Man Loses Finger, Zoo Visiting Rights

A New Mexico man has been banned from the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque after losing a finger to a jaguar's bite — and then lying about it.

Groundskeeper Lyn Ewell saw the man, a frequent visitor to the zoo, running to the men's room last Tuesday with one hand in his pocket, a dark stain on his pants, reports KOAT-TV of Albuquerque.

Ewell followed the man and asked him if he was OK, but he turned away and ran out of the zoo, director Ray Darnell said.

The next day, a human finger was found at the big cats' area, looking "pretty dried up," according to mammal curator Rick Janser.

"It looks like a Halloween prop," Janser said.

The apparent bleeder was well known to zoo staff, so they called him up.

"Are you missing any fingers?" he was asked.

"Oh no, there's nothing wrong with me," he said, according to Darnell. "You have the wrong guy."

The man had been coming by to talk to Manchas the jaguar — who once bit off a worker's finger — nearly every day for the past couple of years. But he didn't show up Wednesday or Thursday.

So zoo managers took the finger to the Albuquerque Police Department, who matched it to the prime suspect's fingerprints.

Officers went to his house to confront him with the evidence and confirmed that he indeed had only nine fingers. It wasn't clear which hand had been reduced.

The Rio Grande Zoo (search) declined to press charges, but did ask him never to come back.

Darnell figured the involuntary amputee stuck his hand into the jaguar's cage while no one else was watching. He hoped the incident would remind people to be more careful around the big cats.

"They're not your friends, they're not your pets," he told the TV station. "They're wild animals."

— Thanks to Out There reader Tina M.

Tornado Blamed for Attempted Murder

The twister made him do it, a Texas man claims.

Allen Calton, 36, is on trial in Fort Worth for attempted murder and aggravated assault for allegedly firing three bullets at another man's head, reports KXAS-TV of Dallas.

The victim was only grazed and survived the attack.

Calton says a tornado destroyed his business in April 2002, traumatizing him to such an extent that it created a deranged mental state where he was not responsible for his actions.

In an attempt to bolster his case, Calton subpoenaed KXAS' weatherman to testify in his defense.

Meteorologist David Finfrock confirmed that a big twister did indeed hit Fort Worth on the day in question, but refused to speculate on its effect on the defendant.

"I'm not a doctor. I don't have any training in human behavior," said Finfrock. "So I can't make any kind of testimony. I'm not an expert on that."

But Calton's brother backed him up.

"His business was his livelihood," said James Calton. "When the tornado come through, it wiped him out."

Calton is claiming that in addition to the tornado, low blood sugar (search) contributed to his derangement.

Making the Most of His Free Time

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) — Talk about a slippery suspect.

A man is accused of applying Vaseline petroleum jelly (search) to every surface in his room at a Motel Six near Binghamton, N.Y.

After Roger Chamberlain checked out last week, the cleaning crew discovered mattresses and bedding were slathered with the slippery stuff. Vaseline covered the TV set, furniture, carpeting and towels — and everything else in the room.

Police found 14 empty Vaseline containers and numerous pornographic magazines in the room's trash can.

Damage to the motel room and its contents was estimated at over $1,000.

A sheriff's deputy found the Virginia man a short time later at another motel. The deputy said the man was "smeared from head to foot with Vaseline."

Chamberlain was sent to jail after being charged with felony criminal mischief.

The motel manager says the room still can't be used.

Couple Gets Married Between Trailers and Movie Feature

ESSEX, Vt. (AP) — The love story playing at a Vermont movie theater wasn't made in Hollywood.

This was real life, as Renee Bleau and Travis Vigneau, both 21, tied the knot at their local multiplex Friday evening.

About 50 guests, with tickets and popcorn, watched the couple in their starring role.

Vigneau said they spent so much time on dates at the movies, they thought it would be cool to get married there.

Theater manager Dale Chapman agreed.

"Movies are such a big part of their lives, I thought it would be a neat place to have the wedding," Chapman said.

The theater was decked-out for the ceremony with red roses, candles and live music. Shortly before the wedding party entered, the lights dimmed and several previews were screened — including "The Day After Tomorrow" and "Spider-Man 2."

"Everybody had a great time, so how can you top this?" said the groom's father, Frank Vigneau.

High School Honor Awarded Half a Century Later

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — A woman whose stolen kiss in a long-gone era kept her out of the National Honor Society will be inducted 51 years late.

Catherine Peters Wagner, 69, of the Shaw High School class of 1953, will be inducted Friday.

Wagner said she was reprimanded after being caught giving a quick kiss to a boyfriend as they passed in a school stairwell during their senior year. She suspects that is why her name was left off a list of new honor society members posted a short time later.

"There was a character issue there, apparently," Wagner said. "I had the point average. I had the activities. Both of my sisters had been inducted with the same grades and activities. Same with my classmates."

Wagner, who now lives in Reynoldsburg near Columbus, went to Ohio State University on a music scholarship and played the cello with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (search) for 29 years.

Last year she toured Shaw during a 50-year reunion and Gerald Dougherty, vice president of the honor society in 1953, heard her story and asked the school to get involved. Principal Clarence Bozeman arranged the induction.

As for Robert Wagner, the long-ago boyfriend she kissed in the stairwell: She married him and they'll celebrate their 48th anniversary this year.

That Doesn't Taste Like Gatorade

ELDERSBURG, Md. (AP) — Officials at Liberty High School have uncovered a discipline problem involving student athletes.

Two members of the girls' junior varsity lacrosse team were caught pulling a prank on their teammates. School officials said the two girls added water from a urinal in a boy's restroom to the team's water jugs.

They have been kicked off the team for the season and suspended from school for three days.

The Carroll County Health Department (search) has determined the other players were not in danger of getting sick from drinking the tainted water.

Some members of a boys' lacrosse team at Liberty and members of a boys' team at South Carroll were recently disciplined for an on-field brawl during a game last month.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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