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.
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.
Here are some of the strangest news stories of the year:
Tesla 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.
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:
Jeremy Bentham, who died in 1832, finally came to America.
Bigfoot Erotica Gets Political
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.
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.
Fellow humans, you will now excuse me as I lubricate my organs.
Alien Encounters 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
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
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:
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
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:
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
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.
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: