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Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

Sep. 1, 2011
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Fun With Alligators

Roy Griffith, 60, John Sanborn, 53, and Douglas Ward, 55, were arrested in Deerfield Township, Mich., in July and charged with stealing a 14-foot-long stuffed alligator from a barn, dragging it away with their truck and using it to surf in the mud ("mud-bogging").

According to reports, when the gator's owner tracked down the three nearby, they denied the theft and insisted that they had an altogether-different 14-foot-long stuffed alligator.

Redneck Chronicles

(1) In McGehee, a town of 4,200 in southeastern Arkansas, a black girl (Kym Wimberly) who had finished first in her senior class was not named the outright valedictorian. Instead, officials at McGehee High changed the rules and named her “co-valedictorian” to avoid what one official called a potential "big mess." As a result, the highest-scoring white student was elevated to share top honors. "We (all) know if the tables were turned, there wouldn't be a co-valedictorian," Kym's mother said. (2) When deputies in Monroe County, Tenn., arrested a woman for theft in August, they learned that one of the items stolen was a 150-year-old Vatican-certified holy relic based on the Veil of Veronica (supposedly used to wipe Jesus' face before the crucifixion). The painting had been stolen from the closet of a trailer home on a back road in the Tennessee mountains, where a local named "Frosty," age 73, had kept it for years with no idea of its significance.

Joys of Homeownership

In January, Alison Murray purchased her first home, in Aberdeen, Scotland. In August, Murray was informed that she had to temporarily relocate because the house had become infested with bats. European law dictates that the bats cannot be disturbed once they settle in. Conservation officials advised Murray that she could probably move back in November, when the bats leave to hibernate.

Police Report

  • In June, the Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant in White Plains, N.Y., was robbed by five guys (well, actually, four guys and a woman). One of the guys worked at Five Guys. All five "guys" were arrested.
  • Unclear on the Concept: In April, Robert Williams conscientiously completed his San Diego police officers' application, answering truthfully, he said, questions No. 172 (yes, he had had sexual contact with a child) and No. 175 (yes, he had viewed child pornography). Three weeks later, the police had not only rejected his application, but also arrested him. Williams' wife, Sunem, said the police department has "integrity" problems because "telling the truth during the hiring process brings prosecution."


News of the Weird has reported on life-sized, anatomically correct dolls manufactured in fine detail with human features. An early progenitor of the exquisite dolls, according to new research by Graeme Donald, was Adolf Hitler, who was worried that he was losing more soldiers to venereal disease than to battlefield injuries, and ordered his police chief, Heinrich Himmler, to oversee development of a meticulously made doll with blond hair and blue eyes. (However, according to Donald, the project was stopped in 1942 and the research was lost in the Allies' bombing of Dresden, Germany.)

Great Art!

In his signature performance art piece, John Jairo Villamil depicted both the excitement and danger of the city of Bogota, Colombia, by appearing onstage with a tightened garbage bag over his head and his feet in a bucket of water, holding a chain in one hand and a plant's leaf in the other. At a May show at Bogota's Universidad El Bosque, Villamil, 25, fussed with the tightened bag and soon collapsed to the floor, stirred a little, and then was motionless. The audience, likely assuming that the collapse was part of the performance, did not immediately render assistance. Villamil lost consciousness and died in a hospital five days later.

© 2011 Chuck Shepherd


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