The best tabloid stories of 2022

From Heidi Klum’s ‘worm body’ to a four-year-old joyrider and a man covered in spoons

Heidi Klum dresses up as worm on 31 October in New York City
Heidi Klum dresses up as worm on 31 October in New York City
(Image credit: Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Celebrities in America love to make a splash with elaborate Halloween costumes, but few have gone as far as Heidi Klum. This year, the supermodel decided to wear “something different”, and settled on dressing up as a worm. It took her 12 hours to get into the outfit, made of spandex and foam, and she conceded that being “stuck inside the worm body” was not very comfortable. “But Halloween,” she reflected, “is not about comfort.”

The unlikely art thief

When a French pensioner noticed a blue jacket hanging from a peg on the wall of the Picasso Museum in Paris, she assumed it had been abandoned. The 72-year-old duly took it home, and finding that it was a bit on the large side, asked her tailor to alter it. A few days later, she went back to the exhibition – where she was arrested. It turned out that the coat was a work of art by the Spanish artist Oriol Vilanova – and CCTV cameras had recorded images of a “little old lady” making off with it. The unnamed art-lover explained her mistake, and was let off with a warning.

Moaning in the sky

Passengers on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Dallas were left perplexed when the plane’s intercom system started to broadcast strange moaning and grunting sounds. Passenger Emerson Collins described it as “somewhere between an orgasm and vomiting”, and said that it persisted, on and off, for the entire flight. In his video clip, a flight attendant can be heard apologising for the “extremely irritating sound”. “It is an odd anomaly and none of us are enjoying it,” she added. The airline denied that its PA system had been hacked, and claimed that the noise had been caused by “a mechanical issue”.

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Puffed out

A 50-year-old man in China has become a social media sensation by running an entire marathon with a fag hanging out of his mouth. The chain smoker, known in the running community as “Smoking Brother”, finished the race in Jiande, Zhejiang, this year in just three hours and 28 minutes. “There goes my hero,” said one social media user.

Smoking Brother

(Image credit: Weibo)

The 21p legal fight

An Indian lawyer has won a 22-year legal battle with a rail operator that had overcharged him by 20 rupees (21 pence). In 1999, Tungnath Chaturvedi was charged 90 rupees for a journey from Mathura Station that should have cost only 70. He complained at the time, but Indian Railways declined to refund him the difference – so he went to court. Finally, after 100 hearings, a judge ruled in his favour this year, and ordered the operator to pay him his 20 rupees – and 15,000 rupees (£156) in compensation. “It’s not the money,” he said, after his victory. “This was always a fight for justice.”

An unusual grave

A Mexican grandmother was granted her dying wish, when a five-and-a-half-foot-tall penis was erected on top of her grave. Catarina Orduña Pérez’s family said she had had a fascination with the male anatomy, and had asked to be buried under a penis statue. So when she died, aged 99, they “decided to make her dream come true”, said her grandson. It was unusual, he admitted, but she was “very avant-garde, very forward-thinking”.

The poo portrait

A British artist raised hundreds of pounds for Ukrainian refugees earlier this year by selling a portrait of Vladimir Putin made of dog poo. Dominic Murphy says he normally produces “delicate watercolours”, but that news of the invasion compelled him to try something new. Deciding that there is nothing more foul than dog poo, he mixed his own dog’s faeces with mud, daubed them over the canvas, then covered it in 30 layers of varnish to hide the smell. The work is called Poo-tin’s a Shit.

Poo-tin is s**t

(Image credit: Dominic Murphy)

Noms acceptables

French people no longer have to choose their babies’ names from an approved list – but the courts can still reject names that they deem inappropriate. And every year, a few people have their chosen names struck out. Those that have been rejected include Prince-William, Nutella (the parents settled for Ella instead), Bob l’éponge (Sponge Bob), Lucifer, Excel, Mini-Cooper and Asterix.

Mini joyrider

A four-year-old boy was picked up by police in the Dutch city of Utrecht after taking his mother’s car out for an early-morning spin. The child had woken up and, finding no one around, decided to “go for a drive”. His ride ended with him crashing into two parked cars. Unharmed, he fled the scene – barefoot and in his PJs – but was spotted by passersby, who called the police. His mother, who described him as “resourceful”, was advised to hide her car keys in future.

Long lost dentures

A British tourist had his false teeth returned, 11 years after he lost them on a boozy night out in Benidorm. Paul Bishop, 63, said he was “gobsmacked” when the dentures he’d lost while vomiting into a bin in the Spanish resort turned up at his home near Manchester. Apparently, the teeth had been found in a landfill site, and handed to the authorities. “Next thing you know, they’ve found my DNA and address,” he marvelled.

A stirring feat

The Guinness World Record for “the most spoons balanced on the body” was broken this year by a 50-year-old Iranian. Abolfazl Saber Mokhtari, from Karaj, said he had honed his skill with “years of practice and effort” in order to balance 85 spoons – smashing the previous record of 64. “I feel so happy and proud right now,” he said. “I encourage everyone to keep chasing their dreams and never give up, no matter what.”

Guinness World Records

The wannabe corpse

After practising for months on TikTok, a restaurant owner from Kentucky finally got his dream job – playing a dead body on a TV cop show. Josh Nalley had spent almost a year uploading clips of himself mimicking corpses – lying face down in mud, slumped in a chair, strung up by his wrists, and so on. Finally, the makers of CSI: Vegas spotted his “reel”, and offered him the part of an “un-alive body”. As well as winning him the job, he reckons all the practice has helped him process his own mortality. “I can face death and not really have to worry about it, because, you know, I’ve seen myself dead so many times,” he said.

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