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Real (Strange) News

(Florida, Daytona Beach News-Journal) - A four-month-old goat with a curious birthmark has fans of the late racing star Dale Earnhardt flocking to a north Florida farm to get an up-close look. It was born with a distinctive white number three on her right side. That just happens to be the number of Earnhardt's race car. Lil' Dale's owner, Jerry Pierson, said that he's seen people "take pictures and get tears in their eyes." He said that one woman told him it gave her "chills.'' Pierson says Lil' Dale was born with the number—and that the marking was not painted on, shaved on, or otherwise manufactured. He said that Lil' Dale probably has a career in advertising ahead of her. As he puts it, "All you have to do is put an oil can in front of her and it'll sell."

(Berlin, Reuters) - A German man lived in an apartment with his dead father for at least a year to avoid eviction, police recently released. "The father was skeletal, just skin and bones, completely dried up," said Petra Volk, spokeswoman for Wiesbaden police. Firemen found the decomposed body sitting on the couch after neighbors reported a smell of burning. The unemployed son, 42, had not notified authorities of the death because he feared he would be kicked out of the apartment, which was rented in his father's name, police said. "The son appears to be alcoholic although he was quite lucid when we interviewed him," Volk said. "The flat was in a mess, with rubbish and empty bottles everywhere. It's incredible to think of them together like that." Police believe the father died of natural causes. Germany has seen several cases in recent years in which the bodies of people who had died alone in their homes lay undiscovered for weeks, months or even years. "We haven't arrested the son because we have no indication yet that a crime was committed," said Volk. "You get some strange people."

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Enrollment Up Since Beaver College Changed Name
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(Pennsylvania, AP) - Beaver College's decision to change its much-maligned name to Arcadia University has apparently boosted enrollment. The school changed its name a year ago to end years of abuse from the likes of David Letterman and "Saturday Night Live." Derogatory jokes often referred to the animal, "Leave it to Beaver" and the female anatomy. Arcadia has received deposits for 522 incoming freshmen and expects nearly all of them to show up when classes start. That number is up 12 percent from last fall. Applications increased 33 percent. Previously, most students came from Pennsylvania and surrounding states. This fall the freshman class comes from 48 states, 13 more than last year. "Inadvertently, the fact that our own name was the butt of many jokes meant that (people) across the country and outside the country heard the fact that we were changing our name," President Bette Landman said Friday. "That was unexpected advertising."

(Minnesota, Business Wire) - In 1937, the first cans of SPAM luncheon meat began to appear on the shelves of grocery stores in the United States. Sixty-five years later in July 2002, the six billionth can of this canned meat was produced. The one-billionth can was produced in 1959 and the second billionth can was made in 1970, followed by the third, fourth and fifth billionth cans in 1980, 1986 and 1994, respectively. SPAM is produced in the U.S. at Hormel Foods plants in Austin and Fremont, Nebraska. The plants are capable of producing a combined total of more than 44,000 cans per hour. SPAM is also produced in three foreign countries, including Denmark, Korea and the Philippines. A can of SPAM is consumed in the U.S. every 3.1 seconds. On a per capita basis, residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Arkansas, Texas and Alabama are the most frequent consumers of SPAM in the U.S. Hawaii leads the way with 6.7 million cans sold annually, which amounts to 5.5 cans per year per Hawaiian.

(New Zealand, AP) - British and New Zealand police have completed an investigation into allegations of widespread sex abuse on the tiny Pacific island of Pitcairn and are preparing to file charges, authorities said. A New Zealand radio station reported that as many as 20 men from the remote British territory halfway between New Zealand and Peru may be charged. The island, first settled more than 200 years ago by a group of English sailors who staged the famous mutiny on the British warship Bounty, has a population of just 44. Due to its geographic isolation and the fact that the allegations likely would touch every family living on the island, prosecutors want the trial held somewhere else.

(Illinois, AP) - An Illinois man has been charged with hitting his grandmother with frozen meat. Prosecutors in Madison County say the man was fighting with his relatives and the meat was "what he could get his hands on." His grandmother was allegedly struck on the arm with what is believed to be some type of steak. Authorities say she wasn't seriously injured. Officials say this isn't the first time someone in Madison County has resorted to using frozen meat as a weapon. They say people can resort to anything when they get mad.

(Canada, Ananova) - A man has been forced to flee his Canadian home after having sex with two dogs he dressed in women's underwear. The man, who cannot be identified, has moved from British Columbia to Winnipeg where he's being watched by a police sex-crime unit. Both dogs were found dead and wearing bra and panties. One was found in a garage, hanging from the rafters, the other in a ditch near the man's home. DNA was used to convict the man, who is halfway through a three-year probation order for bestiality. He moved over fears for his safety from the public. The Winnipeg Sun reports authorities in Winnipeg were alerted to the man's presence by a parole board. An unnamed officer said: "He feared for his safety and got permission to move here and we're stuck with the sick bastard." Staff Sgt. Boyd Campbell, of the sex-crimes unit, said his greatest concern is the possibility "this is an escalating offence. Hopefully we are wrong but there is enough concern."

(London, Reuters) - Humans developed a fondness for chocolate about 2,600 years ago when the Mayas used earthenware teapots to prepare cacao drinks, American researchers said on Wednesday. The discovery by scientists from Hershey Foods in Hershey, Pennsylvania and the University of Texas in Austin means chocoholism began 1,000 years earlier than scientists had previously thought. "The presence of cacao in Maya spouted vessels at Colha indicates that its usage pre-dates evidence from Rio Azul (an ancient Mayan city) by almost a millennium," Jeffrey Hurst, of Hershey Foods, said in a report in the science journal Nature. The scientists analyzed ancient residue from the pots found in an archaeological site at Colha in northern Belize and found it contained traces of theobromine, a compound found in cocoa plants. They suspect the pots were used to pour cocoa mixtures from one container to another to form a froth, which was the Mayas' favorite part of the drink. "We now know that the Maya had a long, continuous history of preparing and consuming liquid chocolate from the Preclassic period through to the Spanish Conquest," Hurst added.

(Bangkok, Agence France-Presse) - A Bangkok university student had been found dead after a bizarre study method involving looping a belt around his neck and fixing it to a door handle went tragically wrong, a report said. Eak Chongsawatwattana's mother told the Nation newspaper that the belt kept him awake while he was studying. He had learned the trick from other university students. If he nodded off, the jerk of the belt would wake him up. "I warned him many times not to do this, but he just didn't listen. Now he's dead," she was quoted as saying. Eak, 21, was reportedly found sitting upright at his desk with the belt still around his neck. His neck was bruised, but there were no other signs of injury. Forensics expert Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunant told the daily it was likely Eak had died from a lack of oxygen to his brain. Chavalit Muennuch, an executive at Assumption University where Eak was a student, told the Nation that the administration was looking into his death. "I've never heard anything like this throughout my 28 years of work in school administration. This student sounds like a masochist. He tortured himself to succeed. This is not the proper way to succeed," he said. He vowed to stop other students using the deadly method.

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Penis Unfurls in Los Angeles
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(Hollywood, Variety) - Puppetry of the Penis, the hit from Off Broadway and the West End, will make its West Coast debut at the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles. Conceived and created by David Friend and Simon Morley, Puppetry consists of two naked penis puppeteers on stage presenting "the ancient Australian art of genital origami." The show has also played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, where it debuted in 1998 and returned for four months earlier this year, as well as Toronto and Montreal. Morley and Friend are contemplating adding new installations to their repertoire—there are already about 40. The landmark Pink's Hot Dogs stand, the Hollywood sign and the Chinese Theater are under consideration.

(Germany) - German police have solved the mystery of a hoard of single new shoes found on a dump—a man with odd-sized feet. A passerby alerted officers in Luebeck when he found 19 size eight shoes and 19 sized nine-and-a-half. Police thought they'd been stolen from a shop display as they appeared to be new and were the same brand. Investigators tracked down the man who'd thrown them away. He then showed them his odd-sized feet. He told officers he always buys two pairs of shoes then throws one from each pair away. He said the dump is the place he normally uses to get rid of the useless shoes.

(Germany, Reuters) German police recently rushed to investigate cries of distress reported by an elderly woman in a small town near Frankfurt only to find the moaning came from two copulating hedgehogs. The terrified 72-year-old alerted police after enduring two-and-a-half hours of pained wailing, police official Rudolf Neu told Reuters. "The woman said they were not lusty moans, they were as if someone was in need of help," he said. She reported the sounds of agony coming from a neighbor's hedge, but could not see anything out of her window and was too afraid to leave her house. After two officers arrived on the scene and combed the area with flashlights, they found the source of the groans beneath a car parked about 20 meters (yards) from the woman's house. "They were looking around in the darkness, and then found the two hedgehogs at work under the car," said Neu. Shortly after being discovered, the pair completed their mating and escaped from the prickly situation unharmed.

(Cuba) - An 84-year-old woman has discovered she carried a dead fetus in her womb for 40 years after undergoing surgery for the first time. It was discovered when Juana Morales Jiménez from Pinar Del Rio in Cuba was sent to the hospital to have a hernia removed. Doctors say they were surprised when they felt something pushing against their hands while checking the woman's abdomen. Doctor Miguel Danel told the Juventud Rebelde website: "At first I thought she might have swallowed her false teeth, but we checked and removed a fetus floating in woman's abdomen." According to the hospital's embryologist, Leonardo Oriolo, the fetus was 20 weeks old when it died, and it dated back at least 40 years. The woman later told doctors she thought about visiting the hospital 44 years earlier after a hemorrhage related to a pregnancy, but her GP told her it wasn't necessary as the hemorrhage stopped quite soon.

(Italy) - Newspaper reports in Italy say the Pacers are close to finalizing a three-year, $7 million contract with European star Gregor Fucka. Team president Donnie Walsh said that's hardly the case. "This is all very, very premature," Walsh told the Indianapolis Star. "I've had preliminary conversations but we're nowhere close to a deal." Fucka, a 7-foot-1 swingman from Slovenia, was widely considered the best player in Europe two years ago and has previously been pursued by NBA teams, but chose to stay in Europe.

(London, Reuters) - Hormones in semen may help to ease female depression because women whose partners don't use condoms are less likely to feel down. Scientists at the State University of New York suspect the mood-altering hormones are absorbed through the vagina and make women feel good but they stressed that their results are not an excuse for unprotected sex. "I want to make it clear that we are not advocating that people abstain from using condoms," Gordon Gallup, who led the study, told New Scientist magazine. "Clearly an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease would more than offset any advantageous psychological effects of semen," he added.

(Berlin, Reuters) - Forget palm-reading. A blind German psychic claimed Tuesday he could read people's futures by feeling their naked buttocks. Clairvoyant Ulf Buck, 39, claims that people's backsides have lines like those on the palm of the hand, which can be read to reveal much about their character and destiny. "The bottom is much more intense—it has a much stronger power of expression than the hand in my experience," Buck told Reuters. "It goes on developing throughout your life." By running his fingers along a number of lines on the surface of a client's posterior, he says he can tell them about their future monetary success, family life, health and happiness. He says lines representing success, career and artistic ability extend inwards from the outer extremities of the buttocks, while a further five lines radiate outwards. "I began on a circle of friends and the circle grew," Buck said. "I am not a new-age freak. I treat people with great care and conscientiousness." Buck, who lives in the northern village of Meldorf, northwest of Hamburg, says all types come to him to have their bottoms read. He sees his blindness as a great asset, not least because it means customers do not risk having their identities revealed.

(AP) - An 11-year-old boy who twice faked drowning to get attention might have suffered a heart attack when he drowned in a neighbor's pool, authorities said. John Szarko, Jr. was retrieving rings from the floor of a neighbor's pool when others saw him floating face down in the shallow end. Others at the pool party performed CPR until rescue workers arrived, but John was pronounced dead on arrival at Williamsport Hospital. Tim Ungard, who was at the pool party, said he twice pulled John out of the pool Thursday after the boy faked drowning. "He would yell, 'Help.' Then he would go under the water and then he would come back up. I would pick him up out of the water, and I would ask him, 'Are you OK?' And he would say, 'Yeah, I'm just playing around. I'm playing like I'm drowning,'" said Ungard. "I kept telling him, 'Don't do that. You make me panic. You better quit that because we don't know if you're drowning,'" Ungard said. Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling, Jr. said medical tests indicated John might have had a heart condition and might have had a heart attack while in the pool.

sex-doll.jpg (6062 bytes)'CORPSE' TURNS OUT TO BE SEX DOLL
(Germany, Reuters) A Munich man suspected of murder after he was seen carrying what a neighbor thought was a dead body into his apartment was cleared after he showed police his collection of rubber sex dolls. A police spokeswoman said the neighbor called to say he saw the man carrying a "corpse" into the apartment. Police responding to the call found the suspect to be "surprised and disturbed" by their questions at first. "When the officers then told the man they were investigating a murder he showed them his newly acquired silicon sex doll," the spokeswoman said. "The man also showed the officers four other inflatable sex dolls he owns. Apparently, he had just been testing out his new acquisition when police arrived." The spokeswoman said the police then left the apartment and closed the file. "They didn't want to disturb him any longer," the spokeswoman said.

(Pennsylvania) - A huge natural pothole hasn't turned into the tourist attraction that local officials hoped it would become. Archbald Pothole State Park, centered around a pothole that is 38 feet deep and 42 feet wide, reopened five years ago after a $170,000 facelift. Organizers hoped the changes would make it the attraction it was about 100 years ago, but that hasn't happened. "It never took off to the point where we hoped to see droves of people coming here," state Rep. Ed Staback said last week. Instead, officials said, the pothole has simply become a prime location for trash dumping, vandalism and loitering. Uncovered by a miner in 1884, the pothole was visited by people from around the world in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Officials said they hope more changes could bring tourists back to the pothole, which was formed by glacial movements about 18,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. A 200-acre site just over the hill from the pothole that was formerly a strip-mining location has been cleared for recreational use. Staback said a project could start by fall that would add soccer fields, tennis courts, basketball courts and trails.

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Theater Deems 'Hunchback' Offensive
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(London, AP) A British theater company has changed the name of its adaptation of the classic novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, so it won't offend people with the disability. Oddsocks Productions swapped "hunchback" for "bellringer" because it did not want to upset people with scoliosis, producer Elli Mackenzie said. The condition causes the spine to curve and, in extreme cases, the development of a hunchback. "We did not want to reinforce any stereotypes about Quasimodo's disability," said Mackenzie. The name change, to The Bellringer of Notre Dame, has been applauded by London's Scoliosis Association.

(Reuters) A sweaty-footed Dutchman who caused a stink by removing his shoes in a university library has been fined by magistrates, Dutch media reported. The 39-year-old Rotterdam man was fined $245 in The Hague on Thursday for defying a ban on taking off shoes in a college library in the western town of Delft, authorities said. The newspaper said the magistrates, "decided his sweaty feet smelled so bad he was a public nuisance."

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