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by Pauli Poisuo
Most crime movies employ ludicrous twists, custom designed to make you blurt out a “WHAAAAAAT,” and make your face do Jim Carrey things. Real life is a much less interesting critter ... most of the time. Every once in a while, we see a very real case that seems to be just like any other. And then it takes an unexpected 180º turn, puts its foot on the pedal and charges screaming into WTF Valley.
A Serial Harasser Turns Out To Be ... A Broken Oil Heater
1995, Billerica, Massachusetts. Donna Graybeal has a problem: She has been targeted by a particularly tenacious phone harasser. This guy’s dickery would be impressive even if it was today and he had a horde of ’bots at his disposal. We’re talking six months of nonstop phone terror, to the tune of over 2,600 creepy phone calls. The phone rang every 90 minutes to the second, and whenever Donna picked up, there was no voice on the line -- just a strange sound of rushing air, a click and a dial tone. It got so creepy that she said she’d actually preferred if the poop-vessel harassing her would have bombarded her with obscenities. At least that way she’d know it was a regular ol’ pervert instead of whatever stopwatch-obsessed mute maniac was behind this particular campaign of terror.
Eventually, Graybeal had had enough of the constant barrage and called the cops. The police managed to track the calls to a suburban home in Potomac, Md. The case was as good as closed. The only thing they needed to do now was to knock on the door and arrest the culprit ... who turned out to be an old, automated oil heater.
“I will make you love me.”
Years ago, the heater had been equipped with a device that would automatically dial an oil company whenever the fuel was running low. As years passed and phone numbers migrated, the number connected to the now long-defunct apparatus became Graybeal’s phone number. Completely unnoticed, the device activated one day and started dialing.
Where it gets weird (well, weirder) is that no one seems to know precisely how the machine woke up from its slumber and started auto-dialing Donna Graybeal in an attempt to score some sweet, sweet oil. The best they could do was to say that “something resurrected this machine”, and “It’s one of those things that make you stop and scratch your head.”
Still, that’s real life for you: In movies, SkyNet sends us future robots that rock leather jackets and wield shotguns. In our reality, it wakes up elderly oil tanks and forces them to prank-call random ladies.
A Full-On Wild West Style Shootout Breaks Out ... Over A Pooping Dog
Way back in the ancient times of 2011, a 60-year-old Mississippi man (Jerry Blasingame) confronted his 52 year old neighbor and longtime nemesis (Terry Tehnet), and told him, “Meet me at the levee and I’ll shoot you down.” And then they did. The two grizzled veterans settled their grudges by going full Wild West duel on each other.
The thing is, this was no Wild West. We mean, the particular terrain the two men occupied during the shootout technically was, but since this happened in 2011, the rest of the world protested their antics. The Sheriff’s department showed up, one man ended up in the hospital and the other one in jail. Still, at least the matter was settled and the men’s honor was ... honored. Right?
No. No, it wasn’t. It's hard to mine honor when your noble duel is actually just a ridiculously over-escalated argument over a pooping dog. Mr. Tenet was of the opinion that Mr. Blasingame’s mutt ought not to relieve itself on Tenet’s property, so he visited its owner to complain. Somehow, the following argument escalated to a point where Blasingame straight up challenged Tenet to settle things with guns.
“After our duel, you guys wanna get a beer?”
How things went from there is a classic Rashomon tale, with both men offering wildly different versions of how things went down. Blasingame claims Tenet chickened out from the initial battle, but they met later met for another one. Both claim that the other guy shot first. Tenet was the hospitalized one, but Blasingame insists that he’s also, like, super full of shotgun pellets, and only shot back after Tenet had already shot twice, anyway.
In light of all this gunfire and misinformation, it’s no surprise that the Sheriff’s department adapted a fairly stoic attitude to the case. In one of the finer stealth burns we’ve seen, a Washington County Chief Deputy Sheriff had this to say about the incident: “Homeowners and property owners need to respect each other’s property ... If a dog did that in your yard, call the law. Don’t take matters in your own hands.”
Notice how he only said that folks like Tenet and Blasingame should respect each other’s property, and gave precisely zero damns about them respecting each other’s lives.
A Police Interrogation Shuts Down ... Because Of The Suspect’s Rancid Farts
Imagine that you’re a grizzled detective, complete with the stereotypical trench coat and fedora that would in reality almost certainly get you kicked off the force, because come on, man. Fueled by caffeine and witty banter with your fellow law enforcers, you’re ready to tackle the first task of your day: Interrogation of a suspected drug dealer who’d been caught with a bunch of various narcotics and stolen handguns.
Expecting a slam dunk, you enter interrogation room #2 with your best “bad cop” game face. The suspect is nervous, the room is cramped and sweaty. You sit down, begin the proceedings, and then, suddenly:
The face of pure, unbridled pride.
Did ... did that guy just fart? Holy crap, he did! And then he does it again. And again. And again. Your interrogation train veers wildly off the rails as the suspect lets loose with one mightily impressive butt trumpet after another. And then, The Smell hits you. It merits the capitalization: It’s just the worst thing you’ve ever smelled, like rotten eggs mixed with the lost hopes of a thousand orphans. Blindly stumbling away from the scene as your sinuses slowly melt, you realize too late that this is no ordinary man you’ve arrested. This is a damn super villain, and you just lost.
At least, that’s how we imagine things went down in 2017 when Sean A. Sykes Jr. unleashed such a mighty torrent that the Kansas City police had to call off his interrogation because they couldn’t physically bear to be in the same room. While a novel strategy, this ultimately did little to derail the actual investigation, and we strongly suspect that he couldn’t repeat this trick too many times.
Still, we’d like to think that he’s still in there today; just patiently stalling his case by unleashing a seasonal storm of foul derriere wind whenever someone enters the room with intent to interrogate.
Police Sweep A Zoo For Drugs ... Thanks To An Animal’s Smelly Pee
The maned wolf is a curious creature that sort of looks like a fox and kind of like a wolf without really being either. That’s the second strangest thing about it. The strangest one is its urine, which smells a whole lot like marijuana. Like, so much that it once caused a drug hunt in a zoo. This happened in the Netherlands, by the way. That’s how similar the smells are -- people living in the nation where Amsterdam is, constantly belching second hand smoke at the rest of the country, can’t tell the difference.
The incident unfolded in the Rotterdam Zoo, where a person caught a whiff of someone smoking a veritable haystack, and promptly called the cops. Because even the history books get embarrassed sometimes, the details about the search that followed are tragically vague. So let’s just illustrate their futile chase for the dastardly pot smokers with this Keystone Kops slapstick chase scene:
Eventually, a zoo employee with more than a passing knowledge of the maned wolf’s signature traits emerged, and explained the pee thing to the cops. After presumably spending an uncomfortable amount of time glaring at the animal just in case they had been lied to and it was actually just, like, super high, the officers left the scene.
Then, the maned wolf let out a barely audible sigh of relief, muttered something about “the pigs” under its breath, and relit the joint it had been hiding behind its back.
A Suspected Terrorist ... Was A Woman Who Got Put On A Watch List By Her Douchebag Husband
Authorities take the assorted watch lists that are an unfortunate part of today’s international travel nearly as seriously as we take Burrito Wednesday. So when a particular lady on the UK Terrorist Watch List -- we’ll call her Martha McNofly -- kept trying to board Britain-bound planes in Pakistan, the airport officials did what they had to do: they kept her stranded in Pakistan. For three freakin’ years.
One day, word arrived that she should be allowed to access Britain whenever the hell she wanted, and everyone better be pretty damn polite about it. W-what? Had Martha McNofly been some sort of deep-cover MI6 agent all along? Did she cut an amnesty deal with the British government in exchange for whatever mysterious terrorist cell intel she was willing to share?
No, it turned out that she was a perfectly ordinary person who had ended up on the no-fly list solely because her buttwipe of a husband had tagged her as a terrorist so he could get rid of her. Because ... divorces are hard, we guess?
“Why does that sign keep popping up everywhere I go?”
Mrs. McNofly was of Pakistani descent, and her husband was both a dick and a British Border Agent working for a unit in charge of their watch lists. So he waited until she visited her relatives back in Pakistan, and then put her name on the list.
Luckily for the lady, her husband’s copious awful traits involved complete idiocy. His plot could have easily lasted forever, if Mr. Dumbass Border Agent hadn’t decided to apply for a promotion within his agency. To the infinite surprise of him and absolutely no one else, the process involved a brand new background check. His superiors immediately noticed that he had a close family member on the no-fly list, and the whole plot unfolded like a paper plane made by a toddler. The woman’s reputation was restored, and the man’s promotion fell through due to getting immediately super-fired for gross misconduct.
Like this article? Check out “Criminals So Hilariously Inept, They Made The News” and “5 Of The Ballsiest Scams People Tried To Pull Off”.