Wet, dirty, slimy, it doesn’t really matter: human curiosity will stop at nothing when it comes to understanding what the world has to offer — especially if it’s potentially dangerous.
A woman on the English coast was taking her dog for a walk when suddenly he started pulling her toward a strange white substance. At first, she thought it was some sort of gooey sea creature, but as she looked closer she realized she was dead wrong…
The weird mass seemed to have recently been washed up onto the shore. It was a chunky lump that gave off a powerful aroma.
As the interested canine got closer, he began to bark. Where did this blob come from, was it a threat?
Upon closer inspection, the woman had realized what she and her furry friend had stumbled upon — and it wasn’t a good sign.
Apparently, the mysterious substance was a so-called “fatberg” and they are becoming increasingly common.
They’re not just unpleasant to the eye and nose, either. These globs of fat are also indicators of a much bigger problem…
The white deposits are formed when dirty cooking oil combines with trash and solidifies in the sewer system.
When these lumps make it from the sewer into the open ocean they eventually wash up on shore.
It’s not just gross, they’re highly toxic and can be very harmful to dogs especially.
Prolonged exposure is dangerous to humans as well since these fatbergs carry countless bacteria. Unfortunately, it’s not just our beaches harvesting these blobs.
City workers in London have identified them as the cause of massive plumbing problems all over the city.
The largest reported fatberg was actually found in the London sewer system — it weighed 15 tons! The majority of the mass was from a common item many people use…
Non-degradable wet wipes! So, if you’re going to buy the ones that can’t naturally decompose over time, at least try to not flush them — especially those extra large ones.
Fatbergs aren’t the only odd things being found on beaches. When the Dickinson family — comprised of Adam, Eve, and their two kids — stepped on to Auckland, New Zealand’s Pakiri Beach, they saw this purple blob in the sand.
Adam and Eve Dickinson via News Hub
So naturally, the two kids, Sofia and Lucas, sprinted over to it with all the reckless abandon of children on a mission to satisfy their curiosities about something wildly unsafe and potentially dangerous.
Adam and Eve Dickinson via Newshub
This concerned Adam and Eve, who didn’t wish to see their children succumb to a purple, potentially poisonous beach blob, so they, too, approached the mysterious thing in the sand.
Eve Dickinson / Facebook
“My initial thought was ‘don’t let my kids touch it,'” Adam told the news sometime after the ordeal. With the family of four now all gathered around the mystery substance, they all echoed the same question: what the heck was it?
The Dickinson’s launched an informal investigation. The first thing they noticed? The purple blob was pulsating. Moving. Like Frankenstein’s monster, it was alive.
“It almost looked like a load of muscles contracting,” Adam recalled. “It was pretty incredible and really hard to describe.” Meanwhile, the kids were reminded of something oddly specific when they looked at the blob.
Lucas told his mom the creature looked like a volcano; it had, after all, sloping sides and what looked like a crater of bubbling purple lava. This was obviously no volcano, so the Dickinsons’ investigated further.
Despite their initial concerns about the pulsating creature, the family — to our benefit — proceeded to place check after check on the list of things you should not do to foreign, potentially dangerous things…
Eve Dickinson / Facebook
For instance, Lucas and Sofia blew on the thing. To the kids’ delights, the more they blew on the creature, the more it moved, confirming, yep, it was very much alive and was very much aware of outside stimuli.
With this understanding, the Dickinsons’ grabbed a stick and prodded the blob. Sure enough, Eve recalled the creature moved, even more, when the stick prodded its meat.
While the kids poked, prodded, and blew on the creature, Adam and Eve noted something peculiar about the beach: tons of jellyfish were scattered across the shore. This answered the question, right?
2cycle2gether / flickr
See, for a moment, they thought their mystery creature was just a jellyfish washed ashore. But still, their pulsating friend looked nothing like the other jellyfish. Maybe their guy was just upside down or something?
So with their stick, the Dickinsons’ flipped over some of the other jellyfish that’d washed up on the shore, hoping this would prove their creature was just a really big, really upside-down jellyfish.
But even upside-down, the landlocked jellyfish still looked nothing like the captivating creature that had so entranced the family. They were back to square one, so, eventually, the marine experts chimed in with answers.
A member of New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Diana Macpherson, knew almost instantly what this “common” creature was.
The purple, pulsating blob that had entranced Adam, Eve, Sofia and Lucas on the jellyfish-laden shores of Pakiri Beach was, according to Diana, the largest species of jellyfish found in New Zealand waters: the lion’s mane jellyfish!
These huge jellyfish can grow as big as seven feet wide with tentacles a hundred feet long. Those long tentacles give it a sort of lion’s mane — hence the creature’s name.
As it turned out, Adam was right to want to keep his kids away initially. While these jellyfish aren’t deadly, their tentacles carry toxins that can deliver some serious welts to those unfortunate enough to get caught in the “mane.”
This particular jellyfish was also a bit of an oddity. Normally, lion’s manes wash up on shore in the summer or spring, when plankton start blooming. This one washed up in autumn.
Whatever the odds of a lion’s mane washing up in September, the Dickinsons were delighted with the experience. “It was incredible,” Adam recalled.