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Wackiest Mishaps of 1966

by Paul Jones (Found in the George W. Harper Collection)

It used to be news when a man bit a dog. But in 1966 a dog shot a woman. And that’s not all. A kangaroo shot a man. So did a rabbit. A deer took a gun away from a hunter. A fish chased a fisherman off the road by sneezing in his face. A goose, a grasshopper, and a mouse got into the act, each in its own quaint way.

All this was turned up by the National Safety Council in its annual roundup of odd accidents. And if you haven’t already begun to suspect that things were just a little wacky in the year just past, read on!

About the dog that shot the woman. It happened in Baltimore as Mrs. Ruth Patterson was enjoying a bath. Her police pup, Toby, spied a gun on the washstand, put paw to pistol and let Mrs. Patterson have it right in the bathtub….or more precisely, right in the hand.

More understandable was the strange case of the kangaroo that shot the man. This happened in Australia when Arthur Crosbie shot a kangaroo through the hind legs and it fell on its back. Crosbie reloaded the rifle and put the butt on the kangaroo’s neck to pin it down. The kangaroo reached up, twined a forepaw around the trigger an shot Crosbie through the arm.

Prompted by the same motive of self preservation, a rabbit that lived just outside Louisville, Kentucky, resented the activities of William Humphrey, a 16-year-old hunter. He stuck out a paw from Humphrey’s game bag, pulled the trigger of Humphrey’s gun and shot him through the foot. Humphrey now carries a rabbit’s foot for luck when he goes hunting. Guess what rabbit?

Back in the meatless days Del Halstead licked his chops as he drew a sight on a big buck deer near Buckhorn Station, California. Just as he released the safety catch on his rifle, he was hit from behind and sent sprawling. Another buck had bounded out of a thicket and landed, ala the Marines, in the nick of time. Halstead not only lost his gun….he lost two bucks.

Edward M. Brown, of Beverly Hills, California, saw active service in both the European and Asiatic theaters without a scratch. He decided to relax by going hunting. A companion shot a goose. It plummeted down, struck Brown smack in the chest, knocked him flat, and inflicted injuries that kept him in the hospital 45 days.

Put a mouse and a woman in the same car and something has to give. So when Mrs. Orson Rheingold, of Albany, New York, found she was sharing her car with a traveling field mouse, she just did what comes naturally. The car smacked into a pole and the field mouse returned to the field.

James Mantakes of La Grande, Oregon, was chugging along with a salmon he had caught in the back of the car. Desert dust got in the salmon’s gills, enough to confuse Mr. Mantakes, a grasshopper blew in the window. The salmon lunged at the grasshopper, missed and fell in the lap of the now thoroughly disorganized driver. Mr. Mantakes gave himself over to subduing the fish, the car crashed off the road. The salmon sneezed spitefully once and then succumbed.

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