10 Strange Internet Phenomena From Around the World

by Shweta Anand2 years ago

6 The “cinnamon challenge” is a food challenge that took the Internet by storm during 2011 and 2012. In this trend, people would be dared to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon powder in under a minute without any drinks to help. Invariably, participants often ended up gagging or coughing up the powdered spice.

The “cinnamon challenge” is a food challenge that reached peak popularity in 2011 and 2012. In this challenge, individuals are required to swallow a spoonful of powdered cinnamon in under a minute without any drinks to help. Participants who attempt this would invariably gag, vomit, pr choke on the spice, or cough up a cloud of powdered cinnamon. 

However, the challenge soon turned dangerous when reports about participants becoming severely ill began to surface. For instance, two teenagers from Detroit were reported to have been hospitalized after taking up the challenge.

Similarly, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Regional Poison Control Center also reported four cases that they believed were linked to this online challenge. Many experts then warned of the risks involved in this challenge, including pneumonia and lung inflammation from accidentally inhaling the spice. 

Apart from cinnamon, there were also reports of other spices such as nutmeg being used to fulfill this challenge. (1, 2)


7 In 2017, a Turkish chef became Internet famous for his unique style of salting meat. In his signature move, he is seen flicking salt from his hand at head height so that the salt particles roll off his arched arm and fall onto the meat. The move later brought him the name “Salt Bae” on the Internet.


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A post shared by Nusr_et#Saltbae (@nusr_et)

Nusret Gökçe is an Internet celebrity who rose to popularity in 2017. In January of that year, a video of him preparing a steak and sprinkling salt on it in a unique method appeared on the Internet and went viral.

In his signature style of salting, he is seen holding his hand at head height and dropping the salt in such a way that it rolls off his arched arm and onto the meat. This video and his unique salting technique catapulted him into fame and gave him his infamous nickname, “Salt Bae.”

Since then, Salt Bae has become a popular Internet meme and a renowned chef in numerous parts of the world. He currently owns a total of 15 restaurants worldwide and as of 2020-21, was estimated to have a net worth of $60 million. Even today, many of his business ventures, including an expensive gold-leaf-covered steak dish, continue to bring him much attention. (1, 2)


8 Beginning in 2012, a number of cryptic puzzles appeared on the website, 4Chan, encouraging people to solve them. The posters, however, remained anonymous and were soon nicknamed “Cicada 3301.” At the time, some theories even suggested that these puzzles were recruitment tests for intelligence agencies.

Cicada 3301
Cicada 3301 puzzle

In 2012, a strange internet phenomenon called “Cicada 3301”: caught the interest of people worldwide. 

It all began in January that year when a mysterious picture was posted to the website 4Chan, a popular online message board. This message contained a text that said it was looking for “highly intelligent individuals” who could find the hidden message in the picture. Those who managed to solve the difficult puzzle were then led to a website on Tor, an anonymous browser best known for its users to access the “darknet.”

However, anyone who was too late to get there was greeted by a message that said, “We want the best, not the followers.” These puzzles then reappeared around the same time in 2013 and 2014 and even contained clues planted in various cities of the world. 

As the phenomena progressed, many speculated that it might be the work of intelligence agencies trying to recruit new members. However, the mystery behind these puzzles has yet to be fully solved. (1, 2)


9 In 2013, an online petition asking the US government to build a “Death Star,” like in the Star Wars movie franchise, received over 25,000 signatures. The White House then responded saying the project was too expensive (costing about $850 quadrillion), and that the current administration did not support blowing up planets. 

Death Star
Death Star. Image credit: Lucasfilm

In 2013, an online petition demanding President Barack Obama’s administration to build a “Death Star” gained immense popularity. The Death Star, featured in the Star Wars film franchise, is a fictional technology used to destroy entire planets. This petition then received over 25,000 signatures, crossing the threshold that requires the government to respond to its demands. 

The White House soon responded with an official statement, saying that while the US government was enthusiastic about the strong national defense and job creation opportunities this project would bring, it was too expensive to be feasible. According to the White House, the project would cost $850 quadrillion. 

They also mentioned that the current administration did not support the idea of blowing up planets. Finally, it referenced the movie franchise and said that the government did not wish to spend taxpayer dollars on a Death Star “with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship.” (1, 2)


10 A hamster named “Mr. Goxx” gained Internet popularity for its exceptional trading skills. The animal had a specialized cage that allowed it to choose a cryptocurrency to trade by running on its hamster wheel. The cage also had two tunnels on its floor, one each for buying and selling, that the hamster could use to choose one of the actions. 

“Mr. Goxx” is the name of a hamster that became Internet famous for its cryptocurrency trading skills. The “business-minded” rodent had a “trading office” attached to its regular cage, from where it would make crucial decisions about trading in cryptocurrency. Its activities in the office were then live-streamed over the online platform Twitch

The animal’s hamster wheel was designed to be an “intention wheel” that let the hamster choose which cryptocurrency to trade, as it spun through the numerous options. 

The hamster also had two tunnels on the floor of its specialized cage. These tunnels were each linked to buying and selling options, and every time the rodent ran through one of them, the electronics attached to the tunnels would complete the corresponding action. 

The animal gained particular interest not just for being a rodent, but also because it was said to be a better trader than some of the most famous investors. Sadly, in 2021, the hamster was reported to have died suddenly. (1, 2, 3)

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