With another week in the books, let’s take a look at the peculiar side of news with ten weird stories that made the headlines over the last few days. If you want to catch up on last week’s list, you can click here.
This week, we watch pornography on giant billboards and listen to rock music under the sea, surrounded by sharks. We celebrate the Nigels of the world while we puzzle over what is mutilating cattle in Oregon.
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10 Anachronistic Artillery
Divers from the Royal Navy had to dispose of a German World War II bomb they found in the wreck of a 17th century warship.
England was bombed heavily during the war and it is not uncommon for intact explosive devices to still be discovered to this day.The location of this ordnance, however, took everyone by surprise. Historical divers stumbled upon it while exploring the shipwreck of the London, a vessel that sunk in 1665 and is currently sitting at the bottom of the Thames near Southend Pier in Essex. They immediately alerted the navy who discovered that the unexploded device was actually one of the largest pieces of ordnance used by the Luftwaffe—a parachute ground mine which contained almost 700 kilograms (1,540 lbs) of Hexamite or the equivalent of 767 kilograms (1,690 lbs) of TNT.
Disposing of the bomb safely proved to be a challenge considering there was zero visibility and a powerful tidal flow to deal with. An eight-man team of Royal Navy divers took 27 hours and 20 dives to tow the mine and detonate it at a disposal site in Shoeburyness.
9 A Wrong Turn To Victory
A nine-year-old boy accidentally took part in a race for adults and won the whole thing.
Last weekend, the Francis Franny Flyer event took place in Sartell, Minnesota. It is a 10-kilometer (6.2 mi) race with a separate 5-kilometer (3.1 mi) circuit for children that join up at the halfway point. Fourth-grader Kade Lovell from St. Cloud, Minnesota, loves to run and has set the record for the 5K event in his age group last year.
Understandably, his mother was expecting him to win or, at least, be at the front of the pack. So when all the young racers started finishing and Kade wasn’t there, she got worried. What if he got lost or injured or, maybe, even kidnapped?
As it turned out, Kade was fine. He had not only finished his race, but he took a wrong turn and ended up in the adult rally. According to him, a lady told him to “keep going straight” so he did. He ended up winning the adult race with a time of 48 minutes, a whole minute faster than second place.
8 Nigel Night
It was a celebration of everything “Nigel” at a pub in Worcestershire, England, where there was a “Nigel Night” party in honor of the quintessentially British name which is quickly declining in popularity.
Records show that only eight Nigels were born in England and Wales in 2018. This shocked Nigel Smith, owner of the Fleece Inn, who decided that he wanted to do something to celebrate the “dying breed” of Nigels.
He hosted a party on Saturday where 432 Nigels showed up, ranging in age from seven months to 80 years old. They came from far and wide, including Australia, New Zealand, California, and Texas. The event grew so large that there wasn’t enough room in Smith’s pub and he had to set up a marquee tent outside. Other people were also allowed to attend, despite their lack of “Nigel-ness”.
The night’s entertainment included a comedian and two singers called Nigel, a special brew named Nige-ale, and an emotional moment where a woman proposed to her Nigel on stage.
7 For Your Viewing Pleasure
Hackers have been busy last weekend breaking into devices to show porn in places where you don’t usually see porn. We have not one, but two cases in different parts of the world: one in New Zealand and the other in the United States.
First, there was the flagship store for sports company Asics in Auckland. The shop has outdoor screens above the entrance that normally play promotional videos. However, on Saturday night, someone gained access and played pornography on them for nine hours until staff arrived the next morning. According to a security officer, some people were shocked and offended, but others simply stopped and watched for a while before moving on.
A similar thing happened in Auburn Hills, Michigan, except the raunchy content was displayed on an electronic billboard for motorists traveling along Interstate 75 to enjoy. Unfortunately, this adult entertainment only lasted for 30 minutes before it was taken down. Police have footage of two hooded men breaking into a small on-site building where the laptop connected to the billboard was stored.
6 Concert Down Under The Sea
Rock band Kiss will play one of the strangest concerts in history that will take place under the sea, to a small audience in a submarine surrounded by great white sharks.
On November 18, the music group and the fans will travel in separate boats to a popular shark spot off the coast of southern Australia. While Kiss will stay aboard their ship and will play above sea level, the fans will be placed inside a viewing sub and taken to an area known for heavy shark activity. Underwater speakers will allow both humans and fish to hear the music.
The bizarre event is a promotion part of Airbnb’s Animal Experiences campaign where people entertain animals instead of the other way around. Because room on the submarine is limited, only eight human fans will get to enjoy the unique experience. Surprisingly, tickets for the concert will only be $50 and will be dispensed on a first come, first serve basis on October 14.
5 Crown Returns To Its Rightful Place
Arthur Brand, the “Indiana Jones of the art world”, is in the news again. After being hidden away for over two decades, a priceless Ethiopian crown is set to return to its rightful home.
Sirak Asfaw is a native Ethiopian who relocated to Rotterdam, Netherlands, during the 1970s, fleeing a violent repression campaign known as the “Red Terror”. Over the following decades, he has hosted many Ethiopians who passed through Rotterdam, ranging from refugees to diplomats.
In 1998, one of his guests left behind a suitcase that contained something incredible. It was a crown, commissioned hundreds of years ago by a warlord named Welde Sellase and donated to an Ethiopian church. Only one of 20, the gilded copper crown is considered one of the country’s most valuable religious artifacts.
Obviously, Sirak’s guest tried to retrieve it, but Asfaw refused to give it back, knowing that it was stolen. He then hid it for 21 years, keeping it safe from thieves and previous Ethiopian regimes he didn’t trust to safeguard the relic. Now with a new prime minister in charge, Sirak felt that, perhaps, the country was finally led by someone who would look after the artifact. At the same time, he had a separate problem, as he feared the Dutch government might also want to keep the crown.
Sirak contacted Arthur Brand who advised him to return it soon before both him and the crown disappeared. The duo decided that the best move was to go public. The artifact is presently in a secret, secure location, waiting for arrangements to be made to be returned to Ethiopia.
4 The Brain-Shrinking Fungus
Australia just became a little more dangerous. For the first time ever, one of the most toxic fungi in the world was found there, thousands of kilometers away from its native habitat in the mountains of Japan and Korea.
The fungus is known as the Poison Fire Coral and was located in a suburb of Cairns. Some experts believe that it spread due to spores being carried by wind thousands of years ago. This method also led to rare sightings in other unexpected places such as China and Papua New Guinea. It could have gone undetected all this time because there aren’t a lot of mushroom hunters in Australia.
As to the potency of the Poison Fire Coral, this is the only known fungus in the world whose toxins can be absorbed through the skin. Therefore, just touching it can cause inflammation. If consumed, it brings on other symptoms such as vomiting, fever, and numbness and requires immediate medical attention. If left untreated, the fungus can cause multiple organ failure and, most notably, it shrinks your brain, leading to death. Fatalities have been reported in Japan in Korea because people mistook the Poison Fire Coral for other mushrooms used in traditional medicine and used it to brew tea.
3 That’s No Meteor
Scientists have concluded that the mysterious flaming object which lit up the skies of Chile last week before crash-landing was not a meteorite.
Several days ago, people observed a fireball over the island of Chiloe which then smashed into the ground and started several small fires. Initial thoughts said that the object was, most likely, a space rock which survived entry into our atmosphere. However, officials from Chile’s National Service of Geology and Mining investigated seven areas where fires occurred and found no traces of meteorite.
That means that, at the moment, the phenomenon is classified as a UFO. However, before anyone starts thinking aliens, they should know that the object was probably man-made. Specifically, it was likely a piece of debris from an old satellite or other kind of space junk. It is rare for them to crash in populated areas, but not unheard of. Chilean geologists say that they have taken soil samples from the regions where the object landed and will conduct a thorough analysis to see what kinds of metals they find. Results are expected later this month.
2 No More Bull
Something disturbing is happening in Oregon as there have been several instances of bizarre cattle mutilations.
It all started in July with one dead Hereford bull. There were no signs that it had been attacked by animals or shot or that it had eaten something poisonous. And yet, it had been completely drained of blood and had its tongue and sex organs removed. Over the following days, four more bulls were found in the same condition, all within a 2.5-kilometer (1.5 mi) radius and all belonging to the Silvies Valley Ranch.
Since then, the sheriff’s department has been inundated with tips and theories on who or what is responsible for these actions which are very reminiscent of the cattle mutilation cases of the 1970s.
Most sensible answer says that the unusual condition of the bulls is caused by a combination of scavengers and natural decomposition. The animals dropped dead of natural causes and were predated by carrion birds and bugs who prefer to eat soft tissues. Since the bulls belonged to the same ranch, it is also possible that someone killed the animals to hurt the ranchers financially.
Colby Marshall, vice president of the Silvies Valley Ranch, blames the bizarre deaths on a cult. He believes the animals were tranquilized, bled out surgically and the missing parts cut with a knife or scalpel. His beliefs are echoed by Dan Jenkins, the sheriff’s deputy who is leading the investigation.
And, of course, like in all cases involving something slightly mysterious, some people believe it was aliens.
1 New Finds On Enceladus
NASA scientists have found new kinds of organic compounds in the icy plumes that erupt from Enceladus.
The moon of Saturn has a massive subsurface ocean which also contains powerful hydrothermal vents like the ones on Earth’s ocean floor. These vents can sometimes cause eruptions which send into space a mix of water vapor, ice grains, and core material.
When the Cassini spacecraft did a fly-by of Enceladus, it gathered invaluable data which has revealed to us for the first time that the moon has organic compounds used to produce amino acids, the so-called “building blocks of life”. The mission might have ended over two years ago, but there is still enough new information to keep researchers busy for decades.
Just to be clear, this does not mean that scientists have found life on Enceladus or even something that implies life. Rather, as lead researcher Nozair Khawaja put it, this finding is “an important piece of the puzzle” in the search for life outside our world since, at least on Earth, these compounds are an indispensable part for even the most primitive forms of life.