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News » News of the Weird

Seniors Gone Wild

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



Seniors Gone Weird
Guests at Scotland's Macdonald Loch Rannoch hotel were terrorized by Robert Fergus, 72, and his wife, Ruth, 69, in February when the Troon couple rampaged through the lobby with scissors and threatened to shoot other guests. The incident apparently began when Mrs. Fergus pounded on a hotel room door at 1:45 a.m., leading the guest within to call front desk staff, who Mrs. Fergus told her husband treated her "with hostility." That's when Mr. Fergus "reacted disproportionately" by running naked into the lobby with scissors, cutting communications cables and shouting that he would "slit" and "kill" onlookers. Meanwhile, Mrs. Fergus told staff she was going to "get a gun and shoot you," according to prosecutor Michael Sweeney. Staff and guests ran out of the hotel, while Mr. and Mrs. Fergus returned to their room to pack and took off in their BMW. They were apprehended when they flagged down a police car to accuse the hotel staff of abusing them, and Mr. Fergus could not pass a breath test. At their sentencing on Sept. 1, their attorneys blamed overconsumption of alcohol for their behavior, noting that Robert Fergus "had previously been of good character." Nonetheless, they were fined 4,100 pounds and ordered to pay 800 pounds to cover the cost of damage to the hotel.

Criminal's Remorse
An anonymous Australian tourist in August mailed back a small stone he lifted from the Cwmhir Abbey, a Cistercian monastery founded in 1176 in Wales. The thief included a note explaining his remorse: "I have been an avid follower of the Welsh kings and their history, and so I took this rock. Ever since, I have had the most awful luck as if Llewellyn [sic] himself was angry with me." Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native prince of Wales, was beheaded and buried at the abbey in 1282, and legend says his ghost haunts the abbey. The trust that manages the abbey put the returned stone and the note on display, presumably to deter future sticky-fingered visitors.

A Singular Obsession
In Wenzhou City, China, an 11-year-old boy underwent surgery in August to remove 26 magnetic Buckyballs from his penis. The balls caused a blockage in the boy's urethra, which caused bleeding and swelling. He told pediatrician Wang Yongbiao that he put the toys in his penis because he was "curious."

• An unnamed 35-year-old man in Liaoning Province in China was rushed to the hospital with intense pain and bloody urine in June, after having inserted sewing needles into his penis over the past year. It took doctors at the General Hospital of Shenyang Military Region only an hour and a half to remove 15 needles, measuring from about 2-4 inches long. The urologist, Dr. Cao Zhiqiang, said patients who engage in this type of behavior "are looking for excitement through unusual ways." He suggested caution for those who "fascinate about peculiar sex."

A Turkish homeless man who was sentenced to house arrest in June has had his sentence altered to better reflect his circumstances. Baris Alkan, 31, had been confined to a specific area, an empty spot enclosed by metal plates, near a bus station after being detained for using and selling drugs. "I don't have a home address, so I have to stay here," he said. "Even though I don't have a house, I'm under house arrest." The court subsequently lifted the house arrest order and now requires Alkan to sign in at a nearby police station once a month.

People Different From Us
Emily Mueller, 33, of Ohio asked a photographer friend, Kendrah Damis, to take pictures of her pregnant with her fourth child—and covered in 20,000 bees. Mueller, who is a beekeeper, checked with her doctor before the photo session and was stung three times during the shoot. She said she associates bees with life and death: "Bees came into my life in a time that we had just suffered a miscarriage," Mueller said. "That's where everything fell into place for me—when honeybees entered my life." She hopes the maternity photos will highlight the importance of bees.

Least Competent Criminals
Steven Gomez-Maya, 20, handed tellers at the TD Bank North in Seymour, Conn., a note on Aug. 19, demanding money. He apparently failed to notice that his note was written on the back of his girlfriend's pay stub, and when he tried to return to the bank (presumably to retrieve the note), the doors were locked. Seymour police tracked down the owner of the pay stub, and when they arrived at the girlfriend's home, they caught Gomez-Maya as he was driving away. The hat he wore during the robbery and "a large amount of $10 bills" were found in the car, and he was charged with first-degree robbery.

Animals Run Amok
A swan on the grounds of Blarney Castle in Ireland suffered a harrowing experience on Aug. 31 when it landed in a field where cattle were grazing. At first, the cattle just looked the swan over, but when the bird hissed at them, they took off after it. The swan tried to fly away, but the cows butted and stamped on it. Garden manager at the castle Adam Whitbourn was finally able to lean over a fence and drag the swan out of harm's way. "It was an aggressive attack," Whitbourn said. "I put [the swan] back in the lake and have checked on him twice. He's sitting there looking bedraggled so I'm hoping it's a happy ending." Rather than a swan song.

The Classic Middle Name
Anthony Wayne Sandusky, 26, of Mascotte, Fla., was welcomed into the home of a Groveland woman on Aug. 22 because he had nowhere else to go. She went to sleep, and when she woke up, her mother said Sandusky had closed all the blinds, locked the doors and was carrying their possessions out the back door. She found two bags of items in a nearby field, including a stamp collection valued at $250,000. When confronted by police, Sandusky said he took the items because the woman was "being mean to him."

Compelling Explanation
Andrew Shaw, 44, of Lancashire, England, appeared before the Blackpool Magistrates Court on Aug. 29, facing three counts of possessing obscene images of children on his computer. Shaw and his wife arrived at the court with their guide dogs, as both are legally blind (Shaw has a small amount of sight in one eye). His attorney explained: "It may be argued that difficulty with his vision makes it difficult to put an age to images he downloads. He may think he is looking at 16-year-olds." Shaw was granted bail.

Most news items about sinkholes highlight the large size of the hole. But a man in Brooklyn, N.Y., was trapped by a sinkhole in the middle of the street that was just big enough to swallow his leg. Steven Suarez, 33, was making a delivery with a hand truck on Myrtle Avenue on Aug. 29 when his foot disappeared into the pavement. "I was scared," Suarez said. "It was my whole entire right leg, up until my tailbone basically." Suarez was trapped for nearly an hour as bystanders directed traffic around him and rescue workers tried to free him. Co-worker Joe Grunbaum, 32, said Suarez seemed to be in a lot of pain, but the only casualty of the incident turned out to be Suarez' right sneaker.

What's in a Name?
The state administration for industry and commerce in China has had to put its foot down about long, ridiculous names for companies. New guidelines prohibit long-winded names, such as There Is a Group of Young People With Dreams, Who Believe They Can Make the Wonders of Life Under the Leadership of Uncle Niu Internet Technology Co. Ltd. This northern China company, which makes condoms, will now be known as just Uncle Niu. The new restrictions also prohibit words that are overtly religious or political or company names that claim to be the "best." We can only guess what Beijing Under My Wife's Thumb Technology Co. Ltd. will use as its new, shorter name.

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