In January 2010, shortly after News of the Weird’s report, the U.K. government admitted that the British-made “magic wand” bomb-detector its own Department of Trade and Industry was promoting for export to police in Mexico and the Philippines was useless — no better than a Ouija board.
Earlier, several British firms had sold thousands to Iraqi police at dollar equivalents of $16,000 to $60,000 (from a manufacturing cost of about $20 each).
Furthermore, according to City of London police, “hundreds” of Iraqis had died in Baghdad after suicide bombers were mistakenly allowed into secure areas after being “cleared” by the wands.
In January 2011, BBC News reported that a new British company, Unival, featuring a respected retired Army colonel as spokesman, had resumed selling the wands, to Bulgarian police.
In 2007, Australian Wayne Scullino, then 30, quit his job in Sydney and somehow convinced his wife they should sell their house and move to Wisconsin for the sole purpose of rooting for the Green Bay Packers, about which he had enjoyed an inexplicable fascination since age 15.
Said Scullino, “At some point, you’ve got to start living the life you want to.”
After one season, the Scullinos returned home, but in February 2011, he was of course back in the U.S., on hand in Dallas for the Packers’ victory in Super Bowl XLV.
Scullino says his Australian friends are still bewildered.
“I try to talk to them about it,” he said, “but they just don’t get it.”
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa Fla. 33679 or go to www.newsoftheweird.com.)