UFOs. Zombies. Ducks. There was no shortage of odd news in the last calendar year, ranging from paranormal activity to missing fowl. Here's the quirkiest of the quirky.
The opening of the Zombie Combat Zone got Surrey residents riled up to mow down hordes of the walking dead with paintballs. The 10-week immersive experience sold out shortly after news of the attraction made the rounds.
The idea for it came from Ron McCall, a special effects whiz who, after watching one too many horror movies, had lengthy discussions with friends about how they would act if brain eaters took over the world.
"He just thought, I'm going to make a zombie apocalypse and see how you guys do," said Jen Yarnell, general manager of the ZCZ. The Zombie Combat Zone is expected to reopen sometime in 2013.
In late August, a White Rock resident spotted a series of 10 UFOs over the seaside city, which she described as bright orange globes in the night sky.
White Rock has a history of UFO sightings - with at least 12 since 1990 - and other readers phoned and emailed in their opinions, divided on the source of the evenly spaced lights.
Gavin McLeod, a member of the Mutual UFO Network, suggested the UFOs were actually Chinese lanterns which are often mistaken for alien spaceships.
Keeping with the out-of-this-world encounters, modern-day Ghostbusters from Northern Paranormal Investigations visited the Coast Capital Playhouse in White Rock. The building is said to be haunted by the site's founders, whose ashes were placed beneath the stage.
"I hear knocking all the time, constantly, sounds like people are running up and down the stairs," said Nicole Danish, building manager of the playhouse.
In mid-June, Ann Payie's pet parrot escaped from her former home in Kennedy Heights during Payie's move to White Rock. The parrot, a 12-year-old African ringneck named Jade, spent the next 14 weeks perched on a tree branch in Blackie Spit, refusing to come down. Payie visited every day until Sept. 20, the day Jade apparently had enough of the great outdoors and flew into her cage.
But Jade wasn't the only birdlife getting headlines - Duck-duck, a six-month-old Golden 300 duck, made the news for helping shoppers at Art Knapp Plantland. Though Duck-duck was born with a distorted leg, his personality has won over the staff who nursed him to health.
"He's a really unique duck in that he has no interest in the other ducks at all, " said Shawneen Esson, an assistant manager and main duck wrangler. "He still sometimes keeps a two-inch distance from people, but if he likes you, he'll let you pet him."