Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
Konstantin Nikolaev
Konstantin Nikolaev / Konstantin Nikolaev

Giant Hole Opens Up in Siberia

In a desolate area of northeast Russia called "the end of earth,” a large hole has opened up in the ground. The round hole appears to be at least 80 meters (260 feet) wide, but its depth is unknown.

The cause of its sudden appearance in Yamal - its name means the 'end of the world' in the far north of Siberia - is not yet known, though one scientific claim is that global warming may be to blame. There is additionally speculation it could be caused by a space object - perhaps a meteorite - striking earth or that it is a sinkhole caused by collapsing rock beneath the hole caused by as yet unknown factors. The giant hole appeared close to a forest some 30 kilometres from Yamal's biggest gas field Bovanenkovo. Experts are confident that a scientific explanation will be found for it and that it is not - as one web claim suggested - evidence 'of the arrival of a UFO craft' to the planet.

The hole is believed to have formed up to two years ago, although it was only found recently by aircraft flying over it. A Russian team of scientists is investigating the hole.

Thief Takes Doughnuts at Knife Point

A new Krispy Kreme outlet in Adelaide, Australia, has proven to be a hit. Customers queued up days before the doors opened, and still wait in line for hours to get doughnuts a few days later. One doughnut fan apparently decided to skip the wait. Two teenage boys had bought six boxes of doughnuts after waiting in line for two hours. Minutes later, they were confronted by a man with a knife, who threatened to stab them if they didn’t hand the Krispy Kremes over. The thief didn’t ask for anything else, but took the doughnuts and fled. Police are looking at security video to see if they can identify the perpetrator. Krispy Kreme’s manager offered to replace the stolen doughnuts, but the teenagers are afraid of returning to the store.

Woman has 3,000-square-foot Closet

Theresa Roemer of The Woodlands, Texas, recently moved into a new home with a custom-designed, 3,000-square-foot, three-story closet. It holds her stock of designer clothing and her vast collection of Christian Louboutin shoes. The closet has a champagne bar on the second floor. Roemer has thrown parties in her closet, mostly fundraisers for charities like Texas Children’s Hospital, the American Heart Association, and Child Legacy International. Roemer calls the huge closet her “she-cave.”

Virginia Man Claims African Country to Make Daughter a Princess

Bir Tawil is a stretch of land between Egypt and Sudan that neither country wants. Jeremiah Heaton of Abingdon, Virginia, now claims it as his own. Last winter, Heaton’s six-year-old daughter Emily asked him if she could be a princess. He said yes, and has worked since then to make it so. To that end, Heaton has claimed the 800-square-mile territory of Bir Tawil, renaming it the Kingdom of North Sudan. He planted a flag there on June 16, Emily’s seventh birthday. That makes him the king, and Emily a princess.

Sheila Carapico, professor of political science and international studies at the University of Richmond, told the Bristol Herald Courier last week that Heaton would need legal recognition from neighboring countries, the United Nations or other groups to have actual political control of the land. Heaton, who ran for Congress out of Virginia’s 9th district in 2012 and lost, plans to reach out to the African Union for assistance in formally establishing the Kingdom of North Sudan and said that he is confident they will welcome him. Representatives from the Egyptian and Sudanese embassies in Washington did not respond to requests for comment Saturday.

The area is desert, but Heaton plans to turn it into an agricultural area, which should please both Egypt and Sudan. Read about Heaton’s journey to his new kingdom at the Washington Post.

Always Look for the Badge

A ticketed passenger at the San Francisco airport passed through security and decided to have a few drinks before his flight. He later went back to the security checkpoint and began to impersonate a TSA officer, leading women to a private screening room for a pat-down. The unidentified 53-year-old man was noticed by real TSA officers when he took a second woman in for screening—not because they did not know him, or because he did not wear a uniform, but because procedure calls for a woman officer to be present when a female gets a pat-down. The perpetrator was arrested for public drunkenness.

Body Falls Out of a Coroner’s Car in the Middle of Traffic

A corpse being transported to the coroner’s office fell into the street in Feasterville, Pennsylvania, last Friday. The driver of the van had a vehicle malfunction, and the body slipped out the back. It was in a body bag on a gurney. Heavy traffic around the van came to a dead stop. Jerry Bradley, who was waiting at a stoplight when the incident occurred, snapped a picture and then helped the driver get the corpse back into the van. The Bucks County Coroner’s Office said it is investigating to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.