Today Is The 100 Year Anniversary Of Boston’s Great Molasses Flood, Which Is Quite Possibly One Of The Most Unbelievable Real Stories Ever

Have you ever heard or used the phrase, “You’re as slow as molasses”? It’s a pretty common idiomatic expression to describe someone or something that is moving slowly, comparing their slow nature to that of thick molasses dripping from a spoon or whatever

Well despite the phrase and it’s usual motion habits, molasses isn’t always slow. If you don’t believe me, let’s travel back in time for a second to The North End neighborhood of Boston, where on this date 100 years ago, a giant, fast-moving wave of molasses killed 21 people and injured an additional 150 in what is one of the most unbelievable accidents of all time


(Classic #FakeNews getting the numbers wrong. It killed 21 and injured 150)

You can read more into it here, but all you really have to know is that what happened that day was something right out of a cartoon. Basically, a rapid change in weather caused a poorly built 50 X 90 foot tank to burst open and all 2.3 million gallons of molasses inside cascaded out flooded through the streets

The initial molasses wave reached a height of 25 feet, and it made it’s way down the streets at a speed of 35 miles per hour. To put it lightly, this giant molasses wave was not fucking around, and similar to a drunk driver behind the wheel of a monster truck, it destroyed everything in its path

Once the molasses had covered everything, pooling up to waist height in certain areas, the frigid temperatures caused the molasses to harden. This severely impeded rescue efforts, and everybody that was stuck under the molasses at that point was shit out of luck

When all was said and done, 21 people and several horses were dead, about 150 people were injured, and it caused an estimated $500,000 in damage (Which would be a whopping $7.5 million today). Boston Harbor became so flooded with molasses that the water appeared brown until well into the summer. Speaking of summer, some people still say that on a hot enough day you can still smell leftover molasses in The North End that is seeped into the sidewalks and buildings that existed when it happened. I can’t confirm this because I don’t spend a lot of time in The North End because I’m not in the mob and can’t afford to eat at any of those restaurants, but I’ll take their word for it

I bring this up not only because it’s the centennial of it, but because this event is so crazy that I think it deserves some reflection. I don’t know how known this story is outside of New England, but this is one of those events that you hear about as a kid and think that it’s made up. I can remember hearing this story in elementary school, and I thought it was a fairy tale because I always associated molasses with the board game Candy Land (A game I was, and still am, fucking awesome at by the way)

But it really does sound like a fairy tale, right? “Once upon a time, a giant wave of molasses flooded the streets of Boston, and then candy fell from the sky and everybody lived happily ever after” is something I could imagine reading in a children’s book, but it really happened. Even crazier, it caused a shitload of damage. I mean for Christ’s sake, it killed 21 people!

Speaking of the deaths, I think drowning in molasses is sneakily one of the worst ways you could possibly die. Drowning in general obviously sucks, but drowning to death from sticky, cold molasses in the middle of the winter sounds like a nightmare. Shitty way to go, but it’s unique at least

Or maybe I’m wrong about this. Maybe molasses is a better substance to drown on than most other liquids. I mean, I guess I’d rather drown in molasses than polluted ocean water any day of the week. Plus, I bet those last few panic-induced swallows before you die are probably very tasty

While I’m sitting here speculating about drowning scenarios, I would unsurprisingly pick beer as my drowning medium. If I’m gonna die unexpectedly and in a shitty way, I better at least be drunk. So I ever have to drown for some reason, I hope it’s in a giant tank of beer so I can do my best Landfill Evans impersonation


The Great Molasses Flood is just one of many stories that sounds so ridiculous that it can’t be true, but the truth is it did happen and it needs to be told over and over again so nobody forgets this crazy event

If a similar thing were to happen today, I bet even more people would die than 100 years ago because everybody would be so busy Snapchatting the giant molasses wave coming at them that they wouldn’t even attempt to run away. I guess we’re lucky that it appears molasses production has packed up and left Boston these days, and the only factory floods we have to worry about now would be from beer, seafood, and Gillette razors. Those 3 might sound harmless alone, but combined they could cause a catastrophe. Just imagine: A giant wave of razors and lobsters engulfing citizens and causing a massive amount of small lacerations, only for a wave of beer to come along afterwards and sting the wounds with it’s low yet present alcohol content. Damn, I’m pretty high right now. I’m gonna go lay down, but just be sure to #NeverForgetTheMolasses


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