ACROSS AMERICA — Fans of the Netflix limited series “The Watcher,” which is as eerie as its name suggests it is, found themselves wondering how much of the plot really unfolded at the house at 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey, and how much was the product of the writers’ wild imaginations.
As it turns out, this horror story is told with more truth than creative license, and the letters the real-life couple who bought their dream house received from someone called “The Watcher” really were as creepy and ominous as the series depicts them.
Who was “The Watcher”? Was it the real-life mass murderer John Graff, who killed his wife, mother and three children at their Westfield home in 1971? Or is that historical crime reference dropped in for the sake of the story? Read more on Westfield Patch:
Below are a few more downright weird or slightly offbeat stories from Patch editors in 2022.
What? Well, not quite. But … Some folks on Long Island were lucky enough to see the only remaining specimen of the historical phenomenon, the Great Kentucky Meat Shower. You read that correctly. On March 3, 1876, in Bath County, Kentucky, residents claimed that large pieces of meat, which looked like beef, suddenly fell from the sky in short periods between 11 a.m. and noon. A witness recalled the sky was perfectly clear at the time, and the falling meat “felt like snowflakes.” Read more on Sayville-Bayport Patch:
A fisherman on Long Island reeled in an unexpected catch — a 5-foot, 6-inch shark he had to wrestle in a dramatic encounter a woman taking a leisurely stroll on the beach was able to capture on video. She can hardly be blamed for a little salt in her narrative. “Looking back, I probably should’ve used better language,” she said. “I was just, you know, excited.” Read more on Patchogue Patch:
If you feel like people aren’t listening, follow the lead of an Elmhurst, Illinois, man who was ticketed for letting weeds grow on his property and then made his case to local officials to have his property turned into a nature preserve in a rap: “Save the wild bees by letting the dandelions grow and just saying no. No to herbicide. No to pesticide. And, yes, to a blessed new hour of wildflower power. Think about that. The hippies are back. My name’s not Jack. It’s Jim. I’m not that slim. I’m getting old, but my raps are still bold, and I live in E-town Elmhurst, Starburst.” Read more on Elmhurst Patch:
It helps to be able to run sideways on the beach, be willing to run around in tights while wielding a crab mallet and be able to say convincingly that you owe your powerful pinch and bulletproof, crab-shaped shield to eating radioactive crabs. Read more on Kensington Patch:
A Park Slope, New York, dad always goes big with his Halloween pumpkins, but this year he went overboard with a 1,000–pound beast. It took a small army of people and a U-Haul truck to bring the giant gourd from a Pennsylvania pumpkin patch to the stoop of his brownstone. Read more from Park Slope Patch
Americans sure love pumpkin spice. Or they consider it an abomination. Pumpkin spice deodorant? The autumn spice found its way into almost everything else — ramen, Spam, cheese, candles and so much more — so why not? But what would that even smell like when mixed with the smell deodorant is supposed to mask? Read more on Across America Patch:
Whatever else it may have been, that whole encounter between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars was weird, wasn’t it? Some people said banning Smith, who bounced from his seat and slapped Rock for disparaging his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, from future Oscar ceremonies was not enough. The story occupied headlines for days and weeks, and Smith ultimately got what not everyone agreed was just punishment for the breach in decorum. Read more on Hollywood Patch and Rockville Centre (New York) Patch:
The Mount Jab Church of Mars doesn’t exist solely to rub religious conservatives the wrong way, but neither does it back away when opportunities present themselves. No sooner had the U.S. Supreme Court backed a high school football coach’s right to pray at the 50-yard line before atheist, artist, author and founder of the church, Chaz Stevens, asked to lead a Satanic prayer on the football field of his alma mater. “I assume they’re going to tell me to kiss off,” he said. Read more on Miami Patch
America’s schoolchildren are not being provided litter boxes, not even if they’re dressing as cats. The 100 percent untrue story, circulated as a perversion of schools’ efforts to be inclusive, refused to die in 2022. School superintendents were put in a position they never imagined they’d be, explaining to the parents and others in their districts the claim was absurd, but it persisted, with some politicians repeating the litter box claim as fact, only to apologize later. Read more on Across America Patch:
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