2020 in review weird news

2020 Weird Year in Review

From glory holes and monoliths to UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster, 2020 has been uniquely deranged. Here’s a look at the year’s weird news stories.

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 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

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 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.

Weird year in review

Weird Year in Review: The Best Weird News and Oddities of 2017

A roundup of the weirdest news and most popular posts from Cult of Weird for 2017.

2017 has been a ridiculously strange year. There have been countless Mothman sightings reported in the Chicago area. Not one but two famous mustaches were discovered intact in their graves during high-profile exhumations. A mysterious photo was discovered that seems to offer clues to the whereabouts of Amelia Earhart after her disappearance. Hugh Hefner died. Charles Manson died. Luke Skywalker died. And, most recently, the US government admitted it has been studying UFOs for the last decade to assess the threat to national security.

It’s been an interesting year here at the Cult of Weird hive, as well. Every attempt I made to get out from under the crushing weight of the walls around me, and the stagnant routines I was drowning in…lead me to some new bit of irresistible weirdness.

I stumbled into a cemetery founded in the mid-1800s on the property of a family who believed the dead taught their daughter to play the piano. In Wisconsin Dells, the “water park capital of the world,” I came face to face with the mummified head of German serial killer Peter Kurten, the Vampire of Dusseldorf. I met filmmaker John Borowski and had a fascinating conversation about the exhumation of H.H. Holmes for the History channel series American Ripper. And, crossing a big item off my bucket list, I saw Stephen King with his son Owen in Milwaukee during their fall tour to promote their new novel Sleeping Beauties.

Also, my sister, along with my favorite Irishman (and soon to be brother-in-law, congrats, you guys!) took Cult of Weird on the road with an October trip to Salem on Friday the 13th.

Giles Corey at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial
Salem Witch Trials Memorial

Here are the most viewed posts and weirdest moments of 2017:

Lizard Man Sightings During the Eclipse

Lizard Man sightings during the solar eclipse
In all seriousness, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) warned citizens in the path of totality during this year’s solar eclipse to be on the lookout for lizardmen, even tweeting a map of locations where they have been spotted in the past. “SCEMD does not know if Lizardmen become more active during a solar eclipse,” the agency explained, “but we advise that residents of Lee and Sumter counties should remain ever vigilant.”

Pentagon UFO Study

UFO spotted by US Navy jet
The US government admitted it has been studying “anomalous aircraft that were seemingly defying the laws of aerodynamics” and that, according to Intelligence official Luis Elizondo, who ran the secret program, there is “very compelling evidence that we might not be alone.”

19th-Century Girl Identified

Coffin found beneath a home in San Francisco
Researchers discovered the identity of a young girl found buried beneath a home in San Francisco, left behind when the city’s cemeteries were moved to Colma.

Serial Killer H.H. Holmes Exhumed

The grave of H.H. Holmes
The grave of H.H. Holmes, America’s “first serial killer,” was exhumed to prove whether or not he conned his way out of his 1896 execution.

Clown Motel for Sale

Haunted clown motel
The haunted clown motel was put up for sale.

Sourtoe Stolen

Sourtoe cocktail
The main ingredient in the Yukon’s famous Sourtoe Cocktail, a real mummified human toe, was stolen.

Lost Chapel of Bones

Lost chapel of bones in Malta
A lost Chapel of Bones still remains beneath the ruins of an ancient church in Malta.

Man Eaten by Python

Missing man eaten by large python in Indonesia
A man who went missing in Indonesia was eaten by a 23-foot python.


Wisconsin Exorcist Theophilus Riesinger
A brutal 1928 case of demonic possession became the inspiration for William Peter Blatty’s novel The Exorcist.

Evil Dead

Evil Dead cabin
A piece salvaged from the ruins of the cabin used in Evil Dead 2 was sold on ebay.

World’s Largest Ouija Board

World's largest Ouija board
The world’s largest Ouija board is on the roof of the haunted Grand Midway Hotel.

Anatomical Diorama

Real human skull in famous Carnegie Museum diorama
Restoration of a famous diorama at the Carnegie Museum revealed a real human skull had been used in the 150-year-old display.

Salvador Dali’s Mustache

The mustache of Salvador Dali
When the tomb of Salvador Dali was exhumed to retrieve DNA samples for a paternity case, the artist’s surreal mustache was found intact.

Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film

Bigfoot film
Purporting to show a female sasquatch walking along the banks of Bluff Creek in Northern California, the controversial Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film turned 50.

Heilung Live at Castlefest

Heilung live at Castlefest 2017
Watch this spellbinding performance of neopagan band Heilung from the Castlefest 2017 festival in the Netherlands.

The Torryburn Witch

Face of the Torryburn witch
Using photos taken before the skull was lost, the face of the Torryburn witch was digitally reconstructed.

Greatest Show on Earth

Ringling Bros. Circus
After 146 years, the Greatest Show on Earth came to an end with the final performance of the Ringling Bros. circus.

Vampire of Dusseldorf

The head of Peter Kurten in Wisconsin Dells
The mummified head of Peter Kurten, a depraved serial killer who was beheaded in 1931, is on display in the water park capital of the world.

Lost in the Catacombs

Lost in the Paris catacombs
Two teens were rescued and treated for hypothermia after being lost in the Paris catacombs for three days.

Titanic’s Dead

What happened to Titanic's dead?
Only 333 bodies were recovered from the Titanic disaster. Those that were disfigured too badly to be identified were thrown back in. What happened to the rest?

Ouija in Class

Milwaukee teacher suspended for using Ouija board in class
A Milwaukee teacher was suspended for using a Ouija board in the classroom.

Creating Life

Andrew Crosse created life in the laboratory
Deemed a blasphemer, 19th-century amateur scientist Andrew Crosse believed he had accidentally created life in a laboratory experiment.

Death in Venice

Venice cemetery
Funeral gondolas, flooding graves, and an island of bones: What the floating city of Venice does with its dead.

Political Exorcism

Beatnik exorcism of Joe McCarthy
That time a band of beatniks exorcised the grave of Senator Joe McCarthy.

Stolen Relic

Piece of St. John Bosco's brain stolen
A sacred piece of St. John Bosco’s brain was stolen from an Italian basilica.

Searching for Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart
Forensic cadaver dogs used to search for the remains of Amelia Earhart on the remote island of Nikumaroro.

Fenn’s Treasure

Fenn's treasure
Families and police make plea to end treasure hunt, as another dies searching for Fenn’s hidden treasure chest.

Jeremy Bentham’s Head

Jeremy Bentham's head
Jeremy Bentham’s preserved head went on display for the first time in decades.

Historic Torture Devices

Nuremberg torture collection
The history of the Nuremberg torture collection, the largest collection of used torture devices ever assembled.


Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant, West Virginia
The Silver Bridge disaster, known for the bizarre rash of Mothman sightings preceding it, happened 50 years ago.

Amelia Earhart Photo

Amelia Earhart photo
This photo seems to show Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan on a Japanese dock after they disappeared.

Hip Bone of St. Nick

Bone of St. Nicholas
A bone fragment believed to be from the tomb of St. Nicholas has been dated to the correct era.

Tower of Skulls

Tower of skulls in Mexico City
Archeologists unearthed a legendary 16th-century tower of skulls in Mexico City

Tallest Man

Robert Wadlow, the tallest man to have ever lived
At nearly 9 feet tall, Robert Wadlow is the tallest person to have ever lived.

Ed Gein’s Grave

Ed Gein grave
Ed Gein was arrested 60 years ago. Here’s the reason why his grave is unmarked.

History Bones

Skeleton dioramas
This artist creates detailed dioramas of dark moments in history using miniature skeletons.

Odd Fellows Skeletons

Odd Fellows skeletons
When the Odd Fellows moved out of their lodges, sometimes the skeletons in their closets got left behind.

Lizzie Borden’s Mansion

Lizzie Borden's mansion is for sale
The Victorian mansion Lizzie Borden lived in until her death in 1927 is for sale.

Cult of Weird on Instagram

Best Weird Books of 2017

Here are the top 10 most popular books of 2017 from the Weird Book Club:

Rienzi Cemetery in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Rienzi Cemetery, January 2017

Here’s to a weird new year! May 2018 be supremely bizarre.