Out-Of-Body Experience

It Was the Furthest Thing from People's Minds, Drowning in a Huge Wave of Molasses






This actually happened.


It was an unusual warm sunny New England, January afternoon in 1919.  


People going about their daily business, along Commercial Drive in the North End of Boston didn't expect something like this could possibly happen; the chances of being swallowed up and drowning in a 2,300,000 gallon wave of molasses was the furthest from their minds.


Molasses, a sugar-by product is used to make rum. A shipment from Puerto Rico just arrived. The 2.3 million gallons of molasses were stored in a huge steel tank, six stories high, built on a hill for the Purity Distilling Company. They couldn't pour another pint of the gooey stuff in, it was that full. 


Suddenly, surprising everyone at the factory, the sound of a machine gun.  People ran for cover. 


Hit the ground, everyone yelled. 

The wrong thing to do. The sound was not a machine gun, but the rivets popping off a huge panel on the side of the molasses tank. Then, what sounded like an explosion, the plate blew off levelling a nearby building. All 2.3 million gallons came gushing out of the hole at 35 mph, a 15 foot wall of molasses covered all the people that ducked to avoid flying bullets.  


The molasses covered everything, from houses to automobiles even destroying a nearby railroad bridge. Horses, dogs and cats along with twenty-one humans didn't survive.





It took forever to clean up the mess. 


In the end, the company—after claiming it was caused by a saboteur—was held responsible for building a faulty tank in the first place. They ended up paying big in law suits and damages.  


This happened over a hundred years ago but it is said, that on hot calm summer nights, the smell of molasses rises from the earth. A bitter sweat ending wouldn't you think, since the next day, on January 16, 1919, the 18th amendment of the United States Constitution was ratified marking the beginning of what was about to become, Prohibition.








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