TIME Bizarre

Body Falls Out of a Coroner’s Car in the Middle of Traffic

“I thought someone was playing a prank," a local resident of Feasterville, Pa. said

Among the hazards to watch out for while driving in Pennsylvania: random dead bodies.

A corpse fell out of the back door of a coroner’s van and into the middle of traffic Friday following a car malfunction, according to the Bucks County Coroner’s Office. The unidentified driver was near a shopping center in Feasterville, Pa. on the way to the coroner’s office when the incident occurred around noon, the Bucks County Courier Times reports.

Local resident Jerry Bradley assisted the driver after he saw the body, which was covered in a body bag on a gurney, while waiting at a traffic light.

“I thought someone was playing a prank. Someone is pranking people,” Bradley told the paper Saturday night. “It was the most bizarre thing I’d ever seen.”

Bradley took a picture of the body in the middle of traffic before helping the driver quickly get it out of the street and back in the vehicle. The picture has been shared more than 1,900 times on Facebook.

“I have to keep going back to look at it to believe it happened,” Bradley said. “I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. If that was my loved one I’d be angry.”

County spokesman Chris Edwards directed questions to Coroner Dr. Joseph Campbell but said “care was taken to respect the deceased individual” in a statement.

“The Bucks County Coroner’s Office deeply regrets this incident and will take steps to ensure that it is not repeated in the future,” he said.

[Courier Times]

TIME Bizarre

Glass Door Knob Starts a House Fire Because Everything Is Terrible

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Getty Images

Sigh

One of the most benign, mundane objects of all time — a doorknob — is being blamed for causing a fire that destroyed part of a bedroom in a home in London.

Because the glass knob was in direct sunlight, it refracted rays onto a nearby robe, which then caught fire, the London Fire Brigade explained in a release. The house was empty at the time and no one was injured, but the room did withstand considerable damage.

Luckily, builders working next door eventually heard the fire alarm before the blaze could spread to the rest of the house. They alerted authorities, who identified the crystal doorknob as the catalyst.

“The focal length from the window was just the right distance and it became the same principle as when you try to set fire to paper with a magnifying glass when you are a child,” Charlie Pugsley, of the London Fire Brigade’s investigations unit, told The Telegraph.

So let this be a lesson: doorknobs are not so benign after all.

TIME Business

Pop Secret Ad Shows What It’s Like When Popcorn Goes to a Rave and Twerks

Warning: You might feel dizzy watching it

Pop Secret’s new ad exposes innocents to a popcorn sub-universe in which kernels pop in a pool of buttery-sweat to the tune of Electronic Dance Music in MicorRaves. (Get it? It’s like a microwave but with ecstasy.)

Adweek has a pretty good assessment of what the pitch meeting for this 60-second video — a promotion for Electric Daisy Carnival — sounded like:

“OK, we need to get millennials to like our popcorn. What are they into? What kind of ad would Miley make? You think we can get the popcorn to twerk?”

And after watching, we feel safe saying that the answer to the twerk question is an unfortunate yes. Given enough MDMA, popcorn can do just about anything.

Sorry, Orville Redenbacher. You might look the part, but your co-opt of the popcorn/rave scene has finally come to an end:

Popcorn King Orville Redenbacher Portrait Session
Popcorn King Orville Redenbacher playfully poses during a 1986 Los Angeles, California portrait session. George Rose—Getty Images

 

TIME Bizarre

A Boy Got Booted from a Restaurant Because He Had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shirt

Is nothing sacred?

A four-year-old boy was kicked out of a restaurant in Georgia for sporting a sleeveless Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt deemed in violation of the “Gentlemen’s Dress Code.”

Lewis Roberts—the reptile ninja in training—chose the outfit for lunch out with the family at the Tavern at Phipps in Atlanta, local news station 11 Alive reports.

The family was told Roberts’ shirt violated dress code and when they protested to the manager that the wee ninja was only four, the manager said the dress code applies to “gentlemen of all ages.”

After being contacted by local media, a spokesman for the restaurant issued a statement clarifying that the “Rule does not apply for children and ladies—for gentleman (sic) only. It was an embarrassing misunderstanding on our part. She’s a manager in training who had a gross misunderstanding of our policy. We apologize and are reaching out to the family.”

The Roberts family was happy to accept the apology and said they’ll dine at the restaurant again.

Turtle power.

[11 Alive]

TIME Crime

‘Cannibal Cop’ Conviction Overturned

Based on a lack of evidence

A federal judge overturned a former New York City police officer’s conviction for plotting gruesome crimes against women Monday night, based on a lack of evidence.

Gilberto Valle — given the moniker “cannibal cop” — was found guilty of plotting to kidnap, rape, kill, and then eat several women, including his wife, in 2013. His conviction was largely based on evidence found on fetish websites in which Valle openly discussed which women in his life would be easiest to kidnap and then butcher, sending online friends “blueprint” documents including real women’s names and photos. He also wrote about opening a restaurant that served human flesh.

According to the New York Times, Judge Paul G. Gardephe overturned the case because he did not believe that the evidence supported the conviction.

“The evidentiary record is such that it is more likely than not the case that all of Valle’s Internet communications about kidnapping are fantasy role-play,” Gardephe wrote in his opinion page. He continued that although the chats were “misogynistic… Despite the highly disturbing nature of Valle’s deviant and depraved sexual interests, his chats and emails about these interests are not sufficient — standing alone — to make out the elements of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.”

Valle has been in jail since his late 2012 arrest, and had faced a life sentence. During his time behind bars, he became a prison chef in what the New York Daily News called “the most ironic jail work assignment in recent memory.”

Valle’s mother told the NYDN that fellow inmates would joke, “Don’t stand too close to the oven, and that kind of thing.”

The judge upheld Valle’s conviction of illegally gaining access to a law enforcement database, which has a maximum sentence of a year in prison. A hearing will be held Tuesday to determine his status.

[NYT]

TIME Bizarre

World’s Worst Nanny Finally Agrees to Leave Family’s Home

The nanny from hell finally gave in, but only after being deprived of cable TV and access to the family's refrigerator

When a California family fired their live-in nanny three weeks ago for spending all day locked in her room (instead of, for example, watching the kids), the family of five presumably thought they had seen the last of their 64-year-old “nightmare nanny.”

Unfortunately, the Bracamontes’ nightmare had only just begun. Rather than packing up her things and finding work elsewhere, as just about any other nanny would, Diane Stretton adamantly refused to leave the family’s home.

According to People magazine, Marcella Bracamonte initially appreciated the extra care for her children, ages 11, 4 and 16 months. However, as the weeks went on, she found that Stretton “didn’t want to help out.” Eventually Stretton became so uncooperative that Marcella and her husband Ralph decided to fire the woman, not realizing that Stretton would be legally permitted to remain in their San Bernardino County home because of the terms of her employment.

In fact, a law requires the family to accommodate Stretton until she either decides to leave or is legally evicted, and if the Bracamontes try to force her out in the meantime, they could be stuck with a $1,000 fine for disturbing their “tenant.”

Luckily for the family, Stretton has relented and informed them that she will leave by July 4 (Independence Day indeed). But the Bracamontes remain understandably skeptical, fearing that their former nanny might lock them out of their own home while they are away for the national holiday.

TIME

Kansas Woman Sets House on Fire to Kill Spider

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Spider walk Getty Images

No one was injured

A Kansas woman found herself in a precarious situation Friday after she set her duplex on fire to kill a spider.

Five firetrucks later, the police proved to be less than sympathetic with the plight of the single lady as she struggled to deal with the arachnid. According to the Hutchinson News, 34-year-old Ginny M. Griffith’s Macgyvered form of pest control (lighting towels on fire throughout her house) was rewarded with an arrest and aggravated arson charges. She is being held on a $7,500 bond.

No one, including the other people who occupied the other half of the duplex, was injured, and the fire was extinguished in minutes without causing structural damage.

[Hutchinson News]

TIME Bizarre

This Shredder Can Mulch Entire Trees in Seconds

The woodchip really hits the fan

We’ve not seen a shredder this powerful since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze. This ridiculous thing is called an excavator mulcher. Steer clear if you happen to see one.

TIME poverty

Meet the Chinese Philanthropist Who Just Disappointed a Lot of New Yorkers

Chen Guangbiao
Recycling magnate Chen Guangbiao sings to the media and his guests from the New York City Rescue Mission at The Loeb Boathouse restaurant in New York, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. The Chinese tycoon known for his sometimes eccentric gestures served up a fancy lunch Wednesday to hundreds of homeless New Yorkers at a Central Park restaurant and serenaded them with "We are the World." Chen said he wants to disprove the cliche image of rich Chinese spending money mostly on luxuries. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig—ASSOCIATED PRESS

Philanthropist or attention hog?

Chinese philanthropist Chen Guangbiao’s much-hyped posh luncheon for some of New York City’s homeless was overshadowed by an unmet promise to distribute $300 to each of the diners.

But Chen appeared unfazed, telling the New York Times that he’s taking his philanthropy to Africa next. The self-made recycling tycoon worth an estimated $740 million has already become something of a household name in China, where he’s used his money—and his theatrics—to grab headlines and push his causes.

Chen, who grew up in a poor rural household and says two of his siblings died of hunger, has cultivated a reputation for the eccentric, and he’s far from bashful about his exploits: His business card reads “Most Influential Person of China.” He’s known for handing out cash to unsuspecting passersby, an antic he brought to the streets of New York City ahead of the luncheon.

https://twitter.com/connortryan/status/481771238952828928/photo/1

He’s also used his theatrics to raise awareness about issues like pollution in China’s cities. Last year he distributed cans of fresh air with a variety of flavors—there were the options of “pristine Tibet” and “post-industrial Taiwan,” among others. That followed his public smashing of his old, gas-guzzling Mercedes and his handout of thousands of bikes. In a call for China’s wealth to join him in his philanthropy, Chen constructed a wall of cash for a photo-op.

He’s also played in geopolitics. In 2012, he took out an ad in the New York Times declaring that the disputed Diaoyu Islands are Chinese and not Japanese territory. And then a year later, he announced that he planned to buy the New York Times, even as the owner said it wasn’t for sale. If not the Times, Chen said at the time, then he’d try for CNN or the Wall Street Journal.

“As long as they have some influence, I’m still willing to consider buying lesser media outlets,” he said at the time.

TIME Bizarre

Corvette Museum Will Make Car-Eating Sinkhole a Permanent Exhibit

Visitors to the Bowling Green, Ky. attraction will be able to see at least part of the famous sinkhole

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. announced Thursday that a sinkhole that swallowed eight classic cars in February — as seen in the video above — will remain a permanent part of the exhibit.

The board of the museum was presented with three options: 1) Fill the sinkhole and replace the floor, as if nothing happened; 2) Keep a small bit open for posterity’s sake; 3) Mother Earth has spoken, leave it as is. After some consideration, they went with option 2.

“My own personal opinion changed as time went on,” a board member stated on the museum’s blog. “I come here today with my marching orders from my members. About two thirds of my organization says to leave it open in some form or fashion.”

This makes sense considering that the museum’s attendance has been up 59% and revenue increased 65% since the headline-making event.

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