News of the Weird | News of the Weird | Chicago Reader

News of the Weird 

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Recent episodes of Bobbittry: In May in Hong Kong the wife of Wong Cheong-do, 43, sliced his penis off in a domestic dispute, but doctors were able to sew it back on because Wong had thought to bring it to the hospital. In April Clifford A. Roby, 34, sliced his off with a Bic razor while in jail in Keene, New Hampshire, and flushed it down the toilet, saying it was God's will that he be punished. Former West Virginia University football player Darrick Wiley sought treatment in March at a Pittsburgh hospital for a severely cut penis, which he said was due to a hedge-trimming accident. In June Terry L. Grice, 26, of Grand Ridge, Florida, put his severed genitals in the back of his truck and drove 60 miles to a Dothan, Alabama, hospital, but when explaining what happened he said only that he was attacked by two men. And during a June brawl in Davenport, Iowa, Jaime Johnson bit off one of James Liske's testicles.

The Continuing Crisis

Bobby Johnson, an Indianapolis loading-dock worker, was arrested in May for criminal recklessness after he fired six bullets into his $900 Zenith television set because his 41-channel cable-TV service provided him "nothing to watch." Johnson told the Indianapolis Star, "I don't see why a man can't shoot his own TV if he wants to."

An Aeroflot jet carrying 55 passengers landed safely in Arkhangel'sk, Russia, in May despite a loss of hydraulic fluid that prevented full use of its landing gear. The crew managed to make part of the landing gear operational by pouring all of the lemonade on board into the hydraulic system. And that same month, near Lake Tahoe, California, pilots Steve and Kathy Swigard, facing a similar problem with their Cessna, urinated into the hydraulic system, which created enough pressure to bring the landing gear down.

The German press agency Deutsche Presse Agentur reported in June that a businessman in Cairo committed suicide because he was too heavily in debt from making support payments to his 26 children, 35 ex-wives, and four current wives.

In November Dr. Avi Ben-Abraham, president of the American Cryogenics Society, told an audience in Washington, D.C., that several high-ranking Roman Catholic Church leaders support human embryo cloning, despite the church's public stance against such research. According to Ben-Abraham, these church leaders hope to reproduce Jesus Christ from DNA fibers found on the Shroud of Turin.

Henry Anderson, 79, died of cancer at the Kentucky State Reformatory in April. He'd been convicted of murder in 1958 and given the death penalty in 1960, though he always claimed he was innocent. The state death-penalty law was declared unconstitutional in 1972, but Anderson refused to apply to have his sentence commuted because he said that would indicate he was guilty. He lived on death row for 34 years, longer than any other U.S. prisoner.

According to an April Reuters News Service report, people in Japan and England recently formed the Global Anti-Golf Movement, planned a No-Golf Year beginning May 1994, and will picket golf courses worldwide to protest the excessive amount of natural resources devoted to the sport.

In an interview published in the February Mother Jones Wallace Stickney, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Bush, revealed that FEMA's nuclear-disaster plans called for the evacuation of Congress and top government officials but not him. He said he would have been among those expected to be, using FEMA's term, "cindered."

In April in Chino, California, pilot Bob Martin's World War II-vintage fighter plane developed engine trouble shortly after takeoff, but he managed to land and walk away with only bruises, having dropped the plane belly first into a nine-inch-deep bed of manure at a dairy farm.

The Ripley's Believe It or Not! museums recently staged a contest to find the world's largest hair ball, and received more than 300 entries, mostly from meat-processing-plant personnel. The winning hair ball was 33 inches in circumference, but the Ripley's people then discovered that the Finney County Historical Society Museum in Garden City, Kansas, has one that measures 37 inches. The museum refused to part with it.

In May, at a Cable News Network conference panel on "The Impact of TV on Indigenous People," the Ted Turner-owned World Championship Wrestling organization, whose TV programs are beamed worldwide, was criticized by a Malaysian tribal spokesman. "Our value system has changed," said Anderson Mutang Urud, a Sarawak Indian. Young people no longer revere their elders, he said, but have taken to revering Turner wrestlers such as "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

In Seattle in May attorneys for 409-pound death-row inmate Mitchell Rupe argued that his scheduled execution by hanging would be cruel and unusual punishment because he would be instantly decapitated due to his weight.

The AMA's Medical Post magazine reported in March that Dr. Tariq Ahmed Mian, a British citizen educated in Pakistan, has been turned down for more than 1,000 hospital jobs in Great Britain.

People who've recently survived being trapped for days: Eugene Zerbe, trapped in his car in snowdrifts as high as ten feet in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in March, was found by a road crew after 41 hours. Jamie Peavy, 25, was trapped in her car for 60 hours near Dallas in March after she wrecked it on an isolated road. Edward Misniakiewicz, 72, was trapped in his smashed car in water under a bridge for 72 hours near Blytheville, Arkansas, in May, with only snakes to keep him company.

In Pittsburgh in March Donita Jo Artis, 24, was denied custody of her three-year-old son and sentenced to prison for beating him until he was blind, deaf, and unable to walk. Artis told the prosecutors and judge, "You guys are so unfair."

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

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