Wait, What? | News of the Weird | Salt Lake City Weekly

Wait, What? 

A weekly roundup of international news oddities

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Wait, What?
The Saucon Valley School District in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, and The Satanic Temple have come to an agreement, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Earlier in 2023, the district had banned the temple from using its facilities at Saucon Valley Middle School to host the After School Satan Club (motto: Educatin' With Satan). But on Nov. 16, the district agreed to cover the temple's attorney fees and give the club the same access to facilities as "comparable groups." However, The Satanic Temple noted that they do not run the clubs in districts where there are no Christian-based religious programs; since the district's Good News Club appears to be defunct this year, the After School Satan Club will be on hold.

Supernatural
According to the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, a number of "witch bottles," created to deter evil spirits, are washing up along Gulf Coast beaches, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on Nov. 20. The bottles are part of old-school spell casting; they contain objects including iron nails, rusty pins, hair and urine. Jace Tunnell of the institute thinks the bottles originate in the Caribbean and South America. "I've found around eight of these bottles and never opened one. I have five of them on my fence in the backyard since my wife won't let me bring them inside," he said. Tunnell said the bottles are intended to "draw in and trap harmful intentions directed at their owners."

Let This Be a Warning to You
Office Christmas parties are on the horizon, so take this cautionary tale to heart: Alana Bechiom filed a lawsuit last week in Los Angeles Superior Court over a Christmas party that went very sideways last year at a San Pedro, California, Taco Bell, where she worked at the time. KTLA-TV reported that Bechiom's manager invited her to the potluck staff party, and Bechiom brought a bowl of guacamole. When she arrived, she said, she realized her manager had "covered the windows of the restaurant with wrapping paper" and had covered the lobby cameras. She noted that the supervisor had provided alcohol and some staffers were "overserved." After stepping outside for a moment late in the evening, Bechiom returned to find a co-worker "having sex with his wife in front of everyone at the party;" the wife was also kissing the manager and another female co-worker. Bechiom said she ran out of the restaurant but went back in to get her guacamole bowl, where she found the manager and co-worker vomiting, one in her bowl. Bechiom reported the incident to Taco Bell, and the manager and co-worker were fired, but since then she's been threatened and had her car windows shattered. Bechiom said she has suffered "actual, consequential and incidental financial losses;" her lawsuit names Taco Bell and the franchise owner, who she said "did nothing about the threats." Taco Bell says they "take these claims very seriously."

• Angela Presti of Parma, Ohio, was so excited to bring home her first real Christmas tree and decorate it with her daughter, WKYC-TV reported. But a few hours later, she noticed her face was swollen and "My cheek was hot and itchy," she said. "My tongue, I felt like I could swallow it, except I couldn't swallow and my throat started closing and my breathing was wheezy." Presti called her dad, who rushed her to the emergency room. She said medical staff weren't surprised that it might be the tree; about 7% of the population suffers from Christmas Tree Syndrome, caused not so much by the tree itself as the mold that grows on it in the sales lot. Presti's doctor suggested she go back to an artificial tree.

Least Competent Criminals
Three unnamed men were taken into custody in St. Louis, Missouri, on Nov. 16 after accidentally locking themselves in a city jail known as the Workhouse, KSDK-TV reported. The Workhouse, a medium-security lockup, has been empty for more than a year; the trespassers had to call 911 after getting themselves trapped inside. After being sprung, they were arrested for property damage, burglary and stealing.

Mystery Solved
Residents of Tees Valley in Northeast England have been flummoxed by about 1,000 small blue balls that have washed up on their beaches since mid-November, Metro News reported. The bright blue orbs are made of a rubberlike substance, and many people believe the appearance has to do with storms and strong currents disturbing a deposit of balls on the seabed. As it turns out, the balls are called Taprogge balls, after their manufacturer, and they're used to clean the local power station's pipes. Sometimes they get released into the sea, but station officials say there's been no release lately. "They do this every week, they go through with the balls. It's a closed system and the balls shouldn't escape," said Jacky Watson from the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust. "They are natural and will biodegrade but are still a hazard. We put the word out locally if people found the balls, they could let us know."

Inexplicable
Tapacio Sanchez, 35, wasn't even a guest at the La Quinta Inn in Naples, Florida, when she started taking out her aggressions on the fire suppression systems there on Nov. 18, WINK-TV reported. Managers at the hotel asked Sanchez to leave the premises, but instead she tampered with the HVAC circuit breaker, ripping out internal wiring, and damaged eight sprinkler heads. Next, Sanchez took off for the Olive Garden restaurant next door, where she was discovered in the restroom with a dog (not hers). Police said she was speaking gibberish. She was arrested; the dog was returned to its owner.

• Thieves made off with a questionable booty on Nov. 20 in Philadelphia, WPVI-TV reported. While a tractor-trailer was parked in a Target lot, six men broke the locks on the back of the trailer and stole multiple cases of talcum powder, police said. The driver was in the cab at the time but was unaware of the burglary until he started to drive away.

Awesome!
At an adoption event on Nov. 11, the Anti-Cruelty Society, a Chicago animal shelter, had just one dog left: Elvis, a "3-year-old meatball," People reported. So the ACS took to Facebook to appeal for Elvis' placement: "Elvis was the only dog that didn't find a home during our Fall in Love adoption week. He met a lot of potential adopters ... Help us find Elvis a family to love!" Three days later, Elvis' dreams came true in a serendipitous way: Loren Michael Agron—who used to work as an Elvis Presley impersonator—and Drew Wilhelm took Elvis home. "Elvis has LEFT the building," the ACS announced. "We couldn't be happier for Elvis, who finally got his happily ever after!" The couple report that the canine king of rock has settled in nicely: "His personality is shining through so much." He may be nothin' but a "Hound Dog," but Elvis is not "Lonesome Tonight."

Send your weird news items to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com

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