Virginians in 1987 read about everything from unidentified flying objects to an elderly couple's wedding under the golden arches of McDonald's to a mayor ousted because of an alleged tie to a hate-mail scandal.

In Richmond, a statue called "Jason" was discovered missing from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts sculpture garden on Friday, Nov. 13, and police hoped it was the work of a prankster inspired by the "Friday the 13th" horror movies. The police may have been right. Jason turned up two days later on the museum driveway.

In all, it was proof again that fact is sometimes stranger than fiction.

Mayor Roy West of Richmond, which had the highest homicide rate in the South in 1986, accidentally shot himself in the left hand in March while loading a pistol that he kept at home for protection.

The Virginia Department of Corrections installed air conditioning in the state's death chamber and the execution holding cells at the State Penitentiary in Richmond. Air conditioning the room housing Virginia's electric chair made it "more comfortable for everybody," said one official.

In Chesapeake, the former head ranger at Northwest River Park was convicted in General District Court of attempting to kill deer at night with a spotlight and was sentenced to four days in jail and fined $1,000.

In nearby Virginia Beach, a 6-foot-2, 305-pound man said his raid on a hospital refrigerator two days after a gastric-stapling operation put him in a "life-threatening situation."

Eric Edmonds sued the hospital for $250,000, alleging that he "was allowed to 'raid the refrigerator,' thereby bursting his gastric staples and creating a life-threatening situation." A doctor had implanted more than 70 tiny stainless-steel staples to constrict Edmonds' stomach and decrease its ability to take in food.

In Norfolk, a woman who had said she was black in a 1983 discrimination lawsuit said she was white in a second discrimination lawsuit. Lawyers said the case of Theresa Mulqueen Skeeter, 40, could break new legal ground once the courts determine whether she's black or white.

Arlington County saw Arlene Houser and her new company, New Williamsburg Inc., begin selling designer caskets, some of which resemble Danish teak coffee tables. There is also an Art Deco model.

In Portsmouth earlier this month, voters ousted the city's first black mayor, who was accused of sending hate mail to community leaders.

"You win some elections, and you lose some," James W. Holley III said after what was believed to be Virginia's first recall election.

The recall move against Holley came after a city prosecutor said he found the mayor's fingerprints on hate mail sent to community leaders who opposed the closing of a high school. The case is under federal investigation.

In Wythe County in the fall, residents repeatedly insisted that they had seen UFOs. Various explanations were offered.

A Virginia Tech professor in Blacksburg attacked the problem of bathroom safety for the elderly with high technology. The result was a sit-down shower and magnifying-glass medicine cabinets. Robert Graeff's shower included back-washing jets.

And in Gloucester, Lewter Smith, 74, and Marion Moore, 69, married beneath the golden arches of the McDonald's restaurant where they met. Ronald McDonald was best man.