Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
Spot Northampton's Clown/Facebook
Spot Northampton's Clown/Facebook / Spot Northampton's Clown/Facebook

The Creepy Clown of Northampton

Since Friday the 13th, pictures of a creepy clown in Northampton, England, have been circulating the internet, drawing comparisons with the Pennywise character from the 1990 Stephen King movie It. The clown also launched a Facebook page, but over the week it began drawing unfounded rumors and threatening comments. The mysterious clown finally talked to newspapers without revealing his identity, to say his appearances were all in fun and he meant no harm to anyone. He said he just wanted to amuse people.

Cunning Plan Leaves Man Stranded on Ledge

An unnamed man in Goosen's Close, Greater London, UK, arrived home late Thursday night and realized he was locked out of his home. That's when he should have called someone for help, but he hatched an ingenius scheme to get inside.

He decided the best course of action was to stack two wheelie bins on top of his car, climb them and get through his bathroom window. The agile man managed to clamber up the two wheelie bins and got as far as the window ledge before realising he was too big to fit through the window. His luck then got worse when his tower of wheelie bins collapsed leaving him stranded on the narrow ledge.

The story doesn't mention how long he was there before the Sutton fire department was summoned. Firefighters managed to get the man down by ladder, and a smaller firefighter was able to fit through the window and unlock the door.

No Keys for the Getaway Car

A bank robber in Portland, Oregon, reached the end of his crime spree when he made a rookie mistake: he left his car keys in the bank he just robbed. Andrew Frank Laviguer allegedly robbed a Wells Fargo branch bank, but when he found he could not drive his getaway car, he fled on foot, and police officers found him in a nearby office building. The 57-year-old was arrested on the spot. Investigators linked Laviguer to at least five other robberies in the last two months. There's no word on whether the getaway car was locked.

Barn Owl Fails as Ring Bearer

You've seen weddings in which a pet or a trained animal is included in the ceremony, but this one didn't come off as planned. A couple from Oxfordshire, England, were married at Holy Cross Church in Sherston, Wiltshire, with a barn owl as a ring bearer. It was a surprise for the groom. But Darcey the barn owl, instead of flying over the wedding guests and delivering the rings, decided the tall church sanctuary had wonderful places to perch. So that's what he did. The owl fell asleep high above the proceedings, and napped for about an hour. After a short interruption, the wedding ceremony went on, using a set of backup rings. The bird was retrieved by ladder after the ceremony.

Auto-Brewery Syndrome: A Real Beer Belly

A 61-year-man in Texas went to a hospital complaining of dizziness. He was very drunk, but insisted he hadn't had a drink that day. His wife said he would become drunk at odd times. Hospital staff assumed he was lying about drinking, but gastroenterologist Dr. Justin McCarthy and Panola College dean of nursing Barbara Cordell wanted to get to the bottom of the case. They isolated the patient and monitored his blood-alcohol level for 24 hours, and found his alcohol level spontaneously went up after eating.

Eventually, McCarthy and Cordell pinpointed the culprit: an overabundance of brewer's yeast in his gut. That's right, folks. According to Cordell and McCarthy, the man's intestinal tract was acting like his own internal brewery. The patient had an infection with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Cordell says. So when he ate or drank a bunch of starch — a bagel, pasta or even a soda — the yeast fermented the sugars into ethanol, and he would get drunk. Essentially, he was brewing beer in his own gut. Cordell and McCarthy reported the case of "auto-brewery syndrome" a few months ago in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine.

The condition is quite rare, as brewer's yeast is usually not a problem for a healthy digestive system.

Man Turns Green from Eating Too Many Snails

A 24-year-old man from Zhejiang Province, China, was hospitalized because his skin and the whites of his eyes turned green. The unnamed patient, who had suffered abdominal pain but didn't seek help until the color change, described himself as looking like the Incredible Hulk. He had tried several hospitals, but no one could figure out what was wrong with him until he was admitted to the Guizhou Aerospace Hospital in Guizhou. Doctors there diagnosed the man with an infection caused by parasitic river worms, which he had ingested with river snails, that attacked his liver. He admitted that he had been eating a bowl of fried snails every night.