Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania

Goldfish Saved by Buoyant Harness

Leighton Naylor of Thornton, Lancashire, England, taught his goldfish Einstein to do tricks. But something went wrong with Einstein's swim bladders and he floated upside down—then sank to the bottom of the tank when he could no longer float at all. So Naylor went to work to help the fish.

So Leighton started designing the lifebelt, drawing his ideas and testing materials to make the finished adjustable around Einstein’s body.

Three hours later the contraption was complete.

Now Einstein is happily swimming again with his tankmates, Leighton’s three other fish Pat, Frank and Blondie.

Einstein will have to wear the harness for the rest of his life.

Hermit Lived Alone in Maine Woods for 27 Years

Stories of the North Pond Hermit circulated for decades as evidence of burglaries were uncovered through the years. The elusive hermit never stole money or caused damage, but took food and supplies. Finally, the officials at Pine Tree Camp, a camp for people with disabilities, installed an alarm. And this week, police arrested 47-year-old Christopher Knight, who may be responsible for up to a thousand such burglaries. Knight left home in 1986, two years after graduating high school, and his family thought he'd gone to New York. However, the hermit lived alone in the woods for 27 years. He only had contact with another person once, a hiker he spoke to briefly. Knight has not yet offered an explanation of why he avoided human contact all those years.

Seven-meter Wasp Nest

Is this a world record? I don't even want to know! An abandoned house in San Sebastián de la Gomera, Spain, was investigated by police after calls from neighbors. Inside, they found a wasp nest that almost filled a room! Experts measured the nest at 21 feet 9 inches. They fear it may have been built by an invasive species from Africa. San Sebastián de la Gomera is in the Canary Islands, less than 100 kilometers from Gibraltar. One can almost imagine the wasps, finding that this was the most wonderful place for a nest ever because no one bothered them and it never rained, and then deciding that they'd never leave to build new nests.

Memorial for a Drunk Monkey

Clonakilty, Ireland, is a town of less than 5,000 people, but it knows hospitality, and it knows how to draw tourism. A new monument to be unveiled today honors an incident of the town's hospitality in 1943. An American B-17 bomber carrying ten crewman and a monkey named Tojo, headed for Norway, landed in Clonakilty when it went low on fuel. The police took them into custody at a hotel where the Yanks and the locals held a three-day party with 36 bottles of rum the airmen had with them.

After several days, the crew were taken to Cork before they were driven from the neutral Irish Republic into Northern Ireland where they were handed over to the RAF.

But one very important primate was missing when the the airmen left the west Cork town.

Tojo had taken too much of a liking to the rum and other beverages.

"The efforts of local doctors, chemists, and vets failed to save the monkey and Tojo died of pneumonia," said Mr Tupper.

The monkey was laid to rest with full military honors. The townspeople still talk about Tojo, the first monkey most of the residents at that time had ever seen. To commemorate the occasion 70 years later, the town unveiled a bronze statue of Tojo Sunday, created by local sculptor Moss Gaynor.

Cookie Monster Arrested in New York City

A family from Connecticut had a picture made with a street character dressed as Cookie Monster from Sesame Street in New York's Times Square. Afterward, he demanded $2, but the family did not pay. According to the complaint, the character then yelled obscenities at the family and shoved a toddler. Police arrested Osvaldo Quiroz-Lopez of Queens on charges of endangering the welfare of a child.

Worst Guard Dog Ever

A burglar broke into a home in East Wenatchee, Washington, Saturday night and was still there when the residents arrived. They found him feeding the dog from the refrigerator. The suspect hung around for a while, talking with the frightened homeowners and revealing his name, and then left. The burglar called for the dog, a lab-pit bull mix named Buddy, and Buddy followed him out the door. Police found Jason L. McDaniel at his home, and arrested him. Buddy has not been found, and may be too embarrassed to return home.