Category Archives: strange events

‘Who’s Buried in Alexander’s Tomb?’

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The ancient world was full of all sorts of neat stuff that you can’t find anymore. All those fabulous treasures that Herodotus saw with his own eyes, and described for us… and the well-preserved body of Alexander the Great.

Back in 1991, a Greek archaeologist made a big splash for a couple days by claiming to have discovered where the body was hidden.

It seems reasonable to suppose that if it was still kicking around 500 years after Alexander’s death, it could have survived even longer, provided no one messed around with it. Alexander’s mother hated his father, so she taught him that his real father was Zeus, king of the gods–not that glorified peasant, Philip of Macedon.

It’s not good for anyone to believe things like that.

A Neighborhood Feud

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A woman in Manhattan Beach, California, has been accused of painting emojis on her house just to spite her neighbors; but she says it’s to cheer up the neighborhood.

Supposedly her neighbors reported her for renting the house, which the rules in that area say you can’t do, and she wound up being hit with a $4,000 fine. She then painted the emojis (

I think it looks kind of nice, but the neighbors say they’ll sue her if they can’t get the town to force her to get rid of the emojis.

Lighten up, folks.

But at least it’s not the Hatfields and McCoys.

Are People Getting Weirder?

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Some of you might find this anecdote a little gross, but stay with me: the point of it is to take note of a particularly puzzling example of weird behavior.

My wife’s doctor had her send away for a special stool sample kit. She was to provide a sample and send the whole thing back to the lab for testing.

Some weeks went by without the kit turning up in the mail. So finally she phoned the laboratory and asked why they hadn’t sent it.

Oh, but they had! They’d not only sent it, but it had already been sent back, complete with sample.

“But I never got it! That wasn’t me, who sent you that sample!” Happily, whoever had done it, had done it wrong and there was no point testing it.

But think about it. Suppose you receive in the mail a stool sample kit that you’d never asked for. What would you do? Uh, check the address, and if it came to you because the carrier misread the address, make sure it gets redirected to the right place? You may even live just a few doors down from the person who was supposed to receive it, and you can carry it over yourself.

Or maybe you’ll just leave the box on the foyer and tell your mail carrier he made a mistake.

Probably the last thing you’d even think of doing would be to provide a stool sample yourself and send it back to the lab for testing. Like, how many times does some stranger come out of the blue and ask you for a stool sample? Not even in San Francisco, baby! And if someone did ask you, would you oblige them? I’m not sure I want answers to these questions.

But even worse–what if this unknown kook hadn’t misapplied the instructions, and they tested the sample not knowing it had not been provided by the patient whom they were supposed to test? “Well, ma’am, we’re sorry to tell you this, but we’ve tested your sample and found you’re at high risk to turn into the Hideous Sun Demon! You’ll need all your internal organs operated on ASAP!”

I mean, what kind of weirdo does this? Shouldn’t you at least ask, Why does someone want a stool sample from me… and who is it who’s asking? And how many people are there out there wacky enough to do a thing like this?

I don’t know about you, but this incident really does strike me as surpassingly bizarre.

Clown Costume Ignites Cruise Ship Brawl

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I wonder if the piano player kept on playing… like they do in the movies.

You don’t usually think of a luxury cruise ship as an arena for an all-out brawl–but hear now the nooze!

Yep, our Western culture’s in some swell shape. A British cruise ship sailing home from Norway unexpectedly hosted a free-for-all when a passenger showed up for a party in a clown costume and another passenger “took exception” to it: gotta love that British understatement. Next thing everybody knew, passengers were throwing plates and furniture at each other, resulting in more than a few unpleasant injuries. We are told a lot of alcoholic beverages had been consumed, leading up to the festivities. A witness said there was “blood everywhere.”

The Love Boat it wasn’t.

What’s going on with people, anymore? I do think we need to know that.

Third Whopper (You Won’t Believe It)

Police said the mom was trying to keep the pool from flying away as she drove.

For those of you who’ve been following Oy, Rodney here on this blog on Sundays, you’re already family with weird stories involving wading pools. But this one’s from real life.

Police in Dixon, Illinois, arrested a 49-year-old woman–old enough to know better–for driving around with an inflated wading pool on the roof of her car… and her two daughters sitting in it “to keep it from flying away” (

Not even Violet Crepuscular could have dreamed up foolishness like this.

The woman is charged with endangering the children. The J-school genius who wrote the story didn’t give the daughters’ ages. Not that there’s any age that’s good for sitting on the roof of a moving car.

She didn’t tie it down. Didn’t deflate it, fold it up, and safely stow it in the trunk. No. This potential Democrat presidential candidate just put the pool up there on the roof of her car and had her kids sit in it. Happily, before anything really bad could happen, someone saw this pageant of folly when he happened to look out the window, and called the police.

How much public money, do you suppose, was spent on this woman’s education? Where do we go to get a refund?

Acts 19:35–What Can It Mean?

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When St. Paul was in Ephesus, his Christian teachings riled up the pagans and the city nearly had a major riot. It was all the town clerk could do to avoid an insurrection.

“And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddes Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?” (Acts 19:35)

Whoa! They had an “image” there that had fallen down from heaven? Or maybe something–a meteorite, say–had fallen out of the sky once upon a time, and they’d shaped it into an idol. Or maybe it was just P.R.: the idol that they worshipped was just so old, no one remembered its true origin and a legend grew up that said the image had fallen down from Jupiter.

I’d go with the P.R. theory; but there is this, from Plutarch’s Life of Lucullus.

During the Third Mithridatic War (75-63 B.C.), the Romans and their enemies had just squared off to do battle when the whole business was interrupted by something bright and metallic, so bright it might have been on fire, suddenly falling from the sky, to land on the space between the armies; and all the lads skedaddled.

Ancient historian Plutarch wrote about UFO sighting

Plutarch lived too late to get this story from any eyewitnesses, but he must have thought the traditional account of the incident believable or he wouldn’t have included it in his history.

No, I don’t believe any of this has anything to do with space alien Space Brothers in UFOs controlling human history. But we do get some idea of what Paul was up against.

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Here is an ordinary stone idol of Diana of the Ephesians as a fertility goddess. This sort of thing was very deeply rooted in Paul’s mission field.

God wouldn’t have commanded us not to worship graven images if He didn’t think we’d always need that commandment.

A Very Musical Household

This is what you get when Daddy and Mommy are musicians–a musical household.

Well, at any rate you get a dancing toddler and a dog who plays the piano and sings, insofar as a dog can do such things. Betcha J.S. Bach had this in his house! Anyway, we saw it last night and I knew I’d have to share it with you all.

A Close Call… with a Crocodile

If you think alligators give people a hard time in Florida, check out this couple in Zimbabwe, chased out of their backyard swimming pool by a crocodile. The man jumps out of the pool, leaving the woman to frolic with the crocodile. Quickly thinking better of it, he runs around the pool to shoo the croc from the woman, who is then able to escape unbitten.

Does this croc have an attitude, or what?

It could’ve turned out a lot worse.

The Mystery of Spontaneous Human Combustion

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There are pictures available for Spontaneous Human Combustion, but I’d rather not post them here. Readers might find them too upsetting.

In Charles Dickens’ novel, Bleak House, one of the characters, for no apparent reason, bursts into flame and is almost totally consumed–without setting fire to his room. Dickens based the incident on a real case, in Italy, that was reported in 1731.

“Spontaneous human combustion” is a mystery, it doesn’t happen often enough to generate a theory, there is no accepted explanation of it. Somehow, a human being catches fire–“from the inside out,” it often seems to police investigators–and although fantastically high temperatures must be achieved, to reduce human flesh and bone to ashes, usually the person’s surroundings–typically a bed or a chair–survive in reasonably good condition. Sometimes even clothes survive. Sometimes the victim’s legs and lap remain, with everything above the waist totally consumed. (

Two recent cases:

In 2010, in Ireland, a man burned to ashes indoors. The coroner found “no adequate explanation” for this and conceded it to be Spontaneous Human Combustion.

In 2017, in London, a man burst into flame while walking down the sidewalk. Passersby put out the fire, but he died the next day in the hospital. In the coroner’s view the fire was “an accident” probably caused by the victim trying to light a cigarette as he walked–although most people would surely pause while they did that.

SHC is often, but not always, linked to habitual consumption of lots of alcoholic beverages.

But in truth, we have no explanation for it.

‘Thunderbird Attack’ Revisited

Marlon and Ruth Lowe… after the, ahem, “incident”

This is one of those weird stories that sticks in my mind, demanding to be understood. And I keep trying, but I haven’t got there yet.

On July 25, 1977, in a residential neighborhood of Lawndale, Illinois–already we’ve got a solid time and place–two marvelously large birds swooped down out of the sky. One of them grabbed 10-year-old Marlon Lowe while another boy escaped by diving into a neighbor’s swimming pool. Marlon struggled violently, and after about 35 feet, the bird let go of him and he had the presence of mind to run into a house before he could be snatched again. There were seven witnesses to the incident, and their stories all tallied.

The big birds flew away well before police arrived.

After the incident made it into the news, Marlon was mocked as “bird boy” and his mother, Ruth, branded as a kook. Crank calls, threats, dead animals left on their doorstep–it’s difficult to understand the animosity felt toward these ordinary people who had done nothing wrong.

The birds were written off as turkey vultures. What bunk. We have lots of turkey vultures in my neighborhood. They’re big, but nowhere near big enough to take off with a 60-pound boy in their claws. No one’s in the least afraid of them.

No one in 1977 had a cell phone camera, so we’re out of luck for pictures.

I don’t know about you, but I’d believe seven witnesses. What they were describing was outlandish, but surely not impossible. Eagles have been known to take small children. It’s a very rare event, but not unknown. But no one in Lawndale thought these birds were eagles.

Is it possible that somewhere in North America there are enormous birds yet unknown to science, only rarely seen–and not very many of them?

If you say “no, it’s totally impossible,” you’ve probably spent too much time in a city or the suburbs.

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