"Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

Double Dose of Weird News

A doctor by the name of Ahmed Rashed not guilty to stealing a hand from a New Jersey medical school cadaver and giving it to an exotic dancer. Rashed, , a 2005 graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, voluntarily returned from Los Angeles where he is in a residency program.

The dancer, Linda Kay, kept the hand in a jar of formaldehyde in her bedroom. Friends have said she called the hand "Freddy."

Police discovered the hand, along with six human skulls, at Kay's home in July, after being called there on a report that a roommate was suicidal. The roommate was not home, but Kay was. Kay, 31, has pleaded not guilty to unlawful disposal of human remains. Her mother has said she believed the skulls were bought from a mail order catalog.

The left hand was taken in May or June 2002, according to an investigation by the school and South Plainfield police, said Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Judson Hamlin. Medical school spokeswoman Anna Farneski said in a statement that the investigation is ongoing. The charge against Rashed carries up to 10 years in prison.

Ghost Tours in Norwich

For most people who take part in Dave Chisnell's twice-weekly ghost tours of the city not far from where 700,000-year-old evidence of human habitation was discovered last year, it is pure theatre.

"I have seen two ghosts in my life. I used to live in a haunted house in this city. I had to steel myself to come along tonight. I want to see one more. I want to be sure I am not imagining things,"Lee Goldin, a long-time resident of Norwich, said.

They are among some 50 people following caped tour leader Chisnell as he leads his group from Norwich's oldest pub -- the 750-year-old Adam and Eve -- on a winding route through the back streets of the city who's first Cathedral dates back to the Norman conquest in 1066.

A few spooky Norwich tales:

The story of Cromwell's lost army is chilling. Hunting a dissident royalist group Cromwell sent an army group into Norwich -- which is supposedly undercut with smugglers tunnels large enough to accommodate men even on horseback. They never came back. The royalists, knowing they were coming, laid wires across the tunnels and when the horses and riders finally turned the corner they lifted them -- decapitating horse and rider at the same time. Although no one has successfully explained how to commit such mass execution, it grabs the audience -- standing on this platform with the imposing cathedral behind them and on the cobble stones said to reverberate with the lost soldiers.

Perhaps the most poignant story Chisnell tells is of the Lady in Gray -- the ghost of a young girl locked up in the family house with her kin at the height of the plague in 1578 because people thought everyone inside was dead but were too scared of infection to enter. "When they opened the house a few weeks later to take the bodies out for burial they found human teeth marks on the legs of the parents and flesh in the throat of the girl -- she had choked to death trying to stay alive," Chisnell said.

Perhaps one of the most enigmatic of Norwich's ghosts is a monk -- a stage struck monk to boot.

At the theatre in Madder Market -- madder means dyer in ancient English -- an obviously stage-struck spirit monk has been regularly seen, but not by all. "At one recent staging of "Agnes of God" a group of school children of between nine and 13 came along to see it," Chisnell said. "The following day back at school they were asked to write up their experiences. 13 of the 43 said the best bit was when the monk came across the stage -- there is no monk in that play."


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