In the cellar? Uri Geller! 

According to a June medical-journal report, a team of Philadelphia researchers recently found that laboratory rats could order water for themselves just by imagining it. Certain areas of their brains were found to emit electrical charges that could be used to open a robot water reservoir whenever the rats appeared to be thirsty. Scientists believe the breakthrough will eventually enable humans to move artificial limbs by mere willpower.

Scully-ing his record

In April, Toronto's Rene Joly, 34, filed a lawsuit against several drugstore chains and the Canadian defense minister, charging that they conspired to kill him by poisoning his prescriptions and implanting a military microchip in his brain. "Genetically speaking, I'm a Martian, yes," he told reporters in May, explaining that he had been cloned from material recovered from NASA missions. The college-educated Joly impressed some reporters with his eloquence and calm demeanor, but one defense lawyer said merely that Joly "has watched too many episodes of 'The X-Files.'"

Firm and steady hand

Republican presidential candidate Dan Quayle, commenting in May on TV's "Crossfire" about the Littleton, Colo., school shootings: "You're not there to be just the child's best friend. You're there as a parent. `A`nd if you see a sawed-off shotgun or whatever else laying around `his room`, take it away."

Molar majority

Throughout the spring, hundreds of worshippers in South America, South Africa, Canada and the United States (notably in Omaha, Neb.) claimed that gold teeth and gold fillings had spontaneously appeared in their mouths, apparently as a result of prayer. But two claimants, Canadian TV evangelists Dick Dewert and William Thiessen, were forced to issue corrections when reminded by their respective dentists that the fillings had been installed in the conventional way. Said Thiessen, "I `now tell` people to please check their dental records before they declare a miracle." Ahead of the curve, pastor Dennis Morgan-Dohner of Big God Ministries in Indiana said that God had given him a platinum filling.

Lead astray

In Ottawa, Ontario, in June, Richard Hamilton, 29, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for an April robbery of a Harvey's fast-food restaurant. Hamilton had no gun; he pulled a .32-calibre bullet from his pocket and waved it around, saying he had more where that came from. Handed about $200 from the cash drawer, he was apprehended minutes later.

Shalom from space

In May, a Jerusalem Post reporter interviewed a self-professed extraterrestrial by telephone with the help of Adrian Dvir, an engineer who develops computers for the Israeli military. The alien, "Fenix," said he was 200 years old and was calling from near Uranus, via electronics that translated his speech into Hebrew. Dvir was said to have been chosen for contact because he had enrolled in psychic-training courses monitored by "Fenix's" Kliendcontlar race. Phoning Dvir from a number blocked by Caller ID, "Fenix" spoke to the reporter for 85 minutes.

A way to blow a few hours

In July, The Washington Post reported an unusually high incidence of oral sex by middle-school students in the D.C. area; the paper said the adolescent participants viewed the activity more as a trendy thing to do than as intimacy. Three days earlier, police in York Haven, Pa., announced the discovery of a two-year-old club in which at least 17 kids ages 7 to 16 were teaching each other sex without adult participation.

The sins of the father

In March, Angel Luis Montes, 26, was sentenced to probation in Lamar, Mo., for receiving stolen property. Throughout his courtroom appearance, he referred to himself as "Angel Montes Clinton" (the president's son), as well as the Unabomber and the husband of "Prince (sic) Diana," with whom he claimed to have fathered 100 children. Though some observers said Montes did not appear to be in his right mind, he professed embarrassment at his father's affair with Monica Lewinsky, adding that Dad needed to keep certain body parts -- not identified in the Carthage (Mo.) Press story -- "where they belong."

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