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From the Coffin

A weekly roundup of international news oddities.



Religious Rascality
Pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia International Ministries in Johannesburg, South Africa, is facing lawsuits after a stunt in which he appeared to resurrect a dead man on Feb. 24. Sowetan News reported that a video of the incident shows Lukau placing his hands on the man's stomach as he lay in the coffin, when suddenly the man, identified as Elliott, begins to gasp for air and sits up. "Can you see what happened?" Lukau exclaims in the video. "This man died since Friday, he was in the mortuary. ... Devil, I told you wherever I find you I will kick you." Pastor Rochelle Kombou said the hearse driver heard noises coming from the coffin and ran away as soon as they arrived at the church. "I was screaming," she said. "I saw his tongue moving. ... The man of God completed the miracle by praying because prayer is the key." The lawsuits, meanwhile, stem from the misrepresentation of the situation to three funeral parlors, whose services were sought by church officials; a coffin was bought from one and the hearse was hired from another. Prince Mafu, who is representing the funeral homes, said the matter had been reported to the Jeppe police station for further investigation.

Least Competent Criminal
Christopher Thomas Knox, 37, of Hillsboro, Ore., thought he was just calling for help when his car became stuck in the snow in Clatsop State Forest on Feb. 15. He didn't count on Clatsop County sheriff's deputies putting two and two together: In the car with Knox was a 13-year-old girl from King County, Wash. He initially introduced her to responding officers as his daughter, but they quickly determined the minor had been lured from her home. The Oregonian reported that Knox had started an online relationship with the girl's mother, and the girl left home without her parents' knowledge or consent. Along the way, Knox allegedly sexually abused her twice, according to the sheriff's office. Knox was arrested for attempted second-degree rape and first-degree custodial interference.

People With Issues
Volleyball players at the University of Kansas had reported to Lawrence, Kan., police a number of break-ins over 2017 and 2018, but it was the list of missing items that was most puzzling: swimsuit bottoms, socks, shoes—and many pairs of underwear. After a spring break 2018 incident, police got a lead in the case: Surveillance video captured a suspect vehicle that had a dealership sticker in the window. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that officers worked with the local dealership, which had loaned the car to Skyler N. Yee, 23, while his own car was being serviced. Yee, a volunteer assistant volleyball coach since 2016, was arrested and charged with 15 counts of burglary, property damage and theft after police searched his home in early February, where they found a 40-drawer plastic storage container full of women's underwear, with each drawer labeled with a player's name; six other containers with underwear; and bags containing pink high heels, boots, a sundress and a jumpsuit that victims had reported missing, along with jewelry, sex toys and other items. Yee resigned from his position in mid-January; KU Athletics spokesman Jim Marchiony said, "We have taken precautions to ensure that he is not permitted to be anywhere near the volleyball program."

Bright Ideas
Smartmouth Brewing Co. in Norfolk, Va., launched a new "magically ridiculous" beer on March 2: Saturday Morning, a limited-edition IPA—with marshmallows. Chris Neikirk, brewery spokesperson, told USA Today the beer is "brewed with in-house toasted marshmallows and bulk dehydrated marshmallow bits. ... It has a soft pillowy body with a slight cereal taste." Smartmouth hopes the beer evokes "nostalgia in adults who remember when ... Saturday mornings were a time that you sat around watching cartoons and playing games," Neikirk added, while warning that the brewery is "not marketing to children."

• If you're looking for a creepy weekend getaway, The Gas Station along Texas Highway 304 near Bastrop now offers overnight stays. Why, you say? The old filling station was the setting for the 1974 film "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." The Gas Station opened as a restaurant in 2016, serving barbecue and souvenir merchandise to film buffs. Manager Ben Hughes said the Coke machine in the movie is the same one that's now in the restaurant, and they have a van parked outside that's an exact replica of the one in the film. Now, he tells KVUE TV, fans can stay in one of four mini-cabins right behind the restaurant. But Hughes promises the staff won't try to scare you: "We want to make sure that everybody that comes out has a good time ... not just freakin' out or anything like that."

Unclear on the Concept
On Feb. 13, Nina Harris of Kentucky told her husband, Allan, that she wanted tulips for Valentine's Day. As she explains it: "He wasn't paying attention. He just said, 'Yes, I know.' When I got up, I had my first cup of coffee, and he said, 'Oh, your turnips are here.' And I said, 'Turnips?!'" Nina told WPVI TV. Allan's story is slightly sweeter: "I ... put the turnips in the bucket that says 'I Love You' on it," he said. "I went in there, got her coffee—and here you go!" Allan, who admitted he wasn't really listening when Nina requested tulips, later made it up to her by getting her the flowers and candy and balloons.

Wait, What?
Filipino medicine man Angelito Oreta, 55, has an unusual method of protecting himself and his home from thieves and attackers. He and his followers raid fresh graves near Manila to steal the kneecaps from corpses. Oreta uses a scalpel to remove the patella, then soaks the bone in coconut oil for several days to dissolve the skin. Once dried, the bones can be found scattered around his home or worn around his neck. "The benefit that the guardian angels from the patellas will bring is that they will help your livelihood," Oreta explained to Metro News. "The kneecaps are used for protection. Or they also work as a shield." Oreta gifts the bones to his trusted friends and followers.

Detective Constable Claire Fitzpatrick is no shrinking violet, evidenced by the fact that she's in danger of losing her job at the village police station in Bedwas, South Wales, U.K. The 44-year-old says her inappropriate language and habit of audibly breaking wind are just part of the "culture of banter" at the station, but she faces 25 counts of inappropriate behavior, including: farting outside her sergeant's office, using the C-word with a suspect, and propositioning a junior officer (asking if he wanted an affair with a "fatter, ugly, older woman"). DC Fitzpatrick told Metro News that swearing is "just the nature of the place" and she had replaced the F-word with the C-word as her word of choice. However, she appeared to have regrets about her actions, calling them "stupid."

Silence of the Lambs, indeed. A Manchester, England, woman named Joan has a unique project in mind for a custom clothing designer. It seems Joan, 55, is anticipating having her leg amputated because of peripheral arterial disease, reported the Daily Mail, so she posted on, requesting help to "create something beautiful and useful"—a handbag, using her own skin. She has budgeted about $3,900 for the project, which she envisions as a "medium-sized handbag with a short strap and a section down the middle that will be made from my skin," she explained in the post. "I know it's a bit odd and gross ... but it's my leg, and I can't bear the thought of it being left to rot somewhere." There are no laws against her keeping the limb, though there is paperwork to fill out. Boris Hodakel, the founder of, reports that no designers have come forward yet to help with Joan's request.

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