News of the Weird

* "News of the Weird" has reported several times on the phenomenon of houses that are inexplicably, almost pathologically, cluttered, but tragedy struck twice around Columbus, Ohio, recently. A 70-year-old man in the Clintonville neighborhood shot himself to death in February rather than face the consequences of a health-department order to clean up his house and yard. Said the man's wife, "I'm not a good housekeeper, I grant you that." Six weeks earlier, a 60-year-old man in nearby Whitehall, Ohio, had died of a heart problem after his wife declined to call 911 for him because she was afraid authorities would discover the couple's too-cluttered house and arrest her.

* Adding to the list of stories that were formerly weird but that now occur with such frequency that they must be retired from circulation: (31) The discovery of gobs of undelivered mail at the home of a postal worker (usually after he got behind on his deliveries and needed to hide it), such as the 10-year-old, unopened mail found at retired postal worker Ralph Horvath's home after he was killed in a fire in Chicago in January. And (32) the bank robber who wants a worry-free getaway (no parking problem, no driving while jittery, no forgetting the keys or to have the car gassed up, etc.) and decides to hail a taxicab (much higher profile than a getaway car) outside the bank, as police say Mary Barrera did after robbing a NationsBank branch in Kansas City, Mo., in November.

Send your weird news to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 8306, St. Petersburg, FL 33738, or [email protected].

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