A beer festival held in an English churchyard has provoked a wave of controversy after pictures emerged of visitors reveling among the graves.
Locals in the northeastern town of Stockton-on-Tees flocked to the 1,000-year-old St. Mary's Church for the St. Mary's Norton Beer Festival, which took place over four days and ended Sunday.
In its first outing since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the festival was organized by the church in conjunction with the Three Brothers Brewing Company to raise funds for the building, which dates from around 1020.
But what was in previous years a popular, if very local festivity made headlines in national newspapers after photos emerged of visitors posing for pictures while sitting around a grave, their drinks balanced upon it.
The photographs sparked a storm of anger on social media, with upset residents flooding a local news Facebook group with their comments.
One wrote: "This is disgraceful behaviour, not only from the people involved but from the church for allowing this to happen. Cemeteries are places for people to pay respects and remember their loved ones, they're not beer gardens, and those headstones certainly aren't stools or tables. A public apology is needed here."
Another said: "Why couldn't they sit on the green, which is just outside, instead of on graves? I think it's appalling... What a total lack of respect for the deceased and their families."
And someone else wrote: "I would be livid if I had family buried there."
Not all the responses were negative, however. One commentator wrote: "Oh for goodness sake people are coming together to enjoy themselves I am sure (god rest their souls) people will be happy that they are apart of a celebration and a happy moment please let's enjoy life."
Another pointed out: "The grave in the photo dates from the 1740s. I can't understand the vitriol here targeting the folk in the photo."
In the run-up to the festival, organizers promoted it with a Facebook post promising more than 40 types of beer, 12 varieties of cider, 10 artisan spirits, wines and prosecco.
Other attractions included local street food, live music and a charity pub quiz.
Defending the event, the vicar of St. Mary's, Reverend Martin Anderson, said it had in part been staged to raise funds for repairs to the historic building. Nevertheless, he apologized for any upset.
Writing on the church's Facebook page on Monday morning, Anderson said: "Over the last few days our doors were open once again to members of our local community, young and old, who came to enjoy our Beer Festival, support local business and spend time with friends old and new.
"Through this we were also able to generate funds to help to maintain our beautiful building, as well as to offer a space for friendship and community.
"Unfortunately, photographs shared on social media have created considerable negativity, and I am deeply sorry for that.
"I am saddened that this event, which we'd hoped would bring joy and positivity in our community, has caused so much upset, and apologise to everyone who has expressed their concern."
In a statement sent to CNN, Three Brothers Brewing Company co-founder David Dodd said the plan had been to "focus on great beer and a sense of welcome and community that has just been restricted for so long from people's lives."
He said the event was "split between the carpark with a mobile bar, food from local suppliers and toilets and the main festival in the church," and that the two areas were divided by the graveyard, which had "lots of clear spaces" where tables and chairs had been set up.
Dodd said that "at no point" had staff set up seating around the graves, and "it was certainly not recommended for people to sit on them."
However, he said future events will see signs put up and sections of the graveyard taped off.
Florida man tries to trade back vehicle he stole, and more of this week's weirdest news
Rhode Island farmhouse that inspired horror movie 'The Conjuring' for sale for $1.2 million
Looking for a new home and not too worried by things that go bump in the night?
You could be in luck. The purportedly haunted Rhode Island farmhouse that inspired the 2013 horror movie "The Conjuring" has just gone on the market for $1.2 million.
According to real estate agent Mott & Chace Sotheby's International Realty, the 3,109-square-foot home on 8.5 acres in Burrillville is "one of the most well-known haunted houses in the United States."
"Legend has it, the home is haunted by the presence of Bathsheba Sherman, who lived in the house in the 1800s," the company said in a press release. "To this day, countless happenings have been reported."
These supposed supernatural happenings have been documented across pop culture in documentaries and on the big screen.
While the "The Conjuring" wasn't actually shot at the property, it were based on the chilling experiences of the Perron family, who lived in the early 19th-century house in the 1970s.
The film, directed by James Wan and starring Vera Farmiga, follows a family terrorized by spirits that haunt their home.
A third chapter of the movie franchise, entitled "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It," was released in June.
The spooky farmhouse was last sold in 2019 for $439,000 to Jennifer and Cory Heinzen, who hosted events at the site and rented rooms overnight to paranormal investigators, the Wall Street Journal reports.
And the property seems to have lived up to its creepy reputation -- albeit with some benefits.
"The current caretakers have reported countless happenings in the house, and have turned overnight guest bookings and group events on the property into a steady successful business," the listing adds.
Police: Florida man tries to trade back vehicle he stole
LAKE CITY, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man tried to trade in a vehicle from the same dealership he stole it from, police said.
Lake City police responded to a report of a stolen vehicle at a Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership on Monday, WTLV-TV reported.
Employees told officers that a man was trying to trade in his vehicle for a new one. But upon checking the VIN number, they found that the vehicle was stolen from the dealership’s lot a few days earlier.
The man admitted to stealing the vehicle, police said, adding the crime was captured on the dealership’s camera system.
He was arrested on charges including grand theft of a motor vehicle and criminal mischief.
Costco is limiting how much toilet paper you can buy again
Costco is once again placing limits on purchases of toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies.
The Delta variant continues to spread across the globe, sending demand for those items higher. But that's not the only reason why Costco is limiting purchases. The warehouse store is also having trouble finding trucks, drivers and shipping containers to get the items to its stores.
"The factors pressuring supply chains and inflation include port delays, container shortages, Covid disruptions, shortages on various components, raw materials and ingredients, labor cost pressures and truck and driver shortages," said Costco CFO Richard Galanti, speaking to investors after reporting quarterly results Thursday evening. "Various major brands are requesting longer lead times, and in some cases, difficulty in finding drivers and trucks on short notice."
Last year, Costco and other retailers were having trouble keeping those products on their shelves because of panic buying by customers worried that they wouldn't be able to buy them in the future. Manufacturers were also unable to keep up with the surge in demand.
Although the increase in Covid cases may be causing an increase in demand for some items, Galanti's comments focused more on problems getting the products to the stores. He said the problems with the company's supply chain is causing it to order items earlier than it might otherwise.
Rather than just pay to move containers of freight from Asia to North America, Costco has chartered three container ships, with each ship able to carry 800 to 1,000 containers at a time. Costco anticipates it can make ten cross-Pacific trips a year with the ships.
The shipping costs are making some items more expensive, adding to other inflationary pressures.
"Price increases of pulp and paper goods, some items [are] up 4% to 8%," he said. Plastic items, such as trash bags, Ziploc bags, disposable cups and plates are up in the 5% to 11% range. Non-durable metal items, such as aluminum foil and beverage cans are up in the mid-single-digit range.
Costco reported slightly better than forecast earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter that ended August 29. Its shares were narrowly higher in pre-market trading Friday on the report, and are up 20% so far this year.