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The Odd Truth, Sept. 2, 2004

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

This Guy Is Falling!

FOREST GROVE, Ore. - An unwelcome guest recently crashed into Barbara Vreeland's home: the cremated remains of a Washington man.

The 46-year-old man died of natural causes in June. He wanted to be cremated and have his ashes scattered over Mountain View Memorial Gardens, a cemetery near Vreeland's home, Forest Grove police Capt. Aaron Ashbaugh said Tuesday.

Family members told police the bag of ashes slipped as they were circling the cemetery in a small plane they had hired for the day.

The 4-pound bag crashed through Vreeland's roof and landed in the attic.

"It really rattled our place," said Vreeland, who was at her kitchen sink when the ashes hit the roof. "It wasn't a little bump - it shook the house."

Vreeland's roof is being fixed and the man's family is paying for the damage.

"I understand the man wanted to be with his (deceased) relatives," Vreeland said.

"I feel for those people. But I think some of their relative is still in our attic."

Puking In Peace

HELENA, Mont. - Even if you're puking, the potty is private, the Montana Supreme Court has ruled.

The high court says a police officer went too far when he walked in on a young woman while she was vomiting into the toilet during a loud house party.

The 6-1 decision Tuesday said the unconstitutional intrusion into the privy means evidence that Rebekah Smith had been drinking illegally - she was only 18 at the time - could not be used to prosecute her.

Merely hearing someone vomiting behind a closed door was not sufficient reason for Dillon Police Officer Don Guiberson to open the door, the court said.

The case arose from a complaint about a loud party at a Dillon apartment in October 2001. A party guest allowed officers to enter the apartment.

When Guiberson heard someone vomiting in the bathroom, he opened the bathroom door without knocking or asking permission and found Smith vomiting in the toilet.

She was convicted of underage drinking and given a deferred sentence. On appeal, she argued the search of the bathroom was unconstitutional and evidence obtained by the officer could not be used against her.

The Supreme Court agreed.

Since the apartment owner never objected to the officers' presence, no one at the party could have expected privacy in the "common areas" of the apartment, the court said. But the same is not true for the bathroom, it said.

Lawsuit Didn't Have Any Teeth, Heh Heh

SALT LAKE CITY - Third District Judge L.A. Dever dismissed a lawsuit brought by Tina Keeney, who claimed emotional distress after alleging a can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup she split with her 13-month-old son contained a human tooth.

"I just don't eat," said the 37-year-old West Jordan resident. "It has affected the way I shop, the way I fix food, things that I eat."

She says she's had "obsessive" eating issues since the July 9, 2002, incident.

"To the contrary, Ms. Keeney indicates that she is not sick and has not suffered diseases, ulcers or headaches as a result of the incident," Dever wrote in his Aug. 23 order granting summary judgment to Campbell Soup Co.

Keeney said her attorneys probably will appeal, and Campbell spokesman John Faulkner declined comment Wednesday because of that possibility.

Keeney claimed she found her son tapping something on his high chair while she was cleaning up after lunch. She found the hard, white object, and she called the company's headquarters in Camden, N.J., to complain.

Campbell offered to cover the cost of the soup - plus a little extra, and sent her a $10 check. The company also wanted her to mail in the tooth.

Keeney took it to a lawyer instead, and the lawsuit was filed in September 2003.

If This Bus Is A'Rockin', Don't Come A'Knockin'

BANGKOK, Thailand - Authorities in Bangkok say college students are doing more than looking out the windows on city buses. Thai transport officials confirm that some students are having sex in the back of buses. It seems the air-conditioned buses on Route 12 are particularly popular with the young lovers. That line runs past several evening colleges en route to the suburbs. Officials have posted notices on the buses urging the young passengers to behave themselves.

Two Pounds Of Weed Found In Prison Basketball

McALESTER, Okla. - The bounce in one basketball isn't the sort prison officials appreciate. Oklahoma authorities report finding a basketball filled with two pounds of pot in a minimum security unit at the State Penitentiary in McAlester. Guards acted on a tip from local police. According to authorities, the b-ball contained 30 bags of suspected weed. Prison officials say they don't know how the basketball got in the prison, but they've identified two inmates as persons of interest in the case.

Man Collared In Dog Stabbing

TOOELE, Utah - A man has been accused of stabbing a dog to death with a sword in retaliation against its owner, a hotel owner who had evicted him.

Daniel Painter, 30, was charged Tuesday with aggravated assault and cruelty to animals.

Police said Painter attacked a chow-Labrador mix named Kabu with a sword early Sunday.

Kabu's owner, Garth Jones, said he was awakened early Sunday to the sound of a thud and a yelp.

Jones said he saw his dog being repeatedly stabbed by Painter, whom he had recently evicted from the Kirk Hotel in Tooele, about 25 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.

Jones said the man then threatened him and chased after him, but Jones was able to run into his office and call police.

Painter was evicted after allegedly failing to pay his rent last month and attempted to negotiate a cheaper rate after complaining latex paint had hurt his health.

Tortoise Makes A Run For It

LONDON - Herman the tortoise is more than 30 years old, but she can still cut a dash.

The female tortoise has just been returned home after a rushing three miles across country in a little over three months, her owners said Wednesday.

"It is great to have her back," said owner Ken Swanston, 62, a retired fisherman from West Lilburn, near Alnwick in northeast England.

"Herman escaped from a hole in the garden fence when we were away on holiday at the end of May. We hunted high and low looking for her but we never found her and we even reported her missing to the police."

Herman's journey ended when a mailman found her on Amerside Moor, near Wooler, last week.

Herman - so named because she is a Herman tortoise - lives with four spur thigh tortoises, three females called Big Un, Hole in Shell and Lawnmower, and a male called Rambo, in a greenhouse in the Swanstons' garden. All five are in their 30s and have been together for the past 28 years.

Lisa Bolton, who runs the Wildlife In Need rescue center at Chatton, near Alnwick, where Herman was taken first, said the tortoise would have faced dangers including cars, combine harvesters, hungry foxes, badgers, stoats, weasels and even rats.

"Three miles is quite some distance to travel and for a tortoise it is a very long way," she said.