10 Unique and Bizarre News Stories

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It is always fun to read about the latest unusual and bizarre news stories.  The world is full of unexplained events that have been published by the media.  These events can be funny, scary, or strange, but are always interesting.  The best kind of bizarre news stories are the ones that inspire, make people laugh, show weird videos, or cause us to question science.  Some of the most popular topics include Sasquatches, aliens, sea monsters, unexplained explosions, weird deaths, animal bravery, strange purchases, ironic stories, and anything funny.  This article will examine ten bizarre news stories that have been published as of late.

10.  Be Careful On Twitter

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Did you ever wonder what would happen if you decided to play a joke and publish some outlandish material on your Facebook or Twitter page?  I wouldn’t recommend it.  In January of 2012, a British man named Leigh Van Bryan was planning a trip to the United States and wrote on his Twitter account, “Free this week for a quick gossip before I go and destroy America.”  It should be mentioned that “destroy” is a slang term in the UK for “party.”  As soon as the sentence was entered on Twitter, the security software took over and Leigh Van Bryan was flagged by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

When Leah attempted to enter the United States with his friend Emily Banting, the two were questioned by the FBI over the tweets.  The FBI searched the couple’s bags for weapons and a shovel.  Leigh also tweeted a quote from the television show Family Guy about digging up the body of Marilyn Monroe.  The two were held under suspicion of planning to “commit crimes”.  Their passports were confiscated, they was arrested, held overnight, and kicked out of the U.S.  During the event, Leigh Van Bryan was placed in a jail cell with two large men.  At dinner, Leigh was left with no food.

Emily Banting was quoted: “The officials told us we were not allowed in to the country because of Leigh’s tweet.  They wanted to know what we were going to do.”  Leigh said: “I kept saying to them they had got the wrong meaning from my tweet, but they just told me “you’ve really messed up boy.”  In the future, if Leigh or Emily wants to travel to the United States, they must reapply for visas at the U.S. Embassy in London.  The moral of the story, don’t post any stupid quotes on Twitter, even if you are joking.  Somebody is always watching, and that somebody has no sense of humor whatsoever.

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9.  Haikou City Strangler

squeezed-testicles

For all women reading this, I am going to let you know that men’s testicles are sensitive.  They don’t like to be punched, kicked, or grabbed.  They prefer to just kinda hang out.  In fact, men can die if you squeeze their testicles so hard that they are rendered unconscious.  In April of 2012, this happened in the Meilan District of Haikou City, China, when a 41-year-old unidentified woman killed a man by squeezing his testicles so hard that he passed out.

On the day in question, the woman attempted to park her scooter in front of the man’s shop.  The shop owner didn’t want her to park there and the two started to yell at each other, which quickly escalated into a physical altercation.  They slapped at each other, and then the woman latched onto the man’s testicles so hard that he was left unconscious.  By the time she was done, he was dead.  The case was extremely rare, and might be the first-ever death by testicular asphyxiation.  The woman was arrested, but it remains unclear what her punishment will be, especially since “eye for an eye” is kinda impossible in this case.

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8.  Golden Cloth of Spider Silk

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One of the most unique spiders in the world is the golden silk orb-weaver.  There are currently over 150 species of the spider in the world, and the orb-weaver is known for creating beautiful golden webs.  In 2004, a group of researchers undertook a project to create a marvelous piece of golden cloth from the spider silk of orb-weaver spiders.  In order to achieve the goal, the group collected over 1 million female spiders from the telephone poles of Madagascar.  They extracted about 80 feet (24.3 meters) of golden silk filament from each spider and then put them back in the wild.  It took over five years to collect enough silk for the cloth, and the final result was an 11-foot by 4-foot (3.3 by 1.2 meter) textile.

Despite its sparking beauty, the cloth is important because scientists have been able to test it.  For decades, humans have been trying to replicate the properties of spider silk without success.  The material is extremely elastic and strong.  In fact, the tensile strength of spider silk is comparable to that of high-grade alloy steel.  It also stretches to 40% of its normal length before breaking.  Scientists have tried to raise spiders in captivity for their silk, but it is difficult because they tend to kill each other.  The golden cloth is a true work of art and has been displayed at various museums.  In 2012, it was featured at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, along with several gorgeous pieces that have been created since.

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7.  Defense Robots

The War in Afghanistan has put a spotlight on the use of unmanned systems and robotics on the battlefield.  One of the biggest threats to U.S. troops in Afghanistan is roadside bombs.  To fight the problem, the U.S. had deployed more than 6,000 robots in the field.  Approximately 750 of these devices have been destroyed by bombs, which has saved many lives.  These robots are controlled by an operator who watches over the device from a screen.   This is effective, but defense programs would like to create more reliable and advanced robotic designs that are used for reconnaissance missions.

One of these designs is a large armored vehicle named the Lockheed’s Squad Mission Support System, which is meant to carry pieces of gear for overloaded foot soldiers.  There is also an Oshkosh’s unmanned vehicle system, which allows one person to control a convoy of heavy cargo trucks.  According to officials, it is difficult to create military robotics for the ground support because fighting is so dynamic and unpredictable.  The Legged Squad Support System (LS3) is a four-legged walking robot design which will be used to carry supplies for combat foot patrols.

In 2012, it was announced that the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) completed a robotic cheetah that can run at 18 mph.  The robot set a land speed record for a machine with legs.  The goal of the project is to eventually make a robot that can outrun humans on the battlefield.  The incredible speed was achieved after the engineers mastered a galloping motion, which used the biomechanics of real animals.  The robot’s top speed can be viewed in the above video.

It has also been reported that Boston Dynamics is building a humanlike robot, code-named Atlas.  The machine will be capable of walking and jogging upright, squeezing through narrow spots, and grabbing objects.  Like other robots, it will be constructed without a head to make it look less humanlike.  It seems most people don’t want robots running around that look like people.  It’s freaky.  Besides helping military forces, advanced robotic designs can be used for humanitarian purposes, such as rescue efforts and disaster response.

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6.  Justin Smeja Bigfoot Story

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One of the most popular stories surrounding Bigfoot of late is the tale of Justin Smeja.  As the story goes, in November of 2010, Justin Smeja was bear-hunting with a friend in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Gold Lake, California.  As the men rounded a corner in their vehicle, they were confronted with the sight of a dirty female Bigfoot 80 yards away.  The creature was in distress and started to move toward the car, waving its arms in the air.  Smeja got out of the vehicle and, despite attempts by the passenger to stop him, shot the Bigfoot.  It stumbled to the ground, got up and tried to run off, switching between two legs and four legs.

Shocked by what they had witnessed, the men looked for the Bigfoot and came across two more juvenile creatures.   Smeja then decided to shoot one of the young Sasquatches to death.  This upset his friend, who took the gun away.  It was then reported that the men felt a sense of dread.  They instantly fled the scene, with Smeja fearing punishment for his actions.  Two weeks after the event, Smeja returned to the site with a bloodhound, and supposedly found the remains of the adult Sasquatch.  He removed a piece of flesh from the creature and gave it to a collection of Sasquatch researchers, who examined it for DNA evidence.

Justin Smeja described the Bigfoot as looking like a mix between a human, ape, and boxer dog.  The creatures had rounded mouths, black hands with padding, and communicated like humans (vocally similar to the deaf).  The juvenile was reported to be 40 pounds, and the adult 600 pounds.  The adult was approximately 8 feet (2.4 meters) tall, but was much skinnier than the normal portrayal of Sasquatch.  Smeja said the creatures had a bad body odor.

After the story started to reach the Internet in 2011, people began to attack Justin Smeja for apparently killing helpless animals.  He has since apologized for the act, and said that he was in a state of shock.  The account is widely known as the Sierra Kills event.  Many people feel the story is another attempt to promote Bigfoot and make money.  In 2012, it was reported that Smeja’s story might be featured in a Hollywood production.  He is also writing a book about the encounter.

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5.  Lagarfljót Worm Video

The Lagarfljót Worm is an Icelandic cryptid said to live in Lagarfljót Lake, in Egilsstaðir, east Iceland.  Sightings of the creature have been reported for centuries, and continue in 2012.  The worm has been described as being over 300 feet (91 m) in length, and has been viewed on land and in the water.  On land, it is often seen lying coiled up or slithering in the trees.  In 1983, a group of contractors putting a telephone cord in the lake noticed a large shifting mass on the eastern shore.  When they retrieved the cable, it was shredded in the area that was over the anomaly.

In February of 2012, the Icelandic national broadcaster, RÚV, published a video taken by local resident Hjortur Kjerulf that supposedly shows a Lagarfljót Worm swimming in the snow-covered lake.  The footage is said to show a giant snake, approximately 295 feet long (90m), swimming in a twisting motion against the current of the lake.  It is an interesting clip, but the video has been criticized and called fake by some viewers.  People say that it looks like a frozen net, while others point to the fact that the object appears to be making no progress while moving through the water.  Like similar pieces of footage, it is suspicious that the cameraman doesn’t continue the shot until the creature disappears from sight.  However, the video remains one of the best pieces of cryptid footage captured in 2012.

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4.  Penguin Number 337

For those of you who have seen the movie Madagascar, you know that penguins can be smart, cunning, and elusive.  Penguin Number 337 is a one-year-old Humboldt penguin that was raised in the Tokyo Sea Life Park in Japan.  In March of 2012, the bird made a daring escape and broke out of the park.  It scaled a high rock wall and squeezed through a barbed wire fence before waddling to freedom.  The area around the aquarium is near the Edo River and Tokyo Bay.  It is thought that Penguin 337 made a quick dash for the river, which is full of fish.  A city-wide penguin hunt was carried out, but Penguin 337 was gone.

Officials from the Sea Life Park said: “We think it escaped because of its young age, maybe due to its curiosity and yearning for adventure.”  Penguin 337 is too young to determine whether it is male or female.  Once full grown, the bird could reach 2 feet (0.6 meters) in length, and weigh up to 13 pounds.

On May 16, 2012, two months after the escape, video footage of the healthy penguin surfaced on the Internet.  The clip was captured in a different part of Tokyo Bay.  The penguin was seen frolicking in the water and appeared healthy.  Keepers at the Sea Life Park said that the bird is probably eating small fish during the day, and returning to the shore at night.  As of May 2012, Penguin 337 remains a free bird.

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3.  New Robert Kennedy Trial

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On June 6, 1968, U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy was shot to death at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.  The investigation concluded that a Jordanian citizen named Sirhan Sirhan carried out the murder.  For the crime, Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to life in prison.  He confessed to the murder, but would later recant his confession, saying that he did not remember making it.  Similar to the death of JFK, after Bobby was killed, conspiracy theories emerged over the details of the death.

During the assassination, a famous recording was made that appears to hold the sound of multiple gun shots.  The shots are heard in rapid succession and have caused people to think that there must have been two shooters.  The theory came to a head in 2011 when Sirhan Sirhan filed motion in U.S. court for a new trial.  He is arguing that there is “formidable evidence” that proves he was the target of “horrendous violations” of his rights.  Sirhan has claimed that a seductive girl and the FBI used a “mind control” program or “hypo programming” to put him under hypnosis at the time of the attack.

The defense of Sirhan Sirhan is arguing that he was used as a diversion, while a second shooter murdered RFK.  Sirhan is quoted: “I thought that I was at the range more than I was actually shooting at any person, let alone Bobby Kennedy.”  Prosecutors have said the case is weak and that the “new theory is nonsense.  Sirhan was lying from the outset and he continues to lie.”

The story reached a new level of controversy in April of 2012 when a RFK assassination witness named Nina Rhodes-Hughes came forward and said the FBI “twisted” her original statements about the murder.  She is quoted: “What has to come out is that there was another shooter to my right.  The truth has to be told.  No more cover-ups.”  The testimony doesn’t necessarily indicate that Sirhan Sirhan is not guilty of murder, but shows that somebody else might have gotten away with a horrendous crime.

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2.  Clintonville, Wisconsin Booms

In January of 2012, an outbreak of unexplained large booms started to occur with regularity around the globe.  Some were reported in British Columbia, Malaysia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Wisconsin, San Diego, Georgia, and North Carolina.  The booms gained attention, and reportedly sparked panic on Twitter.  On March 19, 2012, the unexplained sound moved into the small city of Clintonville, Wisconsin, located about 180 miles northeast of Madison.  Residents in the area began to report mysterious explosions, loud cracking, and unexplained shaking under the earth.

The sound was said to be similar to rattling pipes, clanging metal, thunder, or loud fireworks.  The phenomenon lasted for around four days, and didn’t appear to cause any damage.  The U.S. Geological Survey initially said that no seismic activity was found but, after a couple days of the noise, it was determined that the cause was a “swarm” of minor earthquakes, amplified by the unique bedrock beneath the state of Wisconsin.  These types of quakes usually aren’t noticed, but apparently they were extremely close to the surface.

People from Clintonville were scared by the noise, and the police experienced an outbreak of calls for help.  Some reported random banging, followed by complete silence.  People in the town gradually began to have parties in hopes of hearing the sound.  On the Internet, conspiracy theorists latched on to the story and connected the events with the Michigan crack.  The Michigan crack is a weird crack in the ground near Birch Creek, Michigan that began to form in 2010.  Clintonville, Wisconsin is a two-hour drive (90 miles) from Birch Creek, Michigan.  The theory says that the Earth has started to fracture in this area of the United States.

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1.  Saint Petersburg Explosion

On February 6, 2012, an electrical power plant in St. Petersburg, Russia experienced a massive explosion.  The event caused an enormous light to fill the sky for a couple seconds, and was witnessed by thousands.  The explosion was captured on video by a collection of people, and the tapes quickly went viral.  The event has spawned a large number of conspiracy theories, and was eerily similar looking to a nuclear reaction.  The blast seemed to intensify over time.  People who saw the explosion were shocked by the ferocity, and it was reported that several street lights were knocked out.

The blast caused a short blackout and traffic jam, but no injuries were reported.  In the Russian media the explosion was simply referred to as a “technical malfunction” at an electrical power plant, with little other details.  The event caused concern, because nobody ever wants to see a large blast at a nuclear power plant.  After researching the event, it is difficult to determine what plant was involved, but most signs point to the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, located some 70 kilometers (43 mi) to the west of Saint Petersburg.

Similar to many other unexplained events, aliens have been blamed for the Saint Petersburg explosion.  Articles have been written that claim the event was an attack on Russia by an alien species that landed on Earth in 2011.  These articles support the 2012 Space War conspiracy, which has gained some popularity in the South Korean press.  Others say it was a massive nuclear accident that was hidden from the public.  Whatever the case, the explosion was strange and the lack of information provided by the Russian government has caused some interest over the Internet.

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BONUS ROUND.  Nice Smile

angry-dentist

Every year, news stories emerge that are widely published, and later proven to be a hoax.  One such case is the tale of a dentist named Anna Machowiak from Wroclaw, Poland.  According the story, 45-year-old Marek Olszewski, who was the ex-boyfriend of Machowiak, set up a dentist appointment at her office.  Upon his arrival, Machowiak was quoted: “When I saw him lying there, I just thought, ‘What a bastard.’”  She gave him a large dose of anesthetic, knocked him out, and then pulled out all his teeth.  Machowiak wrapped Olszewski’s head in a bandage and told him there were some complications during the procedure.  Olszewski later told the Daily Mail: “I knew something was wrong because when I woke up I couldn’t feel any teeth.”

According to the story, Olszewski didn’t realize all of his teeth were gone until he got home and looked in the mirror.  Anna Machowiak was then arrested and could face the possibility of three years in jail.  After the event, Olszewski’s new girlfriend dumped him because he now had no teeth.  The story was so popular that it caused an investigative journalist named Erin Tennant to research the origin.  He found out that the police in Wroclaw were not familiar with any such case.  Poland’s Chamber of Physicians and Dentists also don’t have an Anna Machowiak on the professional register.

The story was finally traced back to Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.  The writer, Simon Tomlinson, said he doesn’t know where the story originated, despite his name on the publication.  Tomlinson told MSNBC, “I’ve drawn a bit of a blank,” which is hack-speak for “I’m a hack, you know I’m a hack, now please go away and let me be a hack in peace.”

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11 Comments

  1. with regards to number 6 on the list…WTF? He shot the bigfoot and ran away cos they had a feeling of dread…then they went back to look for the bigfoot and took a chunk of flesh to be analysed but didn’t take a freaking picture??? oh dear…

    • Actually, a photograph has never been considered as reliable evidence. Pictures have always been manipulated, even before there was Photoshop, so it made more sense to cut a piece of flesh for DNA testing. Although, I think in this case Justin Smeja made up the whole story to get the Hollywood deal and the book deal. Succeeded in that, too, apparently. Very clever. BTW, how did they know right away that the Bigfoot was female? Did it have a mini skirt and slutty make up on its face?

      • No, you can tell females from males because of their anatomy. If they really did have this encounter, it’s disturbing how he reacted to his “shock” and killed the mother and her child.
        Tha guy’s not very bright either, DNA testing would just turn up inconclusive even if it were a new species. The steps to identifying it is to match it with existing DNA samples of already known species. Since a new species has no existing DNA samples… there’s nothing to match it with. So it will just remain labelled as “unknown”. Which only raieses more questions, then you get the troops of people traipsing back to the sight and shooting anything with fur. Just leave them alone.

  2. Well, the Bonus Story is bogus in any possible way. If you put a person under that much anesthetics that you can pull out all of his teeth, he surely won’t walk home very soon. Also, the blood loss and trauma resulting from pulling so many healthy would be life-threatening and absolutely impossible to do without assistance of a anesthesiologist.
    Not to forget that no dentist (yes, in Poland, too) works without assistance and it would be very suspicous to send them out during a treatment that takes hours.
    Furthermore, I doubt that the maximum penalty for aggravated battery in Poland is only three years.

    Conclusion: The story was made up by someone why didn’t put any effort into it. Probably a simplified version of an old urban legend.

    • Well, that’s what it says, in the bonus story. The dentist story was made up by Simon Tomlinson of the Daily Mail newspaper. Did you read the bonus story all the way through before posting, FMH?

      • Of course it’s quite obvious that I didn’t read the whole thing. I rarely do.
        Well, but it wasn’t made up by that journalist either, I’m sure it’s an adapted urban legend that has been around longer.

      • Now that I re-read it, I think I read the whole thing. It does not clearly say that the journalis made it up – he just said he didn’t know where he got it from. And after checking snopes.com, he got it from an older fake news report.

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