25/12/2018 09:59 GMT | Updated 27/12/2018 09:28 GMT

13 Headlines From 2018 That Sound Made-Up But Aren't

From Michael Gove saving your drinking water, to having sex with a hedge... it's all here.

Any hopes that 2017 was a high-water mark for humanity’s ability to be completely ridiculous were dashed this year as Donald Trump continued being Donald Trump, Brexit nearly toppled the government and people across the UK pondered if they suffered from “phantom rectum”.

Yes, 2018 has been interesting to say the least. And what better way to illustrate it than a look at some of the most eyebrow-raising news headlines from the past 12 months?

Here are 13 of the weirdest...

You know the deal – Russia has been accused of using a range of social media platforms to influence politics in western democracies and generally cause chaos.

What you might not have read, is they may have also been selling sex toys to fund their operations. Say what you like about Russian trolls, they certainly don’t lack imagination.

From Quartz, December 20:

‘Russian Operatives Were Promoting Sex Toys On Instagram To Sow Discord In The US’

“The operatives used various audience-growing tactics, creating some bizarre outcomes. The accounts promoted merchandise, including merch sites run by the [Kremlin-sponsored Russian Internet Agency] itself. Some of the merch overlapped with Facebook, but, the researchers found some products unique to Instagram like “LGBT-positive sex toys and many variants of triptych and 5-panel artwork featuring traditionally conservative, patriotic themes,” the New Knowledge report said.”

Perhaps the best barometer of just how mad things have become is to imagine someone describing a situation to you in 2015. Here, try this.

SOMEONE: “Hey mate, you see that thing on the news about Kanye West stepping out of the political limelight because of all the grief he got from standing in the Oval Office thanking President Donald Trump for the Superman cape he got him as a present?”

YOU: “wut?”

From Sky News, October 30:

Sky News

“The controversial rapper, who recently changed his name to simply Ye, has been criticised for his support for US President Donald Trump. His announcement on Twitter, dubbed “Yexit” by some social media users, comes weeks after he met with Mr Trump at the Oval Office. The superstar rapper, wearing a Make America Great Again cap, gave Mr Trump little chance to speak as he went on an expletive-filled rant.” 

In November the combined might of California’s emergency services and National Guard couldn’t prevent the deaths of 88 people and the destruction of 18,000 homes as wildfires devastated the region.

Residents of the town of Paradise had seen everything they owned go up in flames when Donald Trump dropped by to offer his condolences.

Not only did he get the name of the town wrong – twice – he also came up with this absolute gem:

From HuffPost UK, November 18: 

Donald Trump Thinks ‘Raking’ Will Stop California Wildfires Because That’s What They Do In The Arctic

(In hindsight we missed a trick by not headlining this “RAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”)

HuffPost UK

Donald Trump has once again raised eyebrows after suggesting the humble rake could solve the problem of California wildfires that have killed at least 76 people in recent days. Speaking from the scene of the devastation on Saturday, the President refused to acknowledge environmental and climate factors, instead telling reporters of how they deal with fires in Finland. He said: “You’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important.” 

Michael Gove was highly critical of “Project Fear” in the run-up and aftermath of the EU referendum, so it’s highly ironic he now finds himself having to make statements like this.

From The New European, November 28:

Gove: We’re Taking Steps To Make Sure Water Is Safe After Brexit 

The New European

“They promised sunlit uplands - now Brexiteer Michael Gove has been forced to assure us that UK drinking water will be safe after Brexit.”


The following is actually linked to a very serious medical condition so we can’t make any jokes about but if we did they’d probably be spookily shit.

From the Mirror, December 6:

What Is ‘Phantom Rectum’ And Why Do Some People Experience The Condition?


“Phantom rectum is a complication that affects people with ileostomies. The NHS say the condition is similar to that of phantom limb, where people who have had a limb amputated feel like it’s still there. In this case, those experiencing phantom rectum will feel as if they need to go to the toilet, even though they no longer have a working rectum.”

So there you go.

When does pooing become serially pooing? When you do it in the street 30 times apparently.

From HuffPost UK, June 7: 

Man Quits His Job After Being ‘Outed’ As Australia’s Notorious ‘Poo Jogger’

HuffPost UK

“A man accused of serially pooing in public has quit his job after a photographer caught him relieving himself on a suburban Brisbane street.  The man, named as Andrew Douglas Macintosh, was dubbed the “poo jogger” after a story in Australia’s Courier-Mail which pictured the former manager supposedly defecating in public. Macintosh was photographed holding toilet paper outside the Logan Road block on May 11, and has been charged with one count of public nuisance. It is alleged that Macintosh, 64, fouled on the private footpath of an apartment block near his Greenslopes, Brisbane, home 30 times over the last year.” dead and buried within the mountain of minced up money.” 

No end of year list would be complete without an adorable animal story so we’re breaking all the rules to bring you this horrific tale of creature-on-creature barbarity. 

From the BBC, August 5:

Snake Filmed Eating Pigeon In London Street


“A tropical snake has been filmed eating a pigeon on a busy east London street. Dave Fawbert spotted the boa constrictor, thought to be an abandoned pet, on High Road, Leytonstone, on Saturday morning. The RSPCA has since taken the reptile to a wildlife centre and is appealing for information about how it may have come to be in the street.”

This story is great on so many levels, not least the idea of being off your face in a club with ability to change the colour of your skin at will.

From HuffPost UK, September 20:

Ecstasy Makes Octopuses More Friendly, Study Shows

HuffPost UK

“For those who have ever wondered what happens when you get sea creatures hooked on drugs, US scientists have found the answer. An analysis showed that octopuses became distinctly more sociable when exposed to MDMA, which according to researchers indicates an evolutionary link between social behaviours of the eight-limbed molluscs and humans.”

There are a lot of things that can bar you from standing for public office but in the good ol’ US of A, claiming to have been beamed up by three leggy blonde aliens isn’t one of them.

From The Hill, August 24:

Florida GOP Candidate: I Was Abducted By Aliens But That Doesn’t Define Me

The Hill

“Rodriguez Aguilera said in a television interview in 2009 that she boarded a spaceship that was occupied by aliens when she was a child.  ’I went in. There were some round seats that were there, and some quartz rocks that controlled the ship — not like airplanes,”’Rodriguez Aguilera said in the 2009 interview, adding that she was visited by three large, blond beings.”

If this was a competition, this story would be the winner. Every line of the piece is an absolute blinder.

From the Mirror, December 7:

Mortified Mum Realises Son’s Nativity Costume From Amazon Came With Blow-Up Sex Doll


“A mum-of-two has revealed her humiliation at accidentally sending her five-year-old son to his school nativity with a blow up sheep sex doll. Helen Cox bought son Alfie the £16.99 ‘shepherd’ fancy dress costume from Amazon and he was delighted it came with a free blow up flock. But Helen soon realised her blunder when a teacher told Alfie to take the sheep home. She blew it up and found it had a huge hole in its bottom - as well as red lips and eyelashes.”

Speaking of things that don’t stop people from standing for office in the USA, check out this guy.

From HuffPost, November 8

Dennis Hof, Dead Brothel Owner From Nevada, Just Won In A Landslide 


“Dennis Hof, a brothel owner who died last month, overwhelmingly won an election to Nevada’s State Assembly on Tuesday Hof, a reality-television star touted as the state’s most well-known pimp, ran as an outspoken Republican for Nevada’s Assembly District 36 before he died in October at the age of 72. Due to state law, however, he remained on the ballot and the state’s leading GOP officials had urged voters to still cast their ballots for him in order to deprive Democrats of the chance to flip the seat.” 

As it is quite a big story, we’ve another Brexit gem, this time about the lovely possibility that after leaving the EU the streets could be overflowing with the dead.

OK, it’s not quite that bad but still, it’s hardly a sign of a modern functioning society.

From PoltiicsHome, December 7: 

Bodies Could Go Unburied Under No-Deal Brexit, Local Council Warns In Damning Report


“A no-deal Brexit could lead to bodies not being buried across Kent as miles of traffic jams create gridlock around the port of Dover, the local county council has warned. The blockage could lead to delays to bin collections, leave children unable to get to school and prevent funerals going ahead as bodies pile up in morgues, according to the report.”

No intro could do this story justice so we’re not even going to try. 

From the BBC, July 26:

Sheffield Topiarist ‘Disgusted By Drunk Hedge Sex’


“A topiarist says he is having to make regular repairs to his hedge due to drunk people pretending to have sex with it. Keith Tyssen has maintained his “privet lady” at his Sheffield home since 2000, but is often woken up in the night by distracted passers-by. “They’re climbing on top of her and pulling her legs apart - you know, it’s disgusting,” he said.”

And there you are - what a truly bonkers year.