Lead Story

Last month Dr. Marcel Waldinger, head of the psychiatry and neurosexology department at Leyenburg Hospital in the Hague, Netherlands, told reporters he had diagnosed a “postorgasmic illness syndrome” after examining five patients who suffered flulike symptoms (sweating, extreme fatigue, eye irritation) for several days after intercourse. Waldinger thinks the victims suffered an allergic reaction to the hormones released during orgasm.

The Unkindest Cut of All

In January two men–Hassan Latief of Hillsborough, New Jersey, and Jose de Lima of Brazil–had their penises severed by their wives, who were angry over alleged infidelities….In March, John Ndekeezi of Kampala, Uganda, slapped his wife, and she retaliated by biting off his penis and testicles….And in February, Edward L. Praskovich of Ambridge, Pennsylvania, used a box cutter on his own penis in an unsuccessful suicide attempt.

Life’s Little Ironies

In March the relaxation institute of the London yoga center Triyoga came under fire for its increasing noise level. According to a Reuters report, neighbors complained about chanting, the guttural sound of group-breathing exercises, and mellow music played at high volume.

Earlier this month two 16-year-old girls who’d won prizes at a teen fair in Paterson, New Jersey, for essays endorsing sexual abstinence were revealed to be pregnant.

In January environmental officials in Denver forbade Bromwell Elementary School to burn its homemade prairie-grass garden as a demonstration of nature’s cycles, citing the air pollution the fire would cause. The officials suggested instead that the school’s 300 students visit the prairie-grass exhibit at the Denver Botanical Garden, but according to the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division, one school bus on a field trip produces more pollution than the school’s controlled burn would have.

At a January training seminar sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health, at least 15 participants came down with food poisoning, probably from the catered box lunches or the in-class treats.

Least Competent People

In March the founders of a new political group in Nigeria, the Anambra People’s Forum, hired a professional rain doctor to keep the skies clear during a meeting. Chief Nothing Pass God was paid about $47 (and a bottle of gin), but before he had finished his incantations, a downpour began that completely washed out the event. The chief argued that he had lacked sufficient time to prepare.

Recurring Themes

In 1991, News of the Weird reported on the “Taos Hum,” a mysterious low-level vibration that had caused unexplained illnesses among residents of Taos, New Mexico. This past February the mayor of Kokomo, Indiana, asked the city council for $100,000 to study a similar hum that has supposedly caused 40 residents to suffer severe headaches, dizziness, sleeplessness, chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain, nosebleeds, and diarrhea.

People Different From Us

In March pharmacist Corey Penner of Newton, Kansas, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of misdemeanor battery for tricking strangers on the street into letting him draw their blood. Penner’s lawyer told the court that Penner had no explanation for his behavior, which he had engaged in for 11 years, telling people that he was doing research and in some cases giving his donors up to $20.

Our Civilization in Decline

As part of a 12-month pilot project, criminals in Geraldton, Australia, are being sentenced not to jail terms but to a program of transcendental meditation as practiced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi….And last month Amnesty International USA reported that the U.S. had granted residence to at least 150 emigrants accused of torture in their native lands, including a Haitian colonel convicted of homicide who in 1997 won $3.2 million in Florida’s state lottery.

In the Last Month

Near Dhaka, Bangladesh, a snake charmer called on to remove two cobras from a suburban home found 3,500 more cobras and hundreds of eggs beneath the house….In Wheat Ridge, Colorado, a frail 70-year-old man carrying a gun set out to rob the Foothills Bank but got confused once he was inside….And in Green River, Wyoming, a snowplow was dispatched to clean up Interstate 80 after a collision involving a Hormel Foods truck coated the highway with chili and beans.


A News of the Weird column from November 1999 reported that Jerry Wayne Walker had been charged with murder in Murray, Kentucky. Walker’s trial in July 2001 resulted in a hung jury, and three months later the prosecutor dismissed the charges.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.