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News » News of the Weird


A weekly roundup of international news oddities.



Fans of fright this Halloween might want to travel to Summertown, Tenn., to see if they can become the first visitor to make it all the way through the haunted house experience called McKamey Manor. The rewards are compelling—along with notoriety, a person who completes the tour will receive $20,000. But the demands are great, too: Along with bringing a bag of dog food for owner Russ McKamey's dogs, you need to be at least 21 years old, watch a two-hour video of other contestants failing, complete a sports physical with a doctor's letter, pass a background check, bring proof of medical insurance, sign a 40-page waiver and pass a drug test. WFLA reports McKamey doesn't allow cursing during the visit; if you utter a curse word, he'll subtract money from the $20,000 prize. But don't despair: McKamey does have a "safe" phrase for those who want to bail out: "You really don't want to do this." You're right. We don't.

Recent Alarming Headline
The San Diego Humane Society was summoned to a convenience store parking lot in Del Mar, Calif., on Oct. 8 after law enforcement officers responded to calls of concern about a van parked there, near one of San Diego's toniest neighborhoods. Officers found a woman living in the van with more than 300 pet rats. Humane Society Capt. Danee Cook told The San Diego Union-Tribune, "This was not a cruelty case. This was a relinquishment." The unidentified owner said she had started with two pet rats, but the situation had gotten out of control, and she agreed to surrender all of them, many of which were juveniles or pregnant. Officers spent several days tearing the van apart and recovered 320 animals, about half of which were put up for adoption. Meanwhile, the woman has found a place to live with the help of a GoFundMe page.

The Name Game
You probably thought Tupac Shakur died in 1996 in Las Vegas. Little did you suspect there's another Tupac A. Shakur walking the streets—or pacing the jail cells—of Washington County, Tenn. Shakur, 40, was arrested Oct. 19 after he threatened Johnson City police officers with a knife, Fox News reported. Police were able to wrestle Shakur to the ground; they also found a syringe and bags of methamphetamine and charged him with aggravated assault, resisting arrest and simple possession of meth and unlawful drug paraphernalia. It's unclear whether Shakur's name was his from birth or whether he changed it to match the rapper's.

Unclear on the Concept
Andrew Blackwell, 25, has his sights set on a particular home in Salt Lake City, Utah, and apparently will stop at nothing to make it his own. Since late August, Blackwell, a neighbor of the property, has been repeatedly entering the home, according to court papers, even after being told by police that he does not have authority to do so. He has been doing work around the house, including removing trees and shrubbery, installing new locks and telling other neighbors he had bought the house. Blackwell told police he offered the elderly owner of the home, who lives elsewhere, $90,000 for her property, which has a market value of $363,000. Court documents state that after the owner refused the offer, he told her he would "forge any document needed to get the property from her," according to KUTV Channel 2. Finally on Oct. 18, police issued a warrant for Blackwell's arrest, on charges of burglary, forgery, stalking, theft, three counts of criminal trespassing and criminal mischief.

Questionable Judgment
On-air reporter Angel Cardenas with KMAX TV in Sacramento, Calif., was fired on Oct. 21 after a bizarre incident at the Sacramento International Auto Show the day before. During a broadcast before the show opened, Cardenas climbed on at least two of the privately owned show cars and dinged another when he opened a door against it. "No one is out here to tell me which car I can't go in ... so I'm just gonna live on the wild side," he told viewers before posing atop a Ford Thunderbird. "I feel like a kid in a candy store," he said, according to Fox News. The producer of the auto show contacted the general manager of the TV station and was told Cardenas had been terminated.

Truck driver Cesar Schmitz of Eneas Marques, Brazil, was just trying to make his wife happy when he launched an effort to rid their backyard of cockroaches. "She ... begged me to destroy their nest under the ground once and for all," Schmitz, 48, explained. After chemicals failed to do the job, The Daily Mail reported, Schmitz decided setting fire to the hole would work, so on Oct. 18, he poured a capful of gasoline into the hole and tossed in a lighted match. After a couple of misfires, caught on his home's security camera, a match landed, and Schmitz and his dogs are seen ducking for cover as the resulting explosion sends turf and lawn furniture flying through the air. The gasoline itself had ignited but it had also set off the highly combustible methane from the bugs' venom that had accumulated in an air pocket under the grass. "I wish I'd thought this through," Schmitz said. He admitted it made a huge mess, but said, ultimately, his scheme was a success: The cockroaches are gone.

Wait, What?
Twenty-year-old Cody Christopher Meader of St. Petersburg, Fla., entered a Pinellas Park Target store on Oct. 22, where he sought a large Olaf stuffed doll from the Disney movie Frozen, the Smoking Gun reported. Meader placed the doll on the floor and climbed on to have his way with poor Olaf, according to the criminal complaint. After finishing, he returned the character to the shelf and proceeded to the toy department, where he "selected a large unicorn stuffed animal" and repeated his offensive behavior. Meader was detained in the store and later charged with criminal mischief. Meader's father told police that his son "has a history of this type of behavior." Meader posted bond and was released.

Stacey Wagers, 45, of Tampa, Fla., is suing the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach over an incident that happened in November 2018. She and a friend were celebrating her birthday at the hotel's Maritana Grille when they observed a waiter pouring a liquid over a nearby table's dessert that made it "smoke." They commented to the waiter that the effect was cool, and he poured liquid nitrogen into their water glasses—which they then drank. "Of course I didn't think it was dangerous at all," Wagers told NBC News. "He had just poured it on a dessert." But the lawsuit filed Oct. 11 says Wagers immediately fell ill, eventually having to have her gall bladder and parts of her stomach removed where the chemical had burned the tissue. Her attorney says she will have lifelong digestion issues.

Least Competent Criminal
A quick-thinking employee of a Boost Mobile store in Philadelphia helped police catch a thief on Oct. 22. According to CBS3, the employee was in the store alone when a 19-year-old man entered, pulled a gun and demanded money. "Can you wait a few minutes?" the employee responded. "I give you money. I have another employee outside and he took the key but after that I give you," he explained. The robber agreed, and the employee left the store, locking the door from the outside and trapping the criminal inside until a SWAT team arrived. The frustrated suspect shot his gun through the glass door, but no one was hurt.

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