Weird Universe Archive

August 2008

August 28, 2008

Fish Removed From Bladder

An interesting case study is reported in the Internet Journal of Urology (2007, Vol. 4, #2). It's titled "Unusual Foreign Body In Urinary Bladder: A Case Report."

A 14-year-old Indian boy showed up at a hospital complaining of pain and difficulty urinating. He claimed that a fish had lodged itself in his penis. His story, according to the doctors:

While he was cleaning the fish tank in his house, he was holding a fish in his hand and went to the toilet for passing urine. While he was passing urine, the fish slipped from his hand and entered his urethra and then he developed all these symptoms.

Sure enough, he DID have a dead fish in his bladder. Initial attempts to remove it with a biopsy forceps were unsuccessful. The fish was too slippery to grasp onto. But with the help of a rigid ureteroscope they got it out.

The doctors seem a little skeptical of the boy's story. They note that, "Introduction into the bladder may be through self-insertion, iatrogenic means or migration from adjacent organs."

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 28, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Medicine

August 27, 2008

Wire Woman

A 40-year-old Indonesian woman named Noorsyaidah is growing metal wires out of her stomach. Apparently this is "big news" in Indonesia. The problem has been plaguing her for almost seventeen years. From the Phantoms & Monsters blog:

During the first week wires kept falling off from her body and were gone. A month later, the wires grew back again and from that time onward the wires did not fall. They kept growing! One of her sisters said that she tried to help by trimming the wires. Alas, whenever she trimmed the wires, the wire retreated as if it were hiding and then popped up in another part of Noorsyaidah’s body.

And we've got video of wire woman:

If these "wires" are more like bony growths, then it might be a real medical condition. But if the wires are actually metal, then it's b.s.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 27, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Body Modifications, Medicine, Unsolved Mysteries


WU reader Holly gave us a heads-up about her son's recent pencil-through-the-foot incident. I guess she knows we couldn't resist something that gruesome. There are even more impaled-foot pics on her blog. She writes:

I sat there holding his foot in my hand, and noticed there was NO BLOOD... not even a drop coming out of either of the holes...and I wasn't prepared to open up an artery on the playroom floor. So I realized I would just have to calm him (and myself) down and wait for the EMTs to arrive. I could hear my hubby on the phone downstairs with 911 yelling up to me "Don't pull it out! Don't pull it out!" I said, "Okay...I'm not going to... get the camera".

Happily the pencil was safely removed, and it seems there's no permanent damage

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 27, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Body Modifications

Follies of the Mad Men #15

[From Life for May 22 1964.]

Our booze appeals mainly to Eighteenth-century highwaymen.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Aug 27, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Celebrities, Crime, History, Hollywood, Inebriation and Intoxicants, 1960s

Help Zimbardo Study Helping

Dr. Phil Zimbardo, famous for conducting the Stanford Prison Experiment which revealed how quickly average college students will embrace the roles of sadistic prison guards and passive prisoners, and most recently author of The Lucifer Effect, is now turning his attention to helping behavior. From the hero workshop blog (via boing boing):

The goal is to discover how individuals perceive the behavior of helpfulness.
The first step is to conduct a survey with as many participants as possible. That’s where you come in. The survey takes about 30 minutes and can be found at

I took one look at the length of time and thought, "30 minutes! I don't want to take a survey for that long!" I'm basically unhelpul and selfish. But this made me realize that the only people taking the survey will be those that are more helpful than most. It'll be a biased sample.

Zimbardo and his co-researchers are very smart people, so I'm sure they realize this. I'm guessing that the real purpose of the survey may be to find out how many people actually take it, versus how many visit the link. That could provide a quick snapshot of how many helpful people there are on the internet. (Thanks to Joe Littrell!)

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 27, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Science, Experiments, Psychology

Cows Washed Downstream

New Zealand farmer Peter Schouten lost 100 of his cows when an unusually high river washed them away. From

Peter Schouten said the incident happened about 3.30am today when the cows were being taken across the bridge for morning milking.
"When I got there the cows that were walking towards me were just dropping into the river. That was the most horrific sight I have ever seen," Mr Schouten said.

To dispel that bad image, here's a moment of zen. A cow in a swimming pool:

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 27, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Cows

Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News for Wednesday

Can't possibly be true: A federal prison guard who survived two tours in Iraq was murdered in his first job back because federal prison guards can't carry weapons
Federal policy for guards is to make friends and gain trust, which means not even pepper spray or batons are allowed, and in fact, not even protective vests. Prisoners, of course, are armed to the teeth with homemade stuff, and apparently two of them shanked this defenseless guard. The federal Bureau of Prisons said, Umm, well, gee, we might perhaps, possibly, conceivably, think about amending our policy, maybe. CNN
Comments 'federal_guards'

Heartwarming dad-son reunion after 22 yrs, finding each other, er, serving hard time together in the sexual predator section
Dad: David Gillies, 39, serving life for abducting a young woman and sexually torturing her. Son: David Norris, 22, serving life for attempting to rape an 8-yr-old girl and later killing a man who had taunted him for that. Dad left home right after the kid was born. Daily Record (Glasgow)
Comments 'predator_reunion'

Man sues New York City for not taking care of his impounded car (the one he killed a man with)
Harry Shasho filed a lawsuit for north of $190k for damage to his Bentley, which he said happened while it was in the impound lot, but which the city said happened when he smashed into that pedestrian and killed him in 2005. (Shasho got off easy on that because the guy might have wandered into the street drunk.) Shasho's legal theory: If the city impounds a Ford Focus used in a crime, ehhhh; if the city impounds a Bentley used in a crime, they almost need to assign an attendant. New York Daily News
Comments 'impounded_bentley'

Almost a cliche: one warrant, two busts
Cops in Salina, Kan., quietly surrounded a home in a trailer park, ready to enforce a warrant. The trailer-next-door neighbors, seeing all those cops sneaking around, panic and toss their own drugs out the back window. A double bust! Salina Journal
Comments 'neighbor_trailer'

Spiritual defecator arraigned in Tullytown, Pa.
Sandralee Banks-Kastrup, 40, had been arrested for pooping inside St. Michael the Archangel Church in February in an attempt, she said, to remove a hex from the parish. She told the cops that the problem was that 528 children were buried in a stretch of land between the church and the Dunkin' Donuts. The Intelligencer (Doylestown) [NOTE: semi-stale story from last week]
Comments 'spiritual_defecater'

Your Daily Loser
Darren Mirren is only 16, but he's learning. He sued a commercial cleaning company in Glasgow, Scotland, for not offering him a job and admits, yes, he did fail to show up for the job interview, but that was only because he didn't know how to find the place, which obviously constitutes "age discrimination" by the company. The Scotsman
Comments 'darren_mirren'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
Daniel Nelson, 32, was charged in Mount Pocono, Pa., with sticking his cell phone up a little kid's shorts to take a picture. Morning Call (Allentown) [Photo of the perp? Oh, yeah]
Comments 'daniel_nelson'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
It looks bad for James Prevatt III, 26, seein' as how he was so reluctant to come out of that motel room that the police had been surrounding for two days, but the real question is whether he committed that earlier burglary or not. Associated Press via CNN
Comments 'james_prevatt'

More Things to Worry About on Wednesday
A savoir-faire Mexican brewery introduced Malverde beer, named after the country's patron saint of drug traffickers (the company's most recent failed quixotic label: Duff, named for you-know-what) . . . . . Inflation hits Cambodian rat meat (from the equivalent of 13¢/lb last yr to 57¢ this yr) (Bonus: Cambodia exports more than a ton of live rats to Vietnam every day) . . . . . If you see Frankie Lewis at your church's buffet table, and he asks for butter, give it to him ('cause, otherwise, he'll cut you up) [mug shot] . . . . . Thank goodness, Richard Trofatter Jr. might now get the help he needs for his "obsessive compulsive behavior surrounding baseball cards" [mug shot] . . . . . But don't worry any more about whether tongue-kissing a drunk person will drive up your Breathalyzer score; a police commander said it won't. Today's Newsrangers: Jessica McRorie, Wendy Palm, Tom Sullivan, Tom Steman, Paul Music, Robert Bierbricher
Comments 'worry_080827'

Editor's Notes
(1) Attention, all Daily Jurors who would've convicted Otis Hensley Jr. last Thursday [Daily Jury Duty, 8-21-2008]: The prosecutor dropped the charges. Was justice served? [LINK from] (2) Also, the assault charge was dropped for the guy who spanked his 20-yr-old daughter over her $5,000 cell-phone bill [8-8-2008], but on the other hand, I didn't post his photo that day so here it is for you to decide whether yet another perp has been unfairly turned loose. (3) August malaise continues; no posts Thursday or Saturday (but I'll be back on Monday) (which is why the U.S. kicks Europe's butt in productivity—because even though Monday is the "Labor Day" holiday in the U.S., people like me work right through it! U-S-A! U-S-A!).
Comments 'editors_080827'

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Aug 27, 2008 - Comments (0)

August 26, 2008

Head Canting

Have you ever noticed that some people, when their picture is taken, tilt their head to the side? The behavior is called head canting. I never knew this until I stumbled upon an article titled "Head Canting In Paintings: An Historical Study" in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior (Spring 2001).

Some factoids about head canting:

• Researchers speculate that it's a submissive gesture. The sociologist Erving Goffman described it as "a form of ingratiation or appeasement achieved by reducing one's overall height."

• The authors of the "Head Canting in Paintings" article examined 1498 figures in the works of 11 painters from the 14th to the 20th centuries. They concluded that, throughout history, head canting has been associated with submissiveness:

religious and mythological figures exhibited much more head canting than commissioned portraits. This finding supports the idea that head canting is strongly connected with the expression of submission, appeasement, ingratiation, and request for protection... In contrast, in paintings portraying nobles, professionals, and artists, head canting was minimal or absent.

Some googling about the subject also uncovered a bit of trivia:

Head-tilting was a signature cue of method actor James Dean. Dean's head-tilts seemed to say, as East of Eden director, Elia Kazan put it, "Pity me, I'm too sensitive for the world."

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 26, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Photography and Photographers, Psychology

Slinky Dance

Why do I imagine this is how everyone dances in the universe of Jim Woodring's imagination...?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 26, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Aliens, Art, Performance Art, Toys, Dance

On the Road

I'm off to visit relatives on the West Coast for a bit more than a week, verifying the existence of The Curly Horse That Looks Like A Stuffed Toy. But thanks to the miracle of semi-not-dumb software, I've stacked up posts in the WU queue, to release one per day.

What are they?

One hundred percent installments of FOLLIES OF THE MAD MEN!

You'll be treated to man-sized tissues and oversized-liquor bottles, salt-shakers full of deadly substances and animalized businessmen, among other goodies. I'm sure you'll enjoy this parade of wacked Madison Avenue brainstorming.

I won't be able to participate in the comments threads till I get back, but rest assured I'll read them then!

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 26, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Travel, Weird Universe, Paul

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Chuck Shepherd
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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