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The top 20 most random things that happened in 2020: Nos. 1-5

From “Tiger King” and “The Queen’s Gambit” to the Pentagon releasing footage of UFOs to literal murder hornets, 2020 truly unleashed a ton of randomness upon us all.

But, this final installment of the top 20 random things of 2020 truly features the bizarre to the truly unexplainable.

Here’s the strangest, most random, and most unbelievable events that the year 2020 threw at all of us:


5. Monkeys steal COVID-19 samples from Indian laboratory

OK, so this definitely sounds like a plot straight out of a bad comedy.

Way back when things were just unfolding with coronavirus in May, a troop of monkeys in India attacked a medical official and stole blood samples of patients who tested positive for COVID-19.


The lab tech was walking on the campus of the state-run medical college in Meerut — a city in northern India — when this roving gang of monkeys grabbed and fled with blood samples of four COVID-19 patients.

“… We had to take their blood samples again,” Dr. S.K. Garg, a top official at the college, told Reuters.


4. People plant mystery seeds from China

For a period of time in late July, people across the United States started receiving, and in some cases planting, seeds from an unknown source in China.

According to the New York Times, officials in 27 states at the time warned against residents who receive the “unsolicited packages of seeds” to not plant them for fear they might be invasive or harmful.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture said seeds were discovered in jewelry packages with possible Chinese writing on them while the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry reported they came in packages labeled for earbuds or toys.

In any case, if “Jack and the Beanstalk” taught anyone anything, it is planting random seeds can have unintended consequences.


3. Dolly Parton donation helps fund coronavirus vaccine

Who said all the random news from 2020 had to skew on the bad or strange side of things?

Perhaps one of the more uplifting stories from last year is that country music legend Dolly Parton played a small — relatively — part in bringing a COVID-19 vaccine to the world.

In mid-November, it was discovered that Parton’s $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University for coronavirus research helped fund the Moderna experimental vaccine.

Parton made the donation in the name of Naji Abumrad, a physician and professor of surgery at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, whom the singer met following a minor car accident in Oct. 2013.

2. The run on toilet paper

In early April, the Washington Post described the vanishing of toilet paper from the shelves of supermarkets across the United States as possibly a revealing footnote of how people deal with a crisis.

In the early stages of the pandemic, when people were still adjusting to life inside, grocery-goers stocked up on the essentials.

Non-perishable foods? Not really. Filtered water? Nope.

Toilet paper.

For weeks the shelves of stores laid bare as toilet paper flew off the shelves in droves.

But thankfully, save for a brief recurrence in November, toilet paper sales have — to use a baseball analytics term — regressed back to the mean, and shoppers can usually find what they need on the shelves.


1. The monolith appears, disappears in Utah

One moment you’re just surveying wild bighorn sheep in the Utah desert and the next you’re staring at a giant, random hunk of metal sticking out of the ground.

Everyone’s been there, right?

Well, in November, surveyors in San Juan County, Utah, did just that, finding a 10-foot tall triangular prism in the middle of the southwestern desert.

Per Wikipedia, the structure was “unlawfully” placed on public land sometime in late 2016 and had gone unnoticed for nearly four years.

Then, as quickly as the media coverage surrounding it cropped up, the monolith was gone — vanished in the night.

Was it aliens that removed it? A secret government agency? Nope, just some local outdoorsmen.