With the world's knowledge at people's beck and call, you'd think monsters and mermaids wouldn't have much sway in the public imagination.
Shocking images of children being gassed in Syria were beamed around the world, sending mass waves of condemnation from international leaders.
On April 15, three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two pressure-cooker bombs detonated at the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon.
The death of the 53-year-old kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro brought an abrupt and dramatic ending to a sordid case that shocked the United States and the world with revelations of depravity and brutality carried out in an ordinary Cleveland home.
2013 served up some of the more incredible viral and amazing videos. Take a look at the best of the year.
In October, a state of emergency was declared as bushfires raged across New South Wales.
Legendary Aussie rocker Chrissy Amphlett passed away in April at the age of 53, triggering an outpouring of grief and tributes from fellow musicians.
American actor Paul Walker died on 30th November in an horrific car accident in Los Angeles.
Iconic British broadcaster and the man who made Nixon say sorry, we farewelled Sir David Frost in August.
In June, The Sopranos lead actor James Gandolfini died of a heart attack in Italy at the age of 51.
One of Britain's greatest and most controversial prime ministers, Margaret Thatcher, died at the age of 87.