The year 2015 had its ups and downs, but it also had its fair share of downright bizarre, head-scratching “What the?!” moments. Don’t believe us? Here’s a look back at the top five quirkiest stories of 2015.
Only a select group of robotics enthusiasts were aware of the Candian-made lovable hitch-hiking robot “HitchBot,” an experiment in testing the lengths of human kindness by seeing how far the robot could hitch-hike across the world.
Everything changed when HitchBot got to Philly in August. On its first night it was left in an alley, brutally dismembered, and photographs of the metallic wreckage were sent to its creators using hitchBot’s built-in camera.
Local Youtube comedians Jesse Welle and Ed Bassmaster were the last people to see Hitchbot fully functioning. They released a prank video purporting to show Hitchbot’s demise in a bid for more media attention.
At this time there are no plans to rebuild Hitchbot or send him out into the world again.
As contempt charges were upheld against embattled Attorney General Kathleen Kane, she took a shot at the old tactic of misdirection — releasing to the public pornographic, racist and misogynistic emails swapped on state servers by prosecutors in August.
Kane claims that she was set up by a conspiracy attempting to shield those emails. Whether or not that’s true, the ensuing “Porngate” scandal has led to the retirement of a Supreme Court justice, the firing of several other state officials, and the call for three Philly prosecutors who received the emails to be fired.
Kane is vowing to release even more of the alleged thousands of emails that she has found on state servers.
3. Ice House
A scorching fire at a West Philly medical center during the deep freeze of last February yielded the “ice house” as water sprayed on the fire froze into massive icicles over the building, which later was condemned and razed.
In the summer, not to be outdone by Philly Jesus, an anonymous man began donning the costume of Spiderman and appearing in LOVE Park. “Philly Spidey” has recently gone underground, but still has an active presence on social media and could return at any moment.
The quirkiest story of 2015 has unfolded over the past month. One year after Philly and the east coast were hit by one of the hardest winters ever, the city has seen a snowless December with record-breaking warms reaching as high as the mid-70s on Christmas Day.