Categotry Archives: Misc.

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WE

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Categories: Misc.

WE, a rare two-headed albino rat snake who became a corporate icon and popular tourist attraction, died on June 19 of natural causes at the age of 8.
A conjoined twin and a hermaphrodite, WE had both a boy and a girl head. The snake arrived at the St. Louis Children’s Aquarium (now known as the World Aquarium) in 1999 after being acquired from an Indiana snake breeder for $15,000. Most two-headed snakes live for only a few months, but WE thrived in the new environment. Experts attributed this to the fact that both heads were connected to the same stomach.
When WE was only a few weeks old, the snake was thinner and shorter than a pencil. Over the next eight years, he/she grew to almost five feet long and more than an inch thick. Last year, caretakers attempted to breed WE with Golden Girls, a two-headed snake from Wisconsin, but the process was unsuccessful. Plans were in the works to try breeding WE again this summer.
In 2004, a disgruntled city museum employee abducted WE. The man planned to sell the snake, but a tip led authorities to his garage where they recovered WE.
A popular attraction at the aquarium, WE received more than 1 million visitors during its lifetime. The snake was featured in over 450 magazine and newspaper articles worldwide and appeared on the TV program “Live With Regis and Kelly.”
In 2005, the aquarium attempted to auction WE on Reptileauction.com for $150,000, but there were no takers. The snake was being sold to fund conservation research, educational programming and exhibit development at the aquarium. Instead, the failed auction brought the snake a great deal of attention on the Internet and a corporate sponsorship deal. Nutra Pharma paid $15,000 to make WE its brand icon. The Florida-based biopharmaceutical company is developing treatments for multiple sclerosis and HIV using modified snake venom.
The aquarium has established the WE Memorial Fund to further support educational programming about the watery world. A taxidermist will preserve WE’s body so the rare snake can be displayed for future generations to see.
Watch a Video of WE Eating

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Dewey Readmore Books

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Categories: Misc.

dewey.jpgDewey Readmore Books, the feline mascot of the Spencer Public Library in Spencer, Iowa, died on Nov. 29. He was 19.
Librarian Vicki Myron found Dewey inside the building’s book drop back in 1988. The temperature outside was minus 10 degrees that January day, and the yellow kitten’s paws were frozen. It is unknown whether Dewey crawled into the book drop on his own to escape the cold, or was placed there by a Good Samaritan.
Myron adopted Dewey that day and helped to nurse him back to health. When city officials approved the library’s cat-in-residence, the local newspaper ran a photograph of the city’s “new employee” sitting on the card catalog. As the tale of his rescue spread, so did his fame. Soon journalists from all over the world began traveling to this small Iowa town to write about him. Tourists added the Spencer library to their travel itineraries, and purchased postcards featuring Dewey on the front. The profits from these cards brought in thousands of dollars to the library.
Cats reside in approximately 125 libraries across the United States. Most live and work in small-town libraries and earn their keep by charming patrons and taking care of rodents. An official member of the Library Cat Society, Dewey was featured in the book, “Library Cats Just Making a Living,” and in the documentary “Puss in Books: Adventures of the Library Cat.”
Dewey, whose moniker harkens to the Dewey Decimal System used by libraries to catalog books, received his name in a public contest. However, he endeavored to earn the title of “world’s most finicky cat” by turning his nose up at mere cat food. Though he would consume it, Dewey much preferred eating scrambled eggs, Arby’s roast beef, plain cheeseburgers, tuna sandwiches, boiled ham and chicken garlic TV dinners.
In November, Dewey was diagnosed with a tumor. To ease his pain and suffering, Myron held Dewey in her arms while the vet euthanized him. Although plans for a memorial service have not been solidified, the library staff is considering having his body cremated and burying the ashes on library grounds. A local funeral home has donated a black granite marker with a laser-scanned image of Dewey. It will be installed once the ground warms up this spring.
[Update – April 9, 2007: Librarian Vicki Myron has signed a $1.2 million deal with Grand Central Publishing, formerly Warner Books, to write the story of Dewey’s life. She and a ghostwriter will pen the book, which is scheduled for publication in 2008.]

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Michael Mosey

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Categories: Misc.

Michael Mosey’s life was so full of misfortune that the local media dubbed him “Scotland’s Unluckiest Man.”
The former engineer fell out of bed, into a pond, off a horse and through a glass coffee table. He fractured his ankle and his back, and once broke his right leg by tripping over a puppy. He even ended up partially blinded after drinking a shot of black market vodka.
Michael was married to an equally unlucky woman. Frances Mosey once broke both of her legs when she tumbled into a 6-foot hole in the road that lacked any warning signs. She purchased a motorcycle and fell off of it on her first ride, breaking her shoulder blade. While recovering from a hernia operation, the former telephone operator suffered a fractured skull when a ceiling tile fell on her head. She allegedly died on the operating table during routine procedures in 1963 and 1996, yet was revived both times. Her most unfortunate experience, however, occurred when she accidentally cut her finger off while making dinner. Doctors were unable to reattach it because her dog ate the digit.
The Moseys of Forth, Lanarkshire, experienced approximately 50 accidents and were hospitalized more than 20 times. Ironically, Mr. and Mrs. Nae Luck met while volunteering as motorcycle couriers, transporting blood to area hospitals. The couple wed on Valentine’s Day in 1974 and was enjoying a honeymoon in Spain when their hotel room collapsed. Years later, Michael was out riding a newly-purchased motorcycle; Frances accidentally hit him with her car.
Their unlucky state of affairs was so pronounced, and caused so many health problems, that they became unable to work and officially registered as disabled. When asked why their luck was so bad, Michael blamed his wife.
“Since I met Frances, I have broken my ankle and my back. I have fallen from a horse, out of bed, down stairs, into ponds … you name it. The telephone table has been rebuilt three times after me falling on it. And I have somehow managed to fall through the greenhouse three times,” Michael once said.
In 2003, the couple separated. An attempted reconciliation turned violent and Michael was charged with allegedly assaulting Frances with a rolling pin, violently shaking her and resisting arrest. During the trial, he was also charged with driving in the court parking lot during a lunch recess without insurance and without a valid driver’s license. The judge refused to grant him bail. Then, while awaiting transport to Barlinnie Prison, Michael collapsed and had a stroke. The domestic violence charge was eventually dropped. Three months later, after receiving probation for the other charges, Michael was again hopsitalized for severe chest pains.
Michael Mosey, 57, died on Aug. 22 when his life support was switched off. He’d been hospitalized for several days after suffering serious injuries during a disturbance at his home.
[Update March 21, 2007: John Mackie, 33, was found guilty of beating Mosey to death with a baton. Mosey’s dying words to his son Daniel allegedly named Mackie as his attacker. Mackie will spend 18 years in prison before being considered eligible for parole.]

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Andrew Martinez

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Categories: Misc.

Andrew Martinez, the former University of California, Berkeley student who gained notoriety for attending class in the nude during the early 1990s, committed suicide in jail on May 18. He was 33.
Known as the “Naked Guy,” Martinez wore nothing more than sandals, a peace symbol on a chain around his neck and a backpack to class because he felt clothes were a tool used by society for class and gender differentiation. “When I walk around nude, I am acting how I think it is reasonable to act, not how middle-class values tell me I should act. I am refusing to hide my dissent in normalcy even though it is very easy to do so,” he once wrote in The Oakland Tribune.
The handsome student’s actions eventually led the school to expel him for dress code violations. Although considered a bastion for liberal thinkers, the town of Berkeley also responded to Martinez’s protest statement by adopting a strict anti-nudity ordinance. Martinez was the first person arrested under the new law after he showed up, sans apparel, to a City Hall meeting in 1993. He was arrested and later received two years probation for the misdemeanor charge.
Martinez attempted to pen a memoir about his au naturel experiences but the writing was derailed by mental illness. In the decade since leaving college, he was jailed, institutionalized and living on the streets. On Jan. 10, police arrested Martinez for fighting with another man at a halfway house where he was staying. Charged with two counts of battery and one count of assault with a deadly weapon, he spent the last five months of his life housed in the Santa Clara County Main jail. Corrections officers found him under his bed covers with a clear plastic bag over his head.
According to friends, Martinez was once a straight-A student and a star defensive lineman on his high school football team in Cupertino, Calif. He gained a reputation as a nonconformist in 1992 for organizing a “nude-in” protest in UC Berkeley’s main plaza to promote free expression. After appearing on numerous national television talk shows and in the Oct. 1993 issue of Playgirl, students at other universities across the country began attending class in the buff.

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George Lutz

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Categories: Misc.

George “Lee” Lutz, the former owner of a haunted house known as “The Amityville Horror,” died on May 8 of heart disease. He was 59.

On Nov. 13, 1974, six members of the DeFeo family were murdered inside the three-story house in Amityville, N.Y. The family’s eldest son, Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr., was convicted a year later in the brutal slaying of his mother, father, two brothers and two sisters. He’s currently serving six consecutive life terms at the Greenhaven Correctional Facility in Greenhaven, N.Y.

Thirteen months after the killings, Lutz and his wife Kathy purchased the 4,000-square-foot waterfront property for only $80,000. They knew the house had been the site of horrific crimes, but didn’t feel these past events would affect their future.

The couple and their three children lived at 112 Ocean Avenue for 28 days — until paranormal occurrences caused them to flee. During their month in the house, the Lutzes reportedly heard voices in empty rooms and hallways. Doors and windows mysteriously unlocked of their own accord. Furniture changed location without being moved, and repulsive odors filled the air. Areas of the property, including the boathouse and the basement, also felt unexplainable cold.

Each member of the family experienced personality changes as well. George felt sick and depressed and awoke each night at 3:15 a.m. with an uncontrollable desire to check the boathouse. Kathy aged unnaturally fast and suffered from terrible nightmares. And the kids began fighting with each other, much more than was usual. The Lutzes eventually fled for their lives, leaving the majority of their possessions behind. Their stay in the Amityville home was later chronicled in numerous films and books.

Several accounts have discredited George Lutz’s version of events. Jim and Barbara Cromarty, a couple that later moved into the house, claimed it was not haunted and even sued Lutz for bringing undue fame and attention to their lives. Lutz denied all of the allegations.

George and Kathy Lutz next moved to San Diego, where they briefly sold Amway products, then to Arizona before divorcing in the late-1980s. Kathy died in 2004 of emphysema. At the time of his death, George was living in Las Vegas, where he volunteered at a homeless shelter and restored old cars. He occasionally appeared at conferences dedicated to the paranormal to discuss his Amityville experiences.

Listen to an Interview with Lutz

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