Strange But True | Anorak - Part 4

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.

A girl’s 1940s ledger of her Cat’s Whiskers

cat whiskers 1941

These pictures show us a handmade book by Janet Gnosspelius. The book contains her cats’ whiskers. Janet collected the whiskers she found in her home from 1940 to 1942. She then wove each and every whisker into the pages of her book and catalogued them, noting when, where and how they were found.

Janet Gnosspelius had artistic pedigree. Her mother was Barbara Collingwood, granddaughter of W.G. Collingwood, John Ruskin’s secretary. She was one of the first women to attend the Liverpool School of Architecture. Archivists say the meticulous nature Gnosspelius exhibited in creating her book remained throughout her life as she worked in “local history and building conservation, regularly posting samples of masonry to Liverpool City Planning Office, neatly labelled with their provenance and date, demanding their restoration.”

Gnosspelius continued her love of cats. At age 40 she wrote a diary. “The diary is no ordinary one,” says her archivists. “It is written from the perspective of her beloved ginger cat Butterball, recording the dates of his fights, illnesses, and stays with friends: ‘9 March 1965: wrapped my mouse in the mat outside kitchen door.’”

cat whiskers 1941
cat whiskers 1941

Spotter: Colossal, Flashbak, The Collingwood Archive of the Cardiff University Special Collections 

Posted: 7th, January 2020 | In: Books, Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment

‘#Babyintheoven’: pregnant Spanish influencer uses Holocaust to boost her celebrity

Simon Hunter shares news of the “pregnant Spanish influencer” who he claims captioned a photo of herself ‘doing’ the Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial with the hashtag #babyintheoven.

Hellen Tabalda seems to have amended her post and – irony of ironies – added the hashtag “#neverforget”.

View this post on Instagram

BERLÍN 🤩🙏 #neverforget

A post shared by Hell 🙋🏼Elena Tablada (@hellentablada) on

Lots more photos of people posing by the memorial to the millions who were tortured, raped and murdered here.

Posted: 3rd, January 2020 | In: Strange But True | Comment

Ghost boat with two human heads on board washes ashore on Sado Island

ghost ships north korea

A modern mystery: how did five human corpses and two severed human heads come to be on a boat shipwrecked on Japan’s Sado Island? The boat’s name has not be confirmed, but there are Korean letters on the side.

How long the boat had been at sea is hard to say, but the corpses are “partially skeletonised”.

Were the bodies eaten, perhaps, by a North Korean crew seeking refuge in Japan or South Korea?

The BBC speculates the the boat is a fishing vessel and the crew were forced by the country’s oppressive regime and a desperate need for food to fish too far from shore.

Boats are made from wood. They have no GPS technology. In November 2017, eight men were found alive on a boat at Yurihonjo marina, Japan. They claimed to be fishermen from North Korea who had gotten into trouble at sea. They are all sent back to North Korea.

In 2016, North Korea sold the fishing rights in some of its territorial waters to China. Japanese media reported in September 2019:

But with Chinese ships now operating along the coast, North Korean fishers are forced to risk venturing farther out, often in foreign waters.

Since September, Russia has apprehended more than 800 North Koreans fishing within its exclusive economic zone. A ship and motorboat seizure late that month turned up about 30,000 illegally caught squid, according to Russian media. In another incident, Russian border guards were injured as crew members of a detained vessel resisted arrest. South Korea has seen a surge since this summer in North Korean fishing operations near the Northern Limit Line, the disputed maritime boundary between the two Koreas. The number of illegal crossings swelled from 51 in all of 2018 to more than 400 so far this year, data from the South Korean military shows.

Can fishing trigger a war?

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

White academic says ‘geek’ should be a hate crime on par with racism

When you hear that an academic has said calling someone a “brainbox” or “geek” should be classed as a hate crime, do you think they’re anything but white? Dr Sonja Falck, of the University of East London, says: “Insulting slurs about age, disability, religion and gender identity remained in widespread use until relatively recently. Society at the time turned a blind eye to their impact by passing them off as harmless banter. It is only with the benefit of hindsight that we realise how wrong we were. The same can be said about anti-IQ words like nerd, brainbox, geek, egg-head, smart-arse and dweeb.”

Got that? Anti-semitic slurs – race hatred against the Jews; a grim story backed by hundreds of years of persecution (the Inquisition; pogroms; the Holocaust) – were “until recently” “harmless banter” on a par with calling someone “brainy”. Calling a black woman a n***** – a word constructed on enduring racist policies that sought to cast blacks as sub-humans, offering a State-endorsed acceptable excuse when they were raped, tortured and murdered by their colonisers and owners; the systematic horror of slavery that lasted for centuries; institutional racism in the police force – is on a par with calling the bloke who did well at maths a “geek”. Verbally abusing a disabled person – the ugly, murderous mistreatment of the disabled is a scar on humanity – is no worse than calling you a “dweeb”, or the “D-word”, as we should call it.

Dr Falck is billed as a “Harley Street psychotherapist”. Her new book is called Extreme Intelligence. It is “a study of discrimination against those with very high IQs”.

Do we now talk about what IQ tests are, if they’re worth a dime and how they impact on thoughts around eugenics and race?

The only way a comment on intelligence can ever be prejudicial is when people look at the demise of Jeremy Corbyn’s racist Labour Party and tell you those “clever Jews” were behind it. Anything else is idiotic.

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

Nativity play angel gives everyone the finger for 20 minutes

“It was so funny because she didn’t realise what she was doing,” says the mother of the nativity play angel who for 20 minutes gave the crowd of parents, guardians , teachers and classmates the finger. Carla adds that Ella was trying to show mum her hangnail.

“It was pretty much for the majority of it she was there with her middle finger up,” says Carla. “Because I didn’t run over there she kept holding it up as if she was saying, ‘mum, look!’.

Mum did not respond to Ella’s finger by raising her own, either in solidarity or response. She did take a few photos. It being what Jesus would have wanted…

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

Wixing with Wix : Germany wanks for a better web

Wix, the cloud-based web development platform, went to Germany to talk about Wixing. In Germany, wixing means wanking. In times gone by, wixing lent habtual wankers a “a greenish tint around the eyes” (women) and acute shrinkage (men).

Posted: 17th, December 2019 | In: Strange But True | Comment

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

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


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


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