TIME Bizarre

People Really Think It Looks Like Michael Jackson Is Moonwalking in These Clouds

Six years after his death

During a lightning storm in central Virginia, some people swore they saw Michael Jackson moonwalking his way through the clouds. Behold, this image captured by recreational photographer John Plashal:

Plashal captured the image on Tuesday, June 23, but told CBS affiliate WTVR that he didn’t even notice the Jackson resemblance at first. He submitted several storm photos to the station’s Facebook page — and once other people noticed the Michael Jackson imagery, the photo started to go viral.

“I see it. I see it now,” Plashal told the New York Daily News. “It’s pretty wild. It’s one of those things — believe what you will.”

TIME Bizarre

A Guy Got Struck by Lightning Twice, and His Name Happens to Be Rod

You really can't make this stuff up

Is it any wonder his nickname is “Lightning Rod”?

Rod Wolfe of Chebanse, Ill., was standing outside his home on June 20 when a tree next to him was hit by a lightning bolt. The charge traveled through his body but didn’t kill him, ABC 7 Chicago reports. He did, however, end up in the hospital with broken ribs and some cardiac problems.

Eighteen years earlier, Wolfe was hit by lightning while working in a cemetery.

“Everybody says I am a lucky person and I say, How can I be a lucky person?” Wolfe told ABC 7 Chicago. “They say, Yeah, but you survived twice.”

[ABC 7 Chicago]

TIME Bizarre

Dictionary Editors Say Twerking Goes Back Almost 200 Years

Miley Cyrus
Charles Sykes—AP Miley Cyrus performs a move known as "twerking" at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center in New York City on Aug. 25, 2013

Researchers found it used as a noun in 1820, spelled "twirk"

(LONDON)— Twerking may be older than you think.

The provocative dance that gained global fame thanks to an attention-grabbing performance by Miley Cyrus has been admitted to the venerable Oxford English Dictionary — and lexicographers say its origins go back almost 200 years.

The dictionary now describes twerking as dancing “in a sexually provocative manner, using thrusting movements of the bottom and hips while in a low, squatting stance.”

It had previously listed the word, but then to refer to a twisting or jerking movement or twitch. Researchers found it used as a noun with that meaning in 1820, spelled “twirk.” It became a verb by 1848, and the “twerk” spelling was popularly used by 1901.

Senior editor Fiona McPherson called revelations about the word’s roots “quite spectacular.”

She said the word as a description of a dance has its roots in the 1990s New Orleans music scene.

Other new entries, announced Thursday, include social-media term “twitterati” and smokers’ helper “e-cigarette.”

The OED charts the historical development of the English language and has stricter admission criteria than other Oxford dictionaries. New entries must have been in use in both news stories and fiction for at least 10 years.

TIME Bizarre

This Is Why People Think UFOs Look Like ‘Flying Saucers’

Salem, Massachusetts, USA. 3rd August, 1952. This picture, taken through the window of a laboratory by a 21 year old U.S. coastguard, shows four unidentified flying objects as bright lights in the sky. Many American's believe them to be flying saucers.
Popperfoto / Getty Images A picture, taken through the window of a laboratory by a U.S. coastguard, shows four unidentified flying objects as bright lights in the sky, in Salem, Mass. on Aug. 3, 1952.

It’s credited as the first modern UFO sighting and the origin of America’s obsession with flying saucers. But it might have all been based on what The Atlantic calls “one of the most significant reporter misquotes in history.”

On this day, June 24, in 1947, an amateur pilot was on his way to an air show in Oregon when he saw a bright blue flash of light in the sky near Mount Rainier. At first he thought it was the sun glinting off another aircraft, but the only other plane around was about 15 mi. away, and not glinting. Then he saw nine more flashes of light, in quick succession — coming from what he later described as unidentified flying objects.

It was when the pilot, Kenneth Arnold, tried to describe the motion of the objects to a reporter for the United Press that the mix-up occurred. He said they flew “like a saucer if you skip it across the water.” The reporter took this to mean that the objects themselves were saucer-like, and news reports across the country repeated that Arnold had seen “flying saucers.”

Suddenly everyone was seeing what Arnold had seen, except that he hadn’t. Per TIME: “By July 4, newspapers were heralding literally hundreds of reports of ‘flying saucers’ in skies across the nation.”

On July 7, a New Mexico rancher reported finding what he thought was the crash site of a flying saucer near Roswell, N.M. When he shared his theory with officials at the Roswell Army Air Field, they concurred, and issued a press release claiming they had “captured” a flying saucer. (The next day, cooler heads prevailed higher up the chain of command. The Air Force retracted the claim and said that what they had actually captured were the remains of a weather balloon.)

But while Arnold didn’t say he’d seen saucers, he believed he’d seen something otherworldly. He’d calculated the speed of the flying objects at more than 1,200 mph — nearly twice the speed of sound, at a time when planes hadn’t yet cracked the sound barrier.

He couldn’t come up with an explanation other than the extraterrestrial, since the flying pattern of the objects was too erratic for planes and too fast for almost anything else.

“Everyone says I’m nuts,” he’s quoted as saying in a 1947 newspaper story, “and I guess I’d say it too if someone else reported those things. But I saw them and watched them closely.”

Although the objects Arnold saw have never been incontrovertibly identified, the Air Force eventually offered a better explanation for the Roswell crash site — and even admitted to a cover-up of sorts, according to TIME. That weather balloon wasn’t really a weather balloon, the Air Force acknowledged in 1994, but neither was it a flying saucer: Most likely it was one of a train of high-altitude balloons carrying acoustical equipment to monitor Soviet nuclear tests in the years following World War II.

Read more about flying saucers, here in the TIME Archives: Did Aliens Really Land?

TIME Bizarre

This Soccer Team’s New Mascot Will Haunt Your Every Waking Moment

Jeff Holmes — Partick Thistle Football Club

Meet "Kingsley"

The Scottish soccer team Partick Thistle has a new mascot, and it’s caused quite a stir on social media.

The new mascot was designed by artist David Shrigley and was unveiled Monday after the Scottish team signed a new six-figure sponsorship deal with the California-based company Kingsford Capital Management.

The mascot is named Kingsley, and it’s pretty unclear what exactly Kingsley is. It’s been described by some as “absolutely terrifying.”

The new deal includes front shirt sponsorship, branding around the stadium, and the selling of your soul to Kingsley the Yellow King of Carcosa.

TIME Bizarre

Naked Man Screaming ‘I’m on Fire’ Streaks Walmart to Shower in Milk

“The first question I would have would be, ‘why?’” Pike County Sheriff Rodney Scott said

Two men have been arrested in Kentucky after a man ran naked — save for shoes, socks and a Halloween mask — through a Walmart and filmed it.

In the video above, which includes footage from the stunt that was filmed and uploaded to YouTube on June 17, the man can be seen running around in the store, screaming “I’m on fire” and pouring milk over his head.

According to WOWK-TV, David Daniels and Timothy Smith were arrested for the stunt on Saturday and were taken to the Pike County Detention Center where they will be held without bond until they appear in court.

“The first question I would have would be, ‘why?’” Pike County Sheriff Rodney Scott says in the clip above. “Why would they want to do it?”

Why, indeed.

TIME Bizarre

Tiny Scottish Island Experiences First Crime in 50 Years With Six Wooly Hats Stolen

The burglary happened at one of the island's 20 buildings

A recently-opened cosmetics store on the tiny Scottish island of Canna was robbed last Friday night, with thieves breaking in and stealing cash, several beauty products and six wooly hats.

The theft is the first instance of crime on the island in over half a century; the last theft in the 1960s was of a wooden plate, Scottish broadcaster STV News reported.

“The thieves cleared the shelves of sweets, chocolate bars, coffee, biscuits, batteries and more,” said a spokeswoman for the Canna Community Trust, which runs the store. “Most upsetting for [manager] Julie was they stole six of her hand-knitted Canna wool hats which were in the shop on a sale or return basis.”

The spokeswoman added that they might have to employ drastic new security measures to prevent further thefts on the island, which has a population of less than 30.

“Sadly, this means we will have to lock the door of the shop overnight now,” she said. “We left it open specifically to welcome fisherman in to use the Wi-Fi and buy anything they needed while resting in at our pier overnight.”


TIME Accident

Country Music Singer Killed in Gunfight With Bounty Hunter

American Redneck Randy Howard

Randy Howard has performed with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings

(LYNCHBURG, Tenn.) — Authorities say a country music singer has been killed in a gunfight with a bounty hunter trying to detain him.

Several media outlets report the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into the Tuesday night shooting of 65-year-old Randy Howard in Lynchburg. Media report Howard has performed with country music stars Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine says the bounty hunter showed up at Howard’s home to take him into custody for missing a court appearance. Devine said Howard opened fire, the bounty hunter shot back and Howard was killed.

DeVine said the bounty hunter was trying to detain Howard on a warrant charging him with fourth-offense DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and driving on a revoked license.


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com

TIME Bizarre

Someone Poured Coca-Cola into a Pan of Molten Lead and Thinks the Result Looks Like This Famous Work of Art

Do you agree?

In an experiment that seems like the type of thing a “mad scientist” would come up with, YouTube user TAOFLEDERMAUS” poured Coca Cola into a pan of molten lead and then claims the final product looks like Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

It is reminiscent of the viral video in which a tech blogger who boiled an iPhone 6 in Coca Cola.

Needless to say, it does not seem like the kind of experiment that you should try at home.


TIME Bizarre

Take a Totally Strange, Completely Real Personality Test from 1965

TIME From the June 18, 1965, issue of TIME

Among the true/false questions: "I never attend a sexy show if I can avoid it"

This week’s issue of TIME explores the unexpected ways that personality tests are reshaping the workplace. The esoteric questions–what does understanding why stars twinkle have to do with getting a job?–are but the latest step in a process that’s been going on for a long time. Almost exactly 50 years ago—on June 18, 1965—TIME printed an earlier example of just such a test.

It isn’t hard to see how frustrating it could be to take. After all, how would an employer make use of an applicant’s answer to true/false statements like these? I have not lived the right kind of life. I brood a great deal. Once in a while I laugh at a dirty joke. I feel uneasy indoors. I dislike to take a bath. I like mannish women. I practically never blush. I would like to hunt lions in Africa. And, of course: I never attend a sexy show if I can avoid it.

Many of the concerns expressed by TIME readers over that 1965 story are similar to those faced by potential employees today: Is this an invasion of privacy? Is it accurate? Is it going to help? One TIME reader suggested a more puckish response, which ran in the letters section the following week:

Sir: If I were applying for a job with one of the Government agencies that test your personality via the MMPI quiz, upon receiving the test I would first scratch the tender top of my head, look around to see if someone was watching, then proceed to brood over my strange sex life, occasionally invoking the Devil while thinking bad, often terrible, words to fortify my strange and peculiar thoughts. Trying to be casual, I would then light a match, which is normal procedure before my daily conversation with God. After completing the quiz, I would leave the room (carefully using my new handkerchief on the doorknob) and hurry home to repair the door latch.

Read more about the contemporary use of personality tests in this week’s issue of TIME

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