Alibi V.28 No.35 • Aug 29-Sept 4, 2019 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Germany

The German town of Bielefeld is offering €1 million for proof of its non-existence. According to The Local in Germany, the city is battling a conspiracy theory that originated on Usenet in 1994 and has persisted to this day. Usenet user Achim Held started the audacious rumor that Bielefeld doesn't exist as a tongue-in-cheek nod to conspiracy theory subculture. Held pointed out that you never meet anyone from Bielefeld, and no major industry can trace its origins to the town. He claimed a shadowy cabal was responsible for the obfuscation and demanded that the truth be revealed. The joke spread, becoming a fixture of German culture over the next two decades. It was further suggested by some that the town is an access point to Atlantis and that the city's university is actually an extraterrestrial spaceship. German Chancellor Angela Merkel even got in on the gag during a speech in 2012 by mentioning that she'd attended an event in Bielefeld, and she believed it did exist. She was unable to confirm her visit, however, stating only that she'd “had the impression” that she was there. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the theory's inception, and the town of Bielefeld is looking to end the controversy once and for all. “For those who cling to the claim 'Bielefeld does not exist,' there is an incentive to give us the ultimate proof. One million euro!!!” tweeted the Bielefeld city account. The tweet was accompanied by an image with the caption: “Die #Bielefeldmillion The End of a Conspiracy.” According to town officials, adult Germans have until Sep. 5 to submit “incontrovertible” evidence—either photographic, filmed or written—to the city to receive a €1 million reward. City leaders reportedly said they were “99.99 percent certain that we can refute any evidence.”

Dateline: California

Two teens came face-to-face with a bear last week—in their kitchen. According to the Los Angeles Times, the two boys were watching TV when they heard the refrigerator emitting a beeping sound that signaled the door had been left open for too long. After investigating, the boys realized that a bear had somehow wandered into the kitchen and was raiding the fridge. The teens separated themselves from the animal by closing a sliding door. One boy called his mother, who was upstairs, to warn her not to come down. He then called 911. While they waited for authorities to arrive, the bear reportedly took notice of them. “It bumps on the door. It scratches, trying with all its might to get in,” one boy recounted. “We had to push as hard as we could.” It took 13 minutes for Placer County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Allyson Prero to make it to the home. She reportedly opened the front door and fired a “bear round” from her shotgun to frighten the animal away. According to reports, the bear helped itself to some taco meat, two pints of ice cream and some crackers. It left quite a mess, but no one was hurt during the ordeal.

Dateline: Iceland

Iceland officials held a funeral for the first glacier to disappear due to climate change. The Guardian reports that around 100 people attended a ceremony earlier this month to mark the glacier's passing. A bronze plaque was mounted on the bare rock where the Okjökull glacier once stood that bears the inscription: “Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.” It is also labelled “415 ppm CO2,” the record level of carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere last May. Icelandic prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and former UN human rights commissioner Mary Robinson were in attendance at the ceremony. “I hope this ceremony will be an inspiration not only to us here in Iceland but also for the rest of the world, because what we are seeing here is just one face of the climate crisis,” Katrín reportedly said. Okjökull officially lost its glacier status in 2014.

Dateline: United Arab Emirates

A woman is allegedly seeking a divorce from her husband because he loves her too much. Khaleej Times reports that an unnamed Gulf national reportedly complained to a Shariah court in Fujairah because her husband “never yelled at me or turned me down.” According to the woman's husband, he cooked, cleaned and doted on his wife. “I was choked by extreme love and affection,” she told the court. “He even helped me clean the house.” The woman supposedly wished to have more arguments and said her husband was easily pushed around. She allegedly complained about his weight at one point in their yearlong marriage, and he responded by exercising until his leg suffered a fracture. Despite the woman's appeal, the husband reportedly requested that the court advise his wife to withdraw the divorce case. The court ordered an adjournment to give the couple a chance to work things out.

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