The end of any year always brings with it a time of reflection. Although we've literally written thousands of posts this year, there are certain stories which stick out due to their odd, controversial and even tragic characteristics.

From international incidents to bizarre connections and unexpected deaths, the most shocking news stories of 2012 have all left puzzling thumbprints behind. Relive the most infamous and discussed stories of the year in our list of Shocking Rock Stories of 2012.