Researchers at St. Mary's Hospital in London had been stumped by how 10 British men had contracted a rare virus called human T-cell leukemia virus type 1. The men weren't intravenous drug users and hadn't had transfusions; none of them displayed any symptoms, but doctors had identified the virus through blood work. Dr. Divya Dhasmana, co-author of a study published March 13 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was eventually tipped off to the source of the infections when she saw scars on one of the men's back: The men participate in blood-shedding religious rituals, such as cutting or whipping themselves. The rituals the men reported include striking the forehead with a knife, then passing the knife to other men; or striking the back with a chain of blades. Dhasmana told the Associated Press that one infected man told her the blades were soaked in a bucket of antiseptic solution between uses, but that didn't prevent the virus' spread. "Our message is not 'Don't do it,' " said Dhasmana. "Our message is, 'If you do it, don't share equipment.' "
Outside the North Fork Correctional Unit in Sayre, Okla., Kerri Jo Hickman was arrested on March 10 for delivering contraband to prison inmates, reported the Associated Press. Hickman's delivery method was a T-shirt gun, used by sports team mascots to shoot promotional shirts at fans. Hickman, however, launched methamphetamines, cellphones, ear buds, phone chargers, digital scales, marijuana and tobacco to some lucky con on the other side, but police discovered the gun and another package in her car.
His lucky day
A 43-year-old man in Nimbin, Australia, has the proliferation of modern technology to thank for his life. Reuters reported that on March 13, the unnamed man arrived home only to find a 39-year-old man "who was known to him," waiting outside with a bow and arrow. As Man A raised his mobile phone to take a picture of Man B, Man B "engaged the bow and was ready to fire," according to a police report. Man B "fired the arrow at the resident, which pierced through the man's mobile phone, causing the phone to hit (Man A) in the chin. It left a small laceration that didn't require medical treatment." Man B was arrested at the scene, police reported.
The litigious society
Joanne Cullen, 64, who lives in North Bellmore on New York's Long Island, wants to make administrators of St. Charles Resurrection Cemetery in Farmingdale pay for the horror she experienced in December 2016 as she visited her parents' graves. On that day, Cullen was reaching down to straighten a bow on a wreath when the ground opened up beneath her and a sinkhole "caused her to fall forward and smash her head on the tombstone," cracking a tooth, her attorney, Joseph Perrini, told the New York Post. Cullen filed suit in March in Queens Supreme Court, asking for $5 million to overcome the nightmares and headaches she experiences, along with the fear of walking in open fields. "Getting sucked into your parents' grave ... it's terrifying and traumatizing," Perrini said.
Oh, the drama
Dog walker Michele Bilsland has become accustomed to strangers' alarm when her charge, Begbie, throws himself to the ground as they start out on their constitutional. Begbie, who lives with Roz Niblock and Matt Kennedy in Muthill, Perthshire, Scotland, stages his protest when Bilsland leads him on what he knows is the shorter route around the block, rather than his usual hourlong jaunt through fields. On March 15, two workmen stopped to see if Bilsland needed help: "I told them he was fine and just having a tantrum and sulking," she told Metro News. Begbie, a 4-year-old Old English bulldog, continued his charade for at least a minute before getting up and getting on with his walk. "Begbie just has a very strong personality," Bilsland noted.
News of the Weird is compiled by the editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication. Send your weird news items to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.