The carcass of a mysterious 20-foot sea creature has washed up on the shores of San Antonio in Oriental Mindoro in the Philippines. Coated in what appears to be white shaggy hair, the enormous, decomposing blob looks as if it’s melting.
Locals rushed to see the strange “globster,” excited to take a picture with the bizarre swell of blubber. But some residents fear its appearance is a bad omen for the town, the U.K.’s Independent reported.
The term globster refers to blob-like creatures without obvious eyes and bones, or a visibly distinct head. Cryptozoologists attribute the term to British biologist Ivan Terence Sanderson. He is widely believed to have coined it in 1962 to describe a strange Australian blob-creature.
Imelda Mariz took her two children to see what they called a “dead monster,” according to The Independent. “I couldn’t believe what it was. I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.
Resident Vincent Dela Pena Badillo added, “Many were alarmed, including me, when we learned the news about it…. It has been told that when creatures from the deepest parts of the ocean start appearing, something bad will happen.”
Although it looks like a blob, this creature was most likely once a whale, Nicholas Higgs, deputy director of the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth, told Newsweek. It could be a calf, he added, judging by its size.
Decay turned this once magnificent creature into a globster. “Gas buildup inside the body cavity causes bloating and distortion,” Higgs said. “Various parts drop off or are scavenged by sharks as it floats around.”
Local Fishery Law Enforcement Officer Vox Krusada said scientists will analyze tissue samples to figure out what kind of whale it is, TheIndependent stated.
Taking samples from the decomposing creature, Krusada added, was awful. “It smells like something from another planet. I almost puked. I felt better after taking a bath, but the stench still lingers in my nose.”
A bird pecks at the carcass of a dead 41-foot male fin whale lying on the beach in Malibu, California, on December 6, 2012. Decomposition can make dead whales look hairy.LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS
In February 2017, a similar “hairy blob” creature washed up on a beach of the Philippines’s Dinagat Islands, National Geographic reported at the time. Stretching some 20 feet long and weighing more than 4,000 pounds, the creature had a skin covered in a similar, hairlike substance.
After much speculation, the municipal office of Cagdianao stated on Facebook that the creature was probably a decomposing whale.
According to Higgs, the strands of “hair” on these carcasses are really just the remains of muscles and blubber. “Different parts of the flesh break down at differential rates,” he said. “Connective tissue between the muscle and blubber is quite tough, so frays into straggly hair-like coating.”
Washed-up sea creatures have become associated with earthquakes in the Philippines. Several globsters ended up on the country’s shores after a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in February 2017, National Geographic reported. Related storm surges may have sent the whale carcasses ashore, the publication stated.
These enormous blobs of decomposing blubber aren’t the only creatures that have been linked to earthquakes. Several oarfish—large fish that live 660 to 3,300 feet deep—made their way to beaches in the Philippines about a month before the February 2017 earthquake.
Lifeguards wear masks as they work to remove the carcass of a large humpback whale that washed ashore in Leucadia, California, on July 18, 2016. Whales can decompose almost beyond recognition, like the creature that washed up in the Philippines.MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS
Some locals fear the current globster is an omen of seismic destruction, according to The Independent. “An earthquake is heading for Oriental Mindoro. The big globster is a sign of something bad coming. Please pray for us,” a resident said.