“The Blob”: Frog Spawn From Outer Space or Jersey Devil Chow?

It’s 1958 and you’re standing in line for the latest horror movie to hit the big screen, The Blob starring Steven McQueen. What you and your fellow movie-goers may be unaware of is that the terror-filled film you are about to watch was inspired by real events!

Flash back to the September 27, 1950 issue of the Philadelphia Enquirer and the headline that announces FLYING ‘SAUCER’ JUST DISSOLVES! The article begins, “Four South Philadelphia police officers had a new explanation last night for what happens to those flying saucers that people are always seeing. They dissolve.”

Two veteran police officers, John Collins and Joe Keenan are out on a routine patrol when they see something unusual in the night sky, a large, glowing, purplish-colored object drifting down to earth. They immediately head towards it in their patrol car and determine the object is going to land in a large, open field about half a block from Vare Avenue and 26th Street. The object reportedly glittered in their headlights as they got closer. After parking, the officers grabbed their flashlights and entered the field, finding a ‘purple jelly’. The substance, approximately six feet in diameter and nearly a foot thick at the center, quivered and appeared to pulse. As if that were not strange enough, when they turned off their flashlights, the purple glob glowed brightly enough to illuminated part of the field. The officers said they got the distinct impression that whatever it was, this thing was alive and they needed backup!

Two more officers, James Cooper and Sergeant Joe Cook, arrived minutes later. After what must have been one of the most bizarre conversations the four men would ever have in their lives, it was decided to try and lift it and get some sort of sample. They circled the mass. Collins was the first to work up the courage to actually touch it. Upon doing so, the blob immediately began to dissolve. It left some traces on his hands, but those too quickly vanished, leaving nothing more behind than an ‘odorless scum’. In less than half an hour the entire object had dissolved.

Seven years later, this particular purple glob would go on to inspire the movie 1958 you is standing in line to see.

StarJelly

Star Jelly. Not Purple. Not Glowing.

However, this was neither the first, nor last, reported incoming glob-blob sighting to fall to earth. Reports date back to as far as the 14th century and as recently as 2001 in both England and Massachusetts. The most common explanation is a substance called ‘Star-Jelly’, believed to be material carried into the Earth’s atmosphere via meteors. It’s not alive, it’s just space goo, the skeptics claim. Another explanation reports that these masses of quivering gel are nothing more than puddles of dead frog eggs. It’s claimed by experts that the eggs could have been dropped by a bird who caught a female frog primed to deposit her eggs. As the bird’s sharp talons disembowel its grab and go meal on the wing, the eggs are unceremoniously spilled and fall back to the ground.

FrogSpawn

Frog Spawn. Still not purple. Still not glowing.

This is all well and good and may explain some of this mystery, but neither of these hypotheses explains the purple glow, the pulsing, or the massive size of the 1950 Philadelphia sighting. That had to have been one hell of a big frog, not to mention the size of the bird it must have taken to catch and carry that unfortunate amphibian away. Remember, it was said to have been six feet across and a foot thick in the middle. Maybe the Jersey Devil was involved in some way. He/She/It is reported to be nocturnal, big, and strong and the Jersey Pine Barrens are less than an hour’s drive from Philadelphia, and a lot closer as the Jersey Devil flies. Plus, since when do frog eggs dissolve when you touch them? I’m a small town girl who’s had more than my fair share of frog egg encounters and, trust me, they don’t just dissolve as described by the four police officers.

So, what was it? Due to lack of any physical evidence whatsoever, we’ll probably never know. Either way, the real events from 1950 certainly inspired one of the greatest B-movies of all time and it’s one I would strongly recommend you see if you haven’t already.

For more in-depth information and speculation on these mysterious globs, check out Rob Morphy’s 2011 article “Beware The Blob” at Mysterious Universe.

Movie Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Rated R – Psychological Thriller starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr. – Directed by Dan Trachtenberg

If you haven’t seen Cloverfield, go and do that first. Although you don’t NEED to have seen it to enjoy this sequel, it will help give you a better overall feeling for what’s going on.

After an argument with her boyfriend, Michelle (Winstead) packs up and leaves town. While on the road, her car is struck and crashes in a roadside ditch. On waking, she finds herself hooked to an IV, wearing a knee brace, and chained to the wall. She soon meets her captor, Howard (Goodman) who is just another crazy, conspiracy-theorist prepper who’s gone to the trouble of building a fallout shelter in his back yard, which is where they now are. A third member of the group, Emmet (Gallagher), confirms what Howard is saying, that something, and he’s not exactly sure what, has happened, but something that has resulted in the surface being uninhabitable for at least two year.

Howard is full of crazy talk, but just how crazy is he? If he’s not crazy, then some very, very bad things are going on topside. If he is crazy then some very, very bad things are going on underground because Howard isn’t being completely honest about elements of his story and explanations. Either way, it’s all good for us viewers. 10 Cloverfield Lane is full of suspense and it’s going to keep you guessing until the bitter end at just exactly where Howard stands on the Sane to Insane scale.

This is my kind of movie, the psychological thriller, and it lives up to that genre exceptionally well in my opinion. I love how it incorporates elements of the original Cloverfield, yet it still holds up well as a standalone story. The acting was well done and I was very impressed with Goodman’s portrayal of a nut job!

Five out of Five Ravens!