Fortean Times


Unusual things in ill-advised places



Since July, American Airlines flights on the New York City to Los Angeles and Santa Ana to Dallas-Fort Worth routes have been plagued by a mysterious voice grunting, moaning and groaning over the in-flight announceme­nt systems, sometimes for the whole flight, on both Airbus A321 and Boeing 737-800 planes. Passenger Bradley P Allen said, “It was like the moans and groans of someone in extreme pain,” and while the noises clearly sound like a human voice in recordings made by travellers, American Airlines’ official response is that “the sounds were caused by a mechanical issue with the PA amplifier.”, 23 Sept 2022.


When an eerie circular pink glow lit up the underside of clouds near the Australian town of Midura, locals were disconcert­ed and speculatio­n ran rife, ranging from an alien invasion to the beginning of the Apocalypse. However, it soon became clear that the light was coming from a nearby medical cannabis growing facility. Normally its blinds automatica­lly come down at night, but they had failed, allowing the glow from its growlights to leak out and illuminate the sky. BBC News, 22 July 2022.


Commuters heading into Manchester have been surprised by a large billboard saying, “Psychic wanted – you know where to apply”. Mandomedia, the company who put up the sign for the mystery advertiser said it was not a joke and that the person was deadly serious, but felt a real medium “would know exactly when, where, and how to contact them”, adding, “We are seriously invested in this experiment and it would be incredible if it actually works.”, 31 Aug 2022.

When his stomach started swelling and he began experienci­ng abdominal pain, a 45-year-old man from Balipadar, India, admitted to his family that 10 days earlier some of his friends had inserted a steel cup into his rectum as a prank while he was drunk, and he hadn’t been able to remove it. He had not wanted to admit this because the incident had taken place at Surat in Gujarat, a state where alcohol is illegal, as well as for fear of embarrassm­ent, although he had been unable to defecate since the incident. Concerned family members rushed him to hospital where X-rays showed a cup of around 3-4in (8cm) in diameter and 6in (15cm) long jammed in his rectum. After initially trying to take it out the way it went in, doctors had to resort to surgery because of the size of the item, cutting through the intestine to extract it in a 2.5-hour operation. The man remained under observatio­n in hospital for several days after the operation and was expected to make a full recovery., 24 Aug 2022.

• Also in India, a 27-year-old man arrived at a hospital in West Bengal suffering from severe abdominal pain. X-rays showed that he had a 7.5-inch (19cm) deodorant can lodged in his colon near the anus. He told doctors that he had put it there himself 20 days earlier but was unable to explain why he had done so. He, too, required surgery to remove the item and, as well as posting a photo of the triumphant surgical team holding the retrieved can, the hospital shared a brief and rather graphic video of the

moment of extraction. “This was a big deal for us. We treated him with the utmost care,” said Tapas Ghosh, the superinten­dent at the Burdwan Medical College hospital, where the operation was carried out, although the patient suffered damage to his intestines and oesophagus that will require additional surgery., 15 Sept 2022.

• A further Indian case involved a man named only as Jagram, who attended Bhind District Hospital with excruciati­ng pain in his bladder. After ordering blood tests, scans and X-rays, Dr Prateek Mishra found that Jagram’s problem was down to a four-inch (10cm) nail in his bladder. He was unwilling to explain to Mishra or his colleagues exactly how the nail had ended up there, but it was clear that it had been in his bladder for at least a year. The medics operated for an hour to extract the nail in what the hospital described as a “first”, and Jagram recovered with no ill effects., 19 Aug 2022.

Some friends had inserted a steel cup into the man’s rectum

• Following a visit to the doctors because he was experienci­ng a burning sensation while urinating, a 79-year-old Japanese man was given an ultrasound scan of his bladder. This revealed “a large object accompanie­d by acoustic shadows”, prompting medics to take an X-ray that showed “a wire-like coiled foreign body”. After being shown these, the man admitted that he had inserted a thin plastic skipping rope into his bladder via his urethra but refused to explain why.

Urologists at Dokkyo Medical University in Mibu, near Tokyo, then took a CT scan to try and work out how to extract the item. This revealed that it had become too tangled to pull back out through the penis. “Wires inserted into the bladder usually curl up as the bladder contracts; therefore, special considerat­ion is required for wire-like foreign bodies,” said urologist Professor Toshiki Kijima, so his team used the scan to generate a 3D model of the rope to enable them to plan its removal. As a result, they were able to pull it out through a small incision in the man’s abdomen, extracting 230cm (7.5ft) of rope without damaging his urethra or bladder.

Commenting on the case, urology professor Giulio Garaffa said “In my 20 years’ experience in this field I have encountere­d a number of patients who perform this practice. However, a 230cm length object has to be one of the most extreme cases.”, 14 Nov 2022.

• Doctors at the Krung Thai hospital in Pak Kret, Thailand, found themselves unable to help a 35-year-old man who needed to have a metal ring removed from his testicles. He had placed the ring there more than four years previously in a failed attempt to increase the length of his penis and then found he couldn’t take it off. Instead, the medics called in the rescue services, who used metal-cutting equipment in an hour-long operation to carefully remove the ring. The man suffered no permanent damage from either his four years with the ring or the operation to remove it and was expected to fully recover., 3 Oct 2022.

• Responding rather more promptly to the problem was a 38-year-old Indonesian man who went to hospital with “severe penile pain” and swelling after having a metal ring stuck on his penis for 10 hours. He admitted that it got stuck during “an experiment with friends” and said that initially he had been able to slip it on and off easily, but it then got stuck and his penis began to hurt and, while he could still urinate, it hurt to do so. The team at Dr Soetomo General Academic Teaching Hospital in Surabaya used an electric grinder to remove the ring, slipping a metal plate between the ring and the man’s penis and spraying it continuous­ly with saline solution to protect it from heat during the procedure. Writing the case up in the journal Urology Case

Reports, the doctors said that “penile strangulat­ion” lasting for more than 30 minutes can cause irreversib­le damage, and can ultimately lead to gangrene, requiring amputation. dailymail., 16 Sept 2022.

• Sarah Button, 23, says she has rarely experience­d problems with airport security while travelling the world with a butt plug containing a former boyfriend’s ashes in place. Her boyfriend had given her the plug, engraved with the word “forever” while still alive. “The intention was initially a joke because he’d spent so much time in there and it was his favourite place,” said Button, but after he died she filled it with his ashes and travelled the world. As a result, they had gone to “places they only ever dreamed of going”. Concerned about awkward questions if it was found in her hand luggage, Button said: “I just left it within, hoping to avoid explanatio­ns.”

But the United Arab Emirates (UAE) proved more of a problem than most places. “I explained what it was, but there was a lady worker in earshot of that conversati­on and the male officials did not like the vulgarity I was using to explain,” she said. “‘They took me and my friend aside without much explanatio­n.” After that, “a big official came and had us sign a super long foreign document and said if we went outside of the airport doors we’d go to jail,” giving her a life ban from visiting the gulf states., 11 Nov 2022.


Christophe­r Kinson, 54, a night shift cashier at a 7-Eleven in Olympic Valley, California, was initially horrified when a huge brown bear walked into the store, but relaxed when he realised the bear had just taken one candy bar and walked out. It returned several more times for candy, leaving the shop each time to eat its swag. “It’s like it was purposely polite to take one candy bar at a time – it’s almost like it had manners,” said Kinson., 14 Sept 2022.


Oklahoma’s interstate highway 40 was closed for several hours after a collision between a truck and a van resulted in an unusual spillage on the road. A helicopter news team reporting on the wreck, which was near “a major adult-productfoc­used distributi­on hub”, were initially unclear what was spilling from the truck, but after zooming in on the packages the reporter said, “that sure looks like a bunch of vibrator boxes and tubes of lube scattered over the highway”, adding “whatever it is, it’s gonna take a while to clean up.” independen­t., 17 Sept 2022.


The far-right Alternativ­e for Germany party attracted an amused response to sweets they handed out during an election campaign in Lower Saxony. The bright red gummy sweets were meant to represent the party’s swoosh-like arrow logo, but most people were struck by their startling resemblanc­e to a dildo, resulting in many amused comments on social media. “Everybody sees what they want to see,” said a party spokespers­on., 15 Sept 2022.


A mission to capture a stray macaque monkey near Fujikawa Station in Fuji City, Japan, went badly wrong when one of the animal control team accidental­ly fired a tranquilli­ser dart while interviewi­ng the woman who had reported the animal, hitting her in the arm. This knocked her out instantly and dosed her with enough tranquilli­ser to keep her under for an hour. In the confusion, the monkey made its escape and remains at large., 30 Aug 2022.

 ?? ?? ABOVE: A steel cup that ended up where the Sun don’t shine. LEFT: The triumphant surgical team pose with the offending deodorant can.
ABOVE: A steel cup that ended up where the Sun don’t shine. LEFT: The triumphant surgical team pose with the offending deodorant can.
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 ?? ?? ABOVE:
The possibly record-breaking 230cm (7.5ft) skipping rope that a Japanese man had managed to insert into his urethra.
ABOVE: The possibly record-breaking 230cm (7.5ft) skipping rope that a Japanese man had managed to insert into his urethra.
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