Dateline: India--At least 50 people in India’s Kottayam district have reportedly lost their vision after staring at the sun for prolonged periods searching for an image of the Virgin Mary. St. Joseph’s ENT and Eye Hospital in Kanjirapally alone has recorded 48 cases of vision loss due to photochemical burns on the retina. The hospital began receiving patients with these abnormal symptoms on March 7. When doctors detected a pattern, they reported it to the district medical officer. The health department has since put up a billboard discounting the holy sunspot rumor and warning the faithful against exposing their eyes to direct sunlight. That hasn’t stopped believers, curious onlookers and foreign travelers from flocking to a rooming house near the town of Erumeli, where the hotel’s owner had claimed statues of the Virgin Mary have been crying honey and bleeding perfume. People have been flocking to the “blessed land”--hastily christened Rosa Mystica Mountain--for some time now, but the mad rush to view the solar image began earlier this month.
Dateline: England--The world record for getting dressed up as Robin Hood (yes, there is apparently a record for such a thing) was beaten last week by residents of (where else?) Nottingham. Hundreds of volunteers, led by the modern-day Sheriff of Nottingham, gathered at the city’s castle to try to surpass the previous total of 607 Robin Hoods. Participants had to meet the minimum costume requirements of a hat with a feather, a green or brown tunic and trousers and leather footwear. According to the BBC, the official count put Nottingham’s Robin total at a record-breaking 1,119. “The thing about the Robin Hood record is that anyone can take part,” said organizer Dave Green. “Everyone is welcome, as long as you are prepared to make a bit of a fool of yourself.”
Dateline: Mexico--A motor vehicle accident derailed an 800-pound man’s plans for a date. “We were going to celebrate that I’ve been losing weight for two years and that it was my girlfriend’s birthday,” Manuel Uribe told reporters in a phone interview. “The saddest part was that I couldn’t fulfill my dream of taking my girlfriend out to eat.” Uribe, who has lost some 440 pounds on a high-protein diet, had arranged a forklift to carry him out of his house and a flatbed tow truck big enough to haul the man and his bed to a party. Uribe was halfway to the picnic near his Monterrey-area home last Sunday when one of the posts holding a sun-shielding tarp over his bed struck a freeway overpass. Uribe’s blood pressure dropped while workers tried to get the tow truck unstuck and doctors became concerned. Uribe was returned to his home but hopes to try again on June 11, when he turns 43.
Dateline: Kansas--Authorities in Ness City are still deciding whether or not to bring charges in the bizarre case of a woman who spent two years sitting on her boyfriend’s toilet. The woman spent so long on the toilet, in fact, that the seat was stuck to her body. Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said it appeared the 35-year-old woman’s skin had grown around the seat. She initially refused emergency medical services but was finally convinced by responders and her boyfriend that she needed to be checked into a hospital. “We tried to pry the toilet seat off with a pry bar,” said Whipple. The attempt was unsuccessful, and the woman was transported with the seat attached to the hospital. “The hospital removed it,” Whipple told reporters. “She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body. It is hard to imagine. ... I still have a hard time imagining it myself.” The woman’s 36-year-old boyfriend said he brought the woman food and water and asked her every day to come out of the bathroom. “And her reply would be, ‘Maybe tomorrow,’ ” Whipple said. According to Whipple, the boyfriend called police on Feb. 27 to report that “there was something wrong with his girlfriend,” although the man never explained why it took him two years to call. Police found the clothed woman sitting on the toilet, her sweatpants down to her mid-thigh. She was “somewhat disoriented,” according to investigators. “She said she didn’t need any help, that she was OK and did not want to leave,” Whipple said. The woman is reported in fair condition at a hospital in Wichita, 150 miles southeast of Ness City. So far, she has refused to cooperate with medical providers or law enforcement investigators.