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News of the Weird



Lead Story

In September in Newport, Rhode Island, burglary suspect Jamie Johnson, 24, scaled an iron picket fence while running from police, struggled with cops at the top, then fell off and ran briefly before being arrested. At the police station cops noticed Johnson was bleeding at the crotch. According to the Associated Press, police "returned to the [scene] and retrieved Johnson's testicles, which were still impaled on the fence." They said Johnson had never mentioned that he was in pain.

Couldn't Possibly Be True

Six people have been chosen for the American team for the World Championship of Hairstyling, which is scheduled for next summer in Washington, D.C. (In all, 200,000 hairstylists will attend the event.) The teams compete in such categories as "business hair," "nighttime social hair," and "progressive hair" as well as in a technical hairstyling event. The hairdressers march in an Olympics-style opening ceremony, and after each event the flag of the winner's country is raised and its national anthem played.

A Reuters News Service dispatch from the Netherlands in July quoted Rotterdam police lauding a new investigative technique. A police spokesperson said criminals sometimes leave their earprints on windows and doors, and "earprinting is going to become almost as common as fingerprinting soon."

In June Russian army surgeons removed a live, rifle-launched grenade from the jaw of a soldier injured in the Chechnyan fighting.

Built on the shore of landlocked Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, showboat Branson Belle, a 1,000-ton riverboat, was launched on 160-foot-long rails connecting the construction site with the lake. To lubricate the rails without using environmentally unfriendly industrial grease, the shipbuilders used 40 crates' worth of unpeeled bananas.

The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch published a list of the most popular songs at nursing homes and retirement homes. Saint Louis deejay Michael Laurance, who entertains in about 80 such places in the area, provided the list, which includes "YMCA" (the Village People), "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" (Meat Loaf), and "1999" (Prince).


During June and July Lou Torok, an inmate in West Liberty, Kentucky, who's serving time for child molesting, persuaded the governors of six states to proclaim October 7 "Love Day."

In August Alvin Waff, apparently confusing the brake and gas pedals, drove his car through the front window of the Hanger Restaurant & Lounge in Hampton, Virginia, sped across the floor, and smashed against the bar, causing about $5,000 in damage. According to a Hanger employee, Waff then got out of the car and calmly asked for a beer. He was later arrested and charged with reckless driving.

Earlier this year John Bennett Jr., the president of a Pennsylvania charitable foundation, was accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of converting about $4 million of foundation money for personal use. In May the foundation filed for bankruptcy protection in Philadelphia. The judge limited Bennett to $5,000 a month from foundation funds for living expenses during the proceeding. Bennett complained, claiming that he needed almost twice that amount.

Several days after the Oklahoma City bombing in April, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi predicted that "thousands of militias" would soon wage revolution in America and urged President and Mrs. Clinton to seek political asylum in Libya, "the only safe country in the world."


Sergeant Ernest A. Hubble, a 29-year-old army recruiter, was arrested and charged with burglary in June in La Junta, Colorado. Hubble was allegedly failing to meet his monthly quota and broke into the Navy recruiting station next door to steal files of its prospective applicants.

In Toronto in June thieves broke into bait dealer John Karadimas's warehouse and made off with 600,000 dew worms in foam boxes.

Paragon Cable in New York recently began a new approach to dealing with customers who have delinquent accounts. Instead of cutting off their service altogether Paragon fills their entire 77-channel lineup with C-SPAN. Paragon said the project has been successful.

In August the New York Post reported on the widespread problem of people stealing old newspapers at curbsides. The thieves, instead of the city, then sell the newspapers to recycling centers. New York City is estimated to lose more than $2 million this year as a result. The Boston Herald even reported that "mob-connected" garbage collectors in New York City were stealing and recycling fresh daily newspapers dropped in bundles at newsstands.

Thinning the Herd

Joe Buddy Caine, 35, died in Anniston, Alabama, in September as a result of rattlesnake bites. He was bitten while tossing the snake around in a game of catch with his friend Junior Bright, who was hospitalized with bites.

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

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