News of the Weird: Week of Nov. 25, 2021

High Standards

The 10-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree that the town council installed in the Grimsby town center in England left locals underwhelmed, Grimsby Live reported — to the point that the council had the expensive decoration removed. Snarky comments included one from a resident who said he had a bigger tree in his house, and another called it “an insult to Grimsby.” The council responded that the tree cost more than 1,000 pounds but said it had been installed too early, and the traditional live tree from a nearby farm would be installed on Nov. 25. The fake tree will be reinstalled for a Christmas market.

Least Competent Criminal

Jerry McDonald of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was with an acquaintance when he passed out from drinking. His friend, trying to help out, took McDonald’s phone to text his boss that he wouldn’t be in to work that afternoon. But instead, the friend found alarming texts in which McDonald detailed a plan to kill an unnamed woman and take her money: “Please kill her babe, please. I’m begging you. There’s over a million in her dad’s safe. I’m saying I won’t get caught,” McDonald had texted, according to NewsChannel9-TV. But, of course, he did get caught, and now is held in the Hamilton County jail on $75,000 bond.

Canada may want to rethink opening its border to Americans after Vivian Richards, 48, of Oakland Park, Florida, tried to smuggle 56 guns into Sarnia, Ontario, in the trunk of her car on Nov. 1. Richards was referred for secondary inspection, DH News reported, after officers of the Canada Border Services Agency looked in her trunk. Along with the firearms, they found 13 overcapacity magazines, 43 pistol magazines and 100 rounds of ammunition. She faces several charges, including possession for the purpose of weapons trafficking.

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Terrifying AND Gross

Seizures are frightening enough, but seizures caused by tapeworms add an element of “eww.” According to doctors in Massachusetts who recently described the case in the New England Journal of Medicine, the otherwise-healthy 38-year-old man had had dead tapeworm cysts lodged in his brain for decades — a relatively rare form of infestation called neurocysticercosis. When these cysts become stuck in the brain, they can cause pressure, inflammation and neurological symptoms that are sometimes confused for brain tumors. But symptoms may not manifest for years. This man’s cysts caused no problems until three years ago, when he fell out of bed, “shaking and speaking gibberish,” then had a two-minute seizure on the way to the hospital. Luckily, he was discharged after five days of treatment and remains in good health today.

Rock On

Missouri man Kyle Scheele, with the help of friends, made a cardboard cutout of himself “jamming out with a pizza guitar” and advertising something called the “Kyle Scheele Meal.” He then placed the cutout in a local gas station and waited to see how long his prank would last. But after the fake ad went viral on TikTok, convenience store chain Kum & Go made the Scheele Meal real. It included a Red Bull and a pizza sandwich, “which is just two pieces of pizza smashed face-to-face,” Scheele said. The promotion ran for about a week, with Kum & Go donating $2 of every $5 meal to the charity No Kid Hungry.

Do You Hear That?

Residents of Barwell, a small English town, have been dealing with an unexplained noise for about a year. It’s been described as “a humming noise,” a “low-frequency droning sound” and a “horrible din” that never stops. Resident Ange Redshaw said, “At night, even lying on the pillow, you can feel the vibration, it’s that loud. During the day, I can hear it over traffic noise.” And now it seems to be spreading: Brian Heath, a resident of nearby Stapleton, says he has heard the “slow, rolling, rumbling sound” for a few weeks. “It’s quite a heavy noise … You can feel the pressure on your body,” he said. No cause has yet been identified.


In Aswan, Egypt, recent inclement weather — including “vicious rain, dust storms and snow” — has forced hordes of scorpions from their usual hiding places and into homes and streets. BBC News reported that three people have died so far from scorpion stings, and 450 have been injured. The injured are being treated with antivenom. Health officials have even had to recruit doctors who were on vacation to help with the influx of patients.

Lost and Found

A lost ring will soon find its way home — after 70 years. Kelly Stewart of Richfield, Utah, found the ring in 2019 while using his metal detector in the yard of an abandoned home. It’s a 10-karat gold ring from the 1943 class of the Colorado School of Mines, inscribed with the initials “R.W.D.” Kelly found a 1948 yearbook from the school on eBay, which revealed the ring’s likely owner: Richard William Deneke. Deneke is nearing his 100th birthday at a nursing home in Georgia, and Stewart plans to mail the ring back to him. “I think it’s amazing,” Deneke told Stewart in a phone call.

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A special bear is back home where he belongs. Stuffed bear Teddy was the first gift Ben and Addie Pascal of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, sent to their daughter Naomi before adopting her in 2016. Naomi, now 6, brought Teddy on family trips to Ethiopia, Rwanda, Croatia, Greece — and, last October, to Glacier National Park in Montana. By the time the family realized Teddy was lost, snowfall had closed the higher elevations of the park for the season. Ranger Tom Mazzarisi found Teddy on a trail and couldn’t bring himself to throw out the toy, instead keeping it as a mascot on his dashboard all winter. Nearly a year later, the Pascals’ family friend Terri Hayden visited Glacier and spotted a stuffed bear in a ranger’s truck. After confirming it was Teddy, Mazzarisi returned the bear — along with a junior park ranger badge and ranger hat.

Get Down

Cable network BET broke a Guinness World Record in Harlem by recruiting 536 people to dance in the world’s longest soul train line. The line included original dancers from the “Soul Train” TV show, as well as a marching band and hundreds of local residents. A Guinness official was there to make sure participants followed the rules, including dancing “in pairs for at least 40 feet to qualify as a soul train.” The group took the record from Goodyear Ballpark in Arizona, which gathered a 426-person soul train line in 2014.

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