When Metallica seized Belle Isle for the weekend
Shortly before Belle Isle became state property, Metallica (with help from former council member and discreet headbanger Ken Cockrel Jr.) had it closed off for a weekend to all but foot traffic and attendees of its second Orion Music + More festival. Metalheads the world over were charioted in school buses from the city center over to the 987-acre Metallica Island, where they were greeted by a complete smorgasbord of 37 bands (including next-to-never performers Rocket from the Crypt and Infectious Grooves), a techno tent, a movie theater, a classic car and motorcycle show, and a Metallica museum (lots of Cliff Burton nerd-out moments). The festival was slated to return to Detroit for two more years, but it proved to be a financial calamity and thus faded to black in our memories.
When a guy threw a pie in a guru’s face and got his head split open
In the politically turbulent times of the Vietnam War era, there was no shortage of political demonstrations and apparently “throwing pie” was a popular way to express such dissension. Enter one Pat Halley who at the time wrote for the anarchist chronicle, Fifth Estate, and one Prem Pal Singh Rawat (then known as Guru Maharaj Ji) who called himself a “child god.” The young guru visited the United States on a tour fueled by ticket sales to eager Westerners who believed claims that he could impart messages from the heavens. Halley was not a believer, and when the guru visited Detroit, he surprised him with a shaving cream pie to the face. Unfortunately for Halley, some of the guru’s less-enlightened followers avenged the “pie-ing” and left Halley with a plastic plate in his skull.
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Megan Frye is a Detroit-based writer whose life is an entry on the expanded version of this list: “The 313 Weirdest Things That Have Ever Happened in Detroit.” Tweet her your strangest Detroit experience at @fryechild.