QUIRKY WORLD ... A daily look at some of the world’s stranger stories

Man caught by long finger of the law

USA: A severed finger left at the crime scene helped police in Arizona arrest a man suspected of trying to steal copper wire from a truck.

The spool of wire — worth more than $300 (€220) — had been pulled out about 6m from the truck, and what appeared to be a cut-off finger was caught in the wiring. Forensic technicians were able to match the fingerprint to 29-year-old Joshua Allen Goverman.

Goverman told detectives he lost part of a finger working on a car. He was booked on suspicion of theft.

Spooky stuff

SCOTLAND: Two Scottish cities are the spookiest in the UK, a new study has revealed.

There have been 375 paranormal sightings in Edinburgh in the last 25 years and 350 in Glasgow, according to the Paranormal Witness Report. They include claimed sightings of poltergeists as well as apparitions of people who have recently died. Nottingham was the third spookiest city in the UK, with 300 reported paranormal sightings in the last 25 years.

Author and ghost hunter Christian Jensen Romer analysed reported sightings in the UK over the last 25 years using archives, websites, clippings, and his own reports to compile the study, commissioned by TV channel Really to mark the UK premiere of the new series of Paranormal Witness.

Whale of a price

ENGLAND: A 130-year-old whale tusk has sold for £36,000 (€42,500) — the top lot in an auction in London.

The tooth was given to sailor Cornelius Fudge, whose name is thought to be the inspiration behind a Harry Potter character, the London auction house Charles Miller said. The 2.51m-long tusk — which belonged to a narwhal, a horned whale — was presented to Fudge when he left HMS London at Zanzibar as he retired from the service in 1881.

The tusk was bought by the vendor more than 40 years ago for a “few thousand pounds”. He has sold it to help provide an inheritance for his children and great grandchildren, the auction house said.

Kitchen consigliere

USA: When he was on trial for racketeering in 2001, Angelo Lutz denied the mob’s existence, but now he’s using his past in organised crime to promote his new restaurant in New Jersey, the Kitchen Consigliere.

Lutz, 49, who served eight years in jail as a Mafia bookie and debt collector, has moved from an 11-table restaurant to one three times as large. The sign at the front echoes the logo for The Godfather, but with a chef’s hat. A mural on one wall puts Lutz, also known as Fat Ange, at a table with famous gangsters real (John Gotti) and fictional (Tony Soprano).

In prison, Lutz grew to more than 180kg and learned more about cooking, including how to use a microwave to bake a pizza made from flour stolen from the kitchen.

Now he plans to open franchises of his restaurant in other cities and start a foundation to help other ex-inmates become entrepreneurs. “Redemption,” said Lutz. “That’s what I’m all about now.”

Tricky hotspots

ENGLAND: Milton Keynes, Leeds, and Stockport have been named as England’s top trick-or-treat hotspots for Halloween.

However, costume-clad sweet hunters heading for Middlesbrough, Huddersfield, and Oldham may want to rethink their plans as these were identified as the least favourable places by property search website Zoopla, which looked at factors including house prices as well as crime and road accident rates.

Milton Keynes topped Zoopla’s “trick or treat index”, with its relatively low road traffic accident rate of 0.24 incidents involving pedestrians per 1,000 residents, and low crime rates.

Zombie swarm

JAPAN: Led by a former sumo grand champion, about 1,000 beauty school students and Halloween fun-seekers descended on Tokyo Tower — the capital’s most celebrated landmark — in a “zombie attack”.

Replete with black eyes, blood-soaked clothes, and enough open wounds to fill several emergency rooms, the “zombies” covered the grounds of the tower in central Tokyo after making their way across town on buses and trains.

The event was to mark the beginning in the country of season four of zombie TV show The Walking Dead.

Tear-inducing tale

USA: A small Southern California city has sued the makers of the popular Sriracha brand hot pepper sauce, saying tear-inducing odours emanating from its chilli-processing plant in town are creating a public nuisance.

Irwindale officials said they plan to ask a Los Angeles County judge for a court order forcing Huy Fong Foods to immediately halt production of Sriracha at its chilli factory while a review of the case continues.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this week, says the company has denied a problem exists and refused to take action to abate fumes powerful enough to prompt some “residents to move outdoor activities indoors and even to vacate their residences temporarily to seek relief”.

Since mid-September, Irwindale, east of Los Angeles, has received numerous reports from residents complaining of “strong, offensive chilli odours” that cause eye and throat irritation and headaches, the suit says.

City officials said they have met twice with company executives and cited the firm for violating public nuisance ordinances, all to no avail.

The company declined requests to comment on the dispute.


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