13 Of The Weirdest And Wildest Stories Of 2023

Here are some of the wildest moments from 2023 that made us go, “seriously?”

13 Of The Weirdest And Wildest Stories Of 2023

2023 was not without a fair dose of weird and random stories. Here are some of the wildest stories that made us go, “seriously?”

1. The US shot down a giant Chinese spy balloon that had been hovering over the country for days

On Feb. 2, US security officials announced on Feb. 2 that they had detected the surveillance balloon days before and was actively tracking it.

Officials said the balloon had traveled from China and arrived in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands on Saturday Jan. 28 before entering Canadian airspace.

It then reentered US airspace through Idaho on Tuesday and hovered over Montana, which is home to key military sites, on Wednesday.

On Friday, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the balloon was a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes,” adding that it had been blown off course and unintentionally entered US airspace.

However, the US military said on Friday that the balloon had changed course, demonstrating it had the ability to maneuver, countering China’s claims it was a civilian airship with “limited self-steering capability.”

The news sparked a diplomatic crisis, with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken canceling a trip beginning on Friday to Beijing, during which he was supposed to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

On Saturday Feb. 4, a week after the balloon first entered US airspace, a US military fighter jet shot down the balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina.

2. A 21-year-old Polish woman claimed she is the missing British toddler Madeleine McCann and the world was engrossed

In February Polish woman, Julia Wendell, gained widespread attention after she started sharing what she said was evidence proving she is the missing British toddler Madeleine McCann, who disappeared while on holiday in Portugal with her family in 2007 in a case that spark worldwide interest.

@iammadelelinemccan, the Instagram account of Julia Wendell – who has also been identified as Julia Faustyna and Julia Wandelt – has gained more than 644,000 followers in less than a week.

On it, Wendell has been sharing photos and videos comparing what she said was similarities between herself and McCann.

On her Instagram account, Wendell said she has no memory of her childhood due to being sexually abused by a pedophile, who she said looks like one of the facial composites of a suspect in McCann’s case.

In April, Wendell later shared that she had got her DNA results back, and the results showed that Wendell is not McCann.

She is from Poland, with some Lithuanian and Romanian heritage, according to reports.

3. Japan’s prime minister ate fish from Fukushima where it’s releasing nuclear waste water to prove it’s safe

On Tuesday Aug. 22, Japan announced it will release treated waste water – meaning it has gone through a process to remove most of the radioactivity – from its destroyed Fukushima plant starting Aug. 24, as part of a decades-long plan to decommission the plant.

Following backlash from nearby countries and environmental organizations, Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida and three ministers filmed a lunch meeting when they ate seafood caught from places where the Fukushima waste water was discharged.

“It is important to show safety based on scientific evidence and resolutely disseminate (the information) in and outside of Japan,” Japan’s economy and industry minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said.

Intergovernmental organizations such as the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency have also examined the treated waste water and confirmed that it complies with radiation restrictions.

Meanwhile, on social media people have pointed out how American cartoon “The Simpsons” predicted Kishida eating “radioactive” fish.

4. A huge bedbug outbreak swept through Paris and people freaked out

A bedbug outbreak swept over France, causing panic among city residents and putting pressure on the government before the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris

Reports of bedbugs sightings on public transportation, cinemas and hospitals soared in France, in particular in Paris, the most-visited city in the world in 2022.

They even caused a school shutdown in Paris.

Reports of the outbreak started a few weeks ago and coincided with Paris Fashion Week, causing panic and jokes that celebrities and influencers would bring the bedbugs home with them overseas.

Amid the panic, Paris’ deputy mayor said that “no one is safe”.

The outbreak is putting pressure on the French government as Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympics in less than a year.

However, France’s transport minister said all the bedbug cases on public transport turned out to be false alarms and called on the public not to “succumb to psychosis”.

5. South Korea’s president met US president Joe Biden and serenaded “American pie” for him

South Korea’s president received a standing ovation when he performed a rendition of Don McLean’s “American Pie” when he met with US President Joe Biden at the White House.

To conclude Yoon Suk-Yeol’s his six-day state visit to Washington and to celebrate the two country’s 70-year alliance, Biden hosted a state dinner on Wednesday April 26.

While on stage near the end of the evening, Biden told Yoon that he knew that “American Pie” was one of Yoon’s favorite songs and asked him to perform it.

Yoon said it had been a while since he had sang the song but took the microphone and sang out the first verse of the classic. He received a standing ovation from the crowd.

6. This Somali runner was so slow to finish an international 100-meter race and people had questions

Somalia has suspended the chairwoman of its athletics federation after a seemingly untrained and non-athlete runner took part in an international university sport competition.

The incident occurred during the third heat of the first round for the women’s 100-meter race at the International University Sports Federation’s (FISU) Summer World University Games in China on Tuesday, Aug 1.

In a video that has now gone viral, the woman runner, Nasro Abukar Ali, is left behind, out of frame, almost immediately as she is outpaced by her fellow competitors before the camera pans back to capture her jogging across the finish line with a celebratory hop skip.

Ali finished with a time of 21.81 seconds, more than 10 seconds slower than heat winner Gabriela Silva of Brazil.

Reports suggested that Ali had been chosen to compete as she is related to Khadijo Aden Dahir, the chairman of the Somali Athletics Federation who was suspended.

The sports ministry said Dahir had “defamed the name of Somalia on the international arena” through abuse of power and nepotism”.

7. A whale that was a Russian spy has been spotted off Sweden’s coast and people have questions

A whale that was suspected as a Russian spy was spotted off the coast of Sweden, and scientists got concerned for his well-being.

The beluga whale was first spotted in 2019 along Norway’s northern coast, wearing a harness fitted with a GoPro that had a label that read, “Equipment of St Petersburg”.

The whale had a unique character, seeking interactions with humans, similar to a domesticated or abandoned animal instead of a wild whale .

The Norwegian intelligence agency launched an investigation and reached the conclusion that the whale was most likely trained by the Russian navy as part of a program to use underwater mammals as a special ops force.

The whale was then given the nickname Hvaldimir, a mix between the Norwegian word for whale, hval, and the name of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Since then, Hvaldimir has stopped being a “spy” and mostly spent his time traveling along Norway’s northern coast.

However, on Monday May 29, authorities reported that Hvaldimir had been spotted in Swedish waters.

It is still uncertain why Hvaldimir moved so quickly out of his usual place, but scientists speculate that he is searching for other whales.

The organization and Swedish authorities will continue to monitor Hvaldimir’s situation, but plans have been made to move Hvaldimir to arctic waters.

8. Football star Lionel Messi went to China, allegedly got detained and then caused a huge fan craze

Argentine football star, Lionel Messi, who led Argentina to win the World Cup title last year, has caused a massive fan craze after arriving in China.

The world champion arrived in China on Saturday June 10 to participate in an international friendly match between Argentina and Australia

According to initial reports, he was detained at Beijing Airport because he only brought his Spanish passport over passport issues.

The 35-year-old Argentine football player holds both Argentine and Spanish passports but only brought his Spanish passport, which doesn’t have visa-free entry to China.

Spanish citizens are allowed to enter Taiwan without a visa and Messi believed the exemption extended to China as well.

Messi allegedly asked, “Is Taiwan not China?” as he had believed his passport could be used in both countries.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Chinese fans were waiting outside Messi’s hotel in Beijing, chanting his name.

During the match on Thursday June 15, a fan invaded the pitch to hug Messi and succeeded. He was carried off by security guards.

9. This German ballet director smeared dog poo on a critic’s face over a negative review

Marco Goecke, the ballet director of the Hanover State Opera in Germany, has been fired after he smeared dog poo on a woman critic’s face over a negative review.

50-year-old Goecke had reportedly been enraged after reading the review written by journalist Wiebke Hüster of the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), saying his recent show, “In The Dutch Mountains”, was “alternately driven mad and killed by boredom”.

During the interval at another show at Hanover State Opera on Saturday Feb. 11, Goecke approached Hüster with a paper bag of poo from his dachshund and smeared it on her face.

Hüster, who has been a professional dance journalist for 25 years, told BBC she was in shock and described the moment as a “brutal” attack.

10. This Japanese man spent US$14,000 to become a dog in order to fulfill his life-long dream

A Japanese man has finally achieved his life-long dream of becoming a dog after spending thousands of dollars on a hyper-realistic dog costume.

The man, identified only as Toco, said he has dreamed of becoming an animal since he was child.

Last year, Toco hired the Japanese costume company, Zeppet, to create a two million yen (nearly US$14,000) rough collie dog suit.

He said he decided to become a rough collie because it’s his favorite dog breed and is almost the same size as a human, making it a perfect option to create a realistic model.

The outfit, which took about 40 days to create, allows Toco to walk on all fours like a dog.

Toco has documented his journey as a dog on his YouTube channel titled “I want to be an animal”, which has already garnered thousands of followers.

11. A bear at a zoo in China looks just like a human in a costume and people were confused

The video, which surfaced on Chinese social media in late July, shows the Malaysian sun bear, named Angela, at the Hangzhou Zoo, standing up on its hind legs with an incredibly straight posture.

Viewers said the bear’s thin legs and loose skin made it look like a costume on a human rather than a real bear.

On July 29, an employee at the zoo clarified that there was no human disguised as a bear.

“Our place is a state-run facility, such situations won’t happen here,” he said, according to New York Times.

The employee added that the recent high summer temperatures in China, which have reached approximately 40˚C, would make it hard for a person to survive inside a suit.

12. This UFO researcher presented “evidence” of aliens to Mexico’s congress but people weren’t convinced

For the first time, Mexico’s congress held a hearing about aliens and UFOs but not everyone was convinced by the evidence provided.

Congress heard from Mexican journalist and UFO researcher, Jaime Maussan, who presented two alleged mummified aliens on Tuesday Sep. 12.

Maussan said the specimens, recovered from an ancient site in Peru in 2017, are 1,000 years old, based on carbon testing at the Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM).

However, the university said it had only done carbon testing with samples provided by a client and had not examined the specimens, according to a statement published two days later.

Furthermore, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (NAUM) argued that since aliens have a different chemistry from humans, carbon testing would not necessarily produce useful results.

Maussan is known for speculating about aliens and dabbling in pseudoscience on TV and on YouTube and selling his own line of supplements, according to the New York Times.

13. People in China shared photos of “white people meals” and honestly they kind of have a point

The trend was initially started by Chinese people working or studying overseas who were stunned by their Western peers’ simple lunches that only contained a few carrots, raw spinach, cheese and crackers.

People are now sharing photos of what they call “white people meals” – cold, raw food that requires minimal preparation, on the Chinese social media app Xiaohongshu.

In Chinese culture, lunch is a relatively important meal that aims to meet the energy requirement for work or study in the afternoon.

People are accustomed to preparing and having meals with a staple food such as rice or noodles, along with vegetables and meat cooked with different seasonings and methods.

The dietary differences have brought culture shock to people in China.

Now, people in China have even turned “white people meals” into a diet that they are following to lose weight.

Other Chinese people are praising “white people meals” as a solution to their hectic work schedules because they don’t have enough time to prepare lunch.

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