The Odd Truth: July 7, 2005

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

A Fiery Proposal

GRANTS PASS, Ore. - To prove his love, a 38-year-old man set himself on fire before getting down on one knee and asking his girlfriend to marry him.

About 100 people gathered to watch Todd Grannis perform the flaming stunt, which involved wearing a cape soaked in gasoline.

Grannis climbed a 10-foot scaffold, was set on fire and then plunged into a swimming pool, dousing the blaze. Emerging unscathed, he got down on one knee and proposed.

"Honey, you make me hot," he told his sweetheart, Malissa Kusiek. "I hope I'm getting the point across that I'm on fire for you."

Kusiek, who has been dating Grannis for several years, said "yes," but added that she was a little angry because of the danger.

"At first I was mad, because I thought, 'He's not a stuntman,"' Kusiek said. "Then, of course, the tears started flowing. Of course I said yes. I was so thrilled."

Grannis said he came up with the stunt through the help of his friend, professional stuntman Eric Barkey.

"She wasn't expecting it. She had no clue," Grannis said.

Man Robs Bank In Drag

COLUMBIA, S.C. - It didn't take long for deputies to realize they had the right man in a bank robbery. The black dress with red flowers, red straw hat, and little black mustache gave him away.

Booker Boyd, 49, chose to disguise himself in drag to rob a bank in a Columbia suburb, Richland County sheriff's Lt. Chris Cowan said.

Boyd hadn't changed his clothes when he was caught a few minutes later driving a stolen Ford Expedition, Cowan said.

He was charged with two counts of entering a bank with intent to steal, Cowan said.

Investigators suspect Boyd in two other bank robberies in the past two weeks, but his disguises were much less flashy, authorities said.

FBI spokesman Tom O'Neill said he doesn't know why Boyd decided to dress up.

"We don't speculate on what motivates these people or their choice of wardrobe," O'Neill said.

Millionaire Set To Travel To Space

MOSCOW - Russia's space agency has signed a contract with U.S. millionaire Gregory Olsen to be the next space tourist.

The deal would make the 60-year-old scientist only the third tourist to visit the international space station. A Russian agency spokesman says Olsen could head for space as early as October when a supply mission is scheduled.

Terms of the deal have not been released, but earlier reports said the flight could cost $20 million.

Olsen had been scheduled for a flight this April, but it was put on hold because doctors in Russia found an undisclosed health problem.

He's the founder of a New Jersey-based firm that makes infrared cameras.

Couple Has Identical Twins, Then Triplets

EAU CLAIRE, Wis.- Identical twins are rare. Identical triplets even more rare. A Wisconsin couple now has both.

Matthew and Christine Rowe's family just grew by three identical baby boys. The Eau Claire couple had identical twin girls two years ago.

The Rowes say their doctor told them the births are extremely rare, perhaps one in 15 million. No fertility drugs were used.

The mother of five says other than sleep deprivation, the hardest part is telling the boys apart. She says they're keeping track of the boys with the help of a marker on their tiny feet.

Wal-Mart Wedding

PARIS, Tenn. - A marriage in Paris may not be what you think. Katheryn Allen and Josh Mullins have tied the knot in Paris, Tennessee -- at a Wal-Mart no less. They had planned to get hitched at the local courthouse. But the switch to the Wal-Mart was a last minute decision. The bride works at the Wal-Mart and her friends convinced Allen to move the ceremony to the store the night before the wedding. An assistant manager approved and even gave the bride away last week.

Dive-Bombing Birds

SALINA, Kan. - You would have to be a birdbrain to attack a police officer. And that's the case in Salina, Kansas. A couple called police after they had been dive-bombed by Mississippi kites protecting their chicks. When officers went to investigate the complaints, they were attacked by the birds, too. A city worker was called into lift the nest with a bucket truck. And state wildlife officials have now moved the baby birds to a Kansas zoo.