Giving Up the Ghost | News of the Weird | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » News of the Weird

Giving Up the Ghost

Perplexing people, kooky crimes and odd headlines from around the globe.



Giving Up the Ghost
In January, Amanda Sparrow Large, 46, of Belfast, Ireland, stretched the May-December union to new lengths when she wed a 300-year-old ghost of a Haitian pirate. "I wanted the big traditional wedding with the white dress. It was very important to me," she told the Irish Mirror. Large said that "Jack," who was executed for thieving on the high seas, became known to her one night in 2014, when she felt the energy of a spirit next to her while lying in bed. Large has worked as a Jack Sparrow (of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) impersonator, and she believes her job opened the door for her spirit-husband to reach out to her. Alas, the Mirror reported on Dec. 8, things didn't work out for the odd couple: "I will explain all in due course," Large wrote on social media, "but for now all I want to say is be VERY careful when dabbling in spirituality. It's not something to mess with."

Scrooge Visited by Ghost of Lunches Past
The Cranston (Rhode Island) School District is taking its response to delinquent school lunch accounts up a notch, reported WJAR TV on Dec. 6. District COO Raymond Votto Jr. sent a letter to parents notifying them that a collection agency will be contacting those with lunch overdrafts starting on Jan. 2 and noted that the current deficit is almost $46,000. "The district lunch program cannot continue to lose revenue," Votto wrote. The letter specified that students will continue to receive food regardless of whether their account is in arrears. Families with unpaid charges of more than $20 will be notified by mail, which the district called a softer approach.

Unclear on the Concept
Dominick Breedlove of Spring Hill, Fla., doomed his chances of landing a job at Kohl's on Dec. 5, reported Fox 13 News, by getting arrested for shoplifting after his interview. Breedlove arrived for his appointment with Human Resources around 3:20 that afternoon, Hernando County Sheriff's deputies said, and afterward stopped to browse in the shoe department. A loss-prevention officer watching Breedlove told police the suspect went outside to his car, retrieved a Kohl's shopping bag and returned to the store, where he stashed two pairs of Nike athletic shoes worth $150 in the bag. Breedlove was charged with shoplifting, and the sheriff's office confirmed he was not hired.

Unclear on the Concept
A Michigan bank robber failed to appear at his sentencing hearing on Dec. 6 in Macomb County Circuit Court because he was cooling his heels in Toledo, Ohio, after being arrested in connection with another bank robbery. Paul Carta, 45, pleaded guilty in October to robbing a bank in May in Utica, Mich., and was due in court on the 6th, Newsweek reported. But on the 5th, the Toledo Police Department said, Carta entered a Toledo bank and handed a clerk a note demanding money and warning that he was armed. The bank employee gave Carta an undisclosed amount of money, and he fled the bank. Toledo police took him into custody 11 minutes later at a Taco Bell drive-thru nearby. He was held in Toledo on $50,000 bond.

Weird Science
Scientists are likening the strange occurrence of eels getting stuck in monk seals' nostrils to "one of those teenage trends," according to The Washington Post. Charles Littnan, lead scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, posited, "One juvenile seal did this very stupid thing, and now the others are trying to mimic it," but he and other scientists are stumped about the phenomenon. Hypotheses suggest that the eels jet up the nostrils as seals poke their faces into eels' hiding spots, or seals regurgitate the eels and they exit through the nose. Over the last two years, three or four incidences have been reported, all with good outcomes—for the seals. No eels have survived.

Sweet Revenge
Ted Pelkey of Westford, Vt., has been battling the Westford Development Review Board for months over his proposal to erect a building on his property for his truck repair and monofilament recycling business. But he told WCAX News that the city keeps putting up barriers to the development, so Pelkey has instead installed a message to the board and the people of Westford: a giant sculpture of a fist with the middle finger raised. "It's very big. Everybody got the message," said Fairfax resident Carol Jordan. Pelkey, who spent $4,000 on the public rebuke, said he hopes the citizens of Westford will take a "really long look at the people who are running their town." In the meantime, the select board told WCAX that because the sculpture is considered public art, they can take no action against it.

Anthony Akers, 38, and the Richland (Washington) Police Department embarked on an amusing meet-cute of law and fugitive on Nov. 28 when the department posted a wanted photo of Akers on its Facebook page. Five hours after the posting, National Public Radio reported, Akers responded with: "Calm down, I'm going to turn myself in." When Akers was a no-show, the department messaged him the next day: "Hey Anthony! We haven't seen you yet." Officers even offered him a ride. But Akers couldn't be bothered: "Thank you, tying up a couple loose ends since I will probably be in there for a month." He promised to surrender within 48 hours. When the weekend passed without any sign of Akers, officers wrote: "Is it us? We waited but you didn't show." To which Akers replied: "Dear RPD, it's not you, it's me. I obviously have commitment issues. ... P.S. You're beautiful." Finally, on Dec. 4, Akers arrived at the Richland police station, posting a selfie with the caption: "Thank you RPD for letting me do this on my own." Aww, ain't love grand?

Around the Bend
Science teacher Margaret Gieszinger, 52, at University Preparatory High School in Visalia, Calif., was captured on video chopping off students' hair with scissors on Dec. 5, while loudly, and incorrectly, singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." The Visalia Times-Delta described the video showing Gieszinger starting with a male student seated in a chair at the front of the room as she cuts portions of his hair and tosses them behind her. When she moved on to a female student, other teenagers started screaming and ran out of the classroom. Lilli Gates, one of Gieszinger's students, told the Times-Delta the teacher "is a loving and kind lady. She is usually all smiles and laughs. This is not the Miss G. we know and love." After Gieszinger's arrest on suspicion of felony child endangerment, the district notified parents that she would not be returning to the classroom.

A man identified only as Leo who was visiting Miami for Art Basel, a contemporary art show, over the weekend of Dec. 8 got an unwelcome extra in his Uber Eats delivery. He had ordered some Japanese food using the app, but when the driver handed Leo his food bag, "she took off running," Leo told WPLG TV, which he thought was odd. Odder was what he found along with the food he had ordered: a pair of thigh-length underwear, stained with what appeared to be human feces. Leo contacted Uber, the restaurant and the police, but all three said they couldn't help him. "Disgusting, unhealthful, it's potentially deadly," Leo told WPLG. Uber later said the driver had been removed from the app pending investigation, and Leo was provided a full refund.

The Litigious Society
When Stephen Keys boarded a SkyWest flight in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 9, he settled into his first-class seat and reached to buckle his seat belt. But when he raised the right armrest for better access, his right pinky finger became lodged in a small hole under the armrest, according to the lawsuit he filed against American Airlines and SkyWest on Dec. 5. Keys tried repeatedly to remove his finger but could not, and it remained stuck for nearly an hour until the flight landed and airline mechanics disassembled the armrest, reported City News Service. "The spring mechanism ... applied intense pressure to the plaintiff's finger, immediately inflicting injury, swelling and pain," the lawsuit read. "Dozens of passengers became aware of Mr. Keys' perilous condition, causing his dire situation to become a humiliating public spectacle." What's more, the injury left Keys unable to drive and play with his children, causing severe emotional distress, according to the lawsuit. SkyWest, citing ongoing litigation, would not comment on the suit.

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