Your average small-town newspaper -- assuming it's still in publication -- is approximately 50 percent obituaries, 28 percent advertisements for soup, 13 percent typo-riddled ads for the local high school musical (this year's production is "Gays And Dulls"), and 8 percent raccoon attacks.
But what about that final 1 percent? It's reserved for the kind of psyche-flaying local news that's normally seen only in the type of X-Files plots where Mulder gets so jazzed up his behavior threatens to get the FBI sued out of existence. (Oh, wait, that's every episode.)
You've heard the expression "It's raining cats and dogs." Well, in the frozen wastelands of Alaska, it's raining Lovecraftian shitspawn fruits de mer. The first demon tube popped up in a thrift store parking lot outside Fairbanks. We imagine a store employee walking to his car for a smoke, when he looked down and saw a snake-worm-fish-creature chilling on the asphalt. Not only was the animal alive, it looked like this:
Alaska Department Of Fish And Game
"HI, LAND FUCKERS!"
Shockingly, someone at the store had the good sense to assume this thing was a fish and not one of the Devil's fingers that became sentient, amputated itself from Satan's hand, and dug its way up to ground level to start a new Hell in Alaska. Store employees put the jawless bloodsucker into a bucket of water and reported it to the Alaska Department Of Fish And Game, which identified the beast as an arctic lamprey. And then someone realized these fish were spotted on land in three other spots in Alaska. Arctic lampreys, in case you're wondering, are parasitic animals who use their vampiric fangs to dig into other animals. The fact that they're popping up on land should alarm no one at all.
Alaska Department Of Fish And Game
"Coming to cineplexes in 2016, it's UNDERWATER CYLINDER DRACULA!"
It turns out, the explanation for land lampreys was just as spooky as the animals themselves. Tired of being spurned by humanity when all they want is a little bit of bread, it was seagulls who dropped the things onto land. Coordinated lamprey strikes against humanity didn't end up wiping any residents out, but we should all be nervous that birds and fish are now working together, like if Hitchcock woke up one day stupid as hell, wrote a sequel to The Birds about fish and birds, and just flat-out named that shit Fish And Birds.
"What happens when you combine the wisdom of the bird with the duplicity of the fish?
FISH. AND. BIRDS. Christmas 2018."
Attics are bad news, guys. Unless you feel like catching up with your long-imprisoned evil twin who's spent the past few decades eating mice and Sorry! pieces, there's nothing worthwhile up there. But for one Florida family, cleaning out their grandparents' attic yielded skeletons in the closet. Or just a hand in a box. Seriously, there was a hand up there.
WFLA / CNN
"Be thankful, kids. We didn't have blow-up dolls and Fleshlights -- we had to make do."
For reasons that have yet to be discovered, a Tampa woman was cleaning out her grandparents' attic when she discovered a cool box. Shockingly, the woman wasn't even looking for meth money or a hidden birth certificate proving she was a Kennedy -- she was cleaning her grandparents' attic just because people are apparently nice sometimes. Things took a turn for the Scooby-Doo when she opened the box and found a ringed skeleton hand, a set of Spanish coins, a treasure map, and a picture of her great-grandparents.
WFLA / CNN
It's the gritty setup for the Goonies reboot that ends with seven children on a milk carton.
The family claimed they didn't know anything about the box or the starter voodoo kit inside it, so they took it to the Tampa Bay History Center to receive some answers. The knowledgeable representative revealed the hidden secrets of the box to end the ordeal: "Well, it certainly is a hand." With the mystery solved entirely satisfactorily, everybody went home.
Being trapped in a car for an hour with the wrong radio station on can be enough to drive a reasonable person insane. Being stuck inside your vehicle in a traffic jam without moving for a couple of minutes brings out the worst side of most people. Now, think about the terror of being stuck in an overturned car for 14 hours in a freezing river while also being a baby. Suddenly that slow crawl to work isn't such a trial, is it?
At least you can switch the station when The Eagles come on.
A woman and her 18-month-old daughter were driving through Utah when they went off a bridge and flipped into the icy river below. If police estimates are correct, the accident happened at about 10:30 in the evening, but the wreckage was not discovered until 12:30 p.m. the next day. The mother tragically didn't survive, but the child was barely hanging on, upside-down and still strapped to her car seat. It turns out the properly installed car seat not only saved the baby from injury but also kept her out of the icy water.
But this isn't an article about the virtues of car seats -- this is an article about how an 18-month-old baby was clearly saved by a mystery voice coming out of goddamn nowhere.
That, or all car seats are robots in disguise.
It turns out that, once the rescuers made their way to the accident, they heard a voice calling to them from inside the overturned car. And if you're saying, "Oh, that was the child crying or asking what took them so long" -- nope. The officers specifically said they heard an adult voice asking for help, and the child's mother had already died.
Which means one of three things: A barely conscious baby suddenly assumed the voice of an adult, someone was in the car calling officers for help, or a couple of otherwise sane men experienced simultaneous auditory hallucinations. We don't have the answers here, but we bet the hand in the attic has some clues.
When you receive a phone call from a burglar to report his own crime, you know something incredible must have gone down. That was the case over in Ireland, when three would-be burglars stumbled upon a mystery so creepy that they called the authorities on themselves.
The burglars in question thought they were in for a regular night of Irish burgling, when they realized something was wrong with the house. Not only did the home not have any good stuff, but the house smelled like death. Which was fair, because people were home but had been dead for months. Rather than scrubbing their DNA from the scene and making a run for it before they were accused of a double homicide, the would-be robbers took their chances by calling in their enemies, the cops.
Brian Lawless / PA Wire
"So can we get, like, a voucher for our next felony?"
And that was when things got creepy. For one thing, the bodies of Julia Holmes and Thomas Ruttle were found together with multiple pages of suicide notes and a rifle alongside them, but there was no evidence the rifle had been discharged or any sign of bullet wounds on the bodies. So then, authorities sent away for a toxicology examination, thinking poison was the most likely cause of death for the pair. According to the first round of toxicology reports, it wasn't poison. At least not a kind of poison authorities can detect after two months of decay. The next hunch of the police was Colonel Mustard in the farmhouse with the candlestick. However, while the first toxicology report was inconclusive, there is no chance the couple died violently, so death by candlestick was ruled out.
Authorities did, however, figure out that the body of Julia Holmes was not really Julia Holmes but Cecila Julia McKitterick, a cold-blooded conwoman with 40 aliases, one abandoned child, three husbands, two step-daughters who she violently abused in the '80s, 27 months of jail time, and a string of fraud accusations trailing from Ireland to Texas. She was wanted by Irish police and the FBI but pretty much no one else, as her own son and in-laws refused to claim her ashes after her cremation. Months before her death, Holmes told contract workers she was dying of cancer so she didn't have to pay them for their work. A few years before that, she told people she was pregnant, at age 59. We're guessing no one listened to her until after her death, when they found a gravestone on the family plot for the "Treasured Baby Daughter Of Thomas And Julie Ruttle," dated 2011.
Not only has nobody figured out how Thomas and Julia died, no one has the guts to dig into their alleged baby's grave to see if there's really a person in there.
"Netflix and chill" is the most romantic date option most modern couples can muster. Unfortunately for one pair, their relaxing night together was ruined by a third-party who was committed to Netflix and chills. [SCARY THUNDERCLAP, ORGAN TRILL]
It was just another ordinary night in front of the laptop for a Toronto woman and her boyfriend, who took turns saying, "I don't know, what do you want to watch?" until they fell asleep. The next day, the woman went to work and logged into Facebook.
In addition to the usual barrage of meme-filled status updates, the woman got a message from a stranger named Mahmoud Abdo, which was weird because her Facebook settings didn't allow strangers to send her messages. On the other hand, Mahmoud titled his message "realy, cute couple" (sic), and who doesn't want to see a "realy, cute couple"? She did what anyone with a hankering for cuteness would do and opened the message.
It was pictures of her and her boyfriend in bed from the night before.
"This is way easier than watching an entire world burn."
The woman didn't appreciate kind words and free-of-charge photography from a stranger, so she went straight to the police to report what had happened. Investigators took her boyfriend's computer for analysis and began an investigation of how Mahmoud Abdo, from Cairo, Egypt, had managed to take the photos.
According to one cyber-security expert, Mahmoud Abdo was -- dun dun dunnnnn -- somebody the couple knew, and not from Egypt at all. (In fact, authorities are still unclear whether or not Egypt is even a real place.) It turns out, hacking a webcam is relatively easy if you've got access to the computer and the right malware, which we're certainly not linking to here. And if you're wondering if the boyfriend himself was the culprit, good luck investigating, because the woman isn't taking calls from reporters. Would you take calls from strangers if you were her?
Finding something for free on your lawn (as long as it wasn't donated by a dog) is usually a good way to start your day. When you're receiving gifts, though, there's always a chance that you'll end up with too much of a good thing. For one California family, they found out the hard way that while one is company, dozens is a creepy, ceramic assault.
Outside of Monty Python, who knew fluffy bunnies could ever be so horrifying?
The family stepped out one morning into the Southern California sun to discover they had a couple new yard companions: a group of ceramic garden statues. At first, they dismissed them as a harmless prank perpetrated by the town's cutest hooligans. But then they kept coming.
NBC Los Angeles
Bambi and friends finally tracked down Man, and they're pissed.
From July to August, over 50 statues turned up, ranging from garden gnomes to lions and bunnies. Not all of them were in good condition. Many were broken and chipped, seeking safety with their own kind in what they could only assume was a refuge for lawn statues. By the time the homeowners contacted the sheriff, there were dozens of statues around their house, some of them facing the front door as if, the family's mother said, "They were plotting against us."
"Stick your hand in here. Come on; it's safe. Totally ..."
Oddly enough, this isn't the only occasion of garden gnome pack mentality. In Plymouth, England, one woman awoke to find that there were a hundred garden gnomes camped in her front yard, likely marching back to their homeland.
She believed they had been stolen from the local gardening center and reported the appearance to the police. When interrogated on where they had been traveling, the ceramics offered gnome comment. [SCARY THUNDERCLAP, ORGAN TRILL]
Hoss has regular panic attacks that all his Twitter followers are stalking him. Join the fun at @M_Hossey.
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