Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania

Man Shoots Armadillo; Hits Mother-In-Law Next Door

A bizarre shooting incident Sunday night in Lee County, Georgia, was determined to be an accident. Larry McElroy fired a 9mm pistol at an armadillo in his yard. He could not foresee what happened next.

The bullet killed the animal, but also ricocheted off of it, hit a fence, went through the back door of his mother-in-law's mobile home, through a recliner she was sitting in, and into her back. According to a report, McElroy was about 100 yards away from the home at the time.

The mother-in-law, 74-year-old Carol Johnson, was taken to a hospital, but her injuries are considered minor. Authorities in Lee County suggest that a shotgun be used instead of a pistol to “shoot at varmints and whatnot.” Tip: “whatnot” does not include your mother-in-law.

Earthworms Rain from Sky Over Norway

Karstein Erstad was skiing in Bergen, Norway, when he saw worms on top of the meter-thick snow. They didn’t move until he picked one up, so they couldn’t have crawled up through the snow. Did they fall from the sky? Since his report, quite a few other people have reported seeing “worm rainfall” over a widespread area of Norway. It’s not the first time such a phenomenon has been observed. A similar rain of earthworms was reported in Sweden in the 1920s.

Nonagenarian Hits Mugger with Mobility Scooter

Two great-grandmothers in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK, foiled a would-be mugging while on their way home from a lunch club meeting. Margaret Seabrook, who is 75, was approached by a man who grabbed her arm and reached for her bag from the basket of her mobility scooter. Her friend Eileen Mason, who is 92, yelled, “Oh no, you don’t!” and swung her scooter around and knocked the mugger on the ground! The two women sped off before the thief could get up.

Bacon Burglary Foiled by Aroma

This tale of theft reads like a comedy of errors. A homeowner caught Damien Lewis and an unnamed teenage accomplice red-handed as they stole pork from a neighbor’s shed in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. They fled before police arrived, but it was fairly easy to find them. Officers followed their footprints to Lewis’ home, where the aroma of frying bacon added to the evidence. Lewis’ sentencing argument is priceless.

While he insisted he "wasn't actually the one taking the food", Lewis admitted to being in the man's yard when the bacon was stolen and that he should have known better. He pleaded for another chance on the grounds his dog was waiting at home to be fed and he needed to clean his home so he didn't fail an upcoming rental inspection. He also told the court he had previously completed more than 100 hours community service and was so popular he had been asked to return as a volunteer.

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell ordered Lewis to spend another 80 hours doing community service, where his popularity presumably will be put to use.

Go! St. Louis Marathon Winner Caught Cheating—Again

The Go! St. Louis Marathon was held last Sunday, and Kendall Schler was the first woman to cross the finish line. Schler had finished third the year before. The prize comes with $1,500 and a place in the Boston Marathon. But then there was confusion. Within a couple of days, officials determined that Schler had not run the entire race, but had joined in after the last checkpoint. A review of last year’s race photos determined that she had not been seen along the route then, either. Andrea Karl, who was told she was in front for a large part of the race, crossed the finish line to little fanfare in second place. Karl is now the winner, although she was robbed of her moment in the sun on race day.

Red and White Striped House Can’t be Torn Down

A homeowner in the Kensington district of London, UK, submitted plans for tearing down his townhouse and rebuilding it as a five-story home, with two of the floors being underground. The neighbors did not like that idea, and registered objections. The local council then declined permission for the building plan. Rebuilding the house may require approval, but painting it does not. So the disgruntled homeowner painted the house—with red and white vertical stripes! The neighbors aren’t happy with the new paint job, either. One called it a “tacky monstrosity; we all hate it.” But there’s not much they can do about a color scheme.