Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: Nepal– Mountaineering authorities in Kathmandu are calling for a ban on nudity and attempts to set obscene records on the world’s highest mountain. Last year, a Nepali climber claimed the world’s highest display of nudity when he disrobed for several minutes atop Mount Everest’s 29,028-foot summit. “There should be strict regulations to discourage such attempts by climbers,” Ang Tshering, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said last Wednesday. Mount Everest has always attracted record-setters, including the oldest climber (71-years-old), the youngest climber (15-years-old), the first climber with one foot and the first blind climber. In 2005, a Nepali couple became the first to be married atop Everest. Authorities hope their proposed regulations will discourage nudist climbers and those attempting to join the 5 1/2-mile club–although the mountain’s subzero temperatures would seem to discourage such activities already.

Dateline: North Carolina– A man who purchased an outdoor wood smoker last week at an auction of abandoned items found a little extra surprise inside when he got home: a severed human leg. Police in Maiden, N.C., said the man opened up the smoker and saw what he thought was a piece of driftwood wrapped in paper. When he unwrapped the package, it turned out to be a human leg, cut off 2 to 3 inches above the knee. Police tracked the item back to an abandoned storage facility auction. The mother and son who rented the space where the smoker was found were eventually contacted. The mother, Peg Steele, explained that her son, John Wood, had his leg amputated after a 2004 plane crash and kept the leg following surgery “for religious reasons” she didn’t know much about. “The rest of the family was very much against it,” Steel said. Hoping to be buried “as a full man,” Wood kept the severed leg in his freezer–at least until he got behind on his power bill and his electricity was shut off. Wood’s sister Marin Wood-Lytle told the Charlotte Observer that Wood then took the screen off his front porch, wrapped it around the leg and “tied it to two posts to let it dry.” According to family members, Wood became homeless shortly after that. His belongings were taken to a storage facility in Maiden, located about 45 miles northwest of Charlotte. Police there are holding onto the mummified limb until Wood can return from South Carolina to claim it. Mrs. Wood-Lytle told the Observer that officers tried to give the leg to her. “John told them, ‘How about just dropping it of at my sister’s and she’ll just hold it until I get there?’” she said. “I told them, ‘Don’t bring that thing in my house.’”

Dateline: California– Jereme James, 33, of Los Angeles has been accused of smuggling rare iguana lizards into the United States–by hiding them inside his wooden leg. James is alleged to have brought three banded iguanas into the U.S. from the island nation of Fiji in a hollowed-out secret compartment inside his prosthetic leg. According to an indictment filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Mr. James boasted he had been able to sell the endangered lizards for nearly $10,000 apiece. The confession was made to an undercover police officer, who had been following a tip-off to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. James is due to appear in court next month.

Dateline: Pennsylvania– Crystal Adams, 31, and James Chandler, 33, fled a mobile home fire in Center Township last Friday night, but not before grabbing their beloved pet dogs. Unfortunately, they forgot all about Chandler’s 4-year-old son. Police say the firefighters learned the boy was still inside the burning mobile home when Chandler and Adams told the rescue workers they had forgotten the child. Police report that was about 20 minutes after the couple had gotten out. A firefighter ran inside and pulled the boy out. The 4-year-old was conscious and was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation. “They [Chandler and Adams] were asked numerous times by law enforcement–I overheard at least once or twice–‘Is there anyone else in these trailers?’” township Fire Chief Bill Brucker told WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Dateline: Texas— A man wearing a wet suit and a weight belt but no underwater breathing apparatus drowned after diving into a golf course water hazard to retrieve lost balls. Authorities in Corpus Christi said the 36-year-old man and his cousin were working for Houston-based golf ball collection firm Springer Golf Ball Co. last Wednesday, gathering up wayward balls at the Padre Isles Country Club. A police diver found the man–whose identity was withheld pending next of kin–in about eight feet of water near the club’s fourth hole. The man was pronounced dead on the scene. There was no evidence of external injuries and no foul play was suspected.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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