Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Ewww, 'Globsters' of Oregon / Washington Coast and Their Paranormal Past

Published 05/10/2020 at 4:44 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Ewww, 'Globsters' of Oregon / Washington Coast and Their Paranormal Past

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials when beaches reopen
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Lincoln City:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials when beaches reopen
In Newport:
Look for major specials when beaches reopen
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials coming when beaches open
In Yachats, Florence
Big specials coming; lodgings not listed anywhere else

(Seaside, Oregon) – Warning, don’t be eating anything as you read this article. (Photo above: a near-globster in 2017, courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

Perhaps the grossest thing you can find on the Oregon coast or Washington coast (or any beach in the world) is what is sometimes referred to as the “globster.” It’s a particularly disgusting form of stranded whale corpse that has actually spawned paranormal legends in the past, and its smell will make you want to run away as from an actual monster.

Globsters may be nasty in a uniquely terrible way but they have a fascinating if not somewhat comical role in history.

A globster is really a strange slang (and psuedo-science) term only occasionally used these days, referring to the corpse of a whale that is often barely recognizable because of its advanced decayed state. Everything dies, and in the ocean that means sometimes these dead things wash ashore (really it’s rather amazing you don’t see more dead stuff on the Oregon or Washington coasts considering the sheer immensity of lifeforms out there.) Occasionally, particularly with whales or larger things like seals and sea lions, they wind up floating around out there and rotting the whole time, and then abruptly they come onshore instead of sinking to the bottom.

In rarer cases, they’ve been decomposing for weeks and suddenly make landfall. These, under some circumstances, can be so decayed you can’t tell what it is. It’s a mysterious “glob” of foul-smelling something. In some of these rare cases, not even the entire animal makes it onshore: just a chunk. This deepens the mystery as the corpse is so indefinable in the first place, yet it’s half or a third of the size of what it used to be.

For centuries, people have often misunderstood what these mysterious things were and sometimes believed they had come across new, perhaps even mythical creatures, such as sea serpents, a giant octopus or giant squid, a la Jules Verne. Even the possibility these were aquatic dinosaurs was presented on occasion (those often turned out to be long-dead sharks). Even aliens have been postulated. All that often happened through much of the 20th century, something that acquired new vigor when the whole “paranormal investigation” idea was invented and popularized, even in that day and age ignoring what science and common sense told them.

Yet that wasn’t always the public’s fault. Later on, DNA testing started proving what these were, and other more responsible science folk have always been able to discern the true species of these globsters (or sometimes called “blobs”).


Above: a true-blue globster in 2007, taken by Seaside Aquarium's Tiffany Boothe

Among the more reasonable globster-finders are the crew at Seaside Aquarium, who have discovered a few stranded creatures and blobs along the north Oregon coast over the last decade and a half that were downright puzzling. One case in 2007 saw aquarium staff reporting a true-blue globster to Oregon Coast Beach Connection, finding a nasty mass of gooey corpse that didn’t look like anything. It was only part of a sperm whale, they quickly found. How they withstood the rank odor to check its anatomy is still a mystery, and frankly better left not dwelled upon.

Part of the thing that throws people is that these yucky specimens look “hairy.” That’s not hair – that’s simply heavily rotted flesh.

A zombie apocalypse doesn’t sound so fun anymore, does it?

In 1962, it was a somewhat kooky biologist named Ivan T. Sanderson who coined the term “globster.” He was referring to a carcass in Tasmania two years before that had "no visible eyes, no defined head, and no apparent bone structure." According to author Sue L. Hamilton in her 2010 book “Monsters,” scientists soon figured out it was merely a disgustingly gooey remnant of a whale.

Sanderson was originally a biologist and then soon moved into the suspect territory of cryptozoology, even becoming a science fiction writer for a time.

“Globster” is now used with a bit of humor, especially in the internet age. But its origins are actually even more amusing.

What happens to globsters when they wash up on the Washington coast or Oregon coast?

If they’re in a fairly populated area, they get buried. Hopefully, that is, and policy differs on locale. The problem with globsters isn’t just the fact they smell 20 times worse than any regular stranded whale corpse, but like any such beached deceased marine creature laying around they carry the possibility of disease. Touch one and you could get something nasty. Dogs are especially at risk.

One incident in Seaside in 2014 had residents complaining about the smell – two blocks away. That and the density of beachgoers was cause for burial. However, another incident the Seaside Aquarium responded to happened at Warrenton where the beach narrowed too much to be buried. State officials simply let that one get eaten by birds.

Back then, the aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe told Oregon Coast Beach Connection: “By not burying the carcass shorebirds and raptors will be able to feast on this fatty-rich food. Leaving the carcass on the beach is really good for the beach ecosystem.”

More "globster" photos below (warning: not for the squeamish).

Oregon Coast Hotels in this area - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours





Photo: Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium


More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

 

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

 



Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Razor Clamming Resumes on South Central Oregon Coast
All areas of the Oregon coast from the Columbia River southward to Cape Arago. Sciences
Washington / Oregon Coast: Gray Whale Carcass Strands at Long Beach
Seaside Aquarium responded to a beached whale on the southern Washington coast, discovering a 37-foot male Gray whale
Oregon Coast Unexplained Part Two - Almost Paranormal
Ghost tales and creepy discoveries in Seaside, Cannon Beach, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Coos Bay, Pacific City, Manzanita
Don't Kidnap Wildlife, Say Oregon and Coastal Officials
Visitors are getting outside just in time to encounter newborn fawns, elk and other kinds of wildlife. Sciences
When the Oregon Coast Is Stranger Than Fiction: the Unexplained (Part One)
It all started with weird science, veered into ghost stories for awhile, now it's back to more remarkable science
More Oregon Coast Cancellations Include July 4th, Shore Acres Lights
Some as far out as December already getting the ax. Weather
State Parks Begin Opening Limited Camping, Including Oregon Coast
Most of these open June 9, but some are available now. Lodging news, travel tips. Sciences
Officials Seek Public Input on N. Oregon Coast Fish Passage Issues
Three culverts that failed on the northern half of the Oregon coast have triggered emergency conditions. Lincoln City, Tillamook, Manzanita, Nehalem

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Oregon Coast Lodging
Rentals
Specials

Dining

Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details