10 viral stories that took over the internet in 2018
2018: A year that dragged its feet for so long, most of us forgot that it, indeed, included a whole Winter Olympics. But before we bid the quasi-era a much-deserved farewell, let's take one final look back on the viral stories that both #broketheinternet and mended our weary souls over the past 365 days.
The world held its breath in June as we collectively watched a raccoon scale a 25-story skyscraper in St. Paul, Minnesota. The MPR Raccoon, who earned her name after Minnesota Public Radio became one of the first outlets to report on the stunt, was first spotted making her way up the UBS Tower at about 2:30 a.m. one morning. By later that afternoon, photos of the daring climber shared by local office workers had gone viral, with many wondering what fate would befall the famous raccoon. Thankfully, after she reached the building's roof, the critter was lured into a cage with cat food and successfully trapped by rescuers, bringing her Mission Impossible audition to an end.
Thanksgiving 2018 brought with it a new meme in the form of a rather stressful prank. Young adults across the U.S. started texting their moms, dads, grandparents and guardians to ask them how long it takes to microwave a 25-pound turkey. Naturally, a majority of the population knows the proper way to cook a turkey is in the oven — but coming from a generation of alleged Tide Pod-eaters, any question can sound legitimate. Photos of panicked responses to the exasperating question went viral, with many parents wondering how they could have failed their children so severely. Even iconic turkey brand Butterball weighed in on the viral issue — with some rather surprising advice.
A mysterious black sarcophagus was discovered and pried open in Alexandria, Egypt in July amid intense social media debate over whether opening the vessel would unleash an ancient curse on the Earth. Inside the ancient tomb, archaeologists discovered three skeletons floating in what is believed to be sewage water, which scientists say accelerated the decomposition of the bodies. Naturally, the curious netizens of the world started a Change.org petition — signed by 34,466 people and counting — begging to drink the mysterious liquid discovered at the bottom of the tomb. Cheers.
What is one supposed to pair with a nice glass of cursed sarcophajuice, you may have been wondering? The obvious answer was revealed in August when the world's oldest cheese was discovered in Egypt. The 3,200-year-old mysterious wheel of dairy, which was uncovered in the tomb of Ptahmes, might contain a potentially fatal bacteria called brucellosis that spreads from animals to people, often via unpasteurized milk and cheese. But as you know, that has never stopped social media users before and, despite the risks, many began demanding a taste of the ancient snack.
Knickers, a 7-year-old male Holstein-Friesian cow, went udderly viral in November due to his sheer size. The steer clocks in at a whopping six feet three inches tall — just three inches shy of NBA legend Michael Jordan — and weighs 3,086 pounds, earning him the unofficial title of largest cow in Australia. After the behemoth bovine garnered global media coverage, many naysayers began to speak out against his "undeserved" fame, citing examples of far larger cows — a new media trend some people seemed to be A-okay with.
The Philadelphia Flyers introduced its very first mascot on the fateful day of September 24. Gritty, a googly-eyed "monster" with unruly orange fur, a protruding belly and a wicked underbite turned heads upon his unveiling, to say the very least — and it isn't hard to see why. The team's main reason for creating the mascot was to cash in on missed marketing opportunities, but no one could have ever predicted the
creature's folk hero's near-immediate ascension into the meme hall of fame.
Many viral debates over the years have had the audacity of designating themselves "the dress 2.0." But if there ever was a story anywhere near as polarizing as the "black and blue" vs. "white and gold" debacle of 2015, "Yanny" vs. "Laurel" might have been it. The bitter fight over which word was being repeated during a 6-second audio clip even prompted auditory scientists to investigate the interesting phenomenon.
The first viral story of 2018 rapidly became one of the most ubiquitous memes of our generation. Although the allure of eating Tide Pods has been a beloved internet joke for years due to the candy-like appearance of the laundry detergent pacs, the public's inexplicable lust for the toxic cleaning supply reached a new high in 2018. Multiple videos of teens attempting the 'Tide Pod Challenge,' in which participants put a Tide Pod in their mouths and chew it, made the rounds online in January, prompting doctors and even Tide's parent company Procter & Gamble to speak out on the dangerous trend. Sarcophagus or not, it seems we may have been cursed all along.
When Mason Ramsey stopped and sang Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" in the aisle of an Illinois Walmart, the entire world stopped to listen. Videos of the 11-year-old boy clad in jeans, a white button down, cowboy boots and an iconic red bowtie went viral in April, with one version of the clip racking up over 60 million views. One EDM remix of the tune has even racked up nearly seven million plays. Shortly thereafter, Ramsey, dubbed "Walmart Yodeling Kid" due to his distinct vocals and the location where he was discovered, was invited to appear on multiple talk shows, including Ellen, the benchmark of fame for any internet celebrity.
Ramsey's online stardom even propelled him to a gig at the opening day of Coachella in April. His performance at the popular music festival was one of the most tweeted about of the entire three-day event — right next to Beyonce's. Such a beautiful dream. 🎶