Stevie Wonder’s vision restored, O.J. Simpson’s hookers, and Hugh Hefner didn’t have to die, in this week’s tabloids

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Stevie Wonder can see again, the Las Vegas killer joined a cult before the massacre, and Tom Petty could have been saved, according to this week’s fact-distanced tabloids.

How wrong can the tabloids get?

Having killed off country music star Loretta Lynn months ago, the Globe now reports “Loretta Lynn is back from dead!” Less than five months after a supposedly fatal stroke, she was back on stage this month and “showed no ill effects from the stroke.” Or maybe reports of her death were premature?

Robert Redford, who beat polio at the age of 11, is suffering a “relapse fear” claims the Globe – because at 81, he “was seen struggling to get out of a vehicle.” Sure, that couldn’t possibly be the result of old age, rheumatism or arthritis, having overdone it in the gym, or soreness after a long horse ride. It’s polio, naturally.

“Sex-starved O.J. heading right for hookers!” reports the National Enquirer, which claims to have followed the recently-paroled ex-con O.J. Simpson for a week. And after seven days, how many hookers did he visit? None. It’s just the owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch brothel saying vaguely: “It’s going to happen . . . the BunnyRanch girls are anxious for O.J.’s visit.” Right.

“Hugh Hefner didn’t have to die!” claims the Enquirer, citing a “toxic cloud of black mold” in the Playboy mansion for hastening the Lothario publisher’s demise. “Everything in the mansion felt old and stale,” says Hef’s former girlfriend Izabella St James. But that’s just a failure to renovate (as well as a description of Hefner in his later years) and there’s no evidence of mold.

Rocker Tom Petty also didn’t have to die, and “could have been saved” reports the Globe, which claims he was “too frail” and worked “too hard” on his last concert tour. “People tried to tell Tom to slow down but he wouldn’t hear of it,” says a typically unidentified source. Yet the Globe tells us that “Tom Petty was ready to die!” Evidently he knew “last concert would be his farewell.” He allegedly “needed vitamin shots to boost his energy, and was set for hip replacement surgery, insiders said.” The last time I checked, vitamin shots are used routinely by performers to maintain health and boost energy, and pending hip replacement surgery is no precursor to cardiac arrest.

Continuing its flights of fancy, the Enquirer reports that Las Vegas mass killer Stephen Paddock had joined a “cult of death” before the shooting, finally explaining his “chilling motive.” What cult was this? The Enquirer has no idea, because it simply offers a series of supposed experts saying that Paddock had the profile of “the sort of people who fall victim to cults,” and speculate that he “may have reached out to a cult-like group.” Wild, unsubstantiated wishful thinking, matched with unequivocal declarative headlines: a tabloid specialty.

The Enquirer publishes a photo of the dead gunman sprawled lifeless on the floor of the Mandalay Hotel, except editors have spared squeamish readers any discomfort by air-brushing the photo so that he appears nothing more than a dark smudge across a blood-stained carpet. It could be a photo of spilled red wine, for all we know.

Sister publication the Globe has no such qualms, however, and prints the same photo in every glorious blood-drenched detail, lovingly showing a river of blood gushing from Paddock’s mouth and nose after he blew his brains out, a glistening pool of blood still wet beneath him. Why does the Enquirer think its readers are too delicate to view this gruesome image? Enquiring minds want to know.

Will singing legend Stevie Wonder read the Enquirer cover story claiming that he can “see again”? The Enquirer claims to have “uncovered evidence” that the entertainer, blind since birth, “has undergone a secret, high-tech procedure that has given him some vision.” They speculate that he has had a retinal microchip implant that restores some vision.

It’s true that scientists have developed an artificial retina implant that restores lost vision in rats, but clinical trials in humans are only set to begin this year. And the “evidence” that Stevie Wonder has undergone this highly experimental surgery? He reached out and hugged a winner of TV’s Star Search in 2004, claimed he was losing weight to appear on TV’s Dancing With the Stars in 2011, apparently caught a falling microphone while performing with Paul McCartney at the White House in 2012, and attends basketball games where he cheers the action. All “evidence” of sight restored by a surgery which can’t have taken place back in the day when this “evidence” occurred. Details, details.

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us magazine to tell us that Cindy Crawford wore it best, that Anne Heche “had no TV growing up,” that actress Madelaine Petsch carries sunglasses, lip gloss and mints in her black backpack, and that the stars are just like us: they shop for coffee, shoes and toilet paper. Shocking, as ever.

Us and People magazine this week seem to be having a competition to see which can put the most boring couple on their cover. People gives it a good shot with the stars of TV’s Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines, explaining that they are quitting their show because “our family comes first.”

But Us magazine has the winning edge, with a mind-numbingly vacuous cover story on Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt’s “miracle baby.” Didn’t we all stop caring about this a couple years ago? How was their 6 lb, 12 oz baby a “miracle”? Was Heidi told she could never conceive? Did the labor last 72 hours? Was there a dramatic life-or-death battle to save the newborn’s life? None of that. From what I can tell, the miracle is that anyone’s interested in this pablum. Labor lasted only five hours, and Spencer Pratt brought $27,000-worth of healing crystals into the labor room, “so literally as my contractions are going, he’s running in, putting these huge crystals all over,” says Heidi. “It was mayhem!” But I’m sure their unnamed son appreciated entering the world thinking he was in a Topanga Canyon rock store.

Leave it to the National Examiner to tell us that “Flying Alien Beasts Terrorize Chicago!” The story describes how “hideous humanoids plunge to within feet of petrified pedestrians.” The story is true – at least, it’s true that numerous Chicagoans have alleged to have been swooped upon by a large flying creature that some claim appears humanoid, echoing tales of Mothman sightings in West Virginia in the 1960s. There have been 29 alleged sightings in Chicago this year alone, and supernatural phenomenon researcher Lon Strickler tells the Examiner: “I have long theorized that the Mothman, and other unknown winged beings, are multidimensional life forms . . . that can be summoned by the high-energy incorporeal entities that reside on our Earth plane.” Well, that makes perfect sense. Or it could just be a large owl, or a man in a winged flying suit, or even a drone decorated to look like a flying creature, as experts suspect.

Onwards and downwards . . .