Inside the bizarre true story of Oregon’s exploding whale (video)

In November 1970 the town of Florence, Oregon decided to blow up an 8-ton whale carcass that had washed up on the beach & the result were truly explosive

On November 12, 1970, residents of the small town of Florence, Oregon witnessed a rare sight as an exploding whale sent chunks of meat and blubber soaring 100 feet into the sky.

“It had to be said the Oregon State Highway Department not only had a whale of a problem on its hands,” said news anchor Paul Linnman, reporting on the scene for KATU. “It had a stinking whale of a problem.”

The 45-foot-long, eight-ton sperm whale carcass had washed up on the beach days earlier, and Oregon’s Department of Transportation had been tasked with cleaning up the foul-smelling behemoth. Officials feared people might start climbing it and could even fall into the whale’s carcass.

So, Assistant District Highway Engineer George Thornton made a historic call. His team would treat the whale like a boulder — and blow it up.

Luckily, the event was recorded in a TV segment so bizarre that in recent years it’s been called a hoax. But the people who were there know that the dead whale exploding was all too real — and it sent gigantic chunks of whale flesh hailing down on them and their cars alike.

Believe it or not, this all really happened. Here’s how.

Read more: All That’s Interesting