Alibi V.27 No.41 • Oct 11-17, 2018 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Arkansas

Experts say a mysterious flame-spouting hole in Arkansas was definitely not caused by Satan. Officials say the hole, located on a private property, began shooting a jet of flame into the air last month. The initial flare was reportedly 12-feet high. The flame leveled out at around 8 feet and burned for nearly 40 minutes, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass told reporters that the “spiritual Satan” had been ruled out as a suspect. “He didn't come up and stick his pitchfork in the ground and blow that hole out,” said Pendergrass. It was suspected that methane gas was to blame for the spectacle, but no source was found. Meteorites were likewise ruled out, as the hole from which the flame erupted has allegedly been there for more than a decade. The site was investigated by geologists from the Arkansas Geological Survey, who found nothing to indicate the fire's source. Black Hills Energy sent a team to the site, but failed to detect any natural gas leaks. Authorities determined there were no gas or fuel lines in the area that contributed to the fire. Soil samples were taken from the hole to be analyzed. Donald Tucker, chief of the Midway Fire Protection District, has not ruled out arson.

Dateline: Michigan

A suburb of Detroit has instituted “No Hit Zones” in some public areas that forbid spanking. Detroit Free Press reports the Madison Heights City Council voted 5 to 1 in favor of a resolution to put up “No Hit Zone” signs in at least 10 public areas. The signs read “Healthy Kids, Safer Communities, No Hit Zone.” According to the resolution, a “Hit Free Zone” is a space where “no adult shall hit another adult, no adult shall hit a child, no child shall hit an adult, and no child shall hit another child.” There are no laws or penalties associated with the resolution, however. Despite its success, some council members voiced concerns, noting that spanking your children is not illegal in Michigan. Councilman David Soltis, a health care administrator, says he hopes the signs prevent child abuse. He told reporters that he believes children who were spanked do worse in school and become bullies.

Dateline: Minnesota

Residents in Gilbert, Minn., are being warned to avoid colliding with hundreds of what police say are drunk birds. Last week the Gilbert Police Department posted a public notice on Facebook, informing residents that an early frost caused certain berries in the area to ferment more quickly than they usually do. As a result, any birds snacking on these berries became “tipsy,” and police began receiving a number of reports that they were crashing into cars and windows. According to the notice, younger birds have more trouble processing the berries' toxins than older ones, and are more apt to show signs of intoxication. The notice asked that residents refrain from calling law enforcement if confronted by one of the inebriated birds and to allow them some time to “sober up.” But Laura Erickson, author of the National Geographic Pocket Guide to Birds of North America, told CNN that she disagrees with the results of the investigation. She claims that Minnesota is experiencing an unusually dense migration of yellow-rumped warblers and sparrows, and it's to blame for the uptick in collisions, not drunk birds.

Dateline: Michigan

A high school cheerleader has been accused of bribing students with cannabis-laced brownies in an attempt to win homecoming queen. Fox17 in Michigan reports that an unnamed candidate for homecoming queen allegedly included the chocolate contraband inside goodie bags for the football team. The school's principal reportedly received an anonymous tip about the brownies through the OK2Say app. The tip claimed that some of the brownies went to football players and the remainder were used to sway homecoming queen votes. School officials believe a dozen brownies were brought to the school, but have only been able to recover three. They are being tested for the presence of THC. The student allegedly responsible for distributing the brownies in a drug-free zone—a felony offense—is currently in another state with her mother due to what they say is a family emergency. Police expect to interview her on her return.

Dateline: Louisiana

A man told police that a ghost was responsible for the meth they found at his home. According to KNOE in Monroe, La., police were called to the home of Michael L. Auttenberry last week after he claimed that he'd been attacked by someone wielding an axe. During the call he told police he'd been stabbed in the head. But when officers arrived at the scene, they found Auttenberry completely alone and unharmed. He was allegedly agitated and cursing at people who were “obviously not there” according to deputies on the scene. Police handcuffed Auttenberry for their safety and searched the house for intruders. None were found, but officers did discover a bag of meth sitting on a nightstand. They also found meth in Auttenberry's possession. When questioned, he told police that the meth was planted on him by a “ghost.” He's been charged with giving a false police report and possession of a controlled substance.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.