On a balmy Thursday in February 2012, Artie Hughes and his wife were on the deck of their Long Island home, enjoying a spot of unseasonably warm weather. The early-evening calm had a palpable effect, and they basked in the unexpected mildness.
Then, from the sky, came a resounding splat. Blackish-green drek raining down on them as a plane flew overhead near JFK. Hughes’ wife -- who was never named in media reports, luckily for her Google footprint -- bore the brunt of the freak incident.
“Some black liquid, black oil came off on her face, and I walked around and I looked and said ‘Oh my God,’” Artie told reporters. “There was quarter-sized, nickel-sized, dime-sized drops all over my deck, my barbecue.”
At first, Hughes figured the stuff might be hydraulic fluid dripping from a passenger plane. He called police, who broke some grim news: They’d been doused in human excrement. Media attention followed, and Hughes, fuming, asked questions that were short on answers: “Was a button pushed? Was the lavatory filled to capacity before [the plane] actually left the ground?”