10 craziest viral stories from 2015

We look back at some of the weirdest news stories that made the headlines this year, which proved that fact can sometimes really be stranger than fiction.


Dead raccoon memorial in Toronto, Canada. Image: emilyjs5/ Instagram

10. Dead raccoon gets memorial in Toronto
In improbable news, this raccoon became an overnight star in Toronto, Canada. After spotting the dead animal on the street, coworkers from a technology firm spontaneously created a memorial for it with a card and a rose. Before long, more gifts of condolences including a framed photo were added to the scene. As the #deadraccoonTO hashtag went viral on Twitter, the raccoon was dubbed “Conrad” as concerned locals waited for city services to pick up its body. There’s a semi-happy ending to this absurdity. A fundraiser was set up in the raccoon’s name to help rehabilitate injured animals at the Toronto Wildlife Centre.

9. Selfie stick helps save girl from drowning
Some of us may see selfie sticks as tools of pure narcissism. But as it turns out, one American teenager may have been saved from drowning thanks to this photo tool. In July, a Texas family got caught by a rip current while swimming at a beach in Nantucket, reported ABC News. The 16 year-old happened to be holding a selfie stick attached to her camera. It was that same stick that the girl and her father gripped onto, until they managed to swim back to shore with the help of rescuers.

8. No peas in guacamole recipe
Who knew guacamole dips could be such a serious business? It all started with a simple (albeit unusual) modification to the humble avocado-based dip. A recipe published on The New York Times website suggested adding peas to the traditional guacamole dip, which caused an almost instant furore on Twitter. Even POTUS (President of United States) Barack Obama couldn’t resist a swipe at the recipe.


Image: President Obama/ Twitter

7. Man breaks into home, feeds cats and writes in owner’s diary
In one of the most bizarre burglaries to make the news, a man in Nova Scotia broke into a ranch and truly made himself at home. According to The National Post, the accused was found sitting on the couch drinking coffee when the residents returned the following night. In the meantime, the 33-year-old truly made himself at home by starting a fire, cooking himself a meal and feeding the cats. What’s more creepy? The entries he wrote in the owner’s diary. This included comparisons on how “alike” the burglar was to the homeowner, as well as how he planned to “relax and take (his) time” at the ranch.

6. Woman removes her rib bones to shrink waist
What lengths would you go to in order to get your dream figure? One Swedish woman has gone an extreme transformation to reduce her waistline. According to British tabloid The Daily Mail, the 25 year-old removed six rib bones, on top of other surgical procedures done on her bust, butt and face to create her cartoon-like appearance. The former electrician also told Daily Mail that she plans to shrink her currently 16 inch waist further to 14 inches, in a bid to become the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s smallest waist.

5. Rachel Dolezal
This peculiar case of identity fraud sparked heated debates about racial identity, with accusations of Dolezal taking on “blackface”. For as many as 10 years, American civil rights activist Rachel Dolezal changed her physical appearance and fabricated her entire family history to live as a woman of supposed bi-racial heritage. The matter came to light in June this year, when her estranged family ousted her for her misrepresentation of her European ethnicity. Dolezal then shot back on a television interview that her estranged relatives had no proof of being her biological parents. Months after the initial furore, she told British newspaper Guardian that she identifies as “black” and denies that she has deceived anyone.

4. Indian woman’s brain tumour turns out to be twin
It’s the type of squeamish news to make hypochondriacs freak out. A PhD student from Hyderabad, India had problems speaking and reading, no matter what the doctors prescribed. The 26 year-old was also wracked with pain throughout her body and could barely eat. When she went through brain surgery to remove the suspected tumour, surgeons found some bones, hair and teeth from a teratoma - the remains of an embryonic twin that did not fully develop during the pregnancy. At least she could still see the humour in it. This patient still managed to crack a joke about the nightmarish experience; she dubbed it the “evil twin sister who’s been torturing me for 26 years”.

3. Greek bailout fund crowdsourcing campaign
€1.6 billion (approximately S$2.486 billion) is certainly a mind-boggling sum. Yet that’s exactly the proposed amount of this man’s ambitious crowdsourcing campaign, which attempts to help solve the ongoing Greek debt crisis. It’s not a prank either. Campaign organiser Thom Feeney told British newspaper The Independent that the amount is “relatively small in the grand scheme of things”, if everyone living in the European Union donated a salad worth of Euros to the Greek bailout. Quite incredibly, the Indiegogo project did raise a total of €1,930,577 in eight days. The fund however, had to be forfeited and refunded to the donors as it was far from the targeted goal.

2. Australian researchers win Ig Nobel prize for unboiling an egg
Don’t be too quick to scoff at this achievement. The methods used for uncooking a hen’s egg in minutes can help save billions worth of research funds for cancer research, as well as the agricultural, dairy and pharmaceutical industries. This year’s Ig Nobel Prize winners for Chemistry combined urea (a component from urine) and their vortex fluid device to return a protein of the cooked egg white to its natural state. This process prevents the protein from “misfolding” into a egg white-like texture, which can cost a lot of time and money to return to its original state.

1. #TheDress: black and blue or white and gold?


#TheDress that sparked the blue-and-black or white-and-gold debate. Image: Twitter

Who knew that one dress could cause such mayhem? In February, Scottish musician Caitlin McNeill shared a snap of the dress of the bride’s mother, at the wedding that she and her band were performing at. Disbelief followed when no one could agree on the colours of the dress. Once it took off on social media, netizens as well as celebrities the likes of Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian started joining the furious debate. #TheDress also made it to Twitter’s top 10 most influential trends, alongside the Paris attacks and the 2015 national elections in Singapore, Argentina, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom.