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The Odd Truth, July 2, 2004

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum.

Letting It All Hang Out

LOS ANGELES - If the autopsy scenes in CSI make you queasy - you won't like the Body Worlds exhibit. Body Worlds: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies opens today at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The display includes 25 actual human bodies, preserved by replacing biological fluids with clear plastic. One of the cadavers is a pregnant woman lying on her side as if posing for a nude photo. But her skin is stripped away exposing the heart, intestines and her eight-month-old fetus. Some have been shocked by the display, but German scientist Gunther von Hagens defends the exhibit he created. He says it's time to show how the body really looks. Museum officials say children under 13 will only be admitted with a parent or guardian.

Poisoned Cupcake Caper

EDWARDSVILLE, Kansas - A couple has been accused of trying to kill the mayor of a Kansas City suburb and her husband with poisoned soda and cupcakes sent through the mail.

Donna Ozuna-Trout, 47, and Ralph Trout, 57, were charged Thursday with attempted first-degree murder.

They're accused of mailing poisoned food to the home of their neighbors, Mayor Stephanie Eickhoff and James Eickhoff, a lieutenant in the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office. No one consumed the poisoned food or drink.

The mayor said her family received the package in late April. Inside, she said, was a card addressed to her, her husband and their three children, ages 6, 8 and 14.

The state has evidence linking Trout and Ozuna-Trout to the package, which contained a 2-liter bottle of soda and cupcakes spiked with chemicals including lye and antifreeze, prosecutor Nick Tomasic said.

Tomasic said the seal on the bottle was broken and the cupcakes obviously were tainted.

Defense attorney Kevin Baldwin said he believes the evidence against his clients is circumstantial and won't be enough for a conviction.

The two families have been embroiled in an ongoing feud for several years, including lawsuits filed by each, the mayor said.

Stolen Kiss Goes Unpunished

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Stealing a kiss is not a crime, a jury has decided.

A computer repairman who kissed a customer during a house call was acquitted of battery Wednesday.

Steven Allen Moyer, 40, said he figured the woman was lonely and might want companionship.

"She said she didn't have a steady boyfriend," Moyer testified. "I asked her if she wanted a boyfriend for 15 minutes."

Victoria Franich said Moyer cornered her, grabbed her and kissed her twice - after billing her $20 for the service call. She said Moyer also asked her if she wanted to show him the bedroom.

"I said no and he left," she said. Franich then called police.

The five-man, one-woman jury took 90 minutes to acquit Moyer.

Breast Implant Punctured With Broken Wine Glass

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Two exotic dancers who punctured a third dancer's breast implant with a broken wine glass onstage have been spared jail time.

According to testimony Wednesday in British Columbia Supreme Court, customers in a downtown nightclub were stunned when two dancers attacked a third after a performance on July 18, 2002, cutting her in the right breast and rupturing her implant.

The attackers got angry because they believe the dancer had a snooty attitude, Justice Deborah A. Satanove was told.

Andrea Hauser, 25, convicted of aggravated assault, was sentenced to a year of community service, a year on probation and payment of $3,750 to the injured dancer for medical expenses.

Shayla Clewis, 25, convicted of assault, received a three-month conditional sentence and three months on probation.

Insane Man Summoned For Jury Duty

HOUSTON - A legally insane Houston man who gouged his girlfriend's eyes with a steak knife has received a jury summons and might be able to serve, but lawyers say it's doubtful he'll be picked for a panel.

Nathan Dale Campbell was first summoned to report for Harris County jury service Monday, but the date was then rescheduled to Aug. 30, said a staffer in the district clerk's office.

Campbell, 30, was acquitted in 1997 after a jury found he was legally insane when he attacked girlfriend Kristen West the previous year, blinding her in one eye and permanently damaging her sight in the other. Campbell received treatment as an inpatient at the Kerrville State Hospital.

The attack followed West's refusal of Campbell's marriage proposal. He said he thought her eyes were demons.

State District Judge Debbie Mantooth Stricklin in June 2003 ordered Campbell released from the state hospital in Kerrville after doctors said he was ready to live in the community under supervision.

Although the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure lists insanity as an "absolute disqualification" for jury service, it also adds the statement that "both parties may consent."

A 1952 court ruling holds that an insane person may not serve on a jury even if the state and defendant agree otherwise, attorney Susan Crump, a professor at South Texas College of Law, told the Houston Chronicle in Friday's editions.

Jim Leitner, Campbell's lawyer, said his client is legally qualified to serve if he wants to, but that his selection was unlikely. Leitner said Stricklin's finding of insanity applies only to the time when the offense occurred, and doctors have since determined Campbell is well enough to live outside an institution.

But Is It Art?

OSLO, Norway - An artist's plan to film volunteers having sex in a transparent teepee has sparked a debate in Norway about what is art and what is pornography.

Shu Lea Cheang plans to set up the tent among the crowds at the annual Quart Music Festival in the southern Norwegian town of Kristiansand next week, and let anyone 18 or older who feels up to it make love. She'll be outside with a camera.

The New York-based artist and self-proclaimed "digital drifter" said she'll pretend to be casting parts for a pornographic film, but said the selection process itself will become the piece of art she hopes to display in galleries.

"In casting, I will probably ask people to perform sex, you know, making sex into open sex, open art," she told state radio network NRK. "I wouldn't force anyone to do anything, but once they enter the tent, if they start having sex, it will be filmed."

Her work has appeared in Tokyo's NTT/ICC Museum, where it is on permanent exhibition, as well as the Guggenheim Museum.

The state-funded Riksustillinger, which takes exhibitions on tour throughout Norway, is partly sponsoring the project and defended it.

The group's director, Staale Stenslie, said the artist is known for her work with nudity and that her previous films "were more poetic than pornographic."

Kristiansand deputy mayor Bjarne Ugeland was less than enthusiastic.

"This is sad. It takes the focus away from the music and the positive youth experience," he was quoted as saying in the Web edition of Norway's largest newspaper, Verdens Gang. "Frankly, I have trouble seeing the artistic side of this kind of happening."

Norway has strict laws against hardcore pornography and lewd public behavior, and Ugeland said if anyone does volunteer to participate inside the tent, police could arrest them if they go to extremes.

The World's Longest Weiners Weigh In

CAMPELLSPORT, Wis. - Residents of Campbellsport, Wisconsin, are going for a world record this weekend.

They hope to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records with a bratwurst nearly 40 feet long.

Loehr's Meat Service made the brat, which will be placed in a 40-foot bun made by another business. A supermarket is supplying the condiments.

They're doing it in honor of Campbellsport Fire Department's 100th anniversary celebration tomorrow.

The Campbellsport Area Chamber of Commerce will be serving about 120 portions, each costing $10. The cost includes a T-shirt boasting "Campbellsport-Home of the World's Largest Brat."

The current Guinness record for a sausage is just over 34 feet long.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, another chapter in weiner history was being made.

You won't get this frank your grill this weekend. Chicago-based Vienna Beef is claiming the record for the world's longest hot dog.

The giant frank measures 37 feet, two inches. The monster wiener was unveiled at the Taste of Chicago festival yesterday, to celebrate the start of National Hot Dog Month.

But it wouldn't be much of a dog without the toppings. The giant frank is garnished with a gallon of mustard, a gallon of bright green relish, 140 tomato slices, four pounds of chopped onions and 70 pickle spears.

Officials of Vienna Beef say they'll donate the equivalent amount of meat and other food to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The not-for-profit distribution center helps feed the hungry of Cook County.

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