Questionable parenting. Ancient unmentionables. Superficial firings. Don’t hold your breath because this year had its share of head turners.
Look at any day’s headlines and there are the stories you expect to see — the local crimes, the political debates, the entertainment highlights.
As the year comes to a close, leave a little room in your daily news digest for the unthinkable. To give you a running start, TIME has unveiled the best bizarre stories of the past year.
Sometimes, a toddler grabs the spotlight with his penchant for multiple daily puffs of nicotine. That was the case last May in Indonesia, when video surfaced of a two-year-old boy who made Joe Camel look like a light smoker.
Other times, the history buffs receive their ultimate laugher. Despite his royal title, one Ancient Egyptian pharaoh had his share of medical issues. Thousands of years after his death, that conversation was revived this summer — with new research showing that genitalia grief may have contributed to his last gasp.
Even when blessed with physical beauty, things are never guaranteed to be rosy. Just ask the former New York banker, who spent part of her summer charging that her grade-A appearance also led to her unemployment.
Craving more bizarre storylines? Head over to TIME.com for this year’s full list of the top 10 oddball news stories.