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News of the Weird 

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Colorado district judge Connie Peterson dismissed a lawsuit in December filed by Vance Hewuse over the allegedly "atrocious" and "outrageous" initiation rites of a local disabled veterans auxiliary group, the National Order of Trench Rats. According to Hewuse, he was fed "worms" (actually spaghetti) while blindfolded and then introduced to a nude woman with a substantial amount of Limburger cheese held in front of him as 60 Trench Rats laughed at him. Hewuse said the humiliating experience caused him to "lose all interest in sex with [his] wife."

Fetishes on Parade

In August in Kisumi, Kenya, Michael Odongo confessed to assault charges in the May death of his employer, Joshua Okiki. The two had gotten into a fistfight when Odongo failed to explain satisfactorily why he was asleep in Okiki's kitchen, wearing Mrs. Okiki's underwear.

Salt Lake City police reported in September that a 19-year-old man, wearing only underwear and sexually aroused, was arrested in his home for pointing a BB gun at a young neighbor boy. When the boy's mother discovered the man, he said he was angry at the kid because he was "bugging" him.

In December, police in Sandy, Utah, arrested a man who had spent more than an hour in a stall in the only women's restroom in the Sandy city hall. During the morning, as word got out, a parade of women marched by to see the pair of men's shoes on the floor of the stall. When a janitor tried to talk to the man, he answered in a falsetto voice. When the police finally rousted him, he said he was there because he was looking for his daughter.


Priscilla Brayboy, 32, was shot to death in Houston in November when she charged into the wrong house looking for her philandering husband. The gray Volvo she had followed to the neighborhood was actually parked in front of a house several doors down.

Police in Roseville, California, arrested physician Wayne Patwell and his wife when a Sacramento bank employee notified them that currency just deposited for the Patwells had a strong smell of marijuana. A search of their home revealed nearly 100 bags.

As of November, the cremated remains of retired postal worker Earl Miller, which were mailed from Fort Lauderdale in July, had not been received by his niece in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. Said a postal worker heading the nationwide search for the urn, "If it was mailed, it's got to be somewhere."

At an international telecommunications conference in Vancouver last fall, Saudi minister Alawi Darweesh Kayyal (who was to speak later) walked to the podium and began delivering the words on the speech prompter for Canadian prime minster Brian Mulroney. (He read, straight, a line about "our mountains and lakes and prairies and forests.") When frantic officials finally persuaded Kayyal to step down, an unruffled Mulroney walked to the podium, improvised the beginning, and resumed where Kayyal left off.

In December, adamant security guards at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport forced a Taiwanese woman to place the baby's car seat she was carrying on the conveyor belt to be x-rayed, unaware that her 20-day-old baby was strapped inside. Doctors later said the baby was unharmed.

Robert Hernandez, convicted in Dallas of a 1986 murder and sentenced to 65 years in prison, appealed and won a new hearing in 1988. At the new hearing in December, he was sentenced to 90 years (and a $10,000 fine).

Police in Oslo, Norway, came to the rescue of Jermond Skogstad in September. Skogstad said he had been in the middle of moving into his new apartment when he took a break for lunch, forgot where his new apartment was, and could not locate it for nearly a month.

Two small planes collided near Healy, Alaska, in September as they were circling over a moose. Witnesses on the ground said the planes were intent on the moose and not paying much attention to each other.

In September, Dallas police officer Joe Copeland, who had slowed his vehicle because of an object in the road, was rammed from behind by a car driven by his mother. Both were injured and still in their cars when police arrived. Officers discovered the link when Mrs. Copeland asked them to notify her son that she had been in an accident.

Jay Kanish, 18, left his cousin's wedding reception last summer in Imperial, Pennsylvania, to buy his mother some cigarettes. He was using his mother's truck but did not know how to drive a stick shift. The truck jumped a curb and careened 50 feet down an embankment, smashing into the hall where the reception was taking place, injuring ten people and toppling the wedding cake.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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