Check back here daily for the latest oddball stories that just may give you a chuckle or leave you scratching your head.
Florida woman's gruesome roach-in-ear tale goes viral
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Those screams you hear?
They're the collective sounds of primal anguish after reading a Florida woman's account of waking up with a palmetto bug in her ear. (That's the polite name for a flying cockroach, for those of you not acquainted with the reviled Sunshine State insects.)
Katie Holley's gruesome experience happened in the early morning hours of April 14. Soon after, her sister-in-law — who works as an editor for Self Magazine — asked her to pen an essay . She did, in frightening, gut-churning detail that's made thousands of people across the nation wonder if they should sleep with earplugs.
"Never thought I'd be known for such a ridiculous thing lol," she tweeted to a reporter on Thursday. It should be noted that Holley has an extremely positive attitude and healthy sense of humor about an episode that would send many into a spiral of anxiety, including this reporter.
"I need therapy for a lot of reasons, but this experience blows all of those other reasons out of the water," Holley wrote.
Holley, who is 29 and works as a sales and marketing manager in Melbourne on the state's east coast, has lived in Florida since 1995. Which means she's seen her fair share of palmetto bugs, which are brown, ubiquitous, and can grow to an inch-and-a-half long or more. It doesn't matter how clean your home is — it's almost a given that every building has one or more.
And they come out at night.
"When I woke up with this weird feeling, I didn't know what it was. But 30 seconds later, stumbling to the bathroom, I knew," she said. "I knew there was something in my ear."
(Dear Reader, just stop now if you're squeamish. Really.)
Holley's next several hours were the stuff of horror movies. She gingerly put a cotton swab in her ear and fished out two legs. Her husband "located the thickest part of the roach that was visible" and tried to extract it, to no avail.
(Seriously, it gets worse.)
The bug wriggled in her ear on the trip to the hospital.
"As the doctor administered the Lidocaine, the roach began to...react. Feeling a roach in the throes of death, lodged in a very sensitive part of your body, is unlike anything I can adequately explain," she wrote.
A doctor removed three chunks — but that wasn't the end of the ordeal.
(You've been warned.)
Nine days later, Holley still had lingering discomfort and hearing loss, so she went to her family doctor.
"My physician proceeded to remove the leg and flush my ear again, only to examine it and see even more remnants. She ended up pulling out six more pieces of the roach's carcass—nine days after the incident took place."
Here's the bad news.
"This may be upsetting to many people, but it's a pretty common thing," said Dr. David Wein, chief of emergency medicine at Tampa General Hospital, who added that the hospital gets a dozen or so cases a year. "There are probably not a lot of preventative things you can do. In Florida it's really hard, because we all have bugs in our house, no matter how many times you spray."
In fact, Holley said, she and her husband had hired an exterminator about a week before the incident.
"I think it's one of those freak things, unfortunately," she said. "It happened to me, so it's probably not going to happen to you."
Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush
Twins born on 'Star Wars' Day named after movie characters
OGDEN, Utah — The force is with them.
A Utah couple became parents of a boy and a girl on "Star Wars" day, Friday, May 4. The day is celebrated by "Star Wars" fans because it sounds like the movie's line, "May the force be with you."
Kendall and Ross Robbins said Monday they named the children Rowan Luke and Kai Leia and decorated their nursery in a "Star Wars" theme.
Their middle names are two of the main figures in the movie franchise. The couple says they chose to be induced on May 4 and had other middle names picked out just in case, but didn't need to use them.
As Kendall Robbins says, "the force is strong with them."
The twins' home nursery is decorated in a "Star Wars" theme.
The story was first reported by KSTU-TV in Salt Lake City.
Raccoon family drops through ceiling of Michigan home
SHERIDAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A family of raccoons created a chaotic scene when they fell through a ceiling and into the living room of a Michigan home.
The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports that a homeowner in Sheridan Township sought help Friday after the raccoons fell from an attic. Police and firefighters easily picked up the four baby raccoons, but the mother eluded capture.
She bit a responder's gloves before hiding in a closet. The Albion Department of Public Safety posted video of the response on its Facebook page.
Police said in a statement that a dog catcher pole was used to collar the raccoon. No people or animals were injured in the incident.
The raccoons were taken away and released into the wild.
Information from: Jackson Citizen Patriot, http://www.mlive.com/jackson
Drunken man's choice of bed causes Munich commuter chaos
BERLIN — An intoxicated man's ill-advised decision to spend the night on a freight train caused commuter chaos in Munich as police had to shut down all traffic at a busy station to look for him.
Munich police said Monday they received an emergency call at 5:20 a.m. from a man who said he'd woken up in a container on a train near the Pasing station, Munich's third largest, and couldn't get out.
But police say the 25-year-old city man was so drunk when he entered the container he wasn't sure where it was.
Police shut down all rail traffic and went train-to-train, eventually finding him at 6:20 a.m.
In total, 86 trains were affected with 1,280 minutes of delays, 37 cancellations and 21 partial cancellations. The man faces trespassing-related charges.
House where Lizzie Borden lived after acquittal opening soon
FALL RIVER, Mass. — The Massachusetts mansion where Lizzie Borden lived after being acquitted of the ax murders of her father and stepmother will soon be open for overnight stays and tours.
The Herald News reports crews are finishing renovations and the owners of the Fall River home known as Maplecroft hope their bed and breakfast opens for business within a month or so.
The home retains some features from Borden's time, including floral wallpaper in the dining room and a tin ceiling in the kitchen.
Maplecroft is not the house where Andrew and Abby Borden were slain in 1892. That home is now the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum.
Lizzie Borden and her sister moved to Maplecroft in 1894. She lived there until her death in 1927.
Both homes have the same ownership.
Information from: The (Fall River, Mass.) Herald News, http://www.heraldnews.com
Colorado woman cited after microwave blows up urine sample
DENVER — A Colorado woman has been cited by police after a container of what appeared to be urine blew up as she was heating it up in a microwave at a 7-Eleven.
Police say the incident occurred in the convenience store chain's Aurora location last week when the clerk heard a loud bang and saw 26-year-old Angelique Sanchez take a white plastic bottle out of the microwave.
A police report says when confronted by the clerk, Sanchez wiped a yellow liquid that smelled like urine onto the floor and walked out.
Police located Sanchez at a nearby clinic where she had planned to take a urinalysis test for a potential employer.
The Denver woman was issued a summons for damaged property. She could not be reached for comment.
New way to see art? Paris museum welcomes naked visitors
PARIS — Visitors at a leading contemporary art museum in Paris didn't leave only their coats in the cloakroom — they left all their clothes.
The Palais du Tokyo museum opened its doors to nudists for a special visit Saturday. It's part of growing efforts by France's tiny nudist community to encourage acceptance of clothes-free activities, after a nudist restaurant and nudist park opened in the French capital.
The museum visit was arranged before regular opening hours so the nudists wouldn't mingle with other visitors. They viewed an exhibit of contemporary works focused on "Discord."
Organizers said they are hoping to attract younger members and get rid of "complexes" around their nudist practices, which they don't wanted "limited to beaches, summertime or a certain category of the population."
School's chief out for run charged with public defecation
HOLMDEL, N.J. — Police have charged a New Jersey school superintendent identified as the person who has been relieving himself on the grounds of a high school football field and track.
Authorities say 42-year-old Thomas Tramaglini was caught Monday following an early morning run at Holmdel High School's athletic facilities. He faces charges of public defecation, lewdness and littering.
Police say staff members were watching to see who was leaving human feces on the property on a regular basis.
Tramaglini lives several miles from the school but is superintendent of a different school district, in Kenilworth. The district says he's on a paid leave of absence.
A telephone message seeking his comment was not returned Thursday. The Asbury Park Press said he declined to answer questions from a reporter outside his home.
— Associated Press
Ohio couple awakens to find stranger asleep on couch
RITTMAN, Ohio — Authorities say a couple in Ohio was startled to find a stranger who had helped himself to leftover Easter candy and then fell asleep on the couch of their apartment.
Rittman police say a 36-year-old man climbed through an unlocked window, got his a sugar fix and fell asleep overnight Friday in the couple's living room. A male resident of the home called 911 around 6 a.m. to report that "some random guy" wouldn't wake up. He can be heard yelling at the man to "get out of here."
The man did leave and was arrested nearby. Officers found prescription medication and two knives on him.
Police say the man is being charged with aggravated burglary.
Rittman is roughly 45 miles (72 kilometers) south of downtown Cleveland.
Hungry bear breaks into California home, snacks on fruit
NORTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A hungry bear broke into a California home and snacked on bread and fruit before sheriff's deputies were able to chase it away.
The Placer County sheriff's office posted a video of the bear inside the house on its Twitter account Thursday.
Bears are coming out of hibernation and deputies say this particular bear broke into a house at Northstar, North Lake Tahoe for groceries.
The homeowners called for help. In the video, the bear can be seen on a kitchen island.
Man literally trips up armed suspect outside Ohio library
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Police in Ohio's capital city say fancy footwork outside a library tripped up an armed suspect's efforts to flee from police.
WCMH-TV reports a man identified by Columbus police only as "Bill" is seen in a video April 3 sticking out his leg and sending a man with a handgun tucked in his waistband tumbling to the ground. Bill was alerted by police sirens that day while waiting for his granddaughter outside the library.
Columbus police say Bill's intervention may have saved the suspect's life, allowing officers to catch up and arrest him without shots being fired. The suspect's handgun, loaded with 29 rounds in a magazine, fell to the ground and was recovered by police.
The man was arrested. It's unclear what prompted officers to begin chasing him.
With Taj Mahal turning a bit green, Indian court gets mad
NEW DELHI — The Taj Mahal, that shining white monument to love, is turning a little ... green. And yellow. And black.
And India's Supreme Court is not pleased.
"You all appear to be helpless," a Supreme Court judge told government officials earlier this week, after an environmental lawyer argued that pollution and insect dung were discoloring the 17th-century building.
"Money should not be the consideration. We might order you to hire experts from within India or abroad. We need to save it," the judge said, according to numerous Indian media reports. The reports did not give the judge's name.
The officials, representing the central government and Uttar Pradesh state, where the Taj is located, were given until Wednesday to come up with a plan and report back to the court.
Built by Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife in the north Indian city of Agra, the monument has been losing its sheen for years. The Archaeological Survey of India, the agency responsible for preserving the country's monuments, has been coating portions of the Taj with a special clay that, when it is removed, also takes away most discolorations.
But M.C. Mehta, the lawyer who brought the case to the court, said not enough is being done.
"The white sheen is disappearing and instead of that if the green color, the brown color, the other colors ... are visible, then what is the reason? The reason is that the pollution has become alarming," he said in an interview after the hearing.
One of the world's most famous tourist attractions, the Taj Mahal includes a mosque and the graves of the emperor and his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Agra is a major north Indian industrial center, and the city is often covered with a fog of pollution. Experts say air pollution and swarms of breeding insects are threatening the Taj by leaving green, yellow and black patches.
Mehta said authorities have not complied with earlier Supreme Court orders to protect the Taj by shutting down area factories.