dale Anderson, 22, and David Cabarett, 33, attempting to break out of jail in Okanogan County, Washington, in October by chipping through the concrete walls with small pieces of metal, made so much noise that irritated fellow inmates turned them in.

John E. Garrett, 19, was arrested in January in Baltimore after putting up a large sign on the side of a newspaper box, announcing the sale of $10 bags of marijuana. Two plainclothes officers happened to see the sign and asked Garrett if it was his. "Sure," he said. "It's the only way I can get people to stop."

Reginald Daval Johnson, 32, robbed a Minneapolis credit union in April and, according to police, chose to make his getaway by commandeering a school bus that was parked outside. Police tracked the bus easily. (The driver was not harmed.)

Michael E. Brownridge, 28, was arrested in Saint Louis in June and charged with stealing about $300 worth of human hair from the Afro World Hair Company. Brownridge, who had worked as a painter for the company, said he had been thinking of lining his doghouse floor with the hair.

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

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