We look back at some of the weirdest of the weird news we enjoyed in 2018.
On Jan. 25, 71-year-old Alan J. Abrahamson of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., went for his regular predawn walk to Starbucks. What happened on the way stumped police investigators until March, reported the Washington Post, and on July 13 they made their findings public. Images from a surveillance camera show Abrahamson walking out of his community at 5:35 a.m. and about a half-hour later, the sound of a gunshot is heard. Just before 7 a.m., a dog found Abrahamson's body, lying near a walking path. Police found no weapon, no signs of a struggle; he still had his wallet and phone. Investigators initially worked the case as a homicide, but as they dug deeper into the man's computer searches and purchases over the past nine years, a theory developed: Abrahamson had tied a gun to a weather balloon filled with helium, shot himself, and then the gun drifted away to parts unknown. A thin line of blood on Abrahamson's sweatshirt indicated to police that "something with the approximate width of a string passed through the blood on the outside of the shirt," the final report says. As for the balloon, investigators said it would likely have ascended to about 100,000 feet and exploded.
People different from us
Metro News reported on Feb. 20 that travelers "remained silent" for 20 minutes while a fellow passenger on a Ural Airlines flight from Antalya, Turkey, to Moscow used the air vent above her seat to dry a pair of underwear. Witnesses reported that the woman showed no shame and that "everybody was looking with interest and confusion." Debate raged later, however, after video of the woman was posted online, with one commenter speculating that "maybe the takeoff was sort of extreme, so now she has to dry those."
Ikea took advertising in a whole new direction with its print ad for a crib. The ad, which appeared in the Swedish magazine Amelia, invited women who think they might be pregnant to urinate on the paper to reveal a discounted price. "Peeing on this ad may change your life," the ad read. "If you are expecting, you will get a surprise right here in the ad." Adweek reported that the agency behind the gimmick adapted pregnancy test technology to work on a magazine page.
Armed and frustrated
Linda Jean Fahn, 69, of Goodyear, Ariz., finally succumbed to a frustration many wives suffer. On Dec. 30, 2017, as her husband sat on the toilet, she barged in and "shot two bullets at the wall above his head to make him listen to me," she told Goodyear police when they were called to the scene. Fahn said her husband "would have had to be 10 feet tall to be hit by the bullets," ABC15 in Phoenix reported, but officers estimated the bullets struck about 7 inches over the man's head as he ducked.
Bad luck for owners of black cars
In Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat, drivers of black cars faced high costs to repaint their cars white or silver after President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov banned black vehicles because he thinks the color white brings good luck. Police began seizing dark-colored vehicles in late December 2017, and owners had to apply for permission to repaint and re-register them. The average wage in Ashgabat is about $300 a month (or 1,200 manats); one Turkman told Radio Free Europe that he was quoted 7,000 manats for a paint job. "Even if I don't spend any money anywhere, I will be forced to hand over pretty much my entire annual salary just to repaint," the unnamed man said, adding that his black car had already been impounded.
News of the Weird is compiled by the editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication. Send your weird news items to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.