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Welcome to our first ever "mysteries and oddities" issue of the Summary of Mishaps.

A corpsman in Maryland was driving to church and ran off the road, hitting what the report called "a couldren."

I give up. What's a "couldren"? It sounds like the large, heavy pots that Hogwarts students use for boiling potions in Snape's class, but that can't be right.

An E-6 was cleaning out the center console in his car. According to the mishap report, the tray got stuck, and while the E-6 was trying to clear the jam, he "pushed the console, which caused the steak knife which was supporting the center console tray to penetrate his hand, resulting in multiple surgeries."

OK, what was the steak knife doing, again?

Speaking of reports that raise as many questions as they answer, at an air force base out in the Pacific, an aviation support equipment technician third class was clambering around on a cliff. When he jumped down, he stubbed his foot, bruising his toes badly enough to put him on LIMPDU for 10 days. He should have been "wearing protective shoes/sandals while on volcanic rocks," the report counseled.

"Protective sandal"-now there's a concept. If such things exist, I think I'll get some for the Summary of Mishaps Museum gift shop.

Did you hear about that terrible bird strike? Jet flamed out, blood and guts all over the cockpit, pilot nearly blinded, almost lost control? That's why Approach Magazine hides a tiny silhouette of a raven on each cover, as a reminder of how serious bird strikes can be.

That's the story that the editor heard from a journalist at an aviation conference. The JO had heard it from an 0-6 and wanted to verify the tale.

We've summarized a ton of mishaps during the years, and this is the first time we've summarized an imaginary one. The fact is that the raven appears (to eagle-eyed readers who know about it) solely to entice readers into the magazine, with the next steps being to open the issue, read a few articles, and fill the knowledge bucket.

The raven on the cover actually goes back to the September 2001 issue, which had an article entitled "Nevermore." "Still the best article I've ever read," said the editor. The author starts by describing the ravens at Atsugi, Japan, then tells the story of a transpac from hell, a flight he never wants to repeat. Our layout featured a large, Poe-esque raven. Hiding a smaller one on the cover made sense. The bogus 'back story' spontaneously generated an aviation version of an urban myth.

We've never mentioned the hidden raven in the magazine, although our survey teams talk about it. When the editor chats with readers, he passes the word. He clued in the safety officer at a training squadron recently. "Since it was raining, they were all hanging around the ready room," the editor says. "I steered him to the latest hidden raven, and right away everyone was hunting up back issues."

Just a couple more of our many services: myth debunking and boredom control. You can read the original Approach article at www.public.navy.mil/navsafecen/documents/media/approach/nevermore.pdf and see a sample cover at http://www.public.navy.mil/navsafecen/publishingimages/media/approach_raven.jpg.

Finally, a note from a correspondent across the pond, describing an employee who was "looking after a museum mummy the night before special opening." Not the best task for someone as superstitious as this bloke. We'll pick up the story from his first-person account in the official incident book: "Heard noise from general direction of coffin (sarcophagus), ran away and knocked myself out on Roman statue." In the section marked "Incident cause," our correspondent noted, "He put 'Curse'."

I was going to save this one for Halloween, but it was too good.

That's all for this week, friends and neighbors. Until we meet again, watch out for those couldrens, consoles, cliffs and coffins (and ravens).