Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: England

A British pub is accusing a Chinese artist of stealing its resident ghost. Ye Olde Man & Scythe, a 765-year-old public house in Bolton, claims it was—until recently—haunted by the ghost of James Stanley. Stanley, the seventh earl of Derby and a staunch Royalist, was beheaded outside the pub in 1651 for his part in the Bolton Massacre, an early event in the English Civil War. Over the years the pub has even posted images of Stanley’s alleged ghost on YouTube. But now the ghost is missing, and the pub owner is blaming Chinese artist Lu Pingyuan for stealing it. On a website for an exhibit of his work at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, Lu claims to have captured the ghost as “a symbolic act in reaction to the UK’s colonialist past, which saw great losses of both tangible and intangible cultural assets by other nations.” Lu’s biography states that his work is “partly authentic and partly fictional, often enigmatic and concerned with spiritual themes.” Pub owner Richard Greenwood told the
Bolton News that he wants the pub’s ghost back, but appears willing to loan the specter out for a short time. “I feel strongly that James Stanley’s ghost should remain in Bolton and at Ye Olde Man and Scythe to preserve the natural order of things,” Greenwood said in a letter addressed to Lu. “That said, I do believe that your exhibition should travel and be seen by many people around the world, and I would like to contribute to this as long as at the end of your exhibition it returns home.” If Lu promises to eventually return Stanley’s displaced spirit, Greenwood says he will contribute the chair reputed to have been the one Stanley sat at for his last meal for use in the exhibition. Lu told the Bolton Times it is up ultimately to Mr. Stanley himself. “My original thought is that after the world tour of exhibitions, I will discuss with him and ask him whether he would prefer to stay like this, as a piece of art, or go back to Ye Olde Man and Scythe.”

Dateline: Canada

According to the CBC, residents in the Brentwood neighborhood of Calgary are fighting to stop the city from planting trees in their local park. Calgary officials wanted to plant 15 trees in the small, nameless park surrounded by houses as part of the citywide ReTree YYC project, but efforts were stopped after unexpected resistance from residents. Ellen Burgess is one of those residents who has been going door-to-door in the area in a effort to stop the greening of the neighborhood. According to her more trees means more crime. “If you give people more places to hide, more naughty things will be done,” she told CBC News. Burgess believes residents in the area, which has already seen 8 of the proposed 15 trees installed, should have been consulted by city officials. “We’ve already had our urban campers here and people using the trees and the bushes as their own personal toilets, and why do we want to give them more places to do that?” Homeowner Steve Watt echoed Burgess’ dislike of the greenery. “We think there’s enough in the park now,” he told CBC News. “It just seems to clutter it up.” Some area residents have reportedly been “swearing and yelling” at the city work crews. Jeanette Wheeler, leader of Calgary’s Urban Forestry Department, spoke to Canada’s
Metro News and cited a University of Washington study that said, “People have a greater sense of safety where there are a lot of trees. There is less aggressiveness and less violence in the neighborhood.” Wheeler said the city plans to continue planting the remainder of the trees in the neighborhood in coming weeks.

Dateline: Massachusetts

Police in Martha’s Vineyard say a man broke into a local home and—among other crimes—painted the residents’ dog purple. The
Cape Cod Times reports Felix Reagan has been charged with intent to commit a felony, cruelty to animals, larceny of a motor vehicle and other related crimes. Police responded to Pinewood Lane in the Oak Bluffs neighborhood around 2:30pm on Saturday, Sept. 3, for a report that a man had stolen a vehicle, crashed it and fled on foot. While investigating the crash, officers were called to a nearby home where the resident said someone had broken into the house through a first-floor window. Items had been stolen from the home and the homeowner’s dog was inexplicably purple. Police later tracked down Reagan, who was seen peering into windows of other houses in the neighborhood. Reagan was carrying prescription pills plus a stolen driver’s license and credit cards. “Reagan also had purple paint on his pants which was consistent with the paint that was found on the dog from the Pinewood Lane break-in,” Oak Bluffs police said in a statement. As he was being taken to the Oak Bluffs police station, officers say Reagan tried to kick out the cruiser’s windows and kicked a police officer twice. He was also charged with assault and battery on a police officer.

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

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