Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
Serpukhov Museum of History and Art
Serpukhov Museum of History and Art / Serpukhov Museum of History and Art


A stray cat started hanging around the Serpukhov Museum of History and Art in Serpukhov, Russia, a couple of years ago. The museum staff took him in, and Maray became quite popular with museum visitors. For April Fool’s Day, the museum sent an “application letter” from Maray asking for a job to the local press. In English, it said:

Application. As I am a direct relative of [Anna] Maraeva, I ask you to give me a job in your museum. Maray The Cat.

Anna Maraeva is the former owner of the building, and inspired Maray’s name. The letter was accompanied by a press release that announced he had been hired. The museum staff got a laugh, but the media pounced on the story and made inquiries about the cat. So the museum had to make good on the “joke” and gave Maray the official title of doorman. He is paid in food and affection. See more pictures of Maray here.


Michael Banks of Fresno, California, planned and executed a proposal for the record books. He climbed the south face of 581-foot high Morro Rock early Thursday morning. Then he called his girlfriend via FaceTime and proposed from the dramatic backdrop. She said yes! And then things went downhill.

Banks chose a different route for his descent, and became stranded on a ledge. Someone heard him yelling and called 911. Banks was rescued by a crew in a California Highway patrol helicopter -and then arrested. Climbing on Morro Rock is banned as too dangerous, so he was cited for trespassing. Other charges include possession of methamphetamine. He also faces a bill for the rescue service, which could run to thousands of dollars. 


Randy Velthuizen of Everson, Washington, used a blowtorch to get rid of some weeds in his flowerbed. He’s used the method before.

“It kills it better,” Velthuizen said of using a blowtorch to get rid of the weeds. “They don’t come back for a long time.”

But this time, it didn’t turn out so well. About a half-hour after completing his chore on Monday, he smelled smoke and called 911. Firefighters responded and were able to extinguish the fire. However, half of Velthuizen’s 120-year-old home was destroyed and the other half is smoke-damaged. Whatcom County Fire Marshal Mitch Nolze said there will be no charges, as the fire was an accident.  


Daniel Riegel of Flint, Michigan, went out of town for a few days. He left his home in the care of a friend, who allowed a homeless woman to stay overnight. A month later, she still hasn’t left. The friend has since been arrested, and is in jail. Riegel returned home to find a woman he doesn’t know living in his second floor. He called police, but they can’t remove her because she was invited into the home. Riegel’s landlord has started a formal eviction process, but that takes time. Meanwhile, he stays downstairs while the woman stays upstairs. He says that $1000 worth of his possessions have gone missing. 


Zhao Xin and Zhao Xuan are identical twin brothers in Shanxi Province, China. Yun Fei and Yun Yang  are identical twin sisters from a neighboring village. The four were introduced by a matchmaker, and recently the two brothers married the two sisters in a double wedding ceremony. But there was a problem: having only known each other a short time, the newlyweds couldn’t tell their spouses and in-laws apart! The obvious solution is to change their appearance, and so all four have received approval to undergo plastic surgery to make some adjustments. For some reason, all four will have the surgery, instead of one of the men and one of the women. It may be just a habit of doing things the same, as the brothers and sisters still dress alike, and each couple drives an identical white Volkswagen.