October 17, 2013
Abandoned Philly Prison Adds Screams For Halloween
Philadelphia (AP) An abandoned prison would seem creepy enough around Halloween. Now add blood-curdling screams and gruesome characters who can reach out and grab you.
That’s the formula for ``Terror Behind the Walls,’’ the signature scarefest at historic Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, which is billed as the nation’s largest haunted house outside an amusement park and staged for several weeks each fall at one of the city’s most unusual tourist sites.
With its castle-like walls and decaying cellblocks, the deserted complex already conveys a particularly menacing air. ``The building is abandoned, and it’s beautiful, and it’s eerie, and it was built to intimidate,’’ said Sean Kelley, director of public programming. ``People travel from all over the country to come here for Halloween.’’
As daring souls slink and cringe their way through the decaying property, deranged prisoners accost them for stepping on the wrong turf; overwhelmed guards scream for help; infirmary patients howl in pain under the care of disturbed doctors. In a psychedelic 3-D room, what looks like a wall ... is not.
For the easily frightened, there has always been some measure of comfort knowing that the actors are not allowed to actually touch them. Yet this year, the bravest visitors can opt for a glow-in-the-dark necklace that indicates their willingness to interact with performers.
``It’s much more nerve-racking once you have the (necklace) on and you know people are sneaking up on you,’’ Kumar said.
“Terror Behind the Walls,’’ which started 22 years ago, draws more than a thousand people on many nights. Proceeds provide about 60 percent of the annual budget for the property, which is now a National Historic Landmark.
German Groom Forgets Bride At Gas Station
Berlin (AP) A German couple’s marriage got off to a rocky start when the groom forgot his bride at a highway gas station on the way home from their honeymoon, only noticing she was missing after hours had passed. Police said Friday the couple was heading home to Berlin from France when the man pulled over near the central town of Bad Hersfeld late Thursday to fill up their van.
The woman had been sleeping in the back but got up unbeknownst to the man to use the toilets and he drove off before she returned. Only after 2 hours on the road did he notice she was gone and called police, who said she was patiently waiting.
Judge Fines Himself After Cellphone Rings In Court
Lansing, MI (AP) The latest perpetrator to run afoul of a Michigan judge’s ban on ringing cellphones in his courtroom is the judge himself.
The courtroom of Lansing District Judge High Clarke Jr. has a sign warning visitors to silence their phones, saying they’ll be found in contempt if a phone rings.
Clarke was in the middle of a hearing Friday when his own cellphone rang. So he found himself in contempt of court.
``I reached in my pocket, pulled out 50 bucks, gave it to my court officer and she took it upstairs,’’ Clarke told the Lansing State Journal.
He has a receipt with a 10:29 a.m. time stamp.
``Why would I treat myself any different? That would make me a hypocrite,’’ said Clarke, who joined the bench in 2010.
Clarke said he has imposed penalties for ringing phones five to 10 times since the policy began in May. In fact, he fined a defendant for a ringing phone minutes before his own phone rang.
Clarke said the moral of the story was to leave the phone in his office.
Kansas Man Is Hit By Train, Gets Up And Walks Away
Topeka, KS (AP) Authorities say a Kansas man who was walking along railroad tracks wearing headphones was hit by a train that he didn’t hear approaching behind him - but that he got back up and kept walking.
Shawnee County Sheriff Herman Jones says the BNSF conductor slowed down the train and blew the horn when he saw 25-year-old Kristopher Wenberg on the tracks in Topeka on Thursday.
Wenberg told deputies he couldn’t hear the train, which eventually hit him. Jones says Wenberg promptly got back up and called someone on his cellphone as he walked away.
He went to a hospital with cuts on his legs and shoulder.
It is against the law to walk on train tracks and Wenberg would be cited for criminal trespass.
Maine Man Uses Toilets To Pooh-Pooh City
Augusta, ME (AP) An Augusta, Maine, man is pooh-poohing the city’s decision to nix a Dunkin’ Donuts by putting toilets in his yard.
David Labbe says a developer wanted to buy his house for top dollar and tear it down to make room for a Dunkin’ Donuts. But the deal was scuttled when the Planning Board, backed by neighbors, refused to change the zoning.
To show his contempt, Labbe put five toilets in his yard, which have yellow and pink flowers growing in them. He’s now put up a sign saying he wants 60 to 70 more commodes to fully show how he feels.
He tells the Kennebec Journal that his neighbors angered him by opposing the zoning change, so he’s doing the same to them.
Neighbors call Labbe’s behavior childish.
US Shutdown Hits Cult German Late-Night TV Show
Berlin (AP) The United States government shutdown could have the unintended effect of making Germans go to bed earlier.
Fans hoping for fresh episodes of a cult late-night German TV show featuring footage of Earth seen from space accompanied by ambient music have been told its relaunch will be delayed by at least two weeks because of the U.S. budget battle.
Public television station Bayerisches Fernsehen said Monday that new high-definition video it hopes to use for its “Space Night” program won’t be able available Nov. 1 as planned because archivists at NASA, a key source of footage, are among U.S. federal employees currently furloughed.
“Space Night” was launched in 1994 and is a favorite among rave goers and insomniacs.
Would You Pay A $100 For Road Kill?
Uniontown, PA (AP) A western Pennsylvania man is upset that he had to pay $100 to claim the carcass of a bear he killed with his truck but the Pennsylvania Game Commission routinely charges fees for keeping road kill animals.
Greg Thompson tells WPXI-TV he recently hit the bear on U.S. Route 119 in South Union Township, Fayette County. He was surprised to learn he’d have to pay $100 to keep the bear, from which he hopes to have a rug made.
But Thompson’s experience isn’t unique, according to state wildlife regulations.
Motorists must pay 10 per point to keep antlers from road kill deer, $25 to keep a deer cape, and $50 for a fox.
Still, Thompson isn’t happy saying, ``I shouldn’t have to pay a hundred bucks. They should have to pay my deductible.’’