Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania

Hearse Chases Car Stolen During Funeral

Westhaven Funeral Home employees has just taken the deceased inside the St. Thomas Missionary Baptist Church near Jackson, Mississippi, for the funeral Thursday morning. A man rode up on a bicycle, jumped in the funeral director’s car, and took off. The Westhaven employees tried to chase it down in their hearse, but the stolen car sped up to 90 miles per hour. Then Hinds County sheriff’s deputies took over the chase, as the cars sped down I-20 into Jackson. The car was abandoned, and the car thief fled on foot. Devarous White was arrested later. Investigators say White signed the funeral registry before the car chase, which will be used as evidence against him.

House Cat Worth $140,000 in Real Estate Deal

The Perceval family of Glen Iris, Victoria, Australia, sold their home at auction for $2,060,000. But before the final paperwork was done, they got a better offer: real estate agent Glen Coutinho said the new offer asked for the inclusion of the Perceval’s cat Tiffany.

Mr Coutinho, of RT Edgar, said that a child of one of the bidders had fallen in love with Tiffany during the inspections of the home. “Tiffany decided she would sit on the couch,” Fran Perceval told the Herald Sun. “People would come through, and she’d observe them and be patted. “She loved all the attention — she does look a bit ornamental,” she said. Ms Perceval had even jokingly suggested to Mr Coutinho that Tiffany could be included in the sale, because after all “she believes the house is her property”. But then the bidder offered to buy the home for $2.2 million — as long as Tiffany was included in the deal.

The Percevals did the math and as the cat was worth an extra $140,000 to the buyer, Tiffany will stay in her home with the new owners. The cat actually belongs to the Perceval’s 19-year-old son Sam, who stands to get a cut of the profits. It’s possible that the “cat clause” might be a way to get around the terms of the original auction, but I am not well-versed in Australian real estate laws.

Risque Ads Cause 517 Auto Accidents in Moscow

The Russian firm ADVtruck sells advertising on large trucks. As a promotional stunt intended to show how noticeable the ads are, 30 trucks were decorated with a picture of a woman’s breasts. In the first day that the trucks were deployed in Moscow, 517 traffic accidents were blamed on the distracting image. Moscow police were dispatched to impound all the trucks until the pictures were removed. The ad agency says that the company will compensate drivers for any damages that their insurance does not cover. 

Fox Evicted from Pub for Vandalism

Bartender Tim Carter went to open up the Beehive pub in Wiltshire, England, and found the place had broken glass spread around, as well as soot from the chimney and opened bags of chips. No one was around, so he spent two hours cleaning up the mess before he discovered the perpetrator still on the premises. Carter jumped when he felt fur underneath a bench. It was a fox in hiding. Carter called two colleagues to help him get the animal out from underneath the bench. He didn’t want to leave, but was eventually chased out with brooms. The pub owner suspects that the fox fell into the building through the chimney, which would explain the sooty footprints.

Nosebleeds Due to Three-inch Leech in Her Nose

Daniela Liverani of Edinburgh, Scotland, spent the summer traveling through Southeast Asia. She started suffering nosebleeds about two weeks before she came home, but attributed that to a fall from a motor scooter. Back in Edinburgh, however, she noticed a mass that she thought was congealed blood. But then it moved. She went to a hospital, where it took doctors half an hour to remove a three-inch leech. Leech expert Mark Siddal says that the leech could have been much smaller when it entered Liverani’s nasal passage a month ago, possibly through drinking water.

The London Beer Flood of 1814

It was 200 years ago today that a neighborhood in London, England, was flooded by beer. The Meux and Company Brewery had several large brewing vats on the roof. The largest was a 22-foot-high vat to brew porter. It held 511,920 liters of beer, or enough to fill 20,000 barrels. On October 17, 1814, after fermenting for months, one of the metal hoops holding the vat together gave way, and the beer exploded out, causing the surrounding vats to fail as well.

A total of 1,224,000 litres of beer under pressure smashed through the twenty-five foot high brick wall of the building, and gushed out into the surrounding area - the slum of St Giles. Many people lived in crowded conditions here, and some were caught by the waves of beer completely unaware. The torrent flooded through houses, demolishing two in its wake, and the nearby Tavistock Arms pub in Great Russell Street suffered too, its 14-year-old barmaid Eleanor Cooper buried under the rubble.

At least eight people died from the flood: some drowned, other died of injuries, and one supposedly died several days later of alcohol poisoning in a "heroic attempt to stem the tide by drinking as much beer as he humanly could," although that story may be apocryphal.