The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 19, 2009

Weird News: Soothsayers continue to prosper

Surprisingly, the recession otherwise felt in the Phoenix area this year has largely spared one “profession”: psychics. An October Arizona Republic report found that while longtime clients tended to reduce their use of astrology and related fields, their business was replaced by a new class of customers desperate to know the future -- those facing financial ruin because of bad home mortgages. (Few, wrote the reporter, seemed to sense the irony of purchasing questionable psychic services to overcome the consequences of questionable mortgage decisions.)

Hyperactive Seniors

Not Too Old to Do Her Own Hit: Elsa Seman, 71, was shot and killed in North Versailles, Pa., in September, when she was mistaken for a prowler. According to police, Seman had gone to the home of her ex-boyfriend at night and, dressed in black, commando-style, was lying in wait in his yard with a pistol, intending to kill him. A neighbor called in the report of a prowler, and a police officer arriving at the scene fatally shot Seman.

*Not Too Sickly for a Career in Bank Robbery: Police in Southern California know what the man looks like (from surveillance video) but have not yet apprehended the well- dressed, 70ish man who has robbed four banks since August, with the latest being a Bank of America in Rancho Santa Fe in October. The man has shown special dexterity to pull off the robberies, since he is on oxygen and has to carry around his own tank.

* Ella Orko, 86, was arrested in Chicago in August (her 61st arrest) and charged with shoplifting $252 worth of groceries and sundries (including anti-wrinkle cream).



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