The Odd Truth, March 19, 2004

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CBS
The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by CBSNews.com's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.


Juice, With A Kick

MIAMI - The jolt in the juice was from more than just vitamin C. Customs agents in Miami have seized a can of liquid cocaine disguised as Jamaican fruit juice. Investigators believe the juice can was bought in Jamaica, emptied, then refilled with the illegal drug. It was in a shipment with other cans. The liquid cocaine could be fatal if an unsuspecting consumer were to drink to it, but officials don't think there's much of a risk. They note the coked-up juice was part of a private shipment and not destined for retail outlets. Customs officials say the Jamaican company that markets the juice is cooperating with the investigation.

'Passion' Stabbing

STATESBURO, Georgia - A Georgia sheriff's deputy says he thinks "they missed the point."

Melissa Davidson and her husband Sean have been charged with simple battery after getting into a violent argument after they saw "The Passion of the Christ."

The Davidsons, who've been married ten years, left a theater in Georgia, debating whether God the Father in the Holy Trinity was in human form or spiritual.

Melissa Davidson says the argument got so heated that they "called the law on each other."

A police report says she suffered injuries on her left arm and face, while Sean Davidson had a scissor stab on his hand and his shirt was ripped off. He also allegedly punched a hole in the wall.

Melissa Davidson says, "We're each other's best friends," but adds, "Sometimes people get stupid."

Man Charged Over Mummified Crocodile, Human Penises

NEW YORK - A 16-inch mummified crocodile penis and cobra snake wine used as an aphrodisiac were among the bizarre exhibits of a museum owner sentenced to community service for dealing in endangered species.

Father-of-three Robert Hudson, 38, also had macabre exhibits including human skulls and a human penis, and was caught returning from Africa with skulls from protected animals.

Hudson who lives above his shop called Puffedz in Newquay, Cornwall, pleaded guilty to three counts of smuggling skulls into Britain in March last year and one of acquiring a dolphin skeleton for commercial purposes. Hudson was given 120 hours community service on each of the three counts of smuggling skulls with no separate penalty with regard to the dolphin skeleton. He was also ordered to pay $1,500 court costs.

Airport customs men found three skulls belonging to baboons, four from other monkeys and one from a turtle after opening his suitcase.

When his shop and adjoining museum were searched they discovered a banned dolphin skeleton hung from the ceiling after eight pints of maggots were used to strip off its flesh along with the penises, Southwark Crown Court was told.

As he strode through the green channel he was stopped by customs men. They found the primate and turtle skulls wrapped in clothing and plastic film. Also discovered were a number of sharks' teeth necklaces and some sharks' jaws.

His shop and small museum, open to the public at one a time, was also searched. Apart from 20 human skulls, tiger skins and pelts from other big cats, investigators found the crocodile penis, a tusk and tail of an elephant, a hippo tooth and the snake wine.

Also recovered at the shop was a short video and an e-mail relating to the dolphin skeleton. The video showed him pouring maggots over a dead dolphin in an old bath in his garden.

The email sent to a taxidermist chat-room explained what it was all about. "I've got a problem," Hudson wrote. "Her indoors brought home a dolphin the other day... I skinned it and took most of the flesh off it, put it in an old bath and threw eight pints of fishing maggots on it. They are eating it slowly."

Slow Moving Disaster

HOUSTON - A 60-year-old man was struck by a slow-moving train as he walked home from work, and then a car slammed into the ambulance that was to take him to the hospital. The man escaped both accidents with minor injuries.

Donnie Mack Hall was treated at a hospital for cuts, bruises and a broken finger and released.

Officials said Hall, part of a work crew at a stadium, was heading home Wednesday when he walked into the path of a light rail train traveling about 20 mph. Metrorail officials said the train knocked him about three meters 10 feet.

Metrorail spokesman Ken Connaughton said Hall was supposed to be wearing two hearing aids, but had only one.

"He heard the train trying to warn him ... He was disoriented and thought the train was coming from the other direction," Connaughton said.

As Hall was being loaded into an ambulance, a car slammed in the vehicle. Another ambulance later took Hall to the hospital where he was treated.

There were no reports of serious injury to the paramedics or the four passengers in the car, officials said.

Bicycle Thief Dies, Leaves Over 1,000 Bikes

MELBOURNE, Australia - The death of a suspected bicycle thief has saddled police with an intriguing problem - what to do with his houseful of bikes.

Police said Friday the man, who was in his 60s and whose identity was not released, died last week while trying to steal a bike in the southern city of Melbourne. They did not elaborate on the cause of death.

Officers discovered the cache of about 1,000 bicycles when they went to inform the man's relatives in the nearby town of Geelong of his death.

"In every room including his bedroom, bathroom and kitchen there are bikes, bike helmets, parts, chains, seats and tires ... it's something else," said Senior Sergeant Adrian Benny. "There are also bikes down the side of the house and there are two sheds full."

Now they have the problem of working out which of the roughly 1,000 bicycles were bought by the man, which were stolen, and how to return the heisted ones.

"It's a logistical nightmare," Benny said.

Hey You! Drop The Doughnuts!

HARRISON, Ark. - An elderly preacher who lost his privilege to visit the Boone County Senior Center two years ago after losing dominoes and taking extra ice cream toppings and doughnuts has lost his bid to be readmitted to the facility.

Boone County Judge Gordon Webb ruled that Arthur Barnes, 73, is free to use facilities in neighboring counties but that the Boone County center was right to bar him from its facilities.

Barnes argued that since the Boone County center was funded by taxpayers, it could not rightfully prevent him from entering.

Center workers said Barnes was barred after being involved in poolroom brawls and asking other elderly men to step outside and fight.

The former postal worker, pastor of the Kissee Community Church near Monarch, said in a trial last year that center workers had publicly berated him for losing dominoes, leaving billiard balls atop the pool table and taking extra ice cream toppings and doughnuts.

Barnes said he preferred to attend the one in Boone County because it is near the Wal-Mart where his wife works.

Other complaints he made in the suit concerned:

-Allegations of "running Carl Evans out of a chair."

-A reprimand for getting an extra glass of milk that he said he was getting for a friend who wasn't as mobile as him.

-Being ordered not to sell his chicken eggs at the center so that another person could sell "less superior eggs."

-Being reprimanded for disrupting a bingo game. "I am innocent," Barnes said in the suit. "By the way, the bingo game is illegal."

New Orleans To Open Tabasco Museum

NEW ORLEANS - There will soon be a new hot spot for tourists in New Orleans - the Tabasco museum. The McIlhenny company is opening a museum early next year to celebrate the nation's favorite fire in a bottle, Tabasco sauce. The new attraction will also dispel some of myths or so-called "fakelore" that surrounds Tabasco. McIlhenny historian Shane Bernard says no one really knows where company founder Edmund McIlhenny got his original peppers or the secret recipe. But Bernard discounts the popular myth that the peppers came from an ex-soldier who fought in the Mexican-American War. A bass guitar from Van Halen will be among the items to be displayed in the museum. It's shaped like a Tabasco bottle and Bernard says it's one of the niftiest artifacts they have.