China Cracks Down On Fire Extinguishers Filled With Flour

China is notorious for knock-off items. Fake Rolex? Sure. Fake Gucci handbag? Why not? Maybe even a fake degree from UCLA?

While such items have become commonplace in the Chinese economy, the world’s most populous nation may have just one-upped itself in a scandal involving fake fire extinguishers.

Yes, according to a recent post in Weird News Asia, officials in the inland metropolis of Chengdu seized close to 10,000 imitation fire extinguishers last month, which were instead filled with basic cooking flour.

Sure, the white puff of smoke, which emerges from the nozzle looks like flame extinguishing chemicals, but in reality it took two entire bottles of the flour bottles to suffocate a relatively small blaze. Probably better to find this out now than when your commercial oven is on fire during a packed evening rush hour.

To see a video of the fake fire extinguishers in action, head over here for some entertaining knockoff ingenuity, and as a bonus, some classic Chinese television.

[Photo credit: samantha celera on Flickr]

Whatever Happened To The Lake Conway Monster?

Lake Conway, skunk apeCould a reservoir in Arkansas be the favorite watering hole of a southern Bigfoot? Maybe it once was, but it doesn’t seem to be anymore.

When I was a kid in the 1970s, I loved tramping through the woods, and so of course I loved hearing about monsters lurking in the woods. I vaguely remember a rash of sightings of a big, hairy monster in the woods of Arkansas. It had several names, the most popular being the Fouke Monster, which was sighted by numerous individuals and was the subject of some atrocious films that freaked out 10-year-old me.

There were also sightings at Lake Conway just north of Little Rock. It’s 6,700 acres in size, making it the largest man-made game and fish commission lake in the country, and a popular fishing spot. Most of the sightings come from fishermen in remote parts of the lake.

According to one anonymous testimony (the sort of thing that constitutes evidence for cryptozoologists hunting these critters) it was about 7 feet tall and completely covered with dark hair. It stood at the edge of the lake watching a fishing boat for several minutes and showed no fear or comprehension when a gun was pointed at it.

Sightings of the Conway Lake monster date back to the 1940s, according to this article in the Saline Courier, which cites no sources. They continued until the 1970s before trailing off to nothing.

Several witnesses noted that it had a terrible odor. This led some cryptozoologists to suggest it’s a skunk ape, a mysterious beast shown here in a photo courtesy David Barkasy and Loren Coleman. This shot was allegedly taken in Florida. Skunk apes are found throughout the South although, of course, none have ever been caught. Sadly, no photos of the Lake Conway monster have ever been reported.

So what was the Lake Conway monster? Skunk ape? Bigfoot? A hairy refugee from a nudist chili festival? Did it go extinct like some people said Nessie has? Perhaps it moved away as Little Rock has expanded and more and more fishermen use Lake Conway. It seems a shame, though. The folks around Lake Champlain have kept their monster alive and kicking. So come on, Arkansans, go find the Lake Conway monster, or at least take a blurry nighttime photo of an orangutan!

Police Hunt For Lion In English Countryside (And Fail To Find One)

cat, lion
A mysterious beast stalks the fields of Essex, England.

Over the weekend local police received calls from a number of eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen a lion in the fields near the village of St. Osyth. One person even snapped a predictably blurry and inconclusive picture of the beast. I’m not a wildlife expert but it looks like a house cat to me.

Police took the sightings seriously enough to scramble two helicopters and a team of officers and wildlife experts. They also checked with a local zoo and circus but neither reported a missing feline. After a long search they found … nothing.

A police spokesman said the sightings were probably due to “a large domestic cat or a wildcat,” the BBC reports. Police have called off the search and told people to enjoy themselves outdoors while remaining cautious. They should also have told them to stop overfeeding their pets with chips and kebabs and wasting police time.

This odd incident is actually part of a much bigger trend in the UK. Alien Big Cats, as they’re called, are giant felines not native to the area where they are spotted. Of course they’re never actually found. That would ruin the fun. We reported on one jaguar-like creature in Scotland three years ago and that’s just a drop in the Alien Big Cat bucket. The Big Cats in Britain research group has collected 240 different reports so far this year.

So why do Brits see lions and pumas in their fields while Americans get buzzed by UFOs? I guess it’s just one of those cultural differences we should all celebrate and not analyze too much. So next time you’re hiking in the UK, be sure to keep your camera out of focus. You might just start the next wave of Alien Big Cat sightings.

Don’t scoff too much, though. One woman said she was attacked by an Alien Big Cat. I’ve hiked a lot in England and Scotland and while I’ve never been attacked by an ABC (yes, that’s what they call them), I did nearly get attacked by cows.

[Photo courtesy Jennifer Barnard. As far as I know, this particular cat has never been the cause of a lion sighting]

Sleeping Man Found On Luggage Belt In Rome Airport

sleeping Airport security certainly sees some unusual items going through baggage screenings; however, the TSA at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport were recently shocked when the outline and internal organs of a sleeping man popped up on their X-Ray machine.

According to The Guardian, a 36-year-old Norwegian tourist was found fast asleep on the baggage conveyor belt in Terminal 3. He had spent about 25 minutes riding around, blissfully unaware of where he was. Unfortunately, waking up was not so pleasant as he is now facing charges for the unauthorized ride.

When found, the man appeared to have been drinking heavily. After dumping his bags on the luggage belt at an unoccupied check-in point, he had lay down and fallen asleep on the main belt. Thankfully, police say his impromptu journey was not a security risk.

“There is a security system – a sort of roll-up blind – which can only be opened by the member of staff who loads the baggage,” a police officer told Italian newspaper La Repubblica. “[The Norwegian] could have carried on going round the main belt but he could never have ended up in sensitive areas of the airport.”

[Image via MadEmoiselle Sugar]

Gadling Blogger Snaps Photo Of Nessie (Not Really)

Nessie
On my recent trip to Scotland, I took this shocking photo of a strange creature out in the water. Is it Nessie?

Well, no, it isn’t. I won’t tell you what it is, except that the truth is hidden in one of the answers to the poll below. Vote for your most likely candidate and I’ll post the SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT MY NESSIE PHOTO a week from now.

Sorry for shouting, I got carried away.

While I didn’t photograph the Loch Ness Monster (or did I?), a certain George Edwards did. The Inverness Courier published his photo last week and it’s been making the rounds on the Internet. It shows a fuzzy lump in the water that could be a species unknown to science or simply a fuzzy lump in the water.

Mr. Edwards says he saw the dark gray shape “slowly moving up the loch towards Urquhart Castle.” He watched it for at least five minutes but for some reason only took one photo. Edwards claims to have sent the image off to some experts in the U.S. military to have it analyzed.

Proof that Nessie exists? Maybe. Maybe not. The fact that Edwards runs Loch Ness Cruises makes me a wee bit suspicious that this is a publicity stunt. Even the popular monster hunting site Crypto Mundo cast some doubts on the story, asking why there’s no wake from a supposedly moving object and why a lifelong Nessie hunter only snapped a single photograph.

Whatever the truth behind Edwards’ photo, you’ll learn the SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT MY NESSIE PHOTO next week.

Sorry, got carried away again.

UPDATE: The correct answer wins by a slim margin! Yes, this was a seal coming up for air. He’s poking his nose out of the water and looks remarkably like a shark, which is why 22 Gadling readers were fooled into thinking it was one. I’m a bit curious as to the six people who thought I swiped a “real” Nessie photo from the Internet. Are there so many blurry photos of the beastie out there that they all begin to look the same?

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