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 Stories

In September the city of Kansas City, Kansas, joined four Indian tribes in court to protest an economic-development plan by a fifth tribe, the 3,800-member Wyandotte tribe of Oklahoma. The Wyandottes plan to build a casino on pillars above a 150-year-old tribal burial ground they own in downtown Kansas City. Said one dissident, "Imagine our relatives lying here, looking up at the floor of a casino."

According to an October communique from the North Korean communist party, "dear leader" Kim Jong Il, 55, has been promoted to "great leader," and the official government news agency has proclaimed this cause for "jubilation," even though the country is in the midst of a famine. The agency reported that even nature was marking the occasion, citing, among other things, a four-inch-long white sea cucumber one angler had caught and the prolific blossoming of numerous pear and apricot trees.

Sports highlights: In September Susie Nelson, who had lived across the street from Wrigley Field, filed a lawsuit against the Cubs because she says a ballpark security camera was aimed at her bedroom window at various times over the 18 months she lived there. And electrician Randal Jay Palmer, 37, was charged with trespass in October after he allegedly set up a video-camera feed in an overhead light fixture in the Kingdome dressing room of the Seattle Seahawks cheerleaders. According to police, Palmer not only accidentally disabled the remote control, but also turned the recorder on while he was looking into the lens. Police have the tape.

Latest Messages Received

In July Baptist minister Larry Roach decided to leave Clover, South Carolina, and move his New Life Christian Fellowship (motto: "A Church on Fire") to Springfield, Missouri. He persuaded almost all of his parishioners to give him the church's assets, including $65,000 in cash, to take with him. When five or six parishioners objected Roach dismissed them, saying, "They're idiots. If they mess with me I'll have their homes and cars. It's a good thing I'm a Christian. They're gonna owe me [even more money] by the time I get done with their butts."

Frank Martinelli, 50, testified in August against the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, alleging that he'd been sexually abused in 1964 by Father Laurence Brett: "He told me [fellatio] was OK because it was just another way of taking Holy Communion."

New York City's list of United Nations missions that hadn't paid parking tickets issued during the first three months of the year included the Holy See, diplomatic arm of the Vatican, which had eight tickets totaling $500 in fines.

Police chief Katie Holmboe of Gold Hill, Oregon (population 1,000), the only paid officer on the force, was fired in August after complaints about the excessively Christian way in which she enforced the law. Holmboe once reported that a man jumped into a squad car, acting strange. "Being a former Bible student, I knew what I was up against," she said. "I prayed, and I said, 'I denounce you in the name of Jesus.' It hit the floor. It looked up at me and [hissed]." (The town council was also displeased that she'd sold Mary Kay cosmetics while on duty.)

What Goes Around, Comes Around

In March in Granby, Massachusetts, Fernando Morgado, 31, and Antonio Andrade, 39, were preparing to slaughter a pig with a .22 caliber rifle. The pig struggled, causing Andrade to miss; the bullet went through the tailgate of a trailer and hit Morgado in the stomach, sending him to the hospital, where he was listed in fair condition. In the chaos the pig broke free.

On August 7 police in Delaware, Ohio, and Thibodaux, Louisiana, reported that alleged child molesters had received private justice. According to Ohio police, the wife and mother-in-law of Rodney Hosler, 27, kidnapped him shortly after he was released from prison on child-molesting charges, tied him up, shaved his body, applied hot ointment to his genitals, inserted a cucumber into his body, scribbled "I am a child molester" on him, and dumped him naked in front of a pizza parlor in his hometown. And Adam Trahan, 17, was hospitalized in Louisiana with two spine fractures and swollen testicles from a beating allegedly administered by the father of a boy Trahan was accused of raping.

Unclear on the Concept

Several news organizations reported in March and April on how Japanese men are becoming increasingly sexually fascinated with high school and junior high school girls. One expert interviewed by the New York Times, Hiroyuki Fukuda, 30, editor of a magazine whose title can be translated "Anatomical Illustrations of Junior High School Girls," said, "The age at which the girls seem interesting is clearly dropping. But it's only the maniacs who go for girls below the third grade."

A May Atlanta Journal story on the increasing number of Web pages devoted to classified ads from prison inmates seeking romantic relationships cited an ad that read, "Aren't you fed up with meeting all the wrong men...?In search of a truly honest and good man?" The ad writer was Ronald E. Mays, who's serving life without parole in a California prison for first-degree murder, second-degree murder, sodomy with force, and kidnapping.

Actress Rose Jackson filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles in June against MTM Enterprises for making her character, a church secretary in a pilot episode of a UPN TV series Good News, seem vulgar. She said her character's role was expanded to include a romantic relationship with her pastor, which she said offended her moral sensibilities. Jackson's husband is Michael Moye, cocreator of Married...With Children.

In March in Ogden, Utah, Donna Solomon won a total of $89,500 in damages for injuries she suffered at the hands of Thomas and Darda Davis-Greene in an ongoing feud. Thomas Davis-Greene denied he'd done anything to incur legal liability but admitted to going "ballistic" in Solomon's home. Davis-Greene is by profession an anger-management counselor.

In August the Johor Baru Religious Affairs Department in Malaysia announced that convicted sexual "deviants" would, in addition to serving prison time as punishment, be bound and whipped.


In June 1996 News of the Weird reported that construction worker Thomas W. Passmore, then 32, had filed a lawsuit for $3.35 million against a Norfolk, Virginia, hospital and four doctors over the loss of his hand. Passmore admitted to severing the hand with a power saw because he believed it was possessed by the devil and to twice refusing to allow doctors to reattach it, vowing that if they did he would just cut it off again. However, he claimed the defendants had been negligent because they ought to have persuaded his family to overrule his poor decision. In September 1997, after a 30-minute deliberation, a Norfolk jury ruled against him.

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 by Shawn Belshwender.

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  →