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From the Files of the RJ's Surrealist Research Bureau

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From the Files of the RJ's Surrealist Research Bureau

Favorite tales from the weird Northwest

Occasionally in this column I like to relate to you some of my favorite “weird” news stories from our neck of the woods so here goes; The first, though not from the Northwest, I feel compelled to include solely due to its pathos and irony. M. Contena, a pastor from Sardinia, spent 30 years in prison for murder, continually protesting his innocence but to no avail. This year the real killers were caught, confessed, and a judge ordered Contena’s release, only 12 hours before his 30-year sentence was to end and he was scheduled to be released anyway. (reported in Dublin Metro, Nov. 2008)

In other bizarre true stories from around the Northwest a police undercover agent testifying against two prostitutes in Portland, Ore., under cross examination, admitted he was given enough police department money to procure masturbation services at least six times from the A-1 Massage Parlor (from The Oregonian).

In Salmon, Ore., Baptist Minister Joe Lutz withdrew his candidacy for the US Senate when it was revealed the “family values” candidate had left his wife to live with his mistress and was thousands of dollars behind in child support. In Ashland, the teacher of the year was arrested for marijuana cultivation and in Redmond Danielle Andersen, 18, a devoutly Christian abstinence counselor, gave birth to the baby of a short-term boyfriend. Meanwhile, another perhaps too fervent Christian died of starvation over a 9-week period trapped in his car in a heavy snow in the Klamath mountains. Despite the fact he could see a busy, snow-plowed highway just 100 yards away, his diary entries reveal that DeWitt Finley, 56, had refused to leave his car because he was certain that God would send a tow truck to save him. Two boy scouts picking up roadside litter found the stalled car with Finley’s body inside still clutching his diary and Bible.

A Seattle man told a judge that he lured his wife blindfolded to their garage by telling her he’d built a haunted house in it for Halloween. Once there he put a noose around her neck and hung her. “It seemed so much easier than getting a divorce,” he explained.

When newspaper editor Glen Sorlie died at his home in Belgrade, Mont.  of natural causes late last year his wife failed to notify anyone for five days so his obituary would be published first in his own weekly newspaper the High County Press. If she had reported the death to anyone earlier his wife said, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle would have reported it first. Said Mrs. Sorlie, “He wouldn’t have wanted to be scooped on his own death.”

And finally, not a weird story but a weird inquiry. Jerome Clark, a fellow devotee of the bizarre has reported in the latest Fortean Times of his efforts to trace an old folk song. The late historian Mari Sandoz (best known for writing John Ford’s epic film “Cheyenne Autumn”) wrote her memoirs in 1966 (“Love Song to the Plains”) and in it reported hearing a ballad sung in the 30s of an early northwestern UFO sighting by a large group of railroad builders. She cited no sources, but quoted the following lyrics: “Twas a dark night in sixty-six/ When we was layin’ steel/ We seen a flyin’ engine come/ Without no wing or wheel./ It come a-roarin’ in the sky/ with lights along the side…/And scaled like a serpents hide.” If anyone recognizes this old folk song I’d appreciate the info and will forward it to Jerome.

Finally; To the Powers that be in the world today, A Warning! But to the Schools of Buddha: A letter of Admiration, and to the Dalai Lama an address of willing submission. Surrealism will burst the fetters of the mind, if need be with real hammers!

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Jody Forest Jody Forest When he's not hidden behind the palatial gates of his Dover estate, Casa de Bozo, Jody is out using outdated and corny pickup lines on various gullible women.

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