Odd Side – January 29, 2019

German Man Survives Ride Between Two Train Cars at 125 Mph

BERLIN (AP) – Police say a German man who ducked out of a train for a cigarette during a short stop got into trouble when he tried to jump back on board between two cars after the train departed without him.

Police said Thursday the 33-year-old clung on to the coupling during frigid temperatures, screaming as the train headed toward Hamburg late Wednesday at speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour (125 mph).

Passengers heard the man’s cries and were able to trigger an emergency stop, allowing him to be brought inside.

Authorities say he was handed over to them at the main station in Essen and was “unmistakably informed by the federal police about the mortal danger he had been in.”

He’s under investigation for dangerous interference with rail traffic.

Man Says Emotional Support Alligator Helps His Depression

YORK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania man says his emotional support alligator helps him deal with his depression.

Joie Henney, 65, said his registered emotional support animal named Wally likes to snuggle and give hugs, despite being a 5-foot-long alligator. The York Haven man said he received approval from his doctor to use Wally as his emotional support animal after not wanting to go on medication for depression, he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I had Wally, and when I came home and was around him, it was all okay,” he said. “My doctor knew about Wally and figured it works, so why not?”

Wally was rescued from outside Orlando at 14 months old and is still growing; Henney said Wally could be 16 feet long one day. Henney says Wally eats chicken wings and shares an indoor plastic pond with a smaller rescue alligator named Scrappy.

Wally, who turns 4 this year, is a big teddy bear, in Henney’s words. The cold-blooded reptile likes to rest his snout on Henney’s, and “he likes to give hugs,” he said.

The alligator has never bitten anyone and is even afraid of cats, according to Henney.

Henney acknowledged that Wally is still a dangerous wild animal and could probably tear his arm off, but says he’s never been afraid of him.

Henney frequently takes Wally out for meet-and-greets at places like senior centers and minor-league baseball games.

“He’s just like a dog,” Henney told a woman at a recent outing to a senior center. “He wants to be loved and petted.”

Volunteer at New England Aquarium known as ‘Octopus Whisperer’

BOSTON (AP) – Wilson Menashi palmed a squid in his left hand and extended his arm into an aquarium tank, watching as a giant Pacific octopus stretched out arms to greet him like a friend.

Freya latched some of her 2,240 suction cups onto Menashi’s arm, using their powers of taste and smell to gather information around the 84-year-old man known as the octopus whisperer — and the seafood treats he was bearing.

“She’s just contacting me and she’s saying, ‘You come to me,’” Menashi said of Freya, a 3-year-old predator weighing 35 to 40 pounds (18 kilograms). Her arms span 14 feet (4 meters) and pack enough strength to kill sharks and other enemies.

But this afternoon’s gentle interaction left no doubt that Menashi has a special way with the cephalopod, whose body includes a large, sac-like head and eight powerful arms.

More than 25 years ago, Menashi retired after a career as a chemical engineer and began volunteering at the New England Aquarium in Boston. He’s spent 7,800 hours — the equivalent of about four years working full time — hanging out with octopuses, the aquarium said.