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

News of the Weird 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Lead Story

Scientists at the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research in Pittsburgh announced in June that they had successfully revived dogs that had been clinically dead--no heartbeat, breathing, or brain activity--for as long as three hours, a new record. The dogs had had the blood drained from their bodies and replaced with an ice-cold saline solution that preserved their organs and tissues; reinfusion of blood plus electric shocks brought them back. Trauma doctors hailed the experiments as a breakthrough, while the center's director bemoaned the tide of "zombie dog" stories that had appeared almost immediately in the tabloid press.

News That Sounds Like a Joke

In July, days before teams of homeless people from around the world began to arrive in Edinburgh to compete in the third annual antipoverty soccer tournament called the Homeless World Cup, UK immigration denied visas to the teams from Kenya, Zambia, Burundi, Cameroon, and Nigeria, ruling that the players likely lacked the funds to support themselves during their stay. And when prosecutors in Knoxville, Tennessee, summoned 582 parents of chronically truant students to a meeting in March to advise them of their legal responsibility to get their kids to school, 241 failed to show up.

Can't Possibly Be True

In July at the Maccabiah--an Olympics-style competition open only to Jewish and Israeli athletes--the first-place finisher in Greco-Roman wrestling, 84-kilogram class, was Mohammad Babulfath, an Iranian-born Muslim residing in Sweden. Thanks apparently to an ambiguously worded schedule for the games posted on an international wrestling Web site, Babulfath arrived in Tel Aviv with a teammate and a coach, neither of them Jewish, under the impression that they'd been invited to participate. Officials decided that since the wrestlers had come so far they should be allowed to compete.

At an Atlantic City amusement park in June, a man was critically injured and his wife and three children were hurt on a flume ride called the Big Splash: their log car was supposed to roll down an incline and into a basin of water, but apparently someone either forgot to put water in the basin or failed to notice that it had all drained out.

Poor Candidates for Rehabilitation

Paul Meeter, 21, was arrested a few hours after his release in June from jail in Sacramento County, California, where he'd been held for traffic offenses; he had allegedly smuggled out an orange inmate's jumpsuit and was wearing it in public. And sheriff's deputies in Bibb County, Georgia, said a 15-year-old boy had, while waiting to appear in juvenile court on a theft charge in July, stolen about $600 from the blind operator of the snack bar in the courthouse basement.

Unclear on the Concept

Donna Rose, 39, of Lebanon, Ohio, pleaded guilty in June to complicity to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and was designated a sex offender. Her 15-year-old daughter's 19-year-old live-in boyfriend had gotten arrested and produced a note, signed by Rose and a witness, reading: "This letter proves that Curtis Lee Barnes had and has permission to have intercourse with Donna Rose's daughter [name omitted] . . . until she is eighteen or until they break up."

Motivation in Teaching

New York City tabloids reported in April that education officials had charged a 29-year-old woman, a guidance counselor at a Manhattan high school, with having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student; the day before, reports had surfaced charging that a 25-year-old teacher at the same school had had a baby whose father, 18, had been in her social-studies class. (She'd given him only a 65.) And in July 49-year-old Drew Sanders, a coach at a Staten Island high school, was arrested after teenage boys participating in a summer basketball program accused him of punishing them for missed shots by pulling down their pants and spanking them with a paddle.

Least Competent People

The Chicago Tribune reported in June that a man was hospitalized after being knocked unconscious by an el train arriving at a south-side station; he'd been leaning over the edge of the platform in search of the cell phone he'd dropped. Also in June, WSB TV reported that a man had been rushed to a hospital in suburban Atlanta with a wound in his neck; a witness told police the man had been attempting to repair a speaker wire using, in some unspecified way, a .22-caliber bullet.

Mixed Messages

The Associated Press reported in July that environmentalists were suing the operators of turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in Alameda County, California--where more than 5,000 windmills generate enough pollution-free energy annually to power 120,000 homes--because an estimated 1,700 to 4,700 birds a year (many of them federally protected raptor species) get chopped up by the turbine blades. And in June two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were arrested for allegedly dumping the carcasses of 80 dogs and cats they'd euthanized into trash containers behind a Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Ahoskie, North Carolina. PETA condemned the dumping but defended its use of euthanasia; a county health director said her understanding had been that PETA would work harder to find animals homes before putting them down.

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

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

More by Chuck Shepherd

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
April 08
Performing Arts
April 30

Popular Stories