The city council of Christchurch, N.Z., has officially ended its contract with The Wizard of New Zealand (AKA Ian Brackenbury Channell) after 23 years. Over his tenure, the wizard cast spells and entertained tourists to the tune of $16,000 a year. The city no longer believes his services are necessary. Christchurch’s “promotional landscape is changing,” said the council’s assistant chief executive Lynn McClelland, with “programs that will … showcase a vibrant, diverse, modern city.” For his part, the wizard called the council “a bunch of bureaucrats who have no imagination. I am the original image of Christchurch. They will have to kill me to stop me.”
Doctors Nail Abdominal Cure
Doctors at Klaipeda University Hospital in Lithuania were shocked to discover the source of a man’s abdominal pain through an X-ray. As a response to giving up alcohol, the man had swallowed more than a kilogram of metal objects: nuts, nails, bolts, screws and knives. It took surgeons three hours to remove the pieces and repair the inner walls of the stomach. The man is being kept under observation and has been offered psychological assistance.
Fargo, N.D., insurance agent Bill Fischer has a perennial battle with a particular red squirrel. Every fall, the animal squirrels away walnuts for the coming winter inside Fischer’s pickup truck, then Fischer has to remove them so he can drive the truck. This year, Fischer has collected almost 350 pounds of walnuts from around the engine, the wheel wells, the front bumper and parts of the doors. Fischer said he tried spraying the truck with a mixture of Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper, but now he thinks the squirrel is attracted to the scent. “I have to have a sense of humor about this after so many years,” he said.
Animal control officers were called to a home in San Mateo, Calif., to rescue a stranded tarantula on the roof. But when the officer climbed up to capture it, she instead found an old Halloween decoration. “It looked like it had been up there for a while,” said Buffy Tarbox, communications manager for the Humane Society. “Everyone thought it was real.” The fake spider turned up for a few days on various desks at the Humane Society offices, then hit the circular file.
Keep Acid Vapor Off Cars
Several drivers along Hwy. 147 in Durham, N.C., had experienced a shower of brown, greasy, bad-smelling liquid hitting their vehicles and subsequently damaging the paint. “It had sort of a bleach smell,” said Heather Toler. “It was raining down on top of the cars. It seems to be acidic based on how it’s eating away the paint on the car.” The mystery was solved two days later, when representatives of the chemical wholesale company Brenntag said that several of its employees had been depressurizing and disconnecting an empty sulfuric acid railcar at the company’s facility next to the highway, causing acid vapor to be released into the air.
That One Popular Pole
Police in Japan have been working for months to figure out why a light pole in Suzuka suddenly snapped at its base. Most light poles in the country last for 50 years, but this one was only 23 years old. Forensic scientists found 40 times more urea at the pole’s base than was found on nearby poles. Yes, urea and sodium in dog urine caused the pole to erode. The new pole is up, but dogs are already marking it with their destructive streams.
Don’t Waterslide In The Dark
Claire Vickers, 46, and Barry Douglas, 44, were enjoying a drunken night out when, at 2 am, they decided to head over to the Aldershot Lido in Hampshire, England, slip under a fence and speed down a waterslide in the closed park. Unfortunately, a barrier blocks the exit from the slide after hours, and Vickers and Douglas both slammed into it. Vickers’ shin snapped and broke her skin, and every bone in her left foot was broken. Douglas broke his left leg and both ankles. “I looked over at Barry. He was in the fetal position and silent,” Vickers said. “That’s when I thought we were both going to die.” After two hours of screaming and banging on the slide, Vickers and Douglas were rescued. “We’re idiots — let that be a lesson,” she said. “I’m still having nightmares one month on. The pain was unbearable.” No charges were filed against the two.
Can’t Figure Out How To Make Wine In 70 Years
Four Italian men who were part of a winemaking family in Paola, Italy, died at their family vineyard after being overtaken by carbon dioxide in the small shed where they were fermenting the grapes. Santino and Massimo Carnevale, 70 and 45, and Giacomo and Valerio Scofano, 70 and 50, were all related. Police believe one of the men went in to stir the grapes, was overcome, and the next went in to help, one after the other. One woman who tried to go in fainted near the entrance, but survived. Paola’s mayor said the tragedy brought “pain to the whole community.”
The Litigious Society
Mauro Restrepo was hoping that Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., psychic Sophia Adams could help him remove a curse that had been put on him by his ex-girlfriend. When he arrived at her business for his first session, Adams read his tarot cards and said he had “mala suerte,” or bad luck. She told Restrepo that the curse could ruin him, his children and his marriage unless he paid her $5,100 to remove it. Restrepo paid her $1,000 as a down payment. In a lawsuit filed by Restrepo on Oct. 1 in Torrance Superior Court, he claimed the psychic did not in any way help his marriage. He claims he has suffered sleepless nights, anxiety and anguish. He is seeking at least $25,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
Tired Crook Keeps Blankee
Derbyshire, U.K., police were hunting down a 36-year-old suspect in a string of thefts when they came across him trying unsuccessfully to hide in a closet under a blanket. Police saw his feet protruding from under the blanket. The police department posted photos of the incident on Facebook, where Sgt. Tarj Nizzer quipped: “If you run from police, you will only go to jail tired. In this case [the criminal] had his blanket ready for his sleep in the cell.”
Points For Honesty
Kori Johnson of KSLA-TV was interviewing lottery ticket purchasers about what they’d do with the nearly $700 million jackpot. When she asked “James,” he said, “Well, I’m definitely going to get a new supercharged Mustang with dual exhausts, and about 5 kilos of cocaine, and I’ll be good to go,” he said. Johnson rolled with the punches: “So you like cars?” she asked.
Cop Sees Cool Toys
In Wellington, N.Z., police recently went above and beyond for a certain emergency call. When a dispatcher answered the call, the voice of the 4-year-old caller said, “Hi. Police lady? I’ve got some toys for you. Come over and see them.” At that time, an adult took the phone, confirming that that the call was not an emergency. But the dispatcher sent Constable Kurt over anyway. The little boy showed off his toys to the officer and had a “good, educational chat” about the use of the emergency number (111 in New Zealand). “He did have cool toys,” Constable Kurt confirmed. He reciprocated by turning on his patrol car’s lights for the boy.
Photobombed By Meth!
James Kertz, 38, recently placed an ad on social media, hoping to sell a catalytic converter (that was still in the box). But the Branson, Mo., man didn’t realize that his photo of the car part also included a bag of methamphetamine and a syringe. When they became aware of the posting, the Stone County Sheriff’s Office sent detectives to Kertz’s home with a search warrant. “You can imagine his surprise!” said Sheriff Doug Rader. “He still had 48 grams of meth and a pistol that he is forbidden to own. We now have provided him with a new place to stay.”
Arby’s Premium Line
Arby’s has begun selling “premium” sweatshirts, sweatpants and other items that have been smoked to smell like a smokehouse. Arby’s collaborated with a Texas smokehouse to create the clothing.
We’ll Just Turn The House Around
Vojin Kusic, of Srbac, Bosnia-Herzegovina, built a home for himself and his family many years ago. His wife, Ljubica, wanted the bedrooms to face the sun at the time, so the living room faced away from the road. In time, Ljubica became distressed that she couldn’t see visitors approaching the house, so Vojin remodeled the house. Now, with their children grown, Vojin has constructed the home of Ljubica’s dreams: It rotates a full 360 degrees so she can turn it so that it faces whatever way she likes. “Now, our front door rotates, so if she spots unwanted guests heading our way, she can spin the house and make them turn away,” Vojin said.