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Fans of fright this Halloween may want to travel to Summertown, Tennessee, to see if they can become the first visitor to make it all the way through the haunted house experience called McKamey Manor. The rewards are compelling—along with notoriety, a person who completes the tour will receive $20,000. But the demands are great, too: Along with bringing a bag of dog food for owner Russ McKamey’s dogs, you need to be at least 21 years old, watch a two-hour video of other contestants failing, complete a sports physical with a doctor’s letter, pass a background check, bring proof of medical insurance, sign a 40-page waiver and pass a drug test. WFLA reports McKamey doesn’t allow cursing during the visit; if you utter a curse word, he’ll subtract money from the $20,000 prize. But don’t despair: McKamey does have a “safe” phrase for those who want to bail out: “You really don’t want to do this.” You’re right. We don’t. [WFLA, 10/22/2019]

Recent Alarming Headline
The San Diego Humane Society was summoned to a convenience store parking lot in Del Mar, California, on Octobre 8 after law enforcement officers responded to calls of concern about a van parked there, near one of San Diego’s toniest neighborhoods. Officers found a woman living in the van with more than 300 pet rats. Humane Society Capt. Danee Cook told The San Diego Union-Tribune, “This was not a cruelty case. This was a relinquishment.” The unidentified owner said she had started with two pet rats, but the situation had gotten out of control, and she agreed to surrender all of them, many of which were juveniles or pregnant. Officers spent several days tearing the van apart and recovered 320 animals, about half of which were put up for adoption. Meanwhile, the woman has found a place to live with the help of a GoFundMe page. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/17/2019]

Truck driver Cesar Schmitz of Eneas Marques, Brazil, was just trying to make his wife happy when he launched an effort to rid their backyard of cockroaches. “She … begged me to destroy their nest under the ground once and for all,” Schmitz, 48, explained. After chemicals failed to do the job, The Daily Mail reported, Schmitz decided setting fire to the hole would work, so on October 18, he poured a capful of gasoline into the hole and tossed in a lighted match. After a couple of misfires, caught on his home’s security camera, a match landed, and Schmitz and his dogs are seen ducking for cover as the resulting explosion sends turf and lawn furniture flying through the air. The gasoline itself had ignited but it had also set off the highly combustible methane from the bugs’ venom that had accumulated in an air pocket under the grass. “I wish I’d thought this through,” Schmitz said. He admitted it made a huge mess, but said, ultimately, his scheme was a success: The cockroaches are gone. [Daily Mail, 10/22/2019]

Unclear on the Concept
Andrew Blackwell, 25, has his sights set on a particular home in Salt Lake City, Utah, and apparently will stop at nothing to make it his own. Since late August, Blackwell, a neighbor of the property, has been repeatedly entering the home, according to court papers, even after being told by police that he does not have the authority to do so. He has been doing work around the house, including removing trees and shrubbery, installing new locks and telling other neighbors he had bought the house. Blackwell told police he offered the elderly owner of the home, who lives elsewhere, $90,000 for her property, which has a market value of $363,000. Court documents state that after the owner refused the offer, he told her he would “forge any document needed to get the property from her,” according to KUTV. Finally, on October 18, police issued a warrant for Blackwell’s arrest, on charges of burglary, forgery, stalking, theft, three counts of criminal trespassing and criminal mischief. [KUTV, 10/20/2019]

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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