Plague doctors appearing throughout the United Kingdom, a pair of disastrous treasure hunts, and a bizarre breed of rabbit that walks on its front legs were among the strange, unusual, and enlightening stories to cross our desk this week.
This past week brought news of a bizarre and somewhat worrisome trend unfolding in the UK as people wearing plague doctor costumes keep popping up in various communities and, understandably, causing residents to be rather unsettled. The odd fad began late last month in Scotland where an individual dressed in the haunting garb caused something of a stir until police determined that the mysterious stranger was a mischievous teenager who was promptly given a stern lecture by the authorities. However, the case seemed to open the proverbial floodgates as plague doctors were either seen or rumored to have been spotted in at least five communities throughout England and Scotland.
Two treasure hunts that each went terribly awry made headlines this past week, beginning with an incident in India where a family had spent the last six months digging a massive pit in their backyard after being told by a sorcerer that untold riches could be found there. The excavation took a tragic turn, however, when two individuals descended into the hole and wound up perishing after they were exposed to poisonous gas. Meanwhile, here in America, a Utah man was sentenced to six months in prison after authorities at Yellowstone Park determined that he had dug a staggering seventeen holes at the site while looking for the infamous Forrest Fenn treasure.
In a testament to how modern science can be used to solve long-standing mysteries, a team of genetic researchers announced this week that they had determined why a unique breed of rabbit in France walked on its front feet instead of hopping. Known as 'sauteur d’Alfort,' the domesticated species had puzzled experts since first being discovered in the 1930s, but the cause of its jaw-dropping method of locomotion had been indecipherable until now. By breeding one of the 'bipedal' bunnies with a more traditional species of rabbit, geneticists were able to identify a mutation that causes a malfunction in the muscles the creature normally would use to hop, which led to the animals naturally adapting to the condition and developing the wondrous walking style.
For more strange and unusual stories from the past week, check out the Coast to Coast AM website.