Lead Story

A recent story about Paul Laudicina, professor of radiological sciences at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, described his most unusual X ray: A 42-year-old man had used a scalpel to make many small incisions, or “pockets,” in his chest, into which he had placed a total of 50 glass marbles before sewing them shut.

Creme de la Weird

Last summer a Lansing, Michigan, man, claiming that state and local authorities had violated various rights of his, filed a lawsuit that said, in the identification portion, “I am the Beast Six Six Six of the Lord of Hosts in Edmond Frank MacGillivray Jr. Now I am the Beast Six Six Six of the Lord of Hosts Iefmjn. I am the Beast Six Six Six Othlohiefmjn. I am the Beast Sssothlohiefmjn.” Federal judge Richard Enslen announced, “For brevity, his current name will be shortened to ‘I am the Beast.'”

In a memo released in October under the name of U.S. senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, Pell aide C.B. Scott Jones asked the Defense Department whether President Bush and his top aides were inserting a secret code word into their speeches about the Persian Gulf war. The word “Simone” supposedly could be heard by listening to the speeches backward. Jones, Pell’s “paranormal expert,” conceded that if the government intended no secret word, Pell’s finding would be “just another mystery in a new technology we are developing.” He did not elaborate.

In February prosecutors in Tifton, Georgia, arranged a makeshift witness stand to get testimony about stolen goods from pawnshop owner Sylvanus “Hambone” Smith. Since Smith weighs 900 pounds, cannot move more than eight steps without resting, and certainly couldn’t fit into the witness stand, they planned to move him to the front of the courthouse on a truck and have the jury listen from the lobby.

Diane Frances Doster, 48, of Boulder, Colorado, was arrested in February for violating a court order to stay away from U.S. senator Tim Wirth. Doster believes Wirth communicates his love for her through ESP and that Wirth’s dog communicates with her on the same channel.

Police in Stuart, Florida, arrested Robert Richard Mauro in April. He had reportedly beaten, terrorized, and controlled the movements of a husband and wife since 1977, when he met them at a flea market. The couple were afraid of him because he said he had organized-crime connections. They meekly obeyed his orders to move with him from city to city and gave him the proceeds of their antique business (being permitted only an allowance). The wife finally managed to get two letters past Mauro to her parents, who contacted the FBI.

In March Maryland governor William Donald Schaefer was forced to respond to critics of several of his antics by flatly asserting, “I am not insane.” He had paid a surprise visit to the home of a letter-writing critic, Cornelius J. Hourihan, marching up the man’s sidewalk, said Hourihan, with “three of my letters clutched in his sweaty little hand. He was hostile.” After railing at Hourihan in the presence of the man’s 75-year-old mother, Schaefer left. In another incident, he tracked down the identity of a female motorist who had made an obscene gesture at him and shot off a note to her reading, “Your action exceeds only the ugliness of your face.”

What Goes Around Comes Around

Darin Engel, 25, and Stephan Lantz, 27, reportedly engaging in vandalism near Hays, Kansas, in December, were driving a pickup truck over Bill Berger’s mailbox when the supporting pipe got stuck under the truck. As Engel shifted gears back and forth and Lantz tried to free the pipe from underneath the truck an accident occurred, and the next day police found Lantz’s thumb at the scene.

A Tacoma, Washington, man who was trying to burglarize a medical office accidentally slashed his leg on the window he shattered to break in and a short time later bled to death in a nearby alley.

IRS agent Charles K. Reed, 41, was arrested in April for lying about his state of residence in order to cheat Louisiana out of its 8 percent sales tax on two cars he had purchased. He had claimed to live in Georgia, where the tax is 5 percent.

According to the fire chief in Dayton, Ohio, the fire that did $33,000 damage to Annie Peterson’s house in November started when her grandson, Christopher, set the family dog’s tail on fire. The dog then ran through the house, igniting several small fires.

When burglars in Amarillo, Texas, used hacksaws and hammers to strip a vacant building of copper fixtures in April, local health officials put out an alert for the burglars because the pipes were lined with asbestos, and officials figure the men got an unusually heavy dose.

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