Beats Reality, Doesn’t It?

May as well start with a story about Cicciolina, since she seems to be in favour this issue. To celebrate the withdrawal of Russian tanks Ms. Staller returned to her native Hungary and, in a touching ceremony, released a white dove as the first tank prepared to roll out. Unfortunately, the dove fluttered down to land in the path of said tank, and was flattened.

TOAD LICKING POSES THREAT TO AMERICAN YOUTH – After crack and ecstacy, the latest drug problem in the states seems to be amphibians. The Cane Toad secretes a substance called bufotinine to ward off predators – in small quantities it causes hallucinations, in larger doses it can be deadly; four Australians died last year after brewing up toad-skin tea. Bufotinine is a controlled drug, in the same group as herion and LSD in the States – “if you tried to lick this toad it would be a felonious act”, said Dr. Alex Stalcup, head of the drug treatment program at the Haight Ashbury Clinic in San Francisco.

Mammoth mystery – Soviet scientists are studying the skull of a mammoth which died in Siberia 10,000 years ago, becuase a neat bullet hole has been discovered in the right cheek of the animal. Bone growth around the hole indicates that the mammoth lived for several years after the wound was made.

OVERSEXED GHOST DRIVES FOUR STUDENTS FROM APARTMENT – “I woke up one night with the sensation that a woman’s soft hands were fondling my body” said one of them. All well & good, except that they eventually saw the figure, which turned out to be “an ugly, toothless old crone of about 90”. The apartment manager put it all down to “raging male hormones”.

WRITER SAYS HE GOOFED… – The July 25th issue of the WWN tells us about Edgar Whisenant who predicted the end of the world last year. He blamed the cock-up on forgetting that there wasn’t a 0 A.D, which threw his sums out. So, in case you didn’t notice, the world ended on the 1st of September.

4,000-YEAR-OLD POP BOTTLE… – Found in Southern France, it may be “space garbage left by an ET litterbug”, because it has twin necks and two mouths. Some skeptics say it looks more like a religious icon than a drinks container, but analysis of trace elements left on the interior apparently indicate that the drink was quite similar to colas that people drink today. However, the report leaves out the most important point – was it Pepsi or Coke?

DESPERATE MOM GIVES HERSELF A CAESAREAN – Helen Macabee, a rancher’s wife from Rawlinna, Australia, found herself with a bit of a problem when her twins, one of whom was in the breech position, decided to arrive two months early. She was so worried they wouldn’t survive a natural delivery and the emergency team were out on another call, so she cut her babies out herself using a sterilised knife from their veterinary supply and ice to dull the pain. All three are now doing fine.

DEMONS BURNED MY HUSBAND TO A CRISP! – “Maria Holtzberg was a typical suburban housewife with hardly a worry in the world – until a band of shrieking green demons invaded her home and turned her beloved husband to ashes!”. Hmmm. Perhaps they ought to check her and see if she’s been licking any toads lately…

On a more serious note, the press had a field day a while ago with the ‘Excalibur killer’ – “a doting baby-sitter became a murdering psychopath after watching a video of medieval violence and butchered the two small children he treated as his own” (Evening Standard, 11th July). With opening paragraphs like that one, it’s not surprising that the rather relevant details of his past were relegated to side-bars. Nine years ago (and therefore presumably before he saw the film), he had been convicted of attacking two men; one with a knife and the other by shooting him, at point blank range in the face, with an air pistol and also shooting at old lady in the mouth with the same weapon. Another comment down the page was from Chief Inspector Paul Aylott; “We don’t know what was so special about this film – it is on general release and there are many far more violent”. Nowhere did I see anyone draw the obvious conclusiond that a) the bloke was a long-term headcase and b) if you’re such a psycho, anything, even a ’15’ rated film that’s been shown on TV, could push you over the edge. According to “Time Out”, there is some doubt as to whether he even watched the video, not that the papers bothered to print a correction.

Fans of this section could do a lot worse than send 2.50 to Fortean Times, 96 Mansfield Road, LONDON, NW3 2HX and ask for Issue 52. In exchange, you’ll get 84 pages of stories similar to those featured in these pages, taken from a wide range of sources (most of which are a little more reliable than the Weekly World News!) The rest of this page are examples of these, starting with two animal tales :

  • A dead pheasant weighing three and a half pounds struck the wife of the man who shot it on an estate in Hampshire. The 50-year old woman was sitting on her shooting stick when the bird hit her in the back, rupturing her spleen. She recovered after an operation.
  • In New Zealand, at least three power-cuts were caused by the weight of droppings from herons on the lines across the Bullen River. Nearer home, in West Dorset at Burton Bradstock, a blackbird flew into a power terminal at a sub-station, plunging over 1200 homes into darkness.
  • A Ukrainian funeral turned to disaster when mourners drank the same black market spirit as the man they had just buried. 8 died and 80 were hospitalised. Cheers!!