Torrents of lava will gush across the Western United States, and other tabloid stunners

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! – Mark]

Earthquakes, floods, fire, nuclear war and the promise that "the world as we know it will end" in the next 100 days is the cheering news from this week's National Examiner. You'd think this might warrant the front cover, but buried on page 42 is the news that "Torrents of lava will gush across the Western United States," and "an earthquake off the coast of Hawaii . . . triggers a tsunami that lashes both sides of the Pacific." This naturally unleashes "flooding and mudslides" that rupture the San Andreas fault and ignite volcanos at Mount St Helens and Yellowstone Park, igniting a "lake of fire" across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. And that's just by June. By August expect "a civil uprising" leading to "nuclear holocaust" that "devastates entire countries." Definitely a good time to stock up on sunscreen, sturdy shoes and an ample supply of burgers.

That's the optimistic forecast from "the country's most trusted psychic consultants and religious scholars." Well, that's good enough for me. I'm cancelling my Hawaiian vacation and perhaps I'll spend the summer building an underground shelter. Just because it's in a tabloid, that doesn't mean it isn't the truth, does it?

Well, there's "the real truth," and then there's "what really happened."
Both are apparently quite different when it comes to the death of pop icon Prince, if this week's tabloids are to be believed.

"Aids Killed Prince!" screams the National Enquirer, offering "the real truth" that the Purple Jehovah's Witness "tried to beat Aids through prayer" only to spend his "agonizing final days" suffering "seizures, chronic pain & addicted to opiates."

The Enquirer trots out two of its favorite lines: Prince "didn't have to die," and "slowly wasted away to a skeletal 80 pounds."

Offering "what really happened," however, the Globe magazine alleges: "Pigheaded pop superstar Prince killed himself by ignoring doctors' warnings!"

Far from spending his final days in agony, the Globe claims "he stubbornly continued his partying ways just a day after undergoing emergency medical treatment" having fallen ill days before his demise.

People magazine quotes unnamed sources claiming that the entertainer had been battling an "ongoing illness" and "undergoing treatments that made his immune system weak" – suggesting that he was relying on medical science and not just prayer.

At least Us magazine has it right when it reports: "It is still unclear why the star passed away so suddenly."

Tabloid headlines continue their misleading bait-and-switch as the Globe devotes its cover to a topic that has intrigued its readers for two decades: the murder of former child pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey. "JonBenet Mom's Confession To Police!" yells the cover, proffering "the real story." Hang on – where have I heard that before . . ? The cover promises: "What she did, how she did it and why cops hid the evidence!"

But if you search the mag for Patsy Ramsey's "confession" you will be disappointed. In a lengthy interview with investigators in 1998 JonBenet's mother allegedly admitted that she had been having emotional problems before her daughter's death, that she had no idea if her daughter had been sexually abused before her murder, and that the handwriting in a note left by the killer looked "familiar." That may have been mildly interesting in 1998, but today it is hardly a "confession." And what about "how she did it"? Since Patsy Ramsey admitted doing nothing, we will never know how she achieved such a feat. But that's what passes as a blockbuster revelation in the tabloids. Why did the police "hide" this "evidence"? Probably because it wasn't evidence of anything, and detectives were determined to conduct their investigation outside the wildly speculative sensationalized world of the tabloids. Speaking of which . . .

The Globe claims that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas "is a kinky swinger" who liked porn videos and "threesomes" according to an alleged former mistress, that Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston had the "mother of all catfights" while filming their new movie 'Mother's Day,' and brings us a ten-page special tribute for the Queen's 90th birthday and momentarily forgets its usual obsession that she's allegedly at death's door. The Enquirer continues waving the flag for Donald Trump by attacking Ted Cruz's preacher father Rafael alleging he runs "shady ministries" as a tax dodge, having previously linked him with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. And after dozens of stories branding renown record producer Phil Spector a murdering monster, the Enquirer this week declares "Phil Spector Innocent," according to new forensic analysis.

Fortunately we have Us magazine's crack investigative team to tell us that La La Anthony (Who she, Ed?) wore it best, that Mischa Barton carries sunglasses, chewing gum and lollipops swiped from a local bank in her 3.1 Phillip Lim bucket bag (whatever that is), that David Hasselhoff has sold more records than Michael Jackson (in Switzerland), and that the stars are just like us: they try on shoes, they devour burgers and they apply sunscreen. Someone must have tipped off the stars that armageddon is coming.

Onwards and downwards . . .