The Best Weird Stories of 2021 - Nerdist
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The Best Weird Stories of 2021

We doubt many people would argue with us when we say 2021 has been weird. Just how weird though might surprise you. That is until you see how many strange, bizarre, unsettling, and confounding stories we covered over these twelve months. These are the very best weird news, stories, and random things we reported on this year.

“UFOh No”
The Best Alien Stories of 2021

The only thing odder than the strangest story of the year has been the lack of response to it. The U.S. government cannot stop telling us that UFOs might be real. The CIA released thousands of pages on UFO-related sightings. Former officials and pilots shared their stories and footage of unexplained aerial phenomena they encountered at Virginia Beach for years. There’s even a new official task force looking into this.

We might not be as worried if not for the fact that NASA detected an FM radio signal from one of Jupiter’s moons. As well as radio emissions from Venus and an unexplained “hut” on the far side of the Moon. (We probably need to reconsider sending six million egg and sperm samples to our lunar neighbor. Good thing NASA was smart enough to only send dummies there.)

Mystery space hut, mysterious space object discovered on far side of moon
CNSA/Our Space

With all of that going on it’s no wonder our astronauts are aging their very own wine in space. Especially after they voluntarily took on a slime mold blob to assist them on the ISS. Also, maybe we should be extra careful with that 24,000-year-old organism found alive in Siberia’s permafrost. We really don’t need a real-life The Thing situation.

“Real-ly Estate?”
The Strangest Real Estate Listings and Places of 2021 
Living room full of female mannequins in ball gowns
Zillow

Like us, you might spend way too much time looking at Zillow listings you’ll never be able to afford, but that’s no weirder than some homes that went up for sale this year. That includes unlikely options like the real-life Conjuring house, Tom Hanks’ 30-year-old “movie home” trailer, the prison where Mindhunter was filmed, and Prince’s actual Purple Rain tour bus. Those seem like typical real estate options compared to this home inexplicably full of creepy mannequins. Or the house that has an entire Western ghost town for a backyard. Now that is weird news worthy. But none of them are as scary as the old abandoned jail that hit the market in Florida. Oh, and don’t forget the unsettling former Macy’s that become a high school in another great sign of late stage capitalism.

This year also provided plenty of opportunities to spend the night in a unique locale. From a massive Idaho potato and a Willy Wonka-themed hotel, to a UFO Airbnb and Stu Macher’s Scream home, you could get real weird with your rentals. But we recommend staying away from the creepy forest with all the dolls nailed to trees. (It’s probably not as much fun as the house with the giant Monopoly board under the carpet.) And definitely make sure you don’t run into any glow-in-the-dark sharks along the coast of New Zealand. Or get hurt on any of the LEGO pieces that keep washing ashore in Cronwell.

A giant replica Idaho potato in an open field now serving as a hotel weird news
Kirsten Dirksen

However, it might be fun to see the impossible-to-escape intersection that caused so many problems in Paris. Or the fifth ocean the world somehow just got. We doubt any sailors there will accidentally send out an Amber Alert for Chucky the killer doll the way Texas accidentally did.

The future looks just as strange. When rich guys weren’t flying to the edge of space on phallic ships, they started making plans for luxury manmade islands, pricey utopian cities, and hotels in space. Hopefully scientists make their space settlement near Ceres affordable for the rest of us. Especially so we can use that space elevator.

An artist rendering of a idyllic spinning space station human settlement
NASA Ames Research Center
“Curious Cuisine”
The Weirdest Food News of the Year
A hand holding a serving of Cup Noodles comes up from a leaf covered ground weird news
Nissin

Why eat well when you can eat weird? Oh, wait. That’s absurd. But 2021 provided plenty of opportunities to do just that…and we have the weird news stories to prove it. You had the chance to spend Valentine’s Day dining on candy-flavored Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Some lucky (?) people in Iowa could order a Fruit Loops covered pizza. Cheez-it turned its iconic snack into an actual cake. Nissin took pumpkin spice too far and served up a fall Ramen dish we’ll unfortunately never forget. Nor will we stop thinking about the company’s ramen-flavored sodas anytime soon. Those still sounded more appetizing than a candy corn hot dog and hot dog-flavored candy canes. And while they probably taste delicious, these NSFW (and most homes) sexual waffles almost seem too inappropriate to eat.

Strange foods also overtook freezers. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream began selling a breakfast-inspired Everything Bagel flavor. While Kraft turned its Mac & Cheese into a sweet icy (mis)treat. Neither of which is as bizarre as the U.S. government looking into why McDonald’s ice cream machines never work. This is enterally weird and vital news that we need updates on stat.

A pint of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Everything Bagel open with ice cream sticking out of the top
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

Those unusual dishes came with plenty of equally bewildering concoctions too. Arby’s started selling French fry-flavored vodka. Grey Poupon used mustard seeds to make its very own white wine and we couldn’t wait to try it. And Hidden Valley decided eggnog needed ranch to add some extra stress to the holiday season.

A glass of Hidden Valley Ranch Eggnog displayed on a table with a packet and holiday decor
Hidden Valley Ranch

Away from the table, scientists started turning plastic into vanilla. A virtual candy tasting inexplicably hosted by Jaleel White invited us as a guest, which was almost normal compared to our ill-fated Thanksgiving feast made out of turkey dinner candy corn. But the big weird food news of the year was also the funniest. A Polish neighborhood fearful of a strange tree creature was actually being haunted by a croissant.

“Money Isn’t Real Anyway, Right?”
The Most Bizarre Products and Purchases 0f 2021
An LED-lit bed shaped like a drone with propellers seen from the back which shows a mounted TV at the foot
Drone Racing League

This year once again made clear some people clearly have too much money, not enough discretion, or both. Otherwise stiletto crocs wouldn’t exist. Nor the Thomas Kinkade Mandalorian collection. Both of which are sensible items compared to the $25,000 custom drone bed that looks awesome but doesn’t even fly. Neither does the pricey $39,000 Louis Vuitton airplane purse. At least they don’t respond to “close butthole” commands like Tesla cars. A silly automobile is still a real car you can use for real reasons. That’s more than can be said for this ludicrous “statue” of nothing that sold for $18,000. All that money for air and pieces of tape on the ground.

Whoever bought that hopefully wore someone else’s face, which is possible thanks to this Japanese artist’s realistic visages that will haunt your nightmares. Those masks are still a better deal than the outrageous money spent on NFTS. As well as the custom iPhone X that can’t even make calls yet still went for $86,000 on eBay. Money that could have been spent on the giant David Hasselhoff statue from the SpongeBob Squarepants movie.

Once again though, it was Pokémon fans who showed money is no object when you care about something. For “just” $250 you can wrap your head up in a bizarre Gengar tongue pillow. A pittance compared to the $26,000 limited-edition crystal Pickachu sculpture that went on sale in 2021. That piece doesn’t seem that absurd when you remember Pokémon fans spent thousands at eBay on Oreos.

A giant Gengar head pillow with a long tongue weird news 2021
Bandai

At least fans limited that chaos to their computers. Unlike when they began hoarding McDonald’s Happy Meals toys meant for kids. Or forced companies like Target to stop selling trading cards in their stores because of violent outbursts. Hopefully the new Pokémon fossil museum, which will feature the “bones” of Pokémon, can avoid such calamity.

“But, Like, Why Science?”
The Year’s Strangest Science Stories

Science made some great breakthroughs this year, even beyond the miraculous vaccines and COVID treatments. But as always, science also gave us plenty of strange discoveries, weird news, bizarre creatures, and robots that have us ready to invest in Skynet before things get bad.

The ocean is still scary AF. Sea slugs can detach and regrow all their body parts. Sea worms with multiple butts can detach their brains. Those things are disturbing, but not scary like this eight-jawed monster roaming deep seas. There’s also space, where no one can hear us scream about space hurricanes. (Fortunately “dancing space ghosts” are pretty cool.) But you can hear us howl in delight at astronauts making The Lonely Island’s dream of space Olympics a reality.

Two radio galaxies approximately a billion light-years away which, together, look like greenish dancing ghosts.
Jayanne English/EMU/Dark Energy Survey

Science also got real weird with animals. We now know why wombats have cubic poops and that crows understand the concept of zero. Also, pigs can play video games while a neuralink lets monkeys play pong. For some reason, researchers also reconstructed a dinosaur butthole. Robots learned to hear using the ears of dead locusts. Scientists figured out mice and pigs can breathe via their anus. And cicadas woke up from a 17-year nap and started having too much sex because of a fungus.

Flesh-eating bacteria helped save priceless Michelangelo sculptures in Florence. A submarine spotted SpongeBob and Patrick living in the actual Bikini Bottom. The movie Frozen helped solve a mysterious avalanche collapse after decades. And California condors went and learned asexual reproduction.

Oh yeah, researchers who have clearly never seen a single sci-fi horror movie also made the first-ever human/monkey hybrid embryo. What could go wrong there!

An animal-human hybrid kneels near Doctor Moreau
New Line Cinema

There’s still plenty to be worried about with artificial life too. In 2021, we got closer to a Westworld reality with a hyper-realistic android. Xenobots started reproducing on their own. Robot origami started folding itself. Our own sweat can now power wearable batteries. You can clean your teeth with a contraption that looks like it came from Jigsaw’s shop. Deepfake tech can now animate your ancestors in a way that is not natural. Human brains no longer need wires to connect to computers. And all of this is going on while Samsung has plans to “copy and paste” our minds to computers for what will definitely be safe keeping.

 “The Weird Wide Web”
The Wackiest in 2021 News Reports
Two halves of a rock cut in half that look just like Cookie Monster's face weird news 2021
Mike Bowers

That’s a whole lot of weird news and stories for just twelve months. And yet, there’s more. We watched eels work together to electrocute a fish. A gemologist opened up a rock to find Cookie Monster smiling back at him. Everyone went gaga watching Pee-wee Herman replace the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and listening to rubber chickens play the movie’s theme. Meanwhile, we found out dinos might have actually been cuddly silly animals rather than fierce monsters.

Also in 2021 weird news, the world got a SpongeBob ASMR video for some reason. Somebody got hit with felony charges for a VHS rental 20 years overdue. Chicken tenders became an acceptable flavor of lip balm. And ravens declared war on coffee-delivering drones in Australia.

Like we said, it was a really bizarre year. And we have no doubt 2022 will be just as strange. Especially if UFOs show up and steal that human/monkey hybrid embryo to develop on their secret Moon base.

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