xxxNews Of The Weirdxxx
Bizarre but true stories about real people collected by syndicated columnist Chuck Shepherd.
Florida artist Maria Alquilar returned to Livermore, Calif., in August to fix the large mosaic she created at the city library a year ago when the city paid her $40,000 but failed to spellcheck her names “(Albert) Eistein,” “(William) Shakespere,” “(Paul) Gaugan,” “(Vincent) Van Gough” and seven others. She had initially refused to make the corrections, dismissing the errors as merely “words” and angry at being ridiculed, but she relented after the city offered her $6,000 more.
With increased job anxiety in China’s market economy, more Chinese men and women are opting for painful body-lengthening procedures to get taller. A June 2005 report on China Radio International updated the 2002 News of the Weird story, in which “hundreds” were enduring the months-long “Ilizarov procedure” (forced breaking of bones in the leg, then manually adjusting leg braces four times a day that pull the bones slightly apart, then waiting as they grow back and fuse together). As a 33-year-old, 5-foot-tall woman (aiming for 5-4) said in 2002: “I’ll have a better job, a better boyfriend, and eventually a better husband. It’s a long-term investment.”
News of the Weird has reported several times on psychotherapists who help patients “recover” “repressed” memories. According to the therapists, suddenly “remembering” a really astonishing event means that the event must have actually happened, but increasingly, patients realize that they were merely persuaded by aggressive psychotherapy (such as the Chicago-area woman who in February 2004 was awarded $7.5 million from two doctors who had, over a 12-year period, facilitated her false “memory” that she had bred children for a satanic cult). In August 2005, a leading skeptic of such therapists, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, reported (in a National Academy of Sciences publication) how her research team had planted “memories” in her subjects’ minds, actually convincing strawberry ice cream lovers, falsely, that they had forgotten that they used to hate the stuff.
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or WeirdNews@earthlink.net or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com.) NEWS OF THE WEIRD