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Strange But True Category

Weird, offbeat and bizarre news from around the world. Funny, strange & odd news stories that make you wince, laugh and fear for humanity.

How to open a book – a vintage primer

William Matthews Bookseller instructs us ho to open a lovely book for the first time.

how to open a book

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 6th, December 2019 | In: Books, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Senior quotes from a 1911 high school yearbook

Senior quotes from a 1911 high school yearbook

Here’s a lovely old selection of words and aspirations explaining how three students in 1911 saw their lives.

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 5th, December 2019 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Hero fought terrorist on London Bridge with huge Narwhal tusk

Narwhal tusk

Two people were murdered today in another attack on London. The killer was brought to a standstill and taken to the ground by passers-by on London Bridge.

Amy Coop was there. She tweets: “A guy who was with us at Fishmongers Hall took a 5’ narwhale [sic] tusk from the wall and went out to confront the attacker.”

Tour guide Stevie Hurst helped restrain the attacker. He spoke to BBC radio. “We saw a guy being accosted to the floor,” he said, adding that people were “screaming” the attacker had “stabbed a couple of women”.

“Everyone was just on top of him trying to bundle him to the ground,” he added.

“We saw that the knife was still in his hand… I just put a foot in to try and kick him in the head.We were trying to do as much as we could to try and dislodge the knife from his hand so he wouldn’t harm anyone else.

“The guys that were there were absolutely amazing. Heroes beyond belief.”

The suspect was shot dead by police.

Posted: 29th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Photoshop nightmares: Cloned human beings spotted on Eurostar

Ian Martin has spotted something strange on the Eurostar.

The full render is more worrying. “Have you seen the fuller render,” asks @pistosophy. Here it is:

Eurostar photo
shop

Spotter: @IanMartin

Posted: 24th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


The Shining In Gingerbread

Twin brother Aaron and Austin Keeling recreated scenes from The Shining with Gingerbread. They’re pretty tasty:

the shining in gingerbread
the shining in gingerbread
the shining in gingerbread
the shining in gingerbread
the shining gingerbread

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 21st, November 2019 | In: Film, Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Narwahl the dog has a tail on his head

tail max dog

Meet Narwahl, an 10-week-old abandoned puppy with a tail on the middle of his forehead. If he likes walking in the rain, Mac can wipe the water from his eyes as he goes.

Narwahl was abandoned in Missouri. Why? Your dog has a tail on his head! People have built Hollywood careers with less.

Posted: 14th, November 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Listen to the site bellbird – the loudest bird in the world

Listen to the site bellbird - the loudest bird in the world

Listening to wildlife in the northern Amazon, scientists find that the white bellbird is the loudest bird in the world. It’s mating call reaches 125 decibels. 

Visitors to the mountains of the northern Amazon can get unusually close to the white bellbird. Ornithologists have long suspected this bird’s call is the loudest in the world, but a recent trek into the mountains and some careful measurements confirm that male white bellbirds do indeed have the loudest birdsong ever recorded.

Posted: 28th, October 2019 | In: Strange But True | Comment


The life and times of Goldie Williams

Goldie Williams mugshot

This mugshot shows Goldie Williams, aka Mag Muphy, posing for her mugshot in Omaha. Nebraska. Its a cracking photo.

Arrested on January 29, 1898, the police notes tell us that Williams, also known as Mag Murphy, stood just 5 feet tall and weighed 110 pounds. She listed her home as Chicago and her occupation as a prostitute. Her left index finger was broken and she had a cut below her right wrist. Williams sported an elaborate hat with satin ribbons and feathers. She also wore large hoop earrings.

We don’t know much more about her life. But we can place her in the time in which she lived.

Read: The Indomitable Goldie Williams : The Life And Times of a Defiant Prostitute (1898)

Posted: 8th, October 2019 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


The first photo of the far side of the moon

The first photo of the Dark Side of the Moon

On October 7 1959, human beings saw for the first time the far side of the moon. It was taken by the Soviets’ Luna 3:

The first image was taken at 03:30 UT on 7 October at a distance of 63,500 km after Luna 3 had passed the Moon and looked back at the sunlit far side. The last image was taken 40 minutes later from 66,700 km. A total of 29 photographs were taken, covering 70% of the far side.

And now:

The first photo of the Dark Side of the Moon

Spotter: NASA

Posted: 5th, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, Technology | Comment


Police arrest idiot with photographic memory

brain crime

As you chitchat any the checkout, watch the cashier’s eyes. If they’re anything like 34-year-old Yusuke Taniguchi, they’re allegedly taking a detailed mental picture of your bank details.

Taniguchi, a cashier at a mall in Japan’s Koto City, used his eidetic mind (photographic) to memorise customers’ 16-digit bank card numbers, name, expiry date, and security code. He’d then go home and buy loads of gear using the numbers.

Brainiac, right? Wrong. Taniguchi would note all the card numbers in a little book he kept in his flat. Police found the book when they raised his flat. But why did they pop over. Because Taniguchi was allegedly using his own address as the delivery point for the stolen goods.

Taniguchi is said to have confessed to have mentally nicked the data from 1300 people.

Spotter:: Sankei NewsHachima Kiko

Posted: 3rd, October 2019 | In: Strange But True | Comment


Man uses dead pigeon as weapon in fight

Dead Pigeon fight

“C’mon then!’’ barks one man (short; grey anorak – (not me, no)). “You’re a waste of my time,” says the other (tall; green-T-shirt; tracky pants; weighty). Mambo Number 5 is hard playing in the background. (Eat yer heat out, Ennio Morricone.)

The small man steps forward, jabbing and winding his fists, like he imagines a real boxer would. The bigger man moves away. Small and mouthy keeps coming. Big and heavy gives him a wallop before moving away. Small and mouthy keeps moving forward, his fists whirling like a child’s windmill on a wet sandcastle. Big and heavy then reaches down, picks up a dead pigeon and tosses at at small and mouthy.

Says doorman Kwasie Mensah, who filmed the clip and posted it to Facebook: ‘Can’t believe he threw a dead pigeon.”

Well, live ones are pretty hard to catch*.

(* Unless you’re homeless in Exeter, a pelican or have the right shoes. But you can always find a dead one and try to bring it back to life…)

Posted: 3rd, October 2019 | In: Strange But True | Comment


Why dogs stick their head out of car windows

Dog window

Why do dogs stick their heads out of car windows? Because they can and you rarely ride with a tiger or a ferret on the front passenger seat? Nah, Truth is it’s all about the smalls.

“Dogs receive more olfactory stimulation with their heads fully outside the car versus inside the car. And even having the windows down only a few inches seems to provide enrichment and stimulation that dogs will seek out,” says Natalie Zielinski, director of behavior services at the Wisconsin Humane Society…

“When sticking their head out the window, they can smell every person in the street, every trash can they go by, every patch of grass, restaurant and other dogs. It’s like watching TV for us,” says Jennifer Cattet, an animal behavior researcher and owner of Medical Mutts, a service dog training center in Indianapolis.  

Spotter: DiscoverMag

Posted: 1st, October 2019 | In: Strange But True | Comment


Human babies have lizard body parts

Lizard babies

Hey, eyeball lickers. News is that babies in the womb are possessed of extra lizard-like muscles in their hands. “Most” babies lose the lizard part before they’re born. (Where do they go?) Others take up residence in Buckingham Palace.

The journal Development says the lizard muscles are a hangover from when reptiles transitioned to mammals. Dr Rui Diogo, from the Howard University, who wrote the research, says:

“We have a lot of muscles going to the thumb, very precise thumb movements, but we lost a lot of muscles that are going to the other digits. In our evolution, we do not need them so much. Why are they there? Probably, we cannot just say in evolution, ‘Look, I will delete from scratch, from day zero, the muscle going to digits two, three, four, five and I will just keep the one going to the thumb.’ Probably it is not so easy. Probably you have to form this layer of this muscle and then it disappears on the other digits but persists on the thumbs…

“The important question for me now is, ‘What else are we missing? What will we find when all the human body is inspected at this detail during its development?”

The next King of England?

Posted: 1st, October 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Watch an octopus dream in colour

octopus dreaming

An octopus changes colours while sleeping. The US show Octopus: Making Contact opines that the captive octopus is dreaming of hunting. Bit of a guess, no? Maybe it’s dreaming of escape or an ancestral home? Dr. David Scheel enlarges:

So here she’s asleep, she sees a crab and her color starts to change a little bit. Then she turns all dark. Octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom. This is a camouflage, like she’s just subdued a crab and now she’s going to sit there and eat it and she doesn’t want anyone to notice her. …This really is fascinating. But yeah, if she’s dreaming that’s the dream.

Spotter: Laughing Squid

Posted: 29th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Man has sex with plastic cleaning cone at Wigan train station

Phwoar!

Is nothing safe? To Wigan train station, where a man has been caught shagging a cleaning cone. He was observed abusing the facilities by a worker for Virgin Trains, natch.

The Metro reports on Trevor Smith, 38, who was “found in a lift with his trousers and undies around his ankles while thrusting his hips at the cone”. At first Mr Smith was observed with the cone upside down on his lap. He later “mounted” the cone.

Says one witness: “I have not seen anything like that in all my time working on the railway.” It’s unlikely he’s ever been to Motherwell station.

Smith, who has committed other public sex acts in the past, will be sentenced at Bolton Crown Court on Thursday, October 24.

Cleaners at the court would be well-advised to lock their tools in a safe place until after sentencing.

Posted: 29th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Stoned tuna: chef arrested for cannabis-infused fish

cannabis tuna

The Italian newspaper La Sicilia reports on a local chef arrested on suspicion of drugs dealing. The chef claimed he was testing out “new flavours”, and the two large marijuana plants and 1kg (35oz) of Indian hemp in his pantry were part of his dabbling in cannabis-infused wine, olives, coffee and tuna – all items also seized from his home near Catania.

The 50-year-old is a self-billed “agro-food consultant for third millennium cuisine”.

Meanwhile, you know ‘weed’ you bought from the guy who works in the kitchens, well, it’s oregano – probably.

Posted: 29th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Someone is leaving cannabis biscuits and cakes in England’s parks

marijuana art swing park

Who is baking hash cakes and dropping them on the grass? Sarah Kenny says she was walking her Jack Russell cross Max in St Helens, Merseyside, when he scampered into a bush. Later back at home he fell ill. Sarah says she smelt his vomit. “I could tell that it was chocolate which immediately raised alarm but then I smelt this really distinctive smell and I knew it was cannabis. I hadn’t seen what he’d eaten in the bush before but when he was sick we knew straight away it must have been a lot of cake.”

Meanwhile, over in Leyland, Lancashire, Sarah Eccles is taking Billy, a cavachon (King Charles cavalier and bichon frise cross) round the park. The Metro says Billy “stumbled upon a pile of discarded cookies”. The Indy says the “pile” was “two chocolate cookies lying in the grass at her local park”. Both sources see Billy on a video posted on Facebook looking very unwell. Oddly, the Daily Record delivers its story under the headline: “Mum reveals shock video of ‘stoned’ dog who almost died after eating cannabis cookie.” Not the dog’s mum, obviously, which makes her billing irrelevant. Or are mums more worried about cannabis in the bushes than other women?

The good news is Billy is ok. The bigger news is that the Indy reports “there was no indication it [the cookie] had been tested to confirm its ingredients”. But Sarah says she knew it was cannabis by the smell and “picked up one en route to the vets and returned later that night to dispose of the other”.

The identity of felons dropping space cakes in parks around the north-west of England has yet to be established.

Posted: 18th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Pigeon poos on had of man complaining about pigeon poo

 Irving Park Blue Line

What do the birds think of a lawmaker’s to keep birds away from the Chicago Transit Authority’s Irving Park Blue Line station, aka “pigeon poop station”?

Democratic state Rep. Jaime Andrade was talking to local TV about the issue when – yep – a pigeon dropped on on his head. “I think they just got me,” said Andrade.

Posted: 18th, September 2019 | In: Strange But True | Comment


Missing woman found searching for herself

Iceland missing woman

Transcribed:

Missing woman mystery solved

A group of tourists spent hours Saturday night looking for a missing woman near Iceland’s Eldgja canyon, only to find her among the search party.

The group was travelling through Iceland on a tour bus and stopped near a volcanic canyon. 

Soon, there was word of a missing passenger. The woman, who had changed clothes, didn’t recognise the description of herself and joined in the search.

But the search was called off at about 3am when it became clear the missing woman was, in fact, accounted for and searching for herself.

Spotter: Sarah Pinborough

Posted: 16th, September 2019 | In: Strange But True | Comment


Major Wank investigates severed penis

Major WAnk penis crime

To Eastern Carolina, where Victoria Frabutt, of Newport, has been charged with malicious castration. She is accused of using pair of rose pruners to separate James Frabutt from “his favorite part of himself”.

Having mentioned fornication as possible trigger for the purning, Mrs Frabutt was asked by 911 if there was much blood. “Oh no,”she replied. “Like I said, I couldn’t even get enough blood to make the sign of the cross, or write sinner, or anything like that.”

The bellend was located and put on ice. It may yet be reunited with the victim.

But the choicest cut from this story is not found in the icebox, rather in the name of the investigating officer. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Major Jason Wank.

major jason wank penis

Major Wank.

Posted: 13th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Raising a penguin without ‘assigned gender roles’

penguin gender roles

Did you know you a human being can raise a penguin living in the UK without “assigned gender roles? This is not a parody (I think):

Meanwhile…on the Island of Dr Moreau

Posted: 11th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


The teen who did not go blind from eating crisps, chips and sausages

blinded by chips and sausages

Hear about the boy “blinded by chips and sausages”? Or as the BBC’s headline puts it, a little more accurately: “Teenager ‘blind’ from living off crisps and chips.”

blinded by chips and sausages
blinded by chips and sausages

The tabloid’s headline conjures all kinds of images (see above). But the story is less bizarre. The 17-year-old has long-standing eating issues for which he sought help. And for that we can only feel sympathy. Things got so bad that the lack of nutrients affected his vision. His diet is a composite mix of: French fries, Pringles, white bread, the occasional slice of ham or a sausage.

Truth is that the sausage might well be the heartiest thing he ate. Sausage did not make the teenager blind.

The boy’s visit to the Bristol Eye Hospital is recorded in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr Denize Atan, who treated him at the hospital, notes: “His diet was essentially a portion of chips from the local fish and chip shop every day. He also used to snack on crisps – Pringles – and sometimes slices of white bread and occasional slices of ham, and not really any fruit and vegetables. He explained this as an aversion to certain textures of food that he really could not tolerate, and so chips and crisps were really the only types of food that he wanted and felt that he could eat. He had blind spots right in the middle of his vision. That means he can’t drive and would find it really difficult to read, watch TV or discern faces. He can walk around on his own though because he has got peripheral vision.”

Sausages are innocent. Mental health should not be mocked.

Posted: 3rd, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, Tabloids | Comment


Aggressive spiders will conquer the world

Things climate change is responsible for: angrier spiders. The Sun says this “maybe” true. As for labelling spiders angry in the fist place, well, who knew?

The paper picks up on a report in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Scientists at Canada’s McMaster University in Canada watched spiders before and after tropical storms along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States and Mexico. “It is tremendously important to understand the environmental impacts of these ‘black swan’ weather events on evolution and natural selection,” says Jonathan Pruitt, lead author of the study. “As sea levels rise, the incidence of tropical storms will only increase. Now more than ever we need to contend with what the ecological and evolutionary impacts of these storms will be for non-human animals.”

Aggressiveness of the spiders was measured in the speed, the number of attackers that respond to prey entering the web, how likely the female spiders were to cannibalize males and their own offspring, as well as how vulnerable they were to being infiltrated by predatory foreign spiders.

Maybe they’re, you know, hungrier?

Adds Pruit: “Tropical cyclones likely impact both of these stressors by altering the numbers of flying prey and increasing sun exposure from a more open canopy layer. Aggressiveness is passed down through generations in these colonies, from parent to daughter and is a major factor in their survival and ability to reproduce.”

And then the jump: “There is, therefore, a possibility that this could happen to more spider populations if weather around the world gets more extreme due to climate change.”

Back in 2013:

Pruitt performed personality tests on dozens of A. studiosus spiders and then arranged them into 90 couples consisting of an aggressive pair, a docile pair, or an aggressive spider matched with a docile one. The arachnids’ personalities are heritable, so a docile pair produces almost exclusively docile offspring, aggressive mates mainly make aggressive offspring, and mixed pairs produce a combination of docile and aggressive babies. After 1 week in the lab, each of the pairs had created small webs, or nests, on chicken wire within separate containers.

Pruitt returned to the Tennessee woods where he originally collected the spiders and wired each of the 90 nests onto trees and shrubs. For the next 5 years, he removed other species of spiders from the territory surrounding half of the webs. These 45 webs served as a control to test the hypothesis that disposition matters when hungry, solitary spiders abound in nature. The colonies in these well-maintained territories faired roughly the same as one another between 2007 and 2012, no matter the personality of their founders.

In contrast, colonies in the areas that were open to invaders differed from one another over time as solitary spiders began to infest the webs.

Colonies founded by aggressive spiders successfully fought the intruders off, but produced fewer offspring because of the continuous conflict.

Eventually the docile colonies died out.

Posted: 22nd, August 2019 | In: Strange But True | Comment


Fairground workers say Norwich Cathedral ride is rigged

‘Down and down and down you go, where it stops, hell knows’

The country’s fairground workers might wonder how fair it is that Norwich Cathedral has installed a full-size helter skelter ride in the nave. The cathedral says the ride is “a creative way to share the story of the Bible”, particularly Proverbs 32 – 7-9: ‘£2 per person per ride. One rider per mat. No refunds.’

Says one fairground worker: ‘At least you know our games are rigged. With this mob you only find out if they’re above board when you’re dead. i wish we’d have thought of it first.’

In other news: the central aisle of Rochester Cathedral has also been converted into a crazy golf course.

Posted: 9th, August 2019 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment