Seance for John Lennon

Freakish things and people are plentiful--all over the world.

Imagine John Lennon spinning in his grave.

The ex-Beatle, who was murdered over 25 years ago, is the latest subject of a pay-per-view seance arranged by the producers of a 2003 attempt to contact the dead Princess Diana. That show made money but was slammed by critics as hitting a new low in television tastelessness.

"People say this is disgusting and I accept that criticism, but we're making a serious attempt to do something that many, many millions of people around the world think is possible," said Paul Sharratt, who heads Starcast Productions, which made "The Spirit of Diana." That show drew over half a million U.S. viewers willing to pay $14.95 to watch it.

The Lennon show will air on April 24 on a pay-per-view channel and cost $9.95.

Sharratt himself is a "non-believer," and admits to not being totally convinced otherwise after psychics attempted to contact the dead princess in the 2003 program. Nevertheless, it made for some great television, he said.

"I have to say that I'm a skeptic. I went into it very skeptically and I didn't come out a total believer, but it was good for a lot of people as a tribute to Diana," he said.

Sharratt said he chose Lennon because the former Beatle, like Diana, is an icon and was also a deeply spiritual person. "Lennon was very interested in the spiritual world. It's a natural follow-up to the Diana seance," he said.

"The Spirit of John Lennon" is being done without the knowledge or consent of John Lennon's estate. A spokesman for Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow, had no immediate comment.

Sharratt said, "We are writing to Yoko and contacting friends this week to see if any people associated with Lennon would take part."

The program will show psychics traveling to sites of significance to the former Beatle, including New York's Dakota apartment house, where he lived and was fatally shot by a deranged fan, Mark David Chapman, just over 25 years ago.

Psychics will also visit the Capitol Records Building in Los Angeles where the Beatles recorded, and a town in India where Lennon pursued a spiritual retreat.

Sharratt said the Indian sequence will feature a spirit reader at an ashram who believes he can contact Lennon to receive musical notes and lyrics from the other side.

Any notations will be flown to Los Angeles, where a composer will arrange the notes, add vocals and backgrounds to produce a new song.

The special will culminate as psychics, colleagues and confidantes sit at a seance table for 30 minutes surrounded by infra-red cameras that can capture any "presence" or spirit that enters the room.


33 Pound Cat

Freakish things and people are plentiful--all over the world.

A 33-pound cat in Qingdao, China, is being described as a "feline monster" because of its 31-inch waist and large size, according to a report. The 9-year-old cat from the Shandong Province is so heavy it needs the help of its owner to get onto a bed. However, the cat is in surprisingly good health despite its weight, Local 6 News reported. The cat's owner said it has no interest in eating fish but prefers to eat six pounds of chicken and pork each day.This fat cat is not alone in his weight problem, according to the report. Obesity has become a serious problem for the modern cat, primarily due to a lack of exercise and a richer diet.Cats are susceptible to a range of illnesses including kidney trouble and diabetes, if they are allowed to remain overweight.

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Woman Killed for Slamming a Door in Her Own Home

Freakish things and people are plentiful--all over the world.

A man in Marion County, Fla., was arrested and charged Wednesday with killing a 51-year-old woman for slamming doors in her apartment and waking him up, according to a police report.

Marion County Sheriff's deputies and Belleview police officers responded to an altercation at an apartment complex located at 6745 S.E. 107 St. Tuesday.

The report said Vito Loiacono was involved in a fight with Betty Shepperd and another man over "slamming doors in her apartment and waking Mr. Loiacono up at night."

When officers arrived at about 5 p.m., the disturbance had ended and Loiacono was sitting on a porch with other neighbors in the complex.

About three hours later, officers responded to another disturbance call at the same address.

When officers arrived they found Betty Shepperd dead in an apartment.

Witnesses told police that they saw Loiacono leaving his apartment carrying a white trash bag. He allegedly tried to give the bag containing his clothes to several people to hide, according to the report.

When tenants refused to take the bag, Loiacono was allegedly seen taking the bag behind the apartment complex and throwing it in a trash bin.

The bag was found a short time later by officers. It contained clothes Loiacono was wearing earlier in the night and a weapon.

After questioning, Loiacono was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the woman's death.

Loiacono remains in the Marion County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, another man in Marion County, Fla., remained in jail charged with fatally beating his roommate with a sledgehammer and a claw hammer because there was no toilet tissue in the home.

Franklin Paul Crow, 56, was charged Monday with homicide for the death of Kenneth Matthews, 58, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Crow told investigators that the men were fighting over the weekend about the toilet tissue when Matthews pulled out a rifle. Crow said he then began beating Matthews with the sledgehammer and claw hammer, according to an affidavit.


Pig Manure Floods Town

Freakish things and people are plentiful--all over the world.

BERLIN (Reuters) - A Bavarian village was flooded by liquid pig manure after a tank containing the fertilizer burst, German police said Wednesday.

Sewage rose to 20 inches in the courtyards and streets of Elsa after gushing from the tank, which held some 240,000 litres of pig manure.

"The village was swamped with green-brown liquid and it was pig manure -- the mother-of-all muck," said Rainer Prediger, a police spokesman in the nearby town of Coburg.

Hard Rock Can Kill You!

Freakish things and people are plentiful--all over the world.

Hard Rock Kills!

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A teenage guitarist got so carried away while bouncing up and down on his bed mimicking a rock star that he flew out of a third floor window to his death, a Singapore newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Straits Times said Li Xiao Meng, a 16-year-old from China who was studying at Singapore's Hua Business School, was a keen musician who liked to jump up and down while playing his guitar in his hostel room.

"But on November 17 he took things a bit too far," the newspaper said, reporting on a coroner's court findings.

Ruling death by misadventure, the court said evidence "points to the deceased unintentionally falling out of the window to his death when he was hyped up with exhilaration, jumping up and down on the bed placed against an open window while mimicking a rock guitarist.""

Normally the windows were locked, the newspaper said, but students sometimes forced them open so they could smoke, something prohibited by the hostel.


Freakish things and people are plentiful--all over the world.

Funk music pioneer Sly Stone makes his first major public appearance in almost 13 years during a tribute to 'Sly and The Family Stone' at the 48th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles February 8, 2006


Surgeon Allegedly Leaves Object in Uterus

Freakish things and people are plentiful--all over the world.

DANVILLE, Pa. - A woman is suing a doctor who operated on her, accusing him of leaving a 4-inch metal instrument inside her uterus.

In her lawsuit, Lori Klinger, 35, said she experienced severe pain after Dr. Samuel Owusu performed a diagnostic laparoscopy on her in November 2002 to check for endometriosis, a condition where some of the uterus lining is found outside the uterus.

She said when she called Owusu later complaining of pain, he said it was normal and told her to take pain medication.

"(Klinger) had called him and said this really hurts," said Klinger's lawyer, Jane Sebelin. "He just kept saying, 'Deal with it.'"

Two days later, she went to the bathroom and an instrument emerged from her vagina, the lawsuit said. Klinger said it was sharp on one end with a rubber bulb on the other. She said she took it to the doctor's office.

"We felt there was a lack of procedures in place, that they should be checking these things," said Sebelin. The lawsuit said Owusu did apologize.

Klinger is seeking $350,000 for counts including negligence.

Owusu referred questions to Bloomsburg-based Geisinger Medical Group when reached Wednesday. Alison Delsite Everett, spokeswoman for Geisinger, declined to comment on the case, but said: "we have very stringent policies to ensure the safety of our patients."

This mistake happens at least once a year at hospitals that perform 8,000 to 18,000 surgeries a year, despite the regular use of checklists to account for instruments used during operations, said Ramona Conner of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses.

Mix up at the Funeral Home!

Freakish things and people are plentiful--all over the world.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An autopsy technician misread a number on a body tag, leaving one family without a body to memorialize and another with the wrong person's ashes scattered across the Atlantic Ocean.

As a result of the mistaken identification, the technician released the body of John Chappell, 36, instead of that of Judith Perez, 65, said Duval County Chief Medical Examiner Margarita Arruza.

"It was off by one digit. He released the wrong body to the funeral home, and obviously the funeral home never checked or looked at the body," she said. She said the technician is no longer employed by her office.

Perez's family had the body cremated and scattered the ashes in the ocean before the mistake was discovered when Chappell's relatives showed up to claim his body.

Chappell's brother in Jacksonville and sister in Mt. Morris, Mich., have notified the city of their intent to sue for negligence, said their attorney, Henry Gare.

"It is a very heartbreaking situation," Gare said Wednesday.

Gare said the family had planned to scatter Chappell's ashes at his grandfather's grave in Michigan.

A woman who answered the telephone at Green Pine Funeral Home in Yulee and refused to give her name said Chappell's body was received in a bag identified as Perez's remains. Because the body was cremated, she said there was no reason to open the bag.

Arruza said she doesn't remember her office mixing up any bodies since she joined the office in 1989.


That is so true

Freakish things and people are plentiful--all over the world.


Acupuncture Gone Bad!

Acupuncture Gone Bad!

A German acupuncture patient was left pierced with needles in a clinic after a therapist forgot about her, locked up his practice and went home, police in Hanover said on Thursday.

The 41-year-old woman from the north German town had booked an afternoon session of the ancient Chinese therapy which involves inserting needles into the skin and is believed to prevent disease and relieve pain.

The doctor left her in the treatment room for what she assumed would be a short while, especially since she still had needles embedded in her body.

After 90 minutes the woman began to shout for attention. Getting no response, she realized she was alone and trapped in the building. She alerted police by phone and was later set free when the doctor returned.

Man Learns He's Dead, Thanks to Blind Ex-Wife

Man Learns He's Dead, Thanks to Blind Ex-Wife

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian taxi driver got a rude shock when he discovered his blind ex-wife, who thought he had died in an explosion, had him buried in a Moscow cemetery, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Oleg Lunkov learned of his apparent death when he applied for a passport and was told he died in a bomb blast on Moscow's metro on February 6. His ex-wife thought he was on the train, but being blind, she got her mother to identify the remains.

"I thought, 'I hope they didn't bury me on my birthday'," Lunkov told the Moscow Times after visiting his grave in southeastern Moscow. "But it turns out they did."

The grave has been exhumed by police investigating his wife for possible fraud.

Lunkov's name still appears on prosecutors' official list of the 38 people who died in the explosion.

Woman Who Offered Pig as Tiger Bait Faces Charge

Woman Who Offered Pig as Tiger Bait Faces Charge

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Florida woman who offered up a Yorkshire pig as bait to entice an escaped tiger back home will face charges of animal cruelty, local newspapers reported on Thursday.

Linda Meredith, of Loxahatchee where "Bobo" the tiger was killed by wildlife officers on Tuesday in a shooting his owner labeled a "murder," is being punished for putting the piglet in a car trunk, an official told the Palm Beach Post.

"I was appalled," said Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control Director Diane Sauve. "Carrying an animal in a trunk in 90-degree (32 degrees Celsius) heat, where it's probably 140 degrees (60 degrees Celsius) inside, is not acceptable."

Meredith had urged sheriff's deputies to hold the piglet by its hind legs or twist its ears to make it squeal and attract Bobo, who spent 24 hours as a fugitive after escaping from former B movie Tarzan actor Steve Sipek's home, 50 miles north of Miami. The deputies declined to use the pig.

Meredith said she also was outraged to find out she could face animal cruelty charges.

"I can't believe they have the gall," she told the Palm Beach Post. "I was just trying to help the tiger find his way back home. Apparently, it's not nice to be nice."

Meredith said that the trunk of her Cadillac was air conditioned and that she had planned to eat the pig anyway once it had grown up.

Wildlife officers had hoped to shoot Bobo, a 600-pound (270-kg), six-year-old Bengal tiger, with tranquilizer darts to end his dash for freedom. But he was killed by an officer armed with an M4 rifle after he said the big cat lunged at him.

Sipek, who played Tarzan in two movies in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and who has a permit to keep exotic animals as pets, decried the shooting as unnecessary. Covered in the blood of the cat he raised since it was a cub, Sipek has given a string of TV interviews saying Bobo's death was plain murder.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been inundated with hate mail and phone calls from distraught cat lovers, and supporters have set up a Web site to collect donations to help Sipek protect his other animals -- another tiger, two lions, a black leopard and a cougar.

Neither Sauve nor Meredith could be reached for comment.

Copyright © 2003 Reuters Limited.

Schwarzenegger to Take a Licking

Schwarzenegger to Take a Licking

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian fans of their famous compatriot Arnold Schwarzenegger will be able to lick the back of the California Governor when his image appears on a special edition of postage stamps at the end of this month.

The former bodybuilder and film star chose the portrait of himself that will be used on one-euro stamps to be issued in Austria on his 57th birthday, July 30, a postal service spokesman said on Friday.

"He is one of the most famous Austrians...We can be very proud of him," spokesman Siegfried Grobmann said.

The stamp is a head-and-shoulders shot of Schwarzenegger with the U.S. Stars and Stripes on his right and a smaller Austrian flag to his left. A run of 600,000 stamps will be printed, Grobmann said.

Dangling from Meat Hooks, for Fun

Dangling from Meat Hooks, for Fun

MIAMI (Reuters) - Law enforcement officials in the Florida Keys are mystified by a bizarre new pastime -- young people dangling themselves from meat hooks on a popular sandbar.

A U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman said on Sunday that the Monroe County sheriff's office and Coast Guard were called on July 12 to the sandbar off Whale Harbor in Islamorada where locals say wild behavior is becoming a tradition.

They found that five young people had erected a bamboo tripod and hung meat hooks from it. A young woman, her feet brushing the surface of the shallow water, dangled from the frame, hooks embedded firmly in her shoulders.

According to a Coast Guard video, she did not seem to mind the hooks.

Lt. Tom Brazil of the Coast Guard told the Key West Citizen newspaper that a young man, who also had hooks embedded in his heavily pierced and tattooed skin, assured him the group was "just enjoying the afternoon."

A Coast Guard spokeswoman in Miami said the group had clearly done this before and intended to post photos of themselves on a Web site dedicated to "body modification" -- the ritualistic piercing of the body.

“It looked like a daily routine for them," she said, adding that the hooks had been inserted in the skin in a professional manner and had drawn very little blood."

"As long as they weren't creating any kind of ruckus or riot within a crowd they really weren't breaking any laws."

The Coast Guard passed the video on to federal justice authorities but no further action will be taken.

Copyright © 2003 Reuters Limited.