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The Odd Truth, Sept. 1, 2004

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

Man Squirts Milk From Eye

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Ilker Yilmaz might just hold one of the world's most bizarre world records.

The Turkish construction worker on Wednesday poured milk into his hand, loudly snorted it up his nose and squirted it more than 9 feet out of his left eye in what he hopes will be recognized as a new world record.

"I'm happy and proud that I can get Turkey in the record book even if it's for milk squirting," said the 28-year-old. He says he is among only a handful of people around the world who can perform the feat because of an anomaly in his tear gland.

The Web site for Guinness World Records says Mike Moraal of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, set the existing record, of 8.745 feet in France in 2001.

In an e-mail, Guinness World Records said it had no official representative present to witness Yilmaz's feat and was waiting for documents from organizers of Wednesday's event to prove the record.

"It is really good to hear that provisionally a new record may have been set," Sam Knights, a Guinness representative, said in an e-mail. "We welcome new record breakers and look forward to receiving the evidence ... and then we can verify this new record attempt."

Yilmaz said he has known for years that he could squirt liquids out of his eye, but only three years ago found out that there was a record for squirting milk.

"I learned by chance that I had such a talent. When I was swimming with friends, I noticed water squirting out of my eye," he said. "When I saw (a previous Guinness attempt) on TV, I thought, maybe, I could do that too."

Two years ago, Yilmaz said he broke an earlier record, but Guinness did not recognize it because the witnesses present did not fulfill its guidelines.

On Wednesday, an imam, or Muslim prayer leader, was among witnesses watching as Yilmaz sucked in the milk, held back his left eyelid with his finger and squirted away. Yilmaz succeeded on his third attempt. The record attempt was sponsored by Kay Sut, a Turkish milk company.

'Fetch' Goes Terribly Wrong

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A man whose genitals were bitten off by a pit bull remained in serious condition Tuesday, and the dog remained on the loose.

The man, whose name has not been released, was attacked Monday while walking the dog. When police arrived to help, the man appeared disoriented and fled on foot but police tracked him to a nearby park, said Detective Jeff Arbogast of the Albuquerque Police Department.

The man was naked when found at the park, but it was unclear at what point he had taken off his clothes. Neighbors had seen him playing with the dog earlier in the day.

Arbogast said investigators do not know why the man was naked, and remain uncertain about some circumstances surrounding the attack.

The brown pit bull remained missing Tuesday, and police warned people who see it to stay away and call animal control.

A nearby elementary school was locked down following the incident and parents were called to pick up students who usually walk home.

Shortly after the attack Monday, Gov. Bill Richardson released a statement saying he would proposed legislation next year aimed at holding owners of dangerous dogs accountable for their pets.

First The Dog Attack, Now This?

ALBANY, N.Y. - Government cutbacks are hitting a continental soldier below the belt.

The statue of Copper John, a continental soldier that sits atop the state's Auburn Correctional Facility, was removed earlier this summer for renovation.

The beloved figure is set to return to his perch this fall, albeit a lesser man.

Workers sprucing up the 156-year-old statue were told to reduce the size of Copper John's crotch.

Neither the prison's superintendent nor the state Department of Correctional Services would discuss the reason for the order. Department spokeswoman Linda Foglia confirmed the alteration took place.

Some correction officers aren't pleased with the reduction, and are donning shirts in protest.

Lollipop Gang Members Snub Munchkin Festival

CHESTERTON, Ind. - Two top Munchkins won't be taking the Yellow Brick Road to Chesterton's annual Oz Festival this month because of a contract dispute.

Jerry Maren, who played the Lollipop Kid in "The Wizard of Oz," and Karl Slover, who played the First Trumpeter in the 1939 musical, have been regular attendees at past festivals in the town about 15 miles east of Gary.

But the two former Munchkins were "disinvited" this year following a flap over their agent's request that organizers pay his travel expenses, said Karen Spallina, president of Lakeshore Festival and Events.

Two other former Munchkins - Margaret Pellegrini and Clarence Swensen - still are scheduled to attend the Sept. 17-19 festival.

In the past, organizers have dealt directly with the former Munchkins, Spallina said. But this year Maren and Slover referred her to their agent, Ralph Zellem.

Former Munchkins receive $750 for their weekend visit, plus paid airfare, hotel and meals, Spallina said.

However, Zellem wanted organizers to pay his expenses as Slover's traveling companion and allow him to set up a booth to sell Munchkin merchandise, said Spallina, who refused both requests.

The festival traditionally has paid for Munchkins' traveling companions, but has a policy against including promoters, she said.

"This is a festival for the Munchkins," Spallina said. "We want to keep our focus on that."

Like A Piggy Bank, Only Crazy And Gross

BANGKOK, Thailand - It was almost like breaking open a piggy bank.

Doctors performing emergency surgery on a man who was rushed to hospital writhing in pain were stunned when more than 4 pounds of loose change spilled out of his stomach.

Sanguan Pongsawat, 37, who has a history of mental disorders, was operated on Tuesday in the northern town of Payao, said Dr. Sakchai Athawiboon of the Payao hospital.

Sakchai said that Sanguan, who lived with his mother, had been swallowing the coins for a long time without her knowledge.

"He is in safe condition. But he has to be in the hospital for some time in case of side effects because the metal coins had been in his body for a long time," Sakchai said Wednesday.

The coins had turned black from stomach acid.

Sanguan was in excruciating pain on Tuesday and was taken to a hospital, where an X-ray showed hard objects in his stomach. They weren't identified until the surgery.

Payao is about 375 miles north of Bangkok.

IKEA Discount Spurs Deadly Stampede In Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Hundreds of shoppers drawn by a discount offer rushed into an IKEA branch in western Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, causing a stampede that killed three and injured 17, security officials said.

A Saudi and a Pakistani were among those killed, the officials said. The nationality of the third person killed was not given.

After furniture giant IKEA's branch in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah announced that it was offering credit vouchers to the first 250 clients Wednesday, some shoppers camped outside Tuesday night. Once the doors opened, the crowd surged forward, causing the stampede.

Ameen Jamal, a senior executive for IKEA Saudi Arabia, said more than 8,000 people had gathered outside the store before the opening. He didn't have other details.

Woman Passes Bush 'Funny Money' $200 Bill

GREENSBURG, Pa. - State police aren't laughing about the person who passed some funny money - a $200 bill with President George W. Bush's picture on it - at a women's clothing store.

Police on Wednesday charged Deborah Trautwine, 51, of Jeannette, with theft by deception, for allegedly passing a bogus $200 bill at the Fashion Bug store in Hempfield Plaza on Aug. 22.

There is no such denomination, even without Bush's picture on it.

Police said they didn't know how the clerk was taken in by the ruse, even though several other things about the bill should have been a dead giveaway.

Among other things, the bill had a hokey serial number - DUBYA4U2001 - and didn't bear the signature of the Secretary of the Treasurer. Instead, the bill was "signed" by Ronald Reagan, whose title was "Political Mentor" and by Bush's father, who is listed as "Campaign Advisor and Mentor."

The back of the bill was even goofier.

It depicts the White House with several signs erected on the lawn, including those reading "We Like Broccoli" and "USA Deserves A Tax Cut."

Trautwine's mother said she wasn't immediately available for comment Wednesday, and declined to provide her work telephone number.

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