12 Weird Trends No One Ever Understood

Throughout history, people have often found themselves bewildered by the strange and unconventional trends that pop up from time to time. These are the trends that leave us scratching our heads, wondering what could possibly compel someone to participate. From planking to pet rocks, phone booth stuffing to lava lamps, the world has witnessed a plethora of inexplicable fads that have taken hold of the public’s attention, even if only briefly.

1. Planking: The Strange Art of Lying Flat

Motivated slim young woman with strong arms stands in plank on fitness mat focused forward dressed in active wear trains in urban setting.
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In the early 2010s, a peculiar trend called “planking” took the internet by storm. People would take photos of themselves lying face-down in unusual places and post them online. While some saw it as a quirky form of self-expression, others were left scratching their heads, wondering why anyone would want to document themselves in such a mundane position. Planking’s brief fame highlighted the internet’s ability to turn the most ordinary activities into viral sensations, leaving many bewildered by its inexplicable allure.

2. Fidget Spinners: A Short-lived Spin Craze

Girl playing with a fidget spinner.
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Fidget spinners became a sensation in the late 2010s, captivating the hands of both children and adults alike. These small, handheld devices were designed for stress relief and concentration improvement. However, their meteoric rise in popularity left many bewildered. Some questioned the effectiveness of these gadgets, while others were baffled by the rapid spread of a trend that seemed to have no real substance behind it. Fidget spinners, in the end, spun their way into obscurity as quickly as they had emerged.

3. Tide Pod Challenge: A Dangerous Online Dare

SAINT LOUIS, UNITED STATES - Jan 23, 2018: three Tide pods laundry detergent capsules a on a blue background.
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The Tide Pod Challenge, which emerged in the early 2018s, saw a bizarre trend of people intentionally ingesting laundry detergent pods. Social media was flooded with videos of individuals biting into the colorful, toxic capsules. This reckless and dangerous fad left many wondering why anyone would put their health at risk for a few moments of online notoriety. Health officials and parents were rightly concerned about the potential harm this trend could cause, making it one of the weirdest and most alarming internet challenges to date.

4. The Mannequin Challenge: Frozen in Time

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The Mannequin Challenge, which gained popularity in late 2016, involved groups of people freezing in place like mannequins while a camera moved through the scene, capturing the surreal tableau. While some found this trend amusing and creative, others couldn’t comprehend the appeal of standing still for extended periods of time. The challenge’s brief moment in the limelight left behind a collection of viral videos featuring frozen people in all sorts of everyday scenarios, leaving viewers both entertained and puzzled.

5. ASMR: The Whispering Enigma

angry woman
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ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, gained significant traction in the late 2010s. It involves creating sounds and visual stimuli that are meant to induce a tingling sensation in the viewer, often accompanied by feelings of relaxation. While some people find ASMR videos soothing and enjoyable, others remain mystified by the concept, struggling to grasp why someone would want to listen to whispering, tapping, or the crinkling of paper for extended periods. ASMR remains a curious and divisive trend, with its allure remaining elusive for many.

6. The Ice Bucket Challenge: Chilling for a Cause

man pour a bucket of ice topped their head on a black background.
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The Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral sensation that swept the internet in 2014, involved people dumping buckets of ice-cold water over their heads and challenging others to do the same. The catch? It was all in the name of raising awareness and funds for ALS research. While many appreciated the charitable aspect, others couldn’t quite fathom the connection between icy deluges and a debilitating neurodegenerative disease. Nevertheless, the challenge managed to raise millions of dollars for a worthy cause, leaving both participants and onlookers bewildered by its effectiveness.

7. Plushie Influencers: The Rise of Stuffed Toy Stardom

Blue soft children's toy puppy with funny ears, multi-colored paws and red heart on blue background flat lay top view copy space.
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In recent years, a peculiar trend has emerged in the world of social media: plushie influencers. These are stuffed animals or plush toys with their own Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok accounts, often posting photos and videos of their daily “adventures.”

While some find this trend endearing and whimsical, others can’t wrap their heads around the idea of anthropomorphizing inanimate objects and following their escapades online. Yet, plushie influencers have amassed dedicated followings, proving that even the quirkiest trends can find their niche in the digital realm.

8. Face Swapping: Uncanny Digital Doppelgangers

Man holding a portrait of another smiling person.
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Face-swapping apps gained immense popularity in the mid-2010s, allowing users to swap faces with friends, celebrities, or even inanimate objects in photos and videos. While the technology behind these apps is impressive, some found the resulting images disconcerting or downright bizarre.

The uncanny valley effect, where the swapped faces looked eerily unnatural, left many questioning the appeal of such digital transformations. Yet, for a time, face-swapping was a digital trend that captured the imaginations of those who enjoyed its playful absurdity.

9. Extreme Food Challenges: Gastronomic Feats of Glory

Emotive dark skinned bearded guy keeps both hands on head, opens mouth from surprisement as sees too much desserts at one table.
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Extreme food challenges, such as eating enormous amounts of spicy food or oversized portions, have become a staple of internet culture. Competitive eaters and enthusiasts attempt these feats, often with the goal of gaining viral fame. While some viewers revel in the spectacle, others can’t understand the appeal of watching someone consume copious amounts of food in one sitting. The strange mix of fascination and repulsion that these challenges evoke leaves many perplexed by their enduring popularity.

10. Yodeling Kid: The Unexpected Star of Aisle 3

NEW YORK - DEC 13: Mason Ramsey performs in concert at Irving Plaza on December 13, 2018 in New York City.
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In 2018, a young boy named Mason Ramsey became an overnight sensation after a video of him yodeling in the middle of a Walmart store went viral. His twangy, pitch-perfect rendition of a classic country song struck a chord with internet users, propelling him to celebrity status.

While some appreciated the innocence and talent displayed by the yodeling kid, others couldn’t quite grasp how a Walmart yodeling performance could capture the world’s attention. Nevertheless, Mason Ramsey’s story remains a testament to the unpredictable nature of internet fame.

11. Lava Lamp Love: Psychedelic Illumination

Lava lamp.
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The lava lamp, an iconic symbol of the 1960s counterculture, perplexed many with its mesmerizing yet mystifying display. The lamp’s gooey, lava-like substance slowly oozed and morphed inside a glass cylinder, set to a colorful, hypnotic background. While some saw it as a symbol of the psychedelic era’s free-spirited creativity, others couldn’t grasp the allure of watching colorful blobs undulate for hours on end. The lava lamp’s enduring popularity serves as a testament to the timeless fascination with the strange and hypnotic.

12. Goldfish Swallowing: A Bizarre Campus Tradition

koi goldfish, commercial aqua trade breed of wild Carassius auratus carp, curious and cute comet-like long tail ornamental fish communicate in low light nature anubias design tank
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In the early 20th century, a strange campus tradition gained notoriety—goldfish swallowing. College students, seeking to demonstrate their daring spirit, would swallow live goldfish in front of crowds.

The shock value and perceived audacity of this trend puzzled many, as they questioned why anyone would engage in such an unusual and potentially harmful activity. Goldfish swallowing, though fleeting, remains a bizarre footnote in the annals of collegiate history, showcasing the lengths to which young minds will go to stand out.

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.