Weddings are not usually described as “crunchy,” but the word seems right for a ceremony on the scenic shores of Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park. Videographer Stanton Giles was filming the wedding in August when his camera was pulled by the groom’s eternal promises of love to a dramatic uproar over the lake: a grizzly bear rushed out of the bushes and grabbed a calf moose while its mother looked on. Giles told Newsweek that the bride and groom were still in the middle of their vows when the wedding party realized what was going on and the celebrations had to be suspended until the bear killed the calf. “He was there about as long as it took to kill the calf,” said Giles. “As soon as it died and stopped struggling in the water, he dragged it back into the trees.” The shocked guests were unsure how to react, Giles said – something that rarely comes up in etiquette manuals – although the suggestion was made to turn up the music to “drown out the sound of death.”” The entire three-minute, 30-second scene was videotaped for posterity and uploaded to YouTube, where it has been viewed over 400,000 times. Nature is beautiful and frightening. And weddings held in the great outdoors sometimes give new meaning to the words “till death do us part.””
As pets, tarantulas are an acquired taste. The creepy crawlies aren’t for everyone, but arachnid admirers in Coarsegold, California want everyone to love them as much as they do. The 25th annual Coarsegold Tarantula Awareness Festival, celebrated at the Coarsegold Historic Village on the last Saturday of October, honors the flamboyant fuzzies and their contribution to the ecosystem. NBCLosAngeles.com noted that the festival included pumpkin cheesecakes, a costume contest, and tarantula-inspired poetry, not to mention a chance to meet, touch, and even hold the guests of honor. Festival organizers are trying to educate the public and destigmatize giant hairy spiders. Another tarantula festival took place in La Junta, Colorado during the first week of October. According to Fox21news.com, the attendees celebrated the arachnids and their annual mating ritual, which no dating app called “Spinder,” but occurs naturally across the 110,000 acres of Comanche National Grassland – more like Burning Man for spiders, with even more legs for dancing.
Speaking of legs, in August part of a human foot was discovered in Yellowstone National Park’s Abyss Pool near the aptly named West Thumb Geyser Basin, still inside its owner’s shoe, ABC News reported. Could this macabre discovery have anything to do with the 21 other severed feet that have washed up on shores in Canada and Washington in recent years? Authorities have been puzzling over the gruesome discovery since August 20, 2007, when a girl found an Adidas sneaker and foot on Jedediah Island near British Columbia and Vancouver Island. Just six days later, a black and white Reebok showed up on the island of Gabriola, 48 kilometers away. Since then, more disembodied feet have washed up around the Salish Sea. However, there is an explanation. Forensic scientists have considered body decomposition, shoe fashions, and DNA research to arrive at a cause, and no, it’s not aliens. Or serial killers. Or shark attacks or overzealous podiatrists. Big Think explained that dead bodies in the ocean are generally picked up by sea scavengers and bottom feeders and dismantled piece by piece in less than a week. However, the feet could be carried to the surface with the help of the lightweight materials found in recent generation sneakers. Sneakers made after 2000 are made of lighter foam and have air pockets in the soles. Authorities used DNA evidence to identify most of the feet. But the Yellowstone foot remains a mystery, though we can’t help but wonder what else might be lurking in the West Thumb Geyser Basin. Some things are better left unknown.
We’ve long admired the terse but powerful prose of small-town police blotters. Occasionally an object almost rises to poetry. Observant readers John and Eileen Eavis sent us such a snippet from the Seward Journal, whose Public Safety Report compiles data from a variety of sources, including police, fire, EMS reports and court documents. How could one not be intrigued: “A caller at 2:09 pm on June 19 reported that at 8:36 am on June 19, a person in a gorilla suit broke into their yard and left a rooster behind. “ It‘s “Just the facts, Ma‘am,” as the old Dragnet TV cops would say, but sometimes the facts do the trick.
Tiffany Midge is a citizen of the Standing Rock Nation and was raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest. Her book, Bury my heart at Chuck E. Cheese (Bison Books, 2019), was nominated for a Washington State Book Award. She lives in north-central Idaho near the Columbia River Plateau, home of the Nimiipuu people.
Western oddity tips are welcome and shared widely in this column. Write [email protected]or send a letter to the editor.