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According to a November report in the Economist, Japanese inventor Yoshiro Nakamats photographed every meal he ate for 30 years to help him identify foods that energize the brain, which supposedly was research for his Yummi Nutri brain biscuits. He claims that the biscuits make people smarter and, with exercise and sex, increase life expectancy to 144 years. Among Nakamats's inventions to aid exercise and sex are spring-loaded jogging shoes and the Love-Jet clitoral stimulator.

The Weirdo-American Community

Witnesses said that the person who robbed a branch of the Seattle-First National Bank in Vancouver, Washington, in July spoke with a deep "male" voice, so police were surprised to find Kristin Deane Pearsall, 29, inside a truck like the one used in the getaway. Pearsall allegedly admitted, however, that the robbery was done by John, one of her five personalities.

In Payson, Arizona, in a July pretrial hearing on a slander lawsuit, Judge Michael Flournoy permitted "testimony" from a man who'd been dead for 500 years. Channeler Trina Kamp took the witness stand and "contacted" the spiritual leader of the Church of the Immortal Consciousness, the late Dr. Pahlvon Duran, to "explain" that a local couple's attack against the church was wrong. Judge Flournoy said later that he'd allowed the seance because he thought Kamp would drop the lawsuit once Duran's testimony was heard.

In October a jury in Tucson found Robert Joseph Moody, 36, guilty of killing two women in 1993 despite his claim--made while acting as his own attorney--that space aliens made him commit the crimes. Before the trial the judge had scratched several UFO experts from Moody's witness list as well as Barry Goldwater, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford.

Alex Troy Fersner of Johnson City, Tennessee, filed a lawsuit in federal court in September charging that three news anchors (two male, one female) had been flooding his mind with secret messages of "perverted lust and distracting TV illusions" and that they "scream" and "breathe loud" at him. He said the harassment has caused the loss of facial hair as well as hair "in the back."

The Denver Post reported in October that a man who gained notoriety for counseling gay men to go straight was accused by two counselees of engaging in long sessions of phone sex with them. Said one accuser of ex-reverend Colin Cook, "He thinks if he's having erotic phone conversations, it's OK because he's not having sex."

In September Robert Ferguson, 52, and his wife, Deborah Reeder, 46, were arrested on contempt of court charges in Franklin, Indiana. In 1993 the couple announced that they were renouncing their citizenship and therefore were exempt from paying taxes. The contempt charge pertained to their failed claim that their neighbors hand over 200 acres of land because the government in the early 1800s had no authority to divide it up as it now exists.

Chiropractors in the news: In July the Massachusetts board that regulates chiropractors considered revoking the license of Ronald Goldstein after testimony from former patients that he touched them sexually during examinations, tried to market a hypnosis service for breast enlargement, and talked to them about his having been abducted by space aliens. And in October Dr. John Schuett, 36, was charged with battery in Waukesha, Wisconsin, for allegedly having grabbed a woman in his office, putting his mouth over her right eye, sucking on it, stabbing her in the neck with an acupuncture needle, and reading aloud from the Bible.

In December Forrest Fuller, 29, of Mount Holly, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to the 1994 murder of his girlfriend. After the murder, according to police, Fuller drove as far as West Virginia, chatting with the body about their imminent marriage. He stopped to telephone the girl's mother, admitted his crime, and told her that he was going to dress the body in a wedding gown and wedding ring and drive to California, where he thought the couple could be married.

In September 38 potbellied pigs were seized in a raid on the "filthy," "unsanitary" home of a woman in Los Angeles; a spokesperson for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said, "This woman just got in over her head." Two weeks later health inspectors in Old Bridge Township, New Jersey, raided the apartment of Eugene Octtaviano after the stench of his 400 uncaged birds became unbearable for his neighbors. In June Angelo Russo, 79, was hospitalized after health officials found more than 300 rats in his Deltona, Florida, home. According to an official, the rats were well fed, domesticated, and apparently had bonded with Russo.

Least Competent Criminals

Norman Newmarch, 60, was charged with DUI in Toronto after his car nudged a cruiser in the parking lot of a police station. He told officers that he'd driven to the station because he wanted to ask police whether he was sober enough to drive.

In November in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, suspected thief Robert Breen, 35, was arrested after a brief chase down an alley near a bar. Officer David Kareemo discovered Breen squatting with a garbage can over most of his body but with his feet clearly visible.

Daniel Paul Sabel, 47, and Richard Michael Barker, 38, were arrested in Lake Oswego, Oregon, in October after their scheme to drive off with a safe from a grocery store backfired. The initial thrust of their truck, with the 900-pound safe chained behind it, yanked the safe underneath the truck, halting the truck about 100 feet from the store, where a passing police officer arrested the pair.

Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.

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

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