News of the Weird 8/16/18
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow Armed thieves in New Delhi, India, left a craftsman deep in debt after they made off with 500 pounds of wigs and raw hair worth more than $20,000 on July 27, according to the Associated Press. “People think wigs are cheap, but they cost a fortune to make,” wig-maker Jahangir Hussain said. In fact, he had borrowed more than $17,000 to buy hair last month from South Indian wholesalers. India exports wigs and hair extensions to the tune of $300 million a year; much of the raw materials are collected at Hindu temples where people shave their heads as a religious sacrifice, a practice called tonsuring.
The (Im)perfect Seatmate Chicago cellist Jingjing Hu, a student at the DePaul University School of Music, found herself being escorted off an American Airlines flight on Aug. 2 after trying to return to Chicago from Miami with her instrument. Hu paid in advance for an extra seat for her cello, worth almost $30,000 and housed in a hard case, and had no trouble on her flight from Chicago to Miami, where she participated in a music festival. But on her return trip, after boarding the Boeing 737 and settling herself and her cello into their seats, a flight attendant approached her and told her she would have to leave the plane because the aircraft was too small for her instrument. Hu was booked on a flight the next day on a 767. American blamed the incident on a “miscommunication,” according to WBBM TV, but Hu’s husband, Jay Tang, said, “I don’t think we did anything wrong here, and I think the way they handled it was humiliating.”
Problem-Solver The list of offenses was long when Franklyn Williams, 32, appeared in Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court on July 31 to be sentenced for aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards and more—including cutting off his ankle bracelet late last year and fleeing to Nebraska, where he claimed he was hit over the head and lost his memory. But it was his courtroom behavior that spurred Judge John Russo to call for an extreme measure: During the hearing, Williams would not stop talking, even interrupting his own lawyers repeatedly over about 30 minutes. Finally, Russo ordered deputies to tape the defendant’s mouth shut, reported FOX 8 in Cleveland. Williams continued to talk until deputies applied more tape, and finally Russo sentenced him to 24 years in prison.
So Many Questions When an employee of Sarabeth’s restaurant in New York City opened the walk-in freezer door on Aug. 5, a man jumped out, yelling, “Away from me, Satan!” and grabbed a knife from the kitchen, which he used to threaten restaurant staff. Carlton Henderson, 54, of Cave Creek, Arizona, struggled with workers but eventually fell unconscious and was transported to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the New York Post reported. Authorities don’t know (1) why and how he entered the freezer and (2) why he died, but they did determine he was charged last year with two 1988 cold-case murders in Boston. He had been released on bail the week before the freezer incident and was scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 14.
Ripe West Valley City, Utah, has a malodorous mystery on its hands. The community stinks, and for the past year, officials have been fielding complaints about the smell, which city communications director Sam Johnson described as “a musty sewer smell … that you can smell in certain parts of the city stronger,” according to FOX 13. The city has now launched a campaign recruiting residents to help pinpoint the source of the odor: “If you smell something, say something.” They’re hoping more complaints will spur Salt Lake County and Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality to investigate and take action.