The Nobel Prize is one of the most prestigious awards a person can earn. Among its many recipients, it is an honor won by chemists, physicists, and authors who have contributed vast amounts of tireless work to shaping the world we live in, and for their efforts in paving the way for humanity to move forward. The prize is named after its benefactor, Alfred Nobel, who, among a great many other things, was noted for his revolutionary invention that oftentimes literally helps to shape our world: dynamite.
Most often used in construction, demolition, or by Wile E. Coyote, dynamite quickly became a necessary tool for making large things go away very quickly. Although it would eventually be used as a weapon, dynamite was commonly used to blast rock underwater or to carve away tunnels. That is, at least, until November 12, 1970, when local authorities in Florence, OR, realized Mr. Nobel's invention could be put to another use: blowing up the rotting carcass of a beached whale. What followed became one of the most bizarre urban legends in American history.
Nowadays, it's easy to quickly capture footage of the world around us. We can document anything as fast as we can whip out our phones. But flash back half a century, and there was no YouTube or Vimeo. Instead, the only thing people had was word of mouth to relay what they had seen.
Thankfully, the authorities at Oregon's Department of Transportation believed that such an absolutely insane event had to be documented. Therefore, they invited the news crew from Portland's KATU Channel 2 to film what was surely going to be one of the most bizarre spectacles Oregonians had ever seen.
What was captured that day eventually became one of the country's oldest urban legends: the day a whale was blown into thousands of pieces, and scattered along the coast of Florence, Oregon. Since then, the video has gone viral, racking up over 2.5 million views.
It's no surprise that even one stick of dynamite can do some serious damage, but there isn't an exact science when it comes to clearing out the dead remains of a sperm whale that weighed eight tons.
Still, that didn't stop authorities from using their best guesstimate of a half-ton's worth of explosive materials to "clear" the whale from the beach. With the massive creature's body rigged with enough dynamite to take out a full-sized home, all that was left to do was hit the detonator.
This probably won't come as a surprise, but human tissue does not hold up well when dealing with explosions. As for the blubber from a massive sperm whale? Well, instead of just imagining, you can actually see for yourself from the footage taken of the actual detonation, as the "blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds," per Channel 2's Paul Linnman.
Not only was the beach covered in whale viscera, but a nearby sedan was flattened so far as to resemble a four-door convertible.
When the beached whale was initially discovered, authorities believed seagulls and various other animals would eventually pick apart its dead carcass. The problem, however, was that the stench from the animal turned into an absolute nightmare for everyone in the area, as anyone driving up the coast could pick up the smell from roughly a mile away.