Last updated on December 21, 2020
Stories originally reported by Tom White for the Global Police Blotter.
In this difficult year, we all need a good dose of the weird. It helps keep us from crying about the state of the country and the world, especially the politics.
Matrix Gazette’s crack reporter and Investigative Cartoonist, Tom White, oversees the Global Police Blotter as he scours the globe in search of news to dazzle and amaze you — and sometimes make you roll in the aisles with laughter.
So, friends and fellow readers, let us look at the ten, weirdest stories of the year 2020, as reported on the pages of the Matrix Gazette and media outlets from around the world. Truth be told, it was hard to limit our list to 10, since we had dozens of curious and bizarre stories to choose from. But here goes…
We start with #10 and work our way down to the weirdest story of them all, #1.
#10 – Cuban Woman Fights Covid-19 with Full-body Cardboard Suit
Havana, Cuba – June 17, 2020
Feridia Rojas, 82, decided to build and wear “mobile housing” to shield herself from the virus in a country where personal protective equipment is not sold at stores. She further stated that with no one to run her errands she had to find a way to do so safely by herself. The retired Cuban nurse salvaged the box from the pharmacy in her Palatino neighborhood and cut arm holes and a window for her face that she covered in clear plastic.
#9 – British Man Tries to Steal Magna Carta
London, England – July 10, 2020
A British man was jailed for attempting to steal a priceless 1215 original version of Magna Carta.
He was in the process of trying to break the protective glass which encased the manuscript at Salisbury Cathedral in southern England but was chased off by two American tourists and cornered by a group of stonemasons.
“The Salisbury document is one of the original charters that bore King John’s seal. The man who’s suspected of trying to steal the Magna Carta is now protected by its 39th clause — the one guaranteeing the right to a fair trial.”
#8 – Big Pile of Eels Dumped in NYC Park
New York City – October 17, 2020
Eels escaped from a large plastic bag that split open as a man dragged it to the shoreline of Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn. After dumping the eels in the lake, the man walked away, explaining to bystanders that “I just want to save lives.”
“And quite a big pile, fully alive,” observed Andrew Orkin, a music composer who saw the incident.
“New York state and city officials say it’s too soon to know how the eels in Prospect Park might affect local species. But based on photos taken by bystanders, officials identified them as swamp eels native to Southeast Asia like those that have been found in at least eight states.”
#7 – A 5-story building in Shanghai ‘walks’ to a new location
Shanghai residents passing through the city’s eastern Huangpu district earlier this month might have stumbled upon an unusual sight: a “walking” building.
An 85-year-old primary school has been lifted off the ground — in its entirety — and relocated using new technology dubbed the “walking machine.”
In the city’s latest effort to preserve historic structures, engineers attached nearly 200 mobile supports under the five-story building, according to Lan Wuji, chief technical supervisor of the project.
The supports act like robotic legs.
#6 – School Asks Parents to Stop Throwing Late Students over Gate
Avignon, France – November 13, 2020
An elementary school in France put up posters outside their fence with a request for parents: Don’t throw late students over the closed gate. The text on the sign asks parents not to throw their children, and instead wait for the gates to be opened again at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m.
Principal Sanaa Meziane explained that the sign was in response to some parents who “threw their children” over the gate when they arrived to find it closed.
#5 – Police Arrest Man for Swimming in a Store Fish Tank
Bossier City, La. – June 30, 2020
A man plunged into the indoor aquarium at a Bass Pro Shop in Bossier City to follow through on a promise he made to followers on the social media platform TikTok.
“I said that if I got 2,000 likes I would jump in the tank,” he said. “I got way more than that and didn’t want to be a liar.” A video showed him swimming through the huge tank before climbing out and running from the store with wet clothes.
#4 – Race Relations Advanced with Destruction of Elk Statue?
Portland, Oregon – July 3, 2020
A 120-year-old statue of an elk was lit on fire in downtown Portland to protest systemic racism. The statue, which sits atop a fountain, had been the target of graffiti and fires during weeks of protests.
The elk and fountain were donated to the city by one-time mayor David P. Thompson in 1900 to honor elk that once roamed the Willamette Valley. It had been in the same place for 120 years and was originally designed to water horses.
#3 – Church Skirts Lockdown by Becoming a Bar
(This story also won the Matrix Gazettes’ Most Creative Idea award for 2020.)
San Lorenzo, Argentina, June 13, 2020
An Argentina church transformed itself into a bar, as pastors became waiters to protest coronavirus lockdown measures. Waiters also carried bibles on their trays.
Pastor Daniel Cattaneo reopened his church as a bar in order to comply with Argentina’s Covid-19 lockdown measures, which he says discriminates against religious services. Cattaneo and other pastors dressed as waiters and served their congregation while preaching, circumventing lockdown measures which, despite being eased back since Monday, still restrict church services from having more than 10 people while other businesses can reopen at 30-percent capacity.
#2 – Gunshot Deaths Chalked up to Covid-19
Washington State – May 22, 2020
Washington state officials admit to counting GUNSHOT DEATHS in Covid-19 tally. Health officials in Washington state said they are reassessing their Covid-19 fatality data after noting that people who died of gunshot wounds were inexplicably included in the figures.
“We currently do have some deaths that are being reported that are clearly from other causes… In this case, they are from gunshot wounds,” said the health statistics manager for the Washington State Department of Health.
She further stated that “there are a number of nuances to the data that we report and often it is very difficult – especially quickly – to make an assessment on the cause of death.”
And now… a drumroll please… The weirdest story of 2020
#1 – Man Swats at Fly, Blows Up Kitchen
Parcoul-Chenaud, France – September 08, 2020
A man blew up part of his house while trying to get rid of a bug. An 82-year-old man sat down to dinner when he became aware of a buzzing fly. He tried to hit the fly with an electric fly swatter – not realizing that a gas canister was leaking inside his house.
A reaction between the swatter and the leaking gas triggered an explosion which brought down part of the kitchen and damaged the roof of his house. The fate of the fly is unknown.
So, there you have it, the ten weirdest stories of 2020 as reported on the pages of the Matrix Gazette. Investigative Cartoonist and Global Police Blotter reporter, Tom White scours the world for stories to make you scratch your head in disbelief. Yet all these stories are true.
But wait!… There’s more… For you, faithful reader, here is the top runner-up for this list. So, let us call it “bonus story #11.”
#11 – Police Arrest Goat for Not Wearing Mask
Kanpur, India – July 27, 2020
An owner whose goat was wandering without a mask had his goat arrested. The incident took place over the weekend and the police picked up the goat and took it to the police station in a jeep.
A cop who was part of the team that brought in the goat admitted that they found a lockdown violation because the goat was without a mask.
“People are now making their dogs wear a mask so why not a goat?” he asked.
Please share this list with your friends and family. We look forward to sharing more with you every week.
We also publish hard-hitting, insightful (and sometimes inciteful) editorials that help preserve, protect, and defend freedom. But, to help us all keep our sanity, we find some weird stories that amaze and make us laugh.
Meanwhile, if you have stories, funny or serious, you would like to suggest, email them to us with a link to the story to MatrixGazette@GMail.com . Also, if you have suggestions on an article or editorial, let us know. Thanks!