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News » News of the Weird


The latest on quirky criminals, strange trends and odd events.



Walt Dean King, 69, just wanted to take a look at a used car for sale on July 4. But when he approached the vehicle in the small California town of Tracy, about 60 miles east of San Francisco, he was suddenly knocked off his feet by a bull that had gotten loose. King felt the bull's horn go through his side and crawled between a bush and a house as the bull stood over him snorting for about 20 minutes. Fox 40 reported that King underwent three hours of surgery, after which doctors told him his belly fat had saved him from worse injury. King believes karma kept him alive: "Back in the '70s, I had pulled a lady out of a burning building, so now I think I'm being paid back, by not dying," King said.

People With Too Much Time on Their Hands
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who have made their fortunes in tech-related fields have discovered a spiritually enriching new guru, Jess Magic, a ukulele player and singer who calls herself a "heartist." At Magic's intimate, invitation-only "Soul Salons" (and now on a 10-city national tour), participants share their energy and join in "songversations"—philosophical rap and improvised music and dance—a process Magic calls "a play date for your inner child." Andrew Hewitt, creator of Game Changers 500, explains: "For people who live most of the time in their head, this feels like magic." The New York Times reported that Magic believes her appeal is in response to the spiritual hollowness wealthy executives feel. "People forget that they are human beings rather than human doings," she said.

• Patriotism inspired Rain Wiggand, 22, and Zane Liles, 21, of Collins, Ohio, to construct an American flag using more than 2,000 Budweiser, Bud Light and Miller Lite beer cans. Wiggand posted pictures of the "beer flag" on Twitter on July 4. "It was a rough month of work for Zane and I," Wiggand confessed, adding that they "averaged somewhere around 14 beers a night for 28 days straight." Six other friends helped, he said, but they only drank on Thursdays to Sundays. Liles told BuzzFeed News, "It was a month-long hangover that nothing could cure." However, he said the project had not ruined beer for him. "I can still drink beer with the best of them."

Cultural Diversity
In Ghana, the reaction of mourners at a funeral is a measure of the deceased's position in the community. But for family members who are unable to express their emotions openly, professional mourners will cry on their behalf. A leader of one team of criers told BBC Africa in July that they charge based on the size of the funeral, and the Kumasi Funeral Criers Association offers different styles of crying, such as crying with swagg, crying and rolling on the ground, and crying and vomiting. Ghanian funerals also feature dancing pallbearers and giant billboards to announce the funeral arrangements.

It's a Compulsion
In 1985, Tosya Garibyan of Arinj, Armenia, asked her husband, Levon Arkelian, 44, to dig a pit under their home where she could store potatoes. But once he got started, Radio Free Europe reported, he just couldn't stop. Twenty-three years later, the underground oasis Arkelian created is a tourist attraction. Working as many as 18 hours a day with only a hammer and chisel, Arkelian created seven rooms, stairwells and passages running as deep as 65 feet and adorned them with carvings and decorations made from found objects. Arkelian passed away in 2008, and his widow welcomes tourists to her museum, which includes his shredded work boots and tools. But she says the couple argued about the project. "He ruined his health because of this hole," she told RFE.

Wait, What?
Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of Iran's Civil Defense Organization, announced in a press conference on July 2 that Israel is manipulating the weather over Iran to prevent rain. "Israel and another country in the region have joint teams which work to ensure clouds entering Iranian skies are unable to release rain," Jalali posited, according to YNet News. "On top of that, we are facing the issue of cloud and snow theft." However, the head of Iran's meteorological service was skeptical: "It is not possible for a country to steal snow or clouds. Iran has suffered a prolonged drought, and this is a global trend that does not apply only to Iran."

Weird Science
If summer's heat is making you anxious about body odor, you might want to investigate a helpful gadget launched on July 1 by Japanese health tech company Tanita: the ES-100, an odor-sensing device that will detect body odor or too much perfume or cologne. IT Media reported that the user simply points the sensor toward the underarm area (or other problematic spots), and in 10 seconds a numerical score will appear on the LED display. If you're a 10 ... you're not a 10.

Compelling Explanations
In Madison, Wisc., an unidentified 19-year-old driver flipped his car after overcorrecting in traffic on July 3. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the man left the scene and removed some clothing, then pretended to be a jogger who happened by when police questioned him. Police said he was not impaired; he was later charged with leaving a crash scene and driving without a license.

• A 62-year-old security guard named Ramdin in the city of Kanpur, India, told doctors he was robbed in June of about $722 (proceeds from the sale of his motorbike) by muggers who attacked him and knocked him out. When he woke up, Ramdin was suffering from severe abdominal pain, which brought him, 10 days later, to Rama Hospital, where a scan revealed a steel cup lodged in his abdomen. Senior surgeon Dr. Dinesh Kumar told Metro News: "It seems that the metal cup was inserted into Ramdin's rectum by the goons, and it got stuck near the intestines." Doctors couldn't remove the cup using the route it went in, so they had to operate. Ramdin was discharged from the hospital on July 4.

In what can only be a testament to curiosity, a Staffa, Ontario, Canada, man has created an eBay listing for the McDonald's meal he placed on a shelf in his home six years ago to see what would happen. CBC Radio reported on July 5 that Dave Alexander also set aside a homemade burger and fries, five years ago, in order to make a comparison. The McDonald's meal held up much better: "The fries are stunningly good looking," Alexander said. "The burger itself has darkened a little bit. The bun is about as hard as a hockey puck, but it looks just like it's brand-new cosmetically." Alexander is downsizing and listed the meal—"original owner, never eaten"—for $29.99. "We live in the country and we've never seen a fly land on it. Ever," he said.

Finished with her shopping at the Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, Walmart in late June, an unnamed woman returned to the parking lot and drove off in the black rental car she had just picked up. Two weeks later, when she returned the car to the rental agency, she complained about the car's messy condition and the set of golf clubs left in it. Nation Valley News reported the "slightly confused" manager informed her the car she had rented was a Nissan Sentra, but the car she returned was an Infiniti. Sure enough, the Infiniti owner had reported his car stolen from the Walmart parking lot, and when the woman and the agency manager returned to the lot, the Nissan was still parked there. The Infiniti owner got his car back, the woman was a "wee bit embarrassed," and the Cornwall Community Police Service reported on July 8 that there was a "happy and funny ending to the story." They also urged citizens to "not leave your key fobs in your vehicle when not being operated."

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