News of the Weird

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • January 4, 2013 - 2:25 PM

Jason Schall, 38, had a spectacular week in September when he won a catch-and-release tournament in Charleston, S.C., came within 1 1/2 inches of a world record on another catch, and was notified of recently setting two Nevada state records for largest fish caught. Schall's coup de grace, he told the Charleston Post and Courier, came a few days later when he caught a redfish while sitting on his living room sofa in Daniel Island, S.C., watching a Clemson football game with a pal. He had run a line with bait through a crack in the door, through his yard into the lake behind his home.

Bombmaking how-to

Tunisia's Ministry for Women and Family Affairs demanded in October that the government prosecute the publisher of the children's magazine Qaws Quzah ("Rainbow"), aimed at ages 5 to 15, for an article on how to construct a gasoline bomb, aka a "Molotov cocktail."

The alcohol did it?

(1) College student Courtney Malloy, 22, was rescued in November after getting stuck at about 1 a.m. trying to cut between two buildings in Providence, R.I. The space between City Sports and FedEx Kinko's was 8 to 9 inches, said firefighters, who found Malloy horizontal and about 2 feet off the ground and "unable" to explain how she got there. (2) Leslie Newton, 68, was pulled over by the Florida Highway Patrol near St. Augustine in December while driving erratically. He also had a portion of a traffic sign embedded in his skull after colliding with it. In both cases, officers said they believed the people to be intoxicated.

Bell-ringing mishap

Helen Springthorpe, 58, with only three months on the job as the bell-ringer at St. Nicholas Church in Bathampton, England, was knocked unconscious in November when she became entangled in the bells' ropes and was jerked too-and-fro around the belfry. Fire and ambulance crews eventually lowered her about 20 feet to the ground.

Stealing electricity?

Homeless man Darren Kersey, 28, was jailed overnight in November in Sarasota, Fla., after being busted for charging his cellphone at an outlet at a public picnic shelter in a city park. The police report noted that "theft of city utilities will not be tolerated. ... " However, for owners of electric cars, the city runs several free charging stations, including one at City Hall. Kersey was released the next day when a judge ruled the arrest improper.


Gary Medrow has periodically surfaced in News of the Weird since 1991 for his unique behavior of using a false identity to persuade Milwaukee-area strangers over the phone to lift other strangers off the ground -- behavior for which he has occasionally been jailed and ordered to psychiatric care. After a recent period of calm, Medrow apparently slipped in November and was charged with impersonating a photojournalist to persuade two Cedarburg (Wis.) High School students to hoist each other on their shoulders. Four similar incidents were under investigation. At an earlier hearing, Medrow said that his "addiction" helps him to relieve tension and anxiety.

Pigeons at work

France maintains Europe's last "squadron" of military carrier pigeons. Legislator Jean-Pierre Decool lauds the pigeons and campaigns for their upgrade, warning that in the event of war or other catastrophe, the birds would be a valuable messaging network. (Pigeons have been used at times in the current Syrian civil war.) Until recently, according to a November Wall Street Journal dispatch, pigeons wearing harnesses had been used by a hospital in Normandy to ferry blood samples to a testing lab, a 25-minute flight.

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