July 0002

 


Strange Deaths, Awards Ceremony, Britney Spears, Octopi, UFO abductions

A CLUTCH OF STRANGE DEATHS.

STRANGE DEATH #1

Jimmy O’Mara, of Athlone, Ireland, was widely touted as the world’s next Jimi Hendrix. Until he tried practicing playing the electric guitar while having a bath that is. “Blacked out the whole street, he did. I’ll never forgive him” said Ethel O’Gorman, a neighbour.

STRANGE DEATH #2

One of the shortest peace-time commissions in the British Army was that of Tim Blake. He became a second lieutenant at precisely 1407 hours on the 22

nd of May, 1973. Half an hour later, he went to the mess with some friends to celebrate. He must have been drinking too fast, as at 1522 hours they decided to play Russian Roulette. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize this game can only be played with a revolver, and used a Browning automatic one of them had liberated from the armoury. “Terrible it was”, said Cedric Ion Griffyths, a civilian barman, “There was blood and brains spattered all over the ceiling. And you should have heard the screaming! I still have nightmares about it, I do.”

STRANGE DEATH #3

The only known case of being literally bored to death was recorded by the coroner for Alton, Hampshire in the UK on the 23

rd of February 1948. Hoping to take advantage of the newly-established National Health Service, Edna Millhouse, 72, and originally from Goole, “popped out to see the doctor”. The wait was so long that she was still there three days later. At some point in these three days she must have expired. She also lost her place in the queue, but did qualify for a state funeral.

STRANGE DEATH #4

Warder Albert Mancuso of Melville County Jail in South Dakota used to love assisting at executions, especially those involving the electric chair. On one occasion, he slipped on a puddle of bodily fluids that was on the floor, put his hand out to steady himself, and found it in contact with the metal cap on the head of the prisoner who was being executed, at the precise moment the first electrical discharge was being delivered. Pastor Jim Reeves, the officiating chaplain explained: “Normally a single charge like this wouldn’t be enough to kill you, but poor Albert had these really cheap cellulose false teeth, and they melted and ran down his throat, where they reset and suffocated him. He always used to say executing a criminal reminded him of killing a hog back home, so in a way, it was a good way for him to go. You have to remember all this happened back in the late 1940’s.

STRANGE DEATH #5

Plenty of bullfighters get killed in the ring, but few as ignominiously as Rafael Sanchez of Victoria, Guatemala. When he was gored to death in the city’s Plaza de Toros in 1968, the bull’s left horn broke off, and remained stuck in his thigh. He was posthumously disqualified for maiming the bull.

STRANGE DEATH #6

Visitors to Stonehenge often do not realize that most of the stones they see were re-erected towards the end of the Nineteenth Century, having fallen over at some stage in the past. The re-erection works were carried out under the supervision of Colonel Cutler, formerly of Simpson’s Horse in the Indian Army of the Raj. When they lifted the left vertical of Trilithon 7c, they discovered a skeleton underneath it. Evidently when the stone collapsed, it trapped and crushed an ancient Briton, who was found still holding a flint axe and a bag of woad.

There is a curious coda to this story. In the 1970’s it was realized that Cutler had miscalculated his reconstruction, and the stones were moved to improved positions. Under the very same stone, a Victorian workman’s foot was now found. Presumably the poor chap had been careless during the first reconstruction.

STRANGE DEATH #7

Emperor Nero was irritated by the giggle of one of his slaves. He ordered him to be tickled to death. The process took more than two weeks.

 

AWARDS CEREMONY UPDATE

This year’s Ropkind Scharf Prize awards ceremony in Geneva has been cancelled. The event will now be broadcast live on MTV instead. Ladbrooks, the British bookmakers are offering 13-2 on Achille Gaggia, 5-4 on Jorge Luis Borges, and 2-1 on Alfred Jarry. If you want a long shot, they suggest that Pseudo-Dionysus is worth a little flutter. A spokesman for the Ropkind Scharf Organization said “You can beat the bookies if you phone our premium-rate hotline for hints about the most recent thinking of the judges”.

 

BRITNEY SPEARS FACTOID

Britney Spears favourite drink is orange squash with a lot of salt added to it.

 

NATURAL HISTORY FACTOID.

Most people think an octopus has eight tentacles. Some do, but these are rather uncommon. They can have any number between six and ten, but eight is the least common. Next time you see an octopus, count them. If it actually has eight, it’s literally one in a thousand. Squid, by the way, always have ten.

 

UFO ABDUCTIONS.

Burton Selznick of Calico Flats, Utah, has been abducted by UFOs more often than anyone else. He claims to have been seized 47 times, the first in May 1981, and thereafter at roughly 6 month intervals. We sent our trainee journalist Lola Crouchback to interview him:

It must be fun being abducted:

It depends who abducts you. The little greys are OK, but never, never get taken up by the big greens. Man, they’re mean.

Yeah, but the insides of flying saucers have got to be really cool. I mean, those flashing lights, and, like, stuff. It must be quite something. What colours are they inside?

Mostly battleship grey, as I recall. Do you want to hear about what they did to me?

Yeah, in a minute. But first, tell me, what do the aliens think about MTV and earth music? Hey, listen, these alien guys must be really, really advanced. Are they kind of like Americans?

For sure, they’re advanced. Now, what they did to me –

What did they want with a guy like you anyway?

They said I had interesting sperm, and they wanted to share samples round all the different planets-

Sperm! That’s gross!

Unfortunately Lola ended the interview at this point.

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