The Black Blob of Venezuela

(Oh hey, if you missed it last night, I have a new Mental Floss article. 11 Scary Evil Monsters From World Religions!)

A news story went viral on the internet a few weeks ago, describing the so-called Black Blob of Venezuela. Locals call it La Mancha Negra, the black stain. Reportedly, it’s a huge glob of X-Filey black poop that covers roadways and seems to come out of nowhere.

Over a five-year period, the blob killed 1,800 people on one roadway alone. It has the viscosity of gum and can’t be cleaned with detergents, pressurized water, or a young priest/old priest tag team.

But here’s the thing a lot of other sites won’t tell you: That article? It’s just over twenty years old. Do a search for “La Mancha Negra” right now on Google and you won’t find anyone talking about anything except that decades-old article. No first-hand reports. No follow ups. Nothing.

So what was this purported black blob that killed thousands? No one seems to have had much to say about it in the interim since the initial report. It could have been pranksters dumping raw sewage on the road for all anybody knows. And keep in mind, Venezuela has an exceptionally high rate of corruption, and did twenty years ago as well (it’s even mentioned in that article).

So maybe the real question isn’t what the substance was, but what this story could have been meant to cover up.

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