7 OFFBEAT YARNS: From flying sex toys to cane toad purses
1: The case of the flying dildo:
WHO knew that a story about a “flying cock” would garner 11,000 clicks in a day and go viral around the world?
That’s exactly what happened when Ocean Shores woman Felicity Durham put a post on social media about an unusual object which struck and damaged her car in November of 2018.
“On my way home to Ocean Shores from Brunz yesterday, my car was struck, breaking my headlight cover, by what I thought was a cockatoo,” Miss Durham posted on the Byron Bay Community Board Facebook page.
“So naturally, I turned around at the Rajah Rd roundabout to see if it was. But what I found in fact was a ‘King Cock’, not a cockatoo!”
Despite her pun, Miss Durham said she was surprised when what she really thought had been a bird, turned out to be an empty box, with the description of a dildo sex toy.
“I thought it was really weird, so I picked up the box but there was nothing in it,” the 33-year-old said.
“It was the most hilarious thing ever.
“I was just a bit shocked by the cock.
“The box has got skin that you can move, with a little hologram picture so when you move the box it shows you how it works, it’s hyper-realistic with a lube bottle and cleaner … it had all the bells and whistles.”
This unusual story was picked up by media around Australia and the world.
2. Wanted. Sword swallowing kit:
ZACHARY Abercrombie was keen to carry on the family tradition of sword swallowing but he had a bit of a problem.
The Brisbane man had to train himself using tyre levers and screw drivers as the swords that his grandfather and uncle used were sold to a pawn shop in Lismore.
In 2017 he contacted The Northern Star offering $500 to get them back.
“You learn sword swallowing with extreme caution and great difficulty,” he said.
“The trick is to overcome the physical gag reflex and I’ve had lots and lots and lots of practice.”
Mr Abercrombie shared his search in the hope of being able to track down the swords that were sold to Paddy’s Pawnshop in 1985.
The items listed include a wooden suitcase containing three swords – a 1916 Lee Enfield rifle bayonet, a ceremonial Mason’s sword and a chrome sheath with three sheet metal swords inside.
We don’t know if he ever got them back, but would love to hear.
3: Good for nothing cane toads:
CANE toads are an invasive species in Australia, and there have been many programs put into place in an effort to eradicate the pest. However a Cairns company we wrote about in 2019 came up with an ingenious, and slightly nauseating, solution.
Marino Leather had been making genuine cane toad leather coin purses, created by humanely freezing the toad before tanning them.
The Leather Shop in Kyogle received a shipment and then store co-owner Mario Sanchez said the product had gone viral online.
The Leather Shop was offering the vegetable-tanned cane toad coin pouches for $25, and there were a number of different types, including pouches with front legs and those without, as well as coloured varieties.
4: Yowies are a thing on the Northern Rivers:
IT’S been years since The Northern Star reported on a local yowie sighting.
But in 2018 we wrote about the Australian Yowie Research report, which stated that one of the creatures had been spotted near Nimbin.
The beast in question frightened a woman on March 5 in Uki (Mt Jerusalem National Park) at around 7pm.
Yowie hunter Dean Harrison from Australian Yowie Research has been hunting the widely-thought mythical creatures for more than 20 years, and said he has had many encounters with the creatures of the night ever since.
He has collated an impressive database of written and audio witness accounts, news articles, images and physical evidence including footprints.
5: Messages do come in bottles:
WHEN Evans Head man Aaron Campbell and a mate were combing Airforce Beach in 2018 picking up bottles, they were surprised to find one containing a message.
“It was barnacle-encrusted and as I grabbed hold of it to throw in the ute, I held it up to the sun and saw there were letters in it,” he said.
“I managed to get the letters out of the bottle with chopsticks.
“It was only sealed with the screw top on the bottle, so it was lucky no water got into it.”
The letters were written by Brodie and Matisse, who normally live in Southern NSW but happened to be on a cruise just off from the Sunshine Coast.
“Hello, if you are reading this, you got my message,” one of the letters read.
“We have been cruising on P & O.
“We have had the best trip ever.”
There was an email address to which Aaron promptly sent a message and Brodie and Matisse’s mum Sally replied.
“Brodie and Matisse were so excited to hear someone had found their message,” she wrote.
6: Ghost story part one:
A SHADOW man, a ghost cat and apparitions of a strange woman on a cemetery hill are regular encounters for the Northern Rivers Paranormal Investigators.
The public ghost hunting group investigates “haunted” locations in the region, detecting and documenting “spirit” activity with specialised equipment.
Based in Lismore, NRPI’s core members then were Madelein and Robert Fox, their son Luke and daughter-in-law Rachel.
After years of encounters with “spirits” and feeling “too afraid” to share her stories, Mrs Fox said she created NRPI for others to connect, share their experiences and investigate “activity” in a non-judgemental environment.
7: Ghost story part two:
HAUNTED houses can be fun on Halloween, but what about real haunted places?
Two years ago we produced a list of the eight most haunted places in our region.
This was collected using The Northern Star archives and local folklore.
The eight most haunted places on the Northern Rivers are:
Fenwick House Ballina, Shaws Bay Hotel, Ballina Manor, Casino Courthouse, Old Lions Park, Lismore, Tulloona House, Goonellabah; Byron lighthouse; glowing cross North Lismore Cemetery