News of the Weird | News of the Weird | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » News of the Weird

News of the Weird


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Lead Story

On October 1 Mikey Sproul, age three, made national news when he commandeered the family car, which had one flat tire, and cruised down U.S. 41 near Tampa, Florida, hitting two parked cars and narrowly missing several moving ones. Mikey's assessment: "I go zoom." On November 11 Mikey used a cigarette lighter to burn down his family's house, sending his father to the hospital with second- and third-degree burns. Mikey's assessment: "Now I have no more house."

Eh-uuuuuuh, Gross

A 25th-wedding-anniversary party was disrupted in Webster, Massachusetts, in November when 20 people had to be hospitalized because the Puerto Rican delicacy they ate, a chicken-gizzards-and-bananas dish, had spoiled.

China's Nanjing Daily reported in May that farmer Li Hongzhong, 42, has eaten a snake nearly every day for the past 20 years and feels miserable on the days he can't eat one. Not surprisingly, he's had difficulty meeting prospective marriage partners. Reporters witnessed Li eating a two-foot snake that was twisting violently as he swallowed it.

A small dump truck overturned in Marietta, Ohio, in March, littering the street with cow parts. A smaller shipment fell off a truck on the same street the following week, bringing the total of cow-parts spills in town that year to four. Said city councilwoman Katie McGlynn, "I would just like to know why this continues to happen. Maybe we need a stronger ordinance to make this a more serious crime."

In April Paul Morrison, a district attorney in Merriam, Kansas, said the body of a man who committed suicide went undetected for three days even though it was in the bathroom of a house that was being shown by a real estate agent. Apparently, neither the agent nor any of the prospective buyers was interested in looking inside that particular bathroom. And over a four-day period in February guests slept in a room at an Edmonton, Alberta, motel unaware that a woman's body was stuffed between the floor and the box spring.

In June Steven Muys, 27, and Candace Temen, 21, were charged with mistreating animals after police responded to a neighbor's complaint about a bad smell coming from their Park Forest, Illinois, home. Muys told police the smell was probably the cat's litter box, but when the police went into the basement to see the box they found 42 snakes and nearly 800 mice and rats, which were apparently being bred as food for the snakes.

A dairy farmer in Clarksdale, Missouri, Anthony Tworek, 31, slipped from a stepladder in May and fell backward with such force that he impaled himself on a one-and-a-half-inch-thick pole. The pole entered his neck alongside, but not touching, his carotid artery, then went through the roof of his mouth, missing his brain by half an inch. He recovered completely.

People Unclear on the Concept

In July three armed men held up the clerk of the bail office inside the Diepkloof Prison in South Africa, forced him to open the safe, and made off with $21,000.

In February in Columbia, South Carolina, some locals were growing increasingly displeased at delays in tax-appeal hearings at the county treasurer's office. Then a bullet was fired through the office window of county treasurer Marjorie Sharpe, who told reporters, "Don't [the vandals] realize it's going to make their tax bills higher when we have to replace these windows?"

In March Medford, Pennsylvania, police charged James G. Avallone with several DUI-related offenses. Avallone allegedly smashed into a tree and a lamppost, then dutifully drove to the Medford police station to report the accidents. However, he had no driver's license or registration with him, and he refused to take a blood-alcohol test.

A November presentation at the Central Pentacostal Church in Edmonton, Alberta, on the virtues of abstinence for the unmarried was called "Maximum Sex."

The Weirdo-American Community

In September Dr. Keith Dale Rose, 31, resigned from his Augusta, Georgia, hospital post and left town after pleading guilty to public indecency. Two female neighbors had reported seeing Rose emerging from his apartment nude, his mouth gagged, his hands tied over his head, and a small empty paint bucket attached to his penis.

Least Competent Criminals

Two men approached a teller at the Harbor Bank in Baltimore on October 29 and handed over a note reading: "I have a gun. Gimme me [sic] your money or else." According to a witness, the teller looked at the note, which was written on the back of a deposit slip for another bank, and replied, "This is a Maryland National [Bank] transaction--you have to go to Maryland National." The men looked at each other, panicked, and ran off.


In September in Bay Minette, Alabama, Raymond Giadrosich, 39, who was on trial for killing his wife and mother-in-law near the end of a stormy divorce proceeding, was convicted on just one count. Although Giadrosich shot his mother-in-law only ten seconds after he shot his wife, the jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity for the first killing but sane and guilty for the second.

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

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →