The New Zealand Government Sent A Would-Be Assassin On A Kayaking Trip
In 1981, 17-year-old New Zealander Christopher Lewis took a rifle, climbed to the fifth floor of a Dunedin office, and tried to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II. But the shot went wide. Real wide. So wide that the queen didn't even notice. So instead of creating a fuss, the ever-polite New Zealand authorities simply decided not to tell anyone. After all, if Her Majesty found out they let some corgi-hating maniac almost kill her, she might not want to visit again!
So began the most genteel cover-up of an assassination attempt in history. Somehow, the police managed to convince 1,000 witnesses that the gunshot had been a falling street sign. They then easily apprehended Lewis and, to keep up appearances, only charged him with possession and illegal discharge of a firearm. Court reports failed to mention he had illegally discharged it at the queen's face.
But the government quickly discovered that keeping their adolescent assassin quiet was going be harder than expected. A mentally ill white supremacist, Lewis believed he was part of a nonexistent Nazi militia lead by "The Snowman," and that he had been selected to assassinate the monarch in "Operation: Ass Queb."
NZ HeraldIt was a plot so serious that we're only going to laugh at that a little bit.
They decided to lock him away in a mental hospital, but it wasn't enough. When Lewis found out that Prince Charles was visiting New Zealand in 1983, he attacked an orderly with a knife trying to break out. The cops even found plans to murder the prince hidden in his room -- and since this was a mental ward, we don't know want to know what he wrote them with.
A decade passed, during which Lewis went from Nazism to Buddhism and from dissident to plain ol' crazy criminal. But when the queen planned to visit again in 1995, the government took no chances. Police went to his domicile, told him to pack a bag, offer no resistance, and come with them ... on a fabulous ten-day all-expenses-paid vacation to the remote Great Barrier Island! There, Lewis and his girlfriend spent the entire time blowing taxpayer money on fishing and kayaking. He even wrote that he "almost felt like royalty" -- which in retrospect could've been a suicide note.
But you can't keep this kind of bumbling conspiracy a secret forever. The cover-up was partially exposed in 1997 by a former cop, but the New Zealand government only admitted to it in 2018, after Stuff wrote an expose on the whole ridiculous affair. As for Lewis? Well, he gave up trying to assassinate royals and mellowed out a bit. By which we mean he robbed a bank with a ninja sword, led police on an epic chase into the Outback, jumped a 30-foot gorge with his car, and finally escaped capture by clinging to the underside of a bus for 200 miles.
Universal Music Didn't Let Artists Know Their Music Had Been Lost In A Fire
In 2008, a huge fire erupted at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles. The flames coming from the animatronic King Kong ride were so intense that they melted parts of the firetrucks. Firefighters spent so long subduing the blaze that they had to pump the lagoon from the Creature From The Black Lagoon ride dry because they ran out of water. The whole scene sounds like it was pulled right from a movie itself. It's just too bad it was lacking a soundtrack, since all the good music had gone up in flames.