This is the time of year where various outlets are compiling their year-in-review type lists, so we thought we’d take a look back at 2009 and re-live some of the best “Weird News” stories from around Connecticut.
Originally, we were going to do a Top 10 list, but while going through the archives, we realized that there were so many memorable odd stories from Connecticut that actually made national headlines, we thought we’d double down and include them all. Think of it as “20 for 20-10.” Or not.
Anyway, without further ado —
The Damned Connecticut Top 20 Weird News Stories of 2009
20. Bunny With Two Noses Born [April 1, 2009] – No April Fool’s joke — a bunny with two noses was born in the Purr-Fect Pets shop in Milford. Talk about a rabbit test!
19. Twin Cop Pretending to Be Brother Sexaully Assaults Woman [August 22, 2009] – Speaking of double-dipping, Orange police officer Jared Rohrig was arrested after pretending to be his twin brother and then attempting to dupe his brother’s girlfriend into having sex with him. The victim realized she was with the wrong brother when she noticed that a tattoo was missing. No doubt the family holiday party was awkward this year.
18. “Nurse of the Year” Is Not a Nurse [August 7, 2009] – Betty Lichtenstein of Norwalk, who spent over $2,000 to stage a phony banquet honoring herself as “Nurse of the Year,” and who had been treating patients for Dr. Gerald Weiss, was arrested by authorities for falsifying her nursing certification. Ironically, it was a patient who first suspected something was wrong while being “treated” by Lichtenstein, and alerted authorities. We know about playing doctor, but this obviously takes it to a new level.
17. Man Allegedly Made Wife Eat Dirt [September 4, 2009] – Alan Gamache of Morris was arrested for allegedly having tried to make his girlfriend eat dirt during a dispute. The victim says Gamache actually took a clump of earth and shoved it in her mouth. From what we understand, Poison approved of his actions. (Sort of.)
16. Bigfoot is a Big Fake in Fairfield [July 2, 2009] – A woman driving along Unquowa Road in Fairfield reported to police that she almost hit a “Sasquatch” standing in the road. Unfortunately for Connecticut cryptozoologists, it only turned out to be a 16-year-old boy in a gorilla costume trying to have some fun. Just some monkey shines, obviously.
15. Naked Man Arrested on Beach [April 28, 2009] – Saying he wanted to “live like Jesus,” Angelo Dicks (real name) was arrested when he was found naked on Short Beach (shrinkage!) in Stratford. Obviously, way too many possible jokes here — insert your own!
14. Teacher Makes Kid Eat out of Garbage [March 18, 2009] – A Bridgeport kindergarten teacher, concerned that one of her students hadn’t eaten all of his lunch, forced the child to take a banana that he had discarded out of a garbage can and eat it. No word if it had been in there for more than 5 seconds.
13. Bride Saves Family from Burning House [June 1, 2009] – Newly married Georgette Clemons saw smoke pouring out of a house so she stopped the car on the way from her wedding reception, got out — white gown and all — and started banging on the front door to help get a Bridgeport family to safety. “It was quite an eventful day,” said the bride afterward — and that was before the Wedding Night!
12. Holy Cow! [December 9, 2009] – Moses the calf was born in Sterling with an unusual birthmark on his forehead — a white cross. Obviously, a divine bovine if there ever was one, and if he some day ends up on a plate, he’ll be (in the words of Homer Simpson), “Mmm … sacrilicious!”
11. Passionate Screams Mistaken, Assault Ensues [July 2, 2009] – Roger Swanson of Torrington was beaten with baseball bats after a group of teens allegedly misunderstood the sounds of passion between he and girlfriend Melanie Arnold. The teens heard the noises, opened the bedroom door and administered a physical bit of coitus interruptus, which you know, will sort of ruin the mood.
10. Church Group Casts Out “Homosexual” Demons [June 25, 2009] – The Manifested Glories Ministries of Bridgeport posted to YouTube videos of a ceremony during which they attempted to “cure” a 16-year-old by exorcising his “homosexual demons.” Pastor Patricia McKinney lead the fellow “open-minded” members of her congregation in exhorting the “evil” out of the boy, chanting and demanding that the “perverted” spirits leave, which was appropriate because a person who uses “faith” to persecute innocent and confused kids is obviously well-acquainted with “perversion.”
9. & 8. Drug Raid Uncovers Skull and Blood [June 10, 2009] & Child’s Body Stolen From CT Grave, Found in NJ River [July 8, 2009] – It turned out that these two disturbing stories may have been related. First, a routine drug bust in Bridgeport stunned officers when upon entering a house they discovered blood on the walls and a human skull on display. Less than a month later, the body of two-year-old was stolen from a Stamford cemetery and somehow turned up in New Jersey’s Passaic River. Authorities suspected that the crimes may have been part of rituals involving Palo, an unusual Cuban-African religion which features human-type sacrifices. The rest of us suspect it’s just freaking creepy!
7. Plane Crashes Wedding [August 9, 2009] – A small single-engine plane piloted by Dr. Albert Sheehy crash-landed in Long Island Sound off of Westbrook, only a few hundred feet from the wedding reception of Susan and Don McCaulson. Dr. Sheehy walked away perfectly dry and unharmed from the crash; the new couple were also unscathed, although they are still married, so that can always change.
6. Man Puts Parents Up for Sale on Craigslist [August 31, 2009] – As “a joke,” Michael Amatrudo of Madison listed his parents, Ed and Arlene Amatrudo of Noank, as being for sale on Craigslist. The listing, in part, read: “I got lots of use out of these guys over the past 50 years, but it’s time to move on. Will consider trade for newer model, hot blonde under age 40 or an Erector Set in good condition. MUST SEE! Please email or call Michael for additional details and pics. $155.00 OBO.” As parents ourselves, all we can say is: UNGRATEFUL BRAT!
5. 52-Year-Old Man Fakes Way into High School [August 29, 2009] – Retired police officer Christopher Schildt, 52, created an elaborate scheme to manufacture an identity as an 18-year-old — including claiming he was undergoing cancer treatment — to enroll as a student in Waterford High School. He said his purpose was to prove how easily terrorists could infiltrate American schools, at which he was sort of successful, you know, except for the part where he looked nothing like an 18-year-old and was caught in less than a day.
4. Bad Karaoke Singer Beaten [September 25, 2009] – A woman was attacked and beaten by six other women while singing karaoke at Bobby Valentine’s Sports Gallery in Stamford. After being heckled, the singer allegedly told the women they could leave, which sparked the brawl that resulted in multiple bruises and a chipped tooth for the aspiring songbird. Alcoholic consumption — and bad singing — just may have been involved. Still no word what song was being sung, although it should’ve been “Boom Boom Pow!”
3. State Archaeologist Caught in Hitler Controversy [September 30, 2009] – Connecticut state archaeologist Nichalos Bellantoni was in the middle of an international controversy about a skull that the Russian government has claimed was Adolph Hitler’s. During an episode of “MysteryQuest” on the History Channel, it was shown how Bellantoni and his team were allowed to examine the skull and take fragments for testing, which proved the skull was that of a 20-year-old woman. Afterward, Russian authorities claimed that they had “never heard” of Bellantoni and that he had never been in their archives, although the History Channel’s footage proves otherwise.
2. The Real “Haunting in Connecticut” House: No Ghosts Here [March 2009] – In the hype surrounding the film The Haunting in Connecticut, the family who currently lives in the Southington home around which the case revolved claimed that they’ve never had any ghostly encounters and that their home is perfectly normal. Of course, the real-life mother from the movie, Carmen Reed, and ghosthunter extraordinaire Lorraine Warren, contend that paranormal things did happen in the former funeral home, and that the house was a portal to hell. Whatever the “truth,” The Haunting in Connecticut will continue to create debate for everyone who enjoys exploring the paranormal in Connecticut.
1. Travis the Chimp Attacks [February 17, 2009] – Undoubtedly, the most weird — and truly horrifying — story of 2009 was when Travis, an adult chimp being kept as a “pet” in Stamford by Sandra Herold, went berserk and mauled Herold’s friend Charla Nash. In the unprovoked and vicious attack, Travis literally tore Nash’s entire face off as well as both her hands while Herold stood by trying to call police. When authorities arrived, they ended the assault by shooting and killing Travis, but Nash’s nightmare was just beginning. After spending months in a coma, followed by a long and arduous rehab (that will continue for years), Nash recently shared her gruesome injuries on “Oprah.” [Seriously, not for the faint of heart — the woman literally has no face left.]
So that’s the Weird News wrap-up for 2009. Here’s hoping 2010 is just as damned weird!