News of the Weird

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • November 23, 2012 - 1:18 PM

Adults continue to accidentally ingest improbable objects. Lee Gardner, 40, of Barnsley, England, swallowed a plastic fork 10 years ago, but said he "forgot" about it until violent stomach pains forced him to the hospital in August. And British student Georgie Smith, 19, became the latest person to accidentally swallow a regular-sized toothbrush (although the first doctor she consulted told her he couldn't spot any toothbrush on an X-ray).

With kids, the phenomenon is more understandable. Sinus-suffering Isaak Lasson, 6, of Salt Lake City was finally diagnosed in August to have accidentally stuck a Lego piece up his nose three years ago, and Hector Flores Jr., 7, of New York City, was found in October to have swallowed the whistle mechanism of a plastic duck, causing him to tweet when he laughed.

Ingenious entry?

In September, two Moroccans tried to smuggle a Guinean man into Spain at the Melilla border in north Morocco by disguising him as a Renault car seat. One Moroccan drove, with the passenger perched on a seat in which the foam had been removed to make room for the Guinean. A police spokesman called the attempt "novel."

Unlucky in love

Darren Hieber, 33, became the most recent person to choose drastic means to reconcile with an ex. Hieber, of Onawa, Iowa, twice arranged to have himself shot in order to win his former wife's sympathy. The first hit man shot Hieber in the leg, but the wife still ignored him, and a second job was arranged in March, with two different shooters, but that failed, too. Adding to his frustration, Hieber was sentenced to 10 years in prison in August because it is illegal in Iowa to have yourself shot.

Not dead - really

India's notorious bureaucracy works to the advantage of men seeking an alternative to divorce. They find it easier merely to swear out a death certificate on one wife so they can marry another, but that means the first wife will face years, and maybe decades, of campaigning to convince officials that she is not dead. BBC News chronicled the plight of Asharfi Devi, now 64, in September as she was finally declared "alive" after being deserted by her husband at age 23 and ruled dead at age 40. After Devi finally earned a hearing and brought relatives and evidence to the village council, deliberations took eight more months. In spite the ruling, the husband stuck to his story.

Not-so-smooth criminals

(1) Jamel Wilson, 18, in Knoxville, Tenn., became the most recent hapless carjacker forced to abort his gunpoint heist after discovering the car was a stick shift, which he could not drive. He ran away but was arrested minutes later. (2) David Weber, 53, was arrested in Miami Beach in September, minutes after allegedly stealing items from a locked car, including a credit card. Police were called when Weber tried to use the card at a nearby bar and learned to his dismay that the card belonged to the bartender.

Gambling bust

In October, state alcohol agents, assisted by local police in full riot gear, raided a bar in Largo, Fla., to shut down the latest gathering of the Nutz Poker League, even though its players do not wager. They meet at bars and restaurants, where management gives winners token gifts in exchange for the increased business. A prosecutor told the Tampa Bay Times that Florida law defines illegal "gambling" as any game that permits players to win something -- even if they don't have to "ante up." The raid, during which players were ordered to keep their hands where the officers could see them, came after a months-long undercover investigation.

Read News of the Weird daily at Send items to

© 2018 Star Tribune