2018 Weird Year in Review

2018 Weird Year in Review: Cars in Space, Cursed Mummy Juice, Ghost Pirate Marriage, and More

Elon Musk launched his Tesla Roadster into space, humanity demanded to drink the mummy juice, Bigfoot’s erotic exploits became political, and other 2018 oddities.
Cult of Weird 2018 year in review

If you’re reading this, you and I have both somehow managed to survive another difficult year fraught with danger. Kids were eating tide pods. Lettuce tried to wipe out humanity. Cursed mummy juice was unearthed in Egypt, followed by the world’s oldest cheese – complete with life-threatening disease.

But it was also a magnificent year for human achievement as we landed InSight on Mars to probe the red planet’s core, set out in search of Loch Ness Monster DNA, blessed assault rifles for Jesus, elected a Bigfoot erotica enthusiast – as well as a dead brothel owner – in the midterm elections, and discovered why trying to bring the word of God to uncontacted tribes on forbidden islands is probably a bad idea.

In 2018 we laughed, we cried, we launched a $200,000 car into space just to prove we could.

Countries who eat tide pods and have cars in space

Here are some of the strangest news stories of the year:

Tesla in Space

Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster in space
Starman and Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster over Earth

In a stunt to prove SpaceX could deliver large payloads to space, Elon Musk launched his own personal Tesla Roadster aboard the maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6, 2018. At the wheel was a mannequin in a spacesuit named Starman.

Starman is currently blasting David Bowie’s song “Life on Mars?” on loop as he careens through deep space, though as Space.com notes, “Starman cannot hear the famous tune in the airless void.”

As a nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the Roadster’s entertainment display reads, “Don’t Panic!” A copy of the book is in the glove compartment. A Hot Wheels Roadster with a miniature Starman is mounted on the dashboard. A message on the car’s circuit board reads “Made on Earth by Humans.” The car also carries a plaque with the names of everyone who worked on the project, and a copy of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy on a 5D optical disc donated by the Arch Mission Foundation as a proof of concept for high-density long-lasting data storage.

Starman and Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster reached Mars orbit in November
The location of Starman and Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster in Mars’ orbit on November 2, 2018

The Roadster reached the orbit of Mars on November 2nd. “Next stop, the restaurant at the end of the universe,” SpaceX tweeted.

Starman will eventually loop back around toward Earth on it’s heliocentric orbit. According to an orbit-modelling study, he will be within a few hundred thousand kilometers of Earth again in 2091. Within the next few tens of millions of years the car will likely slam into either Venus or Earth, with a 6 percent chance of hitting Earth in the next 1 million years. If it lasts that long.

You can track Starman’s location at whereisroadster.com

Months later, however, we learned that while Musk can put a car in space, it seems he couldn’t build a useful solution to rescue the soccer team that became trapped in Thailand’s Tham Luang cave in July.

More science oddities from 2018:

The remains of Jeremy Bentham came to America

Jeremy Bentham, who died in 1832, finally came to America.

Bigfoot Erotica Gets Political

Bigfoot erotica

Members of the Cult of Weird community are no strangers to the genre of erotic fiction that involves humans copulating with monsters, cryptids, and other mythological creatures. The rest of the world, however, was enlightened earlier this year when Virginia congressional candidate Denver Riggleman released the cover art for his upcoming book The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him.

Riggleman proudly shared the cover on his Instagram page, which featured a sketch of a sasquatch with a long black censor bar over his genitalia.

Riggleman’s opponent Leslie Cockburn quickly took to Twitter, calling Riggleman a “devotee of Bigfoot erotica” and the headlines gloriously spread like wildfire.

Sadly, it seemed the excitement quickly faded, and was all but forgotten by election day in November.

Until Denver Riggleman won.

That’s right, Virginia elected a “devotee of Bigfoot erotica” to congress.

Bigfoot erotica

Another hilarious anomaly of the election was the revelation that Dennis Hof, recently deceased owner of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel, was elected in Nevada.

More cryptozoological oddities:

Suspicions that Mark Zuckerberg may be a robot or lizard person were confirmed in 2018 during congressional hearings about Facebook’s breach of privacy through third party apps.

Mark Zuckerberg lizard person
Fellow humans, you will now excuse me as I lubricate my organs.

Alien Encounters in Wisconsin

UFO sightings in Wisconsin

I attended the 30th anniversary gathering of UFO researchers, contactees, and tinfoil hat enthusiasts at a local hotspot residents claim to be the “UFO capital of the world.” Here, in the weird backwoods of Wisconsin, strange activity has been recorded for decades around Long Lake and a nearby glacial formation called Dundee Mountain, where some believe a UFO base is housed.

I wrote about that experience right here.

Also, Mark Borchardt (of American Movie fame) made a documentary about it.

Tide Pods and Other Stupid Human Tricks

Tide pods meme
This is probably my favorite meme of all time. Flat Earth cats is a close second.

Yes, we rang in 2018 with the startling revelation that kids were eating laundry detergent in a viral stunt known as the Tide Pod Challenge. This landed many in the hospital, and there were over apparently 100 calls to Poison Control about it in January 2018 alone.

Thanks to the miracle of the internet, we can sit back and watch natural selection in action.

More stupid human tricks:


Catch all the saints in Follow JC Go

Follow JC Go, A Pope-approved mobile game inspired by Pokemon Go has players searching for Catholic saints.

Killing for Slenderman

Slenderman stabbing

Morgan Geyser, one of two Wisconsin girls who attempted to murder their friend for Slenderman during a birthday sleepover party when they were 12 years old, was sentenced to 40 years in a state mental hospital.

More crimes headlines:

Nude coffin calendar

Polish funeral parlour Lindner came under fire when they revealed the 2019 editions of their annual calendar of nude women with coffins would also include a male model.

Rare Look Inside Haunted House

Inside the haunted Tallmann house in Horicon, Wisconsin
Investigators inside the Tallmann house, 1988

In 1988 a local haunted house in Horicon, Wisconsin made international headlines when the Tallmann family fled their home in the middle of the night. The bizarre case of the haunted bunk bed aired that October in a chilling episode of Unsolved Mysteries. The episode was filmed inside the home with permission by the new owners, but the actual bunk bed blamed for the horrific things the family endured had never been seen.

I marked the 30th anniversary of the haunting by sharing recently discovered photos of the bunk bed and other locations where things happened that were taken during a paranormal investigation of the Tallmann house in the weeks after the family abandoned it.

More paranormal news:

The grave of John Babbacombe Lee in Milwaukee

I tracked down the grave of John “Babbacombe” Lee, England’s notorious “Man They Could Not Hang” who escaped a death sentence for murder and died anonymously in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Curse of the Red Mummy Juice

Massive black sarcophagus discovered in Alexandria

In July a black granite sarcophagus and massive alabaster head were discovered by a construction crew in Alexandria, Egypt. Measuring two meters by three meters and weighing over 30 tons, the sarcophagus is the largest ever discovered in Alexandria. It dates to the early Ptolemaic period – about 323 BCE, leading some to believe it could contain the remains of Alexander the Great. And, of course, it was probably cursed.

Archaeologists opened it anyway.

“The sarcophagus has been opened, but we have not been hit by a curse,” Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of Egypt’s antiquities ministry, told the media.

While there may have been no immediate curse, an foul stench filled the hole when the lid was lifted, causing the the crew to flee while it aired out. Sewer water had been leaking into the sarcophagus, making a rancid red stew of human remains.

When the liquid was drained, the skeletal remains of three individuals were found inside. One of the skulls was found to have fractures caused by a sharp object, indicating they had possibly been soldiers.

Almost immediately after the announcement, someone launched a change.org petition to “let people drink the red liquid from the dark sarcophagus” so they could assume its power. To date it has been signed by almost 35,000 people.

Petition to drink the mummy juice

Soon after, the world’s oldest cheese was discovered in a 3,200-year-old tomb. It was contaminated with Brucella melitensis, which can cause a nearly fatal disease called brucellosis.

And of course people wanted to eat it.

More archaeological oddities:

Those we lost in 2018:

Morbid Must-Reads

2018 Morbid Must Reads
Here are the most popular new releases of 2018 among the Cult of Weird community:

Marked safe from romaine lettuce

Here’s to a new year full of many more strange headlines.

Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below.

The Christmas Witch

The Christmas Witch

Count D adds a new Christmas demon to the yule season with this holiday classic.

Here’s another lost Christmas classic from Count D, whose jingle Everything I Want for Christmas is Dead is practically the Cult of Weird mantra.

Certainly we all have a Christmas witch in the family.

More Christmas Cheer:

Pagan Christmas special

A Very Pagan Christmas Special

Explore the dark origins of Christmas with this pagan Christmas special from Macabre Mondays.

When you dig just under the surface of modern Christmas you begin to find the joyous holiday full of ghosts, monsters, and other darkness. For creeps like us it’s basically a second Halloween. Colder, yes, but with equal amounts of macabre merriment.

Macabre Mondays host Malia Miglino invites you to join her festivities as she explores the holiday’s pagan roots:

Human sacrifice, Yule logs, mistletoe…what do all 3 of these things have in common? Easy – Christmas AND Paganism. I’m breaking the door open on the origins of Christmas and Creeps, it’s DARK.

From the ancient Romans who celebrated Saturnalia to the Vikings who poisoned human sacrifices with mistletoe to Charles Dickens ghost stories….the history of Christmas is long, varied, dark and stolen. So grab some wine, prepare a feast and settle in for a crazy night of lore and Yule while I celebrate with some of my favorite ghosts of Christmas’s past.

For more Macabre Mondays subscribe on Youtube right here.

More weird Christmas:

Do you have alien abduction insurance?

Alien Abduction Insurance: Are You at Risk?

If you live in a high UFO area, you may want to consider insurance for abduction, impregnation, and death by aliens.

Hale-Bopp, the Great Comet of 1997, passed by Earth on March 22 of that year. Concealed in it’s tail, according to a religious group known as Heaven’s Gate, was a spacecraft waiting to take their souls to another “level of existence” or an “evolutionary kingdom above human.”

The group was lead by a man named Marshall Applewhite, or “Do,” as his followers called him, who believed his bodily “vehicle” was inhabited by the same alien spirit which belonged to Jesus. All Do and his followers had to do was shed their physical shell and ascend to the comet as it passed.

In October 1996, just months before the 39 members of the “Heaven’s Gate Away Team” donned their matching Nike Decades and consumed lethal amounts of phenobarbital with applesauce and vodka to facilitate their transformation, the group reportedly purchased alien abduction insurance from London firm Goodfellow, Rebecca, Ingrams and Pearson Ltd. (GRIP). The policy would pay out $1 million for up to 50 members of the group in the event of abduction, impregnation, or death by aliens.

Heaven's Gate cult UFO recruitment flier
Heaven’s Gate recruitment flier

Heaven’s Gate was preparing to exit Earth aboard a passing UFO. It was probably a good idea to have some security in place in case that didn’t go as planned. But what about the average Earthbound human? Are we at risk?

Apparently so.

On Christmas Eve of 1996, GRIP reported, an Enfield man was “kidnapped” by aliens with triangular heads. That may seem difficult to prove, but the transparent alien claw left behind was enough for GRIP. The company announced they paid their first alien abduction claim.

Suspicions soon began to mount, however, forcing GRIP to admit the claim was little more than a publicity stunt.

But that didn’t matter. By 2000 the firm had sold 37,000 alien abduction policies, The Telegraph reported.

“I’ve never been afraid of parsing the feeble-minded from their cash,” managing partner Simon Burgess was quoted in a 1998 SF Gate article.

Heaven's Gate Away Team patch
A member of Heaven’s Gate shows off their Away Team patch

Insurance companies will write policies for some odd things, like the vocal cords of a professional singer, the nose of a winemaker, or the penis of a porn star. But what if you’re maimed by a ghost? Or unexpectedly become a werewolf? Or, God forbid, you experience a virgin birth? Immaculate conception, it seems, is a big concern among women named Mary.

Don’t worry, GRIP has you covered.

“The Royal Falcon Hotel in Lowestoft, England, for example, insured its staff and customers against death and disability caused by ghosts, poltergeists and other abnormal phenomena,” a newsletter article from Geico (which does not cover ghosts) stated.

UFO Abduction Insurance Company
Beam me up, I’m covered.

Florida-based UFO Abduction Insurance Co. was the first to offer alien abduction insurance, covering abductees as early as 1987. Owner Mike St. Lawrence said he first heard about the phenomenon when the book Communion by Whitley Streiber was published.

“I checked my homeowner’s policy to find out if I was covered for a risk like this, and I wasn’t,” St. Lawrence said in a 1999 interview with Tampa Fox news.

So he decided to fill that gap in the insurance market, and you can still get covered today.

For a single lifetime premium of $19.95 you get a $10 million policy providing psychiatric care and sarcasm coverage (limited to immediate family members, who provide at least 70% of the heckling), as well as a double indemnity clause in the event the alien insists on conjugal visits or regards you as a food source.

But what happens in the event you are actually abducted?

A successful claimant (with a properly completed form) would be entitled to $1 per year for 10 million years, paid out annually on April 1st. The form asks questions about the aliens, where they’re from, what type of spacecraft they’re driving, and a description of the abduction. The signature of an authorized alien who was on board the UFO during the incident is required.

Abductees are limited to one occurrence per policy, however, so if you are a “frequent flyer” you will need to purchase multiple policies.

Alien abduction insurance
Alien abduction insurance certificate

But what about, say, reincarnation? Yes, you could buy coverage for that, as well.

“While it’s still true you can’t take it with you,” the company notes, “now you can leave it here and come back and get it.”

But what if you were to come back as an animal? Or an insect? Don’t worry, the $10 million payout doubles “if you return as a lower life form.”

How’s that for peace of mind?

For every fear, rational or otherwise, it seems there’s an insurance policy to exploit it.

“Some academics have concluded that early insurance companies got rich by exploiting fear of ‘body snatchers’ among the urban poor of Victorian England’s disease-ridden cities,” The Telegraph wrote. “An explosion in the sale of penny life policies coincided with the 1832 Anatomy Act giving hospitals the right to claim for medical experimentation the bodies of anyone whose family could not afford a proper burial.”

The Alien Abduction Insurance Co. isn’t out to scam anyone, though. “You can’t get what we do,” St. Lawrence says about the tongue-in-cheek nature of his company’s policies, “unless you get what we do.

The members of Heaven’s Gate, having departed for TELAH (The Evolutionary Level Above Human) were found dead on March 26, 1997. GRIP suspended sales of alien abduction insurance for fear that they may actually have to pay the claim.

But it didn’t last long.

“Greed got the better of us and we resumed them,” Burgess said.

GRIP has never paid an alien abduction claim. While it’s unclear how many claims they may actually receive, I think it’s safe to say no one has ever been able to provide sufficient proof to get their payout.

Sexy Christmas greetings from the funeral home

Sexy Christmas Greetings from a Guatemalan Funeral Home

The Funerarias López in Guatemala knows exactly what I want for Christmas. In 2008 the funeral home was featured in a holiday segment in which the Producciones de Leon production company sent Santa and his sexy helpers around to local businesses to showcase their goods.

Like Funerarias López’ selection of luxurious coffins.

In case you didn’t know, they make great stocking stuffers.

Sexy funeral home Christmas commercial

Sexy funeral home Christmas commercial

Sexy funeral home Christmas commercial

Sexy funeral home Christmas commercial

Sexy funeral home Christmas commercial

Stop by your friendly neighborhood funeral home to get something fun for that special stiff on your Christmas shopping list.