Snitching cows, elevator photos, and a loose moose

Published 5:12 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

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At the end of the year, it’s natural to start looking back and reflecting on what’s happened in the last twelve months. All of the good and the bad and everything in between. Each year is different than the one before it, in more ways than one.

One of the best ways to look back is to browse through headlines. I personally prefer the really odd ones. So, as usual, here’s my collection of the strangest headlines I stumbled across in 2023:

February 6: “A dolphin skull was found in someone’s luggage in Detroit” (reported by NPR)

A dolphin skull is a weird thing to find anywhere, but especially inside someone’s luggage at an airport. Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport, specifically, which is, as far as I know, not located near any oceans. According to the short article, the suitcase containing the skull had been separated from its owner on an international flight arriving in the US, and the skull was discovered when it passed through an X-ray machine. Did you know that many fish and wildlife products are subject to restrictions, permits, and prohibitions when entering and leaving the country? And yes, that includes animal bones too. I’m sure the unlucky owner of the luggage knows that now if they didn’t know before.

April 16: “An Oregon man threw money from his car, littering a highway with $100 bills” (reported by NPR)

When we say the phrase “throwing money out the window,” we don’t usually mean it literally. But a 38-year-old man in Oregon apparently had $200,000 that he wanted to give away, and he decided the best method was hurling it out of his car while driving down the highway. The state police chose not to charge him with anything, but they did ask him to stop since the incident was creating traffic issues. Drivers heading in both directions kept stopping to try to scoop up some cash. After the incident, troopers reported that the drivers did a “thorough job of gathering the loose money” and they couldn’t find any more left behind.

I just want to say: if you have some cash you’d like to give away, you’re free to come deposit in my yard so you can stay far away from any high-traffic areas!

May 11: “Good mooooove: Cows led police to suspect near Boone” (reported by WRAL)

If you’re ever trying to run from the police, just remember that cows will apparently not hesitate to snitch on you. Officers with the Boone Police Department attempted to do a traffic stop on a driver who instead fled the scene into a rural area off the highway. Because of his reckless and erratic driving, the officers lost sight of the suspect, but cows in a nearby pasture lead them right to his hiding spot. The police said afterwards that they might even want to use cows in the future. Uh-oh… the K9s might be in for some competition!

July 31: “Our bears are real, a Chinese zoo says, denying they are ‘humans in disguise’” (reported by Associated Press)

Officials at a zoo in China had to dispel some silly rumors about their bears thanks to social media. It started when photos of the zoo’s bears standing upright on their hind legs got shared around and people started asking if they were perhaps just humans in bear costumes instead. They were, of course, actually just Malaysian sun bears which are smaller than other more familiar bear species, only reaching around four feet tall when raised on their hind legs.

The idea that an actual zoo would sneak in people in disguise for exhibits is really silly, but if this were an episode of a television sitcom, I’d definitely be watching!

October 30: “Going down: Elevator pictures of NC labor commissioners” (reported by WRAL)

Every time a person stepped into an elevator in North Carolina, you used to see the face of Cherie Berry on the inspection certificate. She was the state’s labor commissioner, and held the position so long that people called her “The Elevator Queen.” Josh Dobson was elected to the seat after Berry’s retirement, but he recently got rid of his own photo on the certificates. He told WRAL that he’d never really been a fan of the practice. Dobson isn’t running for reelection next year, so no one knows yet if future labor commissioner photos will start “going up” in elevators again.

November 21: “Rutt the moose is on the loose, and a herd of fans are tracking him” (reported by Associated Press)

This headline caught my attention purely because the rhyming phrase “moose is on the loose” is fun to read. But the story itself is delightful as well. People spotted a young moose, nicknamed both “Bullwinkle” and “Rutt,” roaming around in southern Minnesota. Usually, they don’t travel so far south, so people started keeping updates about him on a Facebook page. More than 18,000 people started following the page, and providing updates wherever the moose was spotted. The article included a few photos of the creature in question, and I have to say I understand all the excitement. Rutt the Moose looks very majestic, and it’s cool to get a glimpse of an animal that most people don’t see every day.

This list of headlines just scratches the surface of strange and interesting things which happened this year. Can’t wait to see what 2024 brings!

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or 252-332-7206.