Chuck Shepherd

Chuck Shepherd, editor of "News of the Weird," has been collecting peculiar stories for almost 20 years.

Who is Chuck Shepherd

"Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird is an abstract and brief chronicle of our time."
- William Shakespeare

"It takes a pretty boring man to do justice to weird news, and Chuck Shepherd is that man."
- Charles Dickens

Okay. Neither of those quotes is real, but everything in Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird is.

We all like to enjoy a funny story or a good joke, but there are those among us who especially savor tales of real things done by real people. Especially, inappropriate things. Especially, as done by judgment-challenged people. Readers with a taste for the strange-but-true demand a supplier — a trafficker — one who will monitor the nation’s press every day, find the best (worst?) of this stuff on record, and report it to the rest of us. Hence, Chuck Shepherd’s News of the Weird, serving our nation’s discriminating readers since 1988.

For Chuck, it all started during a brief period of unemployment in 1981 when he gathered all the yellowing clippings he’d been saving as an archive of the ennui permeating the country during the 1970s (a decade he describes as "an intellectual ‘At the Copa’") and published them in what would later be called a "’zine," View from the Ledge. The mailing list grew, The Atlantic Monthly wrote it up, National Public Radio talked it up, and a risk-taking newspaper editor decided to try out a regular column based on it. News of the Weird quickly evolved from being a staple of weekly alternative newspapers into a popular feature in more than 300 mainstream daily newspapers and alternative publications.

The best of "News of the Weird," as well as other selections from Shepherd's vast collection, have appeared in five paperback books:

In 1992, after stints as a government lawyer, college professor, criminal-defense attorney, and assistant to the late consumer activist legend Esther Peterson, Chuck abandoned his life in the Washington, D.C., theme park "Establishment World," turned in his costumes and earnestness, and became the World’s Foremost Authority on Weird News. He moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., near where he spent his formative years honing his sense of the weird and normal. It took much courage to leave such a Capital of Weird as Washington, D.C., but who could argue with Florida as the choice for relocation? After all, the state once was home to a mail-order club for foot fetishists in which plastic models of women’s feet, molded monthly from different women, were offered as "Main Selection" and "Alternate Selection" to the club’s 4,000 members at $29.95 a foot and $39.95 a pair.

When he’s not immersing himself in tales of bizarre behavior, Chuck retains his sanity by adhering to strict personal standards, such as dressing in men’s clothing, never lighting a match to peer into a gas tank, and being extra wary of men who carry guns and have the middle name "Wayne."


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