Weird Shit: True Stories to Shock, Stun, Astound and Amaze

Weird Shit: True Stories to Shock, Stun, Astound and Amaze

by Mark Leigh



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781849535410
Publisher: Summersdale
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Mark Leigh is a comedy writer and coauthor of 36 humor and trivia titles, including Epic Fail, The Loo Companion, and Pets with Tourette's.

Read an Excerpt

Weird Sh!t

True Stories to Shock, Stun, Astound and Amaze

By Mark Leigh

Summersdale Publishers Ltd

Copyright © 2014 Mark Leigh
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-78372-069-9



A man in San Francisco brought the proliferation of dog droppings on the city's streets to the notice of the authorities in a way that only a San Franciscan could. He garnished every pile he came across with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.

A barnacle has the largest penis of any animal in relation to its size.

* * *

In 1954 a herd of elephants was devouring a sugar-cane crop in Terai, India, so villagers set a hedge alight to scare them away. This seemed to do the trick until the elephants returned after visiting a nearby stream, put out the fire with their trunks, and continued with their feast.

* * *

A chameleon's tongue can be up to twice as long as its body and head combined, and can shoot out as fast as sixteen feet per second.

* * *

Madonna was reported to have sent her pet chihuahua, Chiquita, for therapy after she thought it was depressed over the attention being given to her new baby Lourdes.

* * *

Cattle can be identified by their nose prints, just as humans can be identified by their fingerprints.

* * *

Llamas are born with an extra pair of fighting teeth that they can use to bite off other llamas' testicles in order to make them the only fertile male in their group.

* * *

One of the most popular attractions in the fete held in Curwensville, Pennsylvania, consists of an eight-foot cage filled with rattlesnakes. Entrants go into the cage and try to put five of the snakes into a sack in the fastest time. To encourage safe handling of the rattlesnakes, anyone that gets bitten receives a time penalty.

* * *

The armadillo is the only creature apart from humans that can get leprosy.

* * *

Yak's milk is pink.

A researcher from Cambridge University, who'd been studying the mating habits of penguins for five years, observed that some female penguins were willing to offer sex to male penguins who were not their mates in return for help moving nest-building stones. The actions of these 'penguin prostitutes' are thought to be unique among animals.

* * *

The typical laboratory mouse runs on average five miles per day on its exercise wheel.

* * *

Christmas Day 1982 was not a joyous occasion for Claudette Reinert; she sustained serious injuries when her poodle accidentally pushed her out of her fourth-floor Strasbourg apartment. As she was getting ready to take her dog out for a walk, it became overexcited and jumped up, knocking her through an open window.

* * *

There are one million ants for every human in the world.

A Masai tribesman was arrested in February 1983 for attacking a lion in Nairobi, Kenya. He explained that his brother had been killed by a lion and he was exacting his revenge. The tribesman had thrown himself at the lion and began strangling it before he was pulled off by guards. The lion in question was a stuffed one that resided in the lobby of the Nairobi Ministry of Tourism. After his arrest he stated that he had had no idea that the lion was stuffed; he'd just assumed it was very docile.

* * *

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

* * *

Bears in North America have been known to climb telegraph poles in search of honey. The humming of the wires makes them think that beehives are at the very top.

* * *

Grasshoppers who ingest the leaves of wild marijuana plants have been found to jump abnormally high ... even for a grasshopper.

In order to protect themselves, some creatures never go to sleep entirely; while one half of their brain goes to sleep, the other half remains alert. This manifests itself in sleeping with one eye open. Creatures who display this peculiarity include porpoises, some species of whale, dolphin and seal, the domestic chicken, the common blackbird, the mallard and the peregrine falcon.

* * *

The elephant is the only mammal that can't jump.

* * *

You'll die if you eat a whole polar bear. Our bodies couldn't cope with the huge amount of vitamin A stored in its liver.

A man from Silver Spring in Maryland was infected by rabies after having sex with a raccoon. He was charged with animal cruelty but was acquitted after he pointed out that the raccoon was actually dead at the time.

* * *

From 1981 to 1994 the mayor of Sunol, a small town in California, was an 85-lb part-Labrador part-Rottweiler called Bosco. He led the town parade every year, wearing a red satin bow around his neck. His popularity among the 1,500 population had grown every year since his campaign manager had declared a three-point manifesto: 'A cat in every tree, a bone in every dish and a fire hydrant on every street corner.'

* * *

The small mountain town of Guffey in Colorado has had a succession of feline mayors. This began in 1988 with a cat named Paisley. It was followed by Smudge le Plume (killed by an owl while in office), Whiffey le Gone, and Monster, which lived at the back of a garage during its spell in office.

* * *

The Texas horned lizard (the official state reptile) can increase the blood pressure in its head to such a degree that it can squirt blood out of its eye into the face of predators from as far away as five feet.

* * *

A blue whale is about 25 feet long at birth.

* * *

Man poisons snake! It happened in India in 1981 when a venomous snake bit a drug addict while he slept. The man survived but the snake, having absorbed toxins from the man's blood, was found dead.

* * *

Abting Bangat, a fifteen-year-old Filipino boy, was swallowed whole by a python that he disturbed when exploring a cave near his home in 1983. Other members of his tribe searching for him found the snake and killed it but on slicing it open, found that Abting was already dead.

* * *

A budgie that escaped from its cage in Nottingham in August 1982 was returned home safe and sound shortly afterwards after being found by a local schoolboy. The budgie had told the boy his name and address.

Studies have shown that some cats get sexually aroused when they are spanked.

* * *

Castrated dogs can regain some of their lost manhood (doghood?) by the addition of plastic testicle implants called neuticles. According to the inventor, these help the dog regain his self-esteem by making him appear the same as his non-neutered buddies.

* * *

When Cuba suffered widespread food shortages in 1994, the country's cat population fell by 400,000.



In 1953 Mrs Alice Coe visited her aunt in a psychiatric hospital in Jamestown, Virginia, only to find she'd just passed peacefully away. Feeling tired while she gathered her dead aunt's possessions together, Mrs Coe got into her bed for a nap. Awoken by a doctor telling her that she was being transferred to a new room, Mrs Coe obediently went with him and stayed in the hospital for twenty-five years, until the case of mistaken identity was finally spotted in 1978.

Villagers living in an isolated mountain district in the Dominican Republic suffer from an inherited enzyme deficiency that has the effect of making some of the males develop initially as females. They are born with female genitalia and body shapes until puberty, at which point they develop penises, their testicles drop and their voices break. Known as machihembras, the boys are brought up as girls until the 'change' and apparently easily adjust to their new sexual identity thereafter.

Charles Osborne (1894–1991) of Iowa had the hiccups non-stop for almost sixty-eight years, from 1922 until 1990. It started while he was weighing a hog on his farm. Trying to lift the 159-kg (350-lb) animal, he slipped and, according to a later diagnosis, ruptured a tiny blood vessel in his brain that inhibits the hiccup response. Osborne started hiccupping at a rate of about forty per minute but this slowed in later life to a mere twenty. After hiccupping an estimated 430 million times, the hiccupping mysteriously stopped a year before his death.

* * *

If the lining of mucus were to disappear from your stomach, your stomach would digest itself.

* * *

According to the Bangkok Post at least a hundred men in Thailand underwent penis-enlargement operations performed by bogus doctors. The paper reported that the men's penises were injected with a mixture of olive oil, chalk and other unknown substances to provide bulk. An official at a hospital in Chiang Mai was reported to say, 'I've even seen penises containing bits of the Bangkok telephone directory.'

The youngest authenticated person to give birth was Lina Medina, who was born in 1933 in Ticrapo, Peru. When she was aged five, her mother took her to the local hospital worried that her daughter's stomach was steadily increasing in size. There, Dr Gerardo Lozada diagnosed that Lina was pregnant and, six weeks after his diagnosis, on 14 May 1939, she gave birth via Caesarean section to a baby boy. Lina was able to become pregnant at such a young age due to a very rare condition known as 'precocious puberty' – an extremely early onset of sexual development. Despite investigations by the authorities, it was never discovered how Lina became pregnant or who the father was.

* * *

As with fingerprints, every person has a unique tongue print.

* * *

In 1997 the Malaysian Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism suggested a way to encourage more visitors to the country – by holding mass public circumcisions. He told the Daily Star newspaper that it offered tourists 'something different from the norm'.

A man visiting his brother who was a patient in a psychiatric hospital in Wellington, New Zealand, was himself detained for a psychological evaluation. He'd driven his car up the hospital steps and parked it in the ward.

* * *

The presence of additional breasts is a condition known as polymastia; it's a form of atavism, an evolutionary throwback. In 1886, a Professor Neugenbauer presented to the French Academy of Medicine a woman with ten individual lactating breasts. Three months later, Dr P. J. Stoyanoff exhibited a twenty-three-year-old Polish woman who also had eight additional breasts, all of which secreted milk.

One of the weirdest and rarest medical conditions is Foreign Accent Syndrome, whereby sufferers of seizures, strokes or head injuries develop a foreign accent irrespective of any association with the particular country or language concerned. The condition is caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls speech and word formation, and can last for days, weeks or months, or even be permanent. There is no known cure. Between 1941 and 2013 there were sixty-two recorded cases worldwide, including the following:

* Judi Roberts was born in Indiana, USA, but after a stroke in 1999 began to speak in a British accent, even though she'd never been to the UK.

* In 2010 Kay Russell from Gloucestershire took a nap after a migraine attack and, on awakening, spoke with a distinct French accent.

* The same thing happened to Leanne Rowe from Tasmania, who spoke with a French accent after recovering from a head injury following a car accident.

* Some victims acquire multiple accents and one of the most famous is Linda Walker, a sixty-year-old from Newcastle who recovered after a stroke in 2006 to discover her usual Geordie intonation had vanished and been replaced by a series of random accents, including Jamaican, Canadian and Eastern European.

People affected by fatal familial insomnia, or FFI, can never fall asleep, a condition that leads to hallucinations, panic attacks, dementia and, inevitably, death.

* * *

In 2012 Oregon resident Paul Gaylord was bitten by a stray cat and contracted a rare case of the medieval bubonic plague, also known as the 'Black Death'. He survived but lost his fingers and toes.

* * *

Before radium was seen as a deadly radioactive health hazard, it was put into water to create a drink that was marketed as a fountain of youth which provided an 'indefinable spark of life'.

It could be cats, heights or flying, but most people are afraid of something. There's a name for the most common phobias – and a lot of the uncommon ones:

* Arachibutyrophobia: fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth

* Aulophobia: fear of flutes

* Automatonoph obia: fear of ventriloquist's dummies

* Barophobia: fear of gravity

* Bibliophobia: fear of books

* Chionophobia: a fear of snow

* Consecotaleophobia: fear of chopsticks

* Coulrophobia: fear of clowns

* Ephebiphobia: fear of teenagers

* Ereuthophobia: fear of the colour red

* Genuphobia: fear of knees

* Gnosiophobia: fear of knowledge

* Isopterophobia: fear of termites

* Linonophobia: fear of string

* Macrophobia: fear of long waits

* Metrophobia: fear of poetry

* Peladophobia: fear of bald people

* Pentheraphobia: fear of your mother-in-law

* Phobophobia: fear of fear

* Pogonophobia: fear of beards

* Pteronophobia: fear of (being tickled by) feathers

* Sesquipedaliophobia: fear of long words

* * *

At the end of the nineteenth century, X-ray technology was in its infancy and manufacturers were keen to promote this pioneering medical invention to the public. In 1896 a man named Herbert Hawks decided to demonstrate his company's machine by setting it up in a busy shopping precinct and focusing X-rays on his head so the public could see his skull on a screen. Unaware of the effects of being bombarded by the rays, the full impact of the demonstration became apparent to Mr Hawks after just a few days. By then he'd lost his hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, damaged his eyesight, had bleeding gums and his skin was peeling off his chest.



Joshua Jones was sentenced to capital punishment in 1839 and served out his last days in Coudersport Prison, Pennsylvania. Finding out on the day of his execution that he only had one dollar to his name, his last meal was very symbolic. He ate the dollar bill between two slices of bread.

* * *

Someone with more of an appetite was Gary Carl Simmons. His last meal in Mississippi State Penitentiary in 2012 consisted of a Pizza Hut medium Super Supreme Deep Dish pizza, double portion, with mushrooms, onions, jalapeño peppers and pepperoni; another pizza, but this time a regular portion, with three cheeses, olives, peppers, tomato, garlic and Italian sausage; one supersize order of McDonald's fries with extra ketchup and mayonnaise; one family-size pack of Doritos, nacho cheese flavour; 8 oz jalapeño nacho cheese dip; 4 oz sliced jalapeños; ten 8-oz packs of Parmesan cheese; ten 8-oz packs of ranch dressing; two pints of strawberry ice cream – and, to wash it down, two large strawberry shakes and two pints of Cherry Coke ... a grand total of 29,000 calories.

To prevent violence among inmates it was customary during certain phases of the moon for hospital staff to chain and flog inmates of England's infamous Bedlam asylum.

* * *

A prisoner who escaped from Utah State Penitentiary surprised guards by calling them from an unspecified location 'just to check how things were'.

* * *

The opposite occurred when Jerry Wolfson broke out of Norwich prison. Two hours after his daring escape he was back at the prison gates pleading to be let back in, complaining that he was cold and wet and his escape had left him with an embarrassing rip in his trousers.

When Richard Ramirez, the infamous US mass murderer known as the 'Night Stalker', failed a metal detector test on entry to the San Francisco County Jail, a series of X-rays was needed to identify the reason. These revealed a number of objects in Ramirez's rectum, including a syringe, a handcuff key, a pen and a piece of cellophane on which was written 'I love chocolate'.

* * *

In February 1979 six Peruvian gunmen used a light aircraft to rob an isolated farm in the mountainous north of the country. They escaped with the equivalent of £500 then discovered it had cost them considerably more to hire the aircraft and fill it with fuel.

* * *

Robbers who took part in a £175,000 raid on a jeweller's near Rainham in Kent in December 2008 hired a getaway driver with a difference ... he had no arms. In spite of his disability, the eighteen-year-old driver managed to lead the police on a terrifying 30-mile chase reaching speeds of up to 100 mph, with other gang members changing gear for him. The gang was eventually caught when police forced their car off the road and into a wall. The driver wasn't wearing his prosthetic arms at the time of the getaway and it was never ascertained why the robbers might have considered him to be the best man for the job in the first place.

* * *

In the Aztec empire, public drunkenness (unless it happened on the last five days of the year) was punished by having one's head shaved and house destroyed.

* * *

In January 1997 a man ran into a shop in Cookstown, County Tyrone, and stole boxer shorts and socks. He was immediately identified by staff because, at 2.26 metres (7 feet 4 inches) tall, he was Ireland's tallest man.


Excerpted from Weird Sh!t by Mark Leigh. Copyright © 2014 Mark Leigh. Excerpted by permission of Summersdale Publishers Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
About the Author,
Animal Tales,
Call a Doctor!,
Crime and Punishment,
Law and Order,
Losing My Religion,
Suddenly I'm Not Hungry Any More,
Astonishing Anatomies,
Oddities of the Rich and Famous,
Sex and Sensibility,
That's Entertainment!,
That's Got to Hurt!,
The Sporting Life,
Military Matters,
Weird Leaders,
What a Way to Go,
Yes, But Is It Art?,
Just Plain Weird,

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