Monday, January 08, 2007

Fun with the CLP News Y- Files

Those of you who know about my involvement in the Crime Lab Project may know that twice a week (most weeks), I produce an e-mailed newsletter, the CLP News. (It's free, and if you'd like to receive it, just send a blank e-mail to

Every now and then, I come across something especially odd, and I put it in a special section of the CLP News known as the Y-Files -- so named because real life is sometimes weirder than the X-Files.

In the past, it has featured stories on
  • a determined retired fireman doing construction work, who stubbornly tackled the task of digging out a blocked chimney -- where he found a skeleton "with fake fingernails"
  • a man who (on April Fool's Day, of all things) accidentally dialed 911 from the cell phone in his pants (the pants wer tight, the cell phone had a feature to dial 911 if you held down the 9), and unwittingly broadcast to a police dispatcher the plans he and a friend were making for a little B&E at a local business
  • the man who set fire to his house to get his visitors to leave
  • the family that kept grandma in an air-conditioned room, propped up in a chair, "watching" TV for a few years after she had died, because "that was her wish"
  • the fellow who warned police (who showed up after he had fired shots toward his neighbor's house) that they shouldn't jump to conclusions about his mother's body being in his freezer.

Today, though, we had the rare felicity of two stories with a fashion theme. One was of the young man in Ohio, who with his mother's help, stole a 30-inch baby boa constrictor by wrapping the snake around his neck like the feather kind of boa, and hiding it with his jacket. You'll love to read how they were caught.

The other concerned a bomb -- fortunely discovered by the workers at a Sheboygan Falls Wisconsin laundry facility before it exploded -- apparently a customer who had other plans for it accidentally left it in his clothing.

This is the sort of thing you just can't put into books without a hell of a lot of set up.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jan,
I noticed that for LCC 2007 there is a track on Friday that simply says, "Crime Lab Project." Do you happen to know what will be discussed during those tracks. I'm going to be there and am looking forward to meeting you. I just read Bloodlines and loved it and your writing.
Mary-Frances Makichen

Jan Burke said...

Hi Mary-Frances,
I do know, because I helped to put them together!
I'll post about this for Tuesday.
Thanks for the kind words about Bloodlines -- I look forward to meeting you, too!