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News of the Weird

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In October SF Weekly profiled British rock musician Genesis P-Orridge and his wife, Lady Jaye Breyer, who are trying to gradually transform themselves through surgery into identical "pandrogynous" human beings. Their campaign to liberate identity from the constraints of gender kicked off on Valentine's Day 2003, when they both got breast implants.

Latest Historical Site

Archaeologists in Wittenberg, Germany, excitedly announced in October that while examining a newly uncovered annex to the house of Martin Luther they'd found what may be the actual toilet on which the 16th-century priest and scholar was sitting when he formulated the manifesto that launched the Protestant Reformation. Luther, who suffered chronic constipation, spent much of his time on the toilet.

Things People in Government Believe

Diana Cortez and Sandra Lopez, formerly the mayor and bookkeeper of La Grulla, Texas, pleaded guilty in November to spending $53,700 of the town's federal grant money on psychic consultations. And in August the Saint Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association fired consultant David Levin after seven years' service, during which time it paid him around $1.4 million in fees and expenses. The decision followed the appearance of a magazine article in which Levin--whose clients have included other local civic groups as well as the city of Saint Louis--claimed to possess psychic powers and discussed his "clairvoyance-based" business seminars.

Life Is Too Long

According to a September report by the Associated Press, Ilker Yilmaz of Turkey was then awaiting confirmation from Guinness World Records that he'd set the new mark for squirting milk out of one's eye. The existing official record is 8.6 feet, set in 2001 by Mike Moraal of Canada, but on September 1 in Istanbul the 28-year-old Yilmaz, exploiting what he called an anomaly in his tear gland, sucked milk up his nose and squirted it 9.2 feet out of his left eye.

Hard-Core Drug Use Redefined

The Brisbane Courier-Mail reported in September that at Grafton Prison in New South Wales, Australia, some inmates had been breeding redback spiders (whose bite can kill children and the elderly) and injecting themselves with the spiders' diluted venom to get high.

The Laws of Irony Are Strictly Enforced

At a party near Greenville, Michigan, in September, friends tried to persuade a 37-year-old man that he was too drunk to drive home. The man became enraged; in the ensuing brawl he injured several partygoers with a tire iron before someone fatally clubbed him with a flashlight. That same month Deborah Meister, 46, was charged with assault after an open-house meeting at Central Middle School in Anchorage, Alaska. Meister, a parent, roughed up an assistant principal because she thought he hadn't sufficiently addressed the problem of bullying.

Creme de la Weird

Among the write-in presidential candidates interviewed for a pre-election report on the New Jersey news site NJ.com: Jack Grimes of Maryland, a professed fascist who admires the leadership of Saddam Hussein and would rely on telepathy and astrology to make tough decisions; Sterling Allan of Utah, who analyzes issues using a code he created by alphabetizing and numbering every word in the Bible and has called for the U.S. to disclose any treaties it has made with extraterrestrial powers; and Randy Crow of North Carolina, who, despite a chip that may have been implanted in his brain either by the FBI or some "weird force," railed against the Omega Agency (believed by many conspiracy theorists to control the government), which he said had staged the 9/11 attacks as well as the D.C. sniper shootings.

Readers' Choice

After the Lucky Dollar Casino in Greensburg, Louisiana, was robbed of about $70,000 in November, police received a tip that three bags of the stolen money had been left in a creek near Baton Rouge. Two bags were easy to find, but the water in a pool formed by a beaver dam was too deep to search effectively for the third. When officers began to dismantle the dam in order to drain the pool, they discovered that beavers had opened the third bag and woven thousands of dollars, wet but otherwise unharmed, into the branches that made up the dam.

Least Competent Criminals

A classic bad move was reprised in Bloomington, Illinois, in October when officers arrested Donald Hilger, 35, and charged him with robbing 11 local businesses at knifepoint over a two-week period. Hilger was apprehended shortly after he allegedly held up a supermarket; according to police, when store employees arrived at the nearby arrest scene to identify the suspect, Hilger pointed at one and blurted out, "That's the one I robbed."

Joel Crytzer, 63, was arrested in November near Butler, Pennsylvania, after officers spotted two bags of marijuana and a pistol on the floor of his car. They'd pulled Crytzer over because he'd been cruising down Interstate 79 seemingly oblivious to the fact that his car had only three tires. The same month Kevin Martzett, 39, was charged with robbery in Lincoln, Nebraska. Police say they had little trouble identifying him as the perpetrator: besides taking $45, he also forced the victim to cash a $75 check made out to Kevin Martzett.

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

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