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News » News of the Weird


A weekly roundup of international news oddities



Cows summering in the mountains of Switzerland have to find their way to lower elevations as winter comes on, but among one herd, about 10 cows were injured and couldn't hoof it down safely. So in late August, farmers arranged for them to be harnessed and flown by helicopter to terrain more accessible to conventional transportation, Sky News reported. The cows were held in a mesh harness, and farmers grabbed ropes to guide them down. Farmer Jonas Arnold noted, "I didn't ask a cow how it feels after such a flight, as it couldn't answer, but ... it was only a short, calm flight." The cows are scheduled to participate in the annual cow parade at Urnerboden, Switzerland.

Bright Idea
Yves de Mbella, a television personality on NCI in Ivory Coast, was convicted on Sept. 1 of glorifying rape after he invited a convicted rapist on his prime-time show to demonstrate how he plied his crimes, using a mannequin as his victim. CNN reported that the segment, during which de Mbella helped the rapist adjust the mannequin and asked if his victims "enjoyed it," aired on Aug. 30. De Mbella, who was fined about $3,600, apologized for the demonstration, saying he was trying to "raise awareness."

Compelling Explanation
Jonathan George, 31, of Norwalk, Ohio, told police on Aug. 30 that his dog, Lula, shot herself while bringing him his gun, Fox8-TV reported. "[He] said his dog shot itself and he trained the dog to bring a gun to him," said police Capt. Jim Fulton. "The dog had the gun in its mouth when it went off accidentally." But officers didn't believe that story; Fulton said George's blood alcohol content was 1.7, about twice the legal limit for driving, and that he "shouldn't be drinking and handling firearms, bottom line." George later admitted that he'd been trying to unload the gun when he shot the dog in the jaw. Lula is recovering from her injuries but lost an eye in the shooting; George was charged with cruelty to animals and two other misdemeanors.

The Way the World Works
In one neighborhood in south St. Louis, the century-old brick stormwater sewer system works in a most alarming way: When heavy rain falls, the street "explodes," with water charging up through any cracks and manholes it can find. Fox2-TV reported that on Aug. 30, resident Sacha Heath recorded video of the phenomenon and posted it to Twitter. "You hear the manholes kind of trembling and you hear the water exploding and it sounds like steam, and then chunks of asphalt are flying in the air," Heath said. "Obviously, you don't want asphalt chunks flying into the bottom of your car." But the Metropolitan Sewer District doesn't find it unusual: Sean Hadley of the MSD deadpanned that "the water's gotta go somewhere. That's what the system is designed to do—for it to pop the manhole covers so that the water can come out and it's not popping in people's basements. That's what you don't want to happen."

• Kimberly Dawn Maxwell, 41, of Ashland, Kentucky, is treading water at the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville, West Virginia, after a puzzling incident on Aug. 27, WCHS-TV reported. As a dad and his two kids enjoyed a picnic at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington, West Virginia, Maxwell—who was a stranger to them—came to sit at their picnic table. The dad reported that she was mumbling to herself, and he believed she might be under the influence, so he packed up lunch and directed the kids away from her. But as they walked, Maxwell ran up behind the 5-year-old boy and threw him in the Ohio River. A bystander who witnessed the incident jumped in and saved the boy before Maxwell also jumped into the river. When police arrived, she told them, "This is international waters. Police cannot do anything to me." When the deputy asked her to come talk to him, she responded, "That is not going to happen." A rescue boat finally plucked Maxwell from the water and she was evaluated at a hospital before being moved to the jail.

• After 20 years in operation, a roller coaster in the Fuji-Q Highland Park amusement park in Fujiyoshida, Japan, has been shut down because at least six riders over the last 10 months or so have suffered broken bones while riding. The Do-Dodonpa is famous for accelerating from 0 to 112 mph in just 1.56 seconds, Vice News reported. Four of the casualties involved broken necks or backs. After suspending the coaster, the park and Sansei Technologies, which manufactured the ride, inspected it to see if they could determine the cause of the injuries, but they came to no conclusions.

In December 2020, News of the Weird reported on the unusual union between Kazakhstani body builder and self-described "sexy maniac" Yuri Tolochko and his new wife, Margo, a blow-up doll. That relationship has since gone south, but Tolochko has found a new object of his affection: a metal ashtray that he procured from a nightclub. In fact, the Daily Mirror reported, Tolochko plans to have the ashtray outfitted with a vagina so they can consummate their love. After a photo shoot with the ashtray, Tolochko, a pansexual, said, "I wanted to touch it again, smell it. I love its brutal scent, the touch of metal on my skin. I also like that it has a story, that it's not new, that it has served many people and continues to serve them."

News You Can Use
• Mortician Caitlin Doughty, who stars in a YouTube show called "Ask the Mortician," has answered all kinds of pressing questions about what happens when bodies are cremated, the Mirror reported. For example, titanium hip joints don't melt along with tissue, clothes and hair, so, Doughty explained, "The metal has to be removed by hand or by a large magnet, and it's not handled as biological waste because it was never really part of the body to begin with." She said hip and knee replacements can now be recycled into road signs and car parts. Pacemakers, on the other hand, must be removed before cremation, as the batteries and intense heat could cause an explosion. And breast implants? Doughty says they just melt, but can leave a "gelatinous goo" stuck to the bottom of the cremation chamber.

• Monsignor Stephen Rossetti of Washington, D.C., is an exorcist, licensed psychologist and counselor who is warning Catholics that demons have figured out how to send threatening text messages to their targets. The Daily Star reported that Rossetti claims to have "three cases in which demons have texted the team and/or the family of the possessed person. All were high-value targets with high-ranking, powerful demons involved." For example, one text read, "Her torments start now, priest ... all night. We will make her bleed." Rossetti points to a long history of demons influencing technology, such as flickering lights and TVs.

United Press International reported on Sept. 2 that a pair of Michael Jordan's underwear, sporting signs of "definite use," will be up for auction on the website Lelands until Sept. 25. The item description notes "some loose threads evident at the seams." The basketball star apparently gave the u-trou to John Michael Wozniak, his former security guard, along with other items of clothing. Bid at presstime: $1,074.

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