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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Horror Histories, Vol. 8 - The Blob (1958) vs. The Philadelphia Police

I know what you're thinking when you saw the title for this week's Horror Histories column.  

"Seriously?  There was an inspiration for The Blob that involved the Philadelphia police force?"

Well, to put it bluntly, "Yes."

For those that don't know, The Blob (1958) stars a young Steve McQueen who must lead the charge to stop an alien invader unlike anything we ever expected.  It's a blob of matter that consumes all living things in its path.  As it eats, it grows and if not stopped, it will devour the planet.  A 'B' movie in almost every aspect, it's considered a classic today thanks to tense storytelling and great performances.

The film starts with a meteor plunging to Earth.  It's found by a local man who tries to pull it out of its small crater.  When he does, it cracks open and the blob attaches itself to his hand and begins to eats him.

Eight years prior, a real life incident where a man stuck his hand into a blob of purple jelly from space actually happened.  In 1950, two Philadelphia police officers saw something they said looked like a parachute falling from the sky.  They drove to the area where it landed and found a purple jelly-like substance about six feet in diameter covering the ground.  They reported that it gave off a strange mist.

That's when one of them did the unthinkable and stuck his hand in it.  He said it left a sticky residue but otherwise caused him no harm.  Since they realized what they were going to have to report made them sound crazy, they radioed for backup. Two more officers arrived and also witnessed the jelly though it had begun to disappear.  The FBI was also called but by the time they got there, the substance had dissolved completely into the ground.

The officers filed a report and it was picked up by local and then national newspapers.  Most treated it as a joke and even though the incident was referred up to the Air Force to investigate, they politely declined.

The whole incident stuck in the mind of Irvine H. Millgate and years later when he was trying to come up with a good story for a low budget science fiction movie, he used it as a jumping off point.  To date, no one knows for sure what the substance was that the officers found.  

Pretty creepy, huh?  Well, if you're looking for more creepy stuff, head on over to my Amazon Author's page.  You'll certainly find something there.

See you next week!

1 comment: said...

Awesome sauce (blob?).