The Dead Rotting Whales Who Toured the Europe From 1950s-1970s

After World War II, an unidentified organization harpooned three fin whales off the Trøndelag coast in Norway. These dead rotting whales toured around Europe to promote the declining Whaling industry.

When the whales were hauled from the sea, a team of scientists drained blood and pumped it full of formalin, a solution used to preserve the tissues and skin. They also removed the 6-ton liver, 2.5-ton tongue, and several other organs to prevent the tissues from rotting. Refrigeration units were placed inside their hollow interiors. The whales were placed in custom-built refrigeration units which were 100-feet trailers.

The three whales also had names Hercules, Goliath, and Jonah. They were showcased in many places for various purposes including, educational and sometimes as a freaky sideshow for a circus. They were very popular, visitors from across Europe paid an entrance fee before strolling through the carcass in car parks and large grassy areas such as race tracks. The Whale named Goliath was last seen in Italy, Hercules was in Spain and Jonah was also seen in many countries. Jonah has been in storage for the past four decades and is still in pretty good shape for a whale that has been dead for the past seventy years.

During the 20th century, many large whales were killed by human activities. As a result, it is an endangered species, especially the fin whales. Here below are some historical photos of the three giant whales who toured Europe.

#1 Crowds gather at Les Invalides in Paris to see the whale.

#2 Children cover their noses against the noxious odor emanating from the whale.

#4 Dr. Rolf Heinriche inspects the inside of the whale’s throat.

#6 A police officer holds his nose while reading a warning against touching the formaline-full whale.

#8 The trailer bears an understated warning: “Attention. Special Transport”

#9 Instruments of whale-killing, such as harpoons, were displayed alongside the corpse.

#10 People would pose for their photograph with the whale.

#11 In an era of limited television, staring at a dead whale was seen as a good pastime.

#13 Children peer inside the mouth of “Jonah” the whale.

Children peer inside the mouth of “Jonah” the whale.

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Written by Aurora Hale

I am a blogger, entrepreneur and small business coach. I'm an introvert and cat lover. My favourite hobbies are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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