Lead Stories

At Thailand’s national games in June a team of 12 male transsexuals–who dress as women and have grown breasts but haven’t yet undergone genital surgery–competed for the men’s volleyball championship and the chance to go to the Olympics. Though the squad won the gold medal, none of the members were selected for the Olympic team.

In June firefighters in El Cajon, California, rescued Heather Jaehn, 25, after she locked herself out of her house and then got stuck while trying to get in through the chimney. During the same month, in San Antonio, Felix Rivera, 33, got stuck in a rooftop vent while allegedly burglarizing a convenience store to get a beer. He was rescued by firefighters and then arrested.

Latest dysfunctional family: In May the Tennessee Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Hixson Baptist preacher Don McCary, who had been sentenced to 72 years in prison for 13 sex offenses against four teenage boys. His twin brother, Ron, is serving time for raping a six-year-old boy, and their older brother, Richard, a former pastor, is still wanted by authorities after pleading guilty to molesting four boys in the 1980s.

Police Blotter

From a May crime report in the Huntington, West Virginia, Herald-Dispatch: After a 17-year-old pizzeria employee was arrested for DUI, his boss was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Said the boss, “It is hard to pay people and I let him drink beer at [the pizzeria], so that he will work for free.”

In May Domenico Germano, 32, was sentenced to four years’ probation and ordered to reimburse a Portland, Maine, bank for more than $5,000 in repairs. Six months earlier, after becoming frustrated that the bank’s ATM wouldn’t give him any money, he pulled out a gun and shot it four times.

In June a judge in Anderson, Indiana, set bail at $10,000 for Virldeen Redmon, 67–who had been arrested for public intoxication and driving with a suspended license–then raised it to $100,000 after he saw Redmon’s record: nearly 400 alcohol-related arrests since 1947; driver’s license suspended 33 times between 1947 and 1976; license suspended for life in 1977.

Life imitates ads: In Knoxville in March David Lee Smith, 41, was charged with burglary after he broke into a home and demanded some milk. The owner complied and then discreetly called the police from another room. A few minutes later officers arrived and were able to tell which one was the burglar by the ring of milk around his mouth.

In June a man called 911 in La Vergne, Tennessee, and asked for officers to come to his home and stop his wife from pouring out all of his beer.

The Weirdo-American Community

In May Stanford University beat out the University of California at Berkeley for the right to house the literary archives of Pulitzer- and Oscar-winning writer William Saroyan, apparently because it also agreed to take custody of his nonliterary property. A compulsive collector, Saroyan left a nonliterary legacy that includes, among other things, hundreds of boxes of rocks, matchbook covers, old newspapers (numbering in the thousands), labels peeled off cans, and a plastic bag filled with about 10,000 rubber bands.

In June a Long Island grand jury indicted three men who allegedly plotted to poison Suffolk County officials by putting radioactive substances in their food. The three men–John J. Ford, Joseph Mazzuchelli, and Edward Zabo–apparently believe that a UFO crashed on Long Island in 1995, that the incident was being covered up by the government, and that eliminating the officials would make it easier for the three to gain power and expose the crash. Said district attorney James M. Catterson, “This all convinces me that there is a side to humanity that defies definition.”

In June Ed Carlson, the man who’s been stalking Barbara Mandrell for 15 years, was convicted of trespassing at her home in Nashville and given a suspended sentence provided he returns home to Minnesota. According to Mandrell’s husband, Carlson has sent the singer such things as a case of cornflakes, dirty clothes, four bicycles, and a rusty wrench.

In his recent book Cosmic Voyage, Courtney Brown, a political-science professor at Emory University in Atlanta, claims he’s used the technique of “remote viewing” to travel visually through space and time, observe another galaxy, and talk with Jesus. Brown, pointing to his impressive resume–which includes a stint at the Jimmy Carter Center–defends his work against skeptics: “I’d be crazy if I went public with something like this without being certain about what’s going on.” Since he believes there is a martian civilization in New Mexico, he admits that if NASA’s probe of Mars next year contradicts him, “I’d be dead as an academic.”


Afghanistan immigrant Mohammad Kargar made News of the Weird in November 1994 after he was charged in Portland, Maine, with sexual abuse for kissing the penis of his 18-month-old son. Though he and other Afghan-Americans testified that such affection is common in Afghanistan until a boy is three or four years old, Kargar was convicted. In June the Maine Supreme Court overturned the conviction.

Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration of big breasted man and volleyball net by Shawn Belschwender.