During a discussion of nothing much at all during morning tea recently, someone asked about the monkey who was a French spy.
Now, this curious conjunction of elements produced considerable scepticism and not a little amusement. It also produced some hurried research and resort to that fount of all knowledge and trivia, Wikipedia.
Sure enough, and goddamn it, there is such a story, based in that centre of culture, learning, adventure and international affairs: Hartlepool.
You can read the extrordinary story on Wikipedia.
But wait, there's more! Hartlepool has taken the story on board, with the local Rugby and Football Clubs adopting the persona, and the town's tourism/promotional website waxing lyrical and poetical over the incident!
And if you though all that was a little strange or even bizarre, The Americans, can top that (of course!)
You see it appears that justice-minded (& perhaps just a little hysterical) Tennesseeans decided a circus elephant named Mary had to be killed after she killed her recently appointed, and presumably in-experienced, handler. After shooting her failed, she was taken to a nearby town and hanged, although it took 2 attempts!
As Ripley used to say "Believe it or not!", or as the English would have it - "there's nought so queer as folks!"