George Thornton, the man behind Oregon’s exploding whale, has died

October 31st, 2013

George Thornton, the highway engineer who supervised the detonation of 20 cases of dynamite in an attempt to dispose of a dead sperm whale on the Oregon Coast, died on Sunday, October 27, 2013, in Medford, Oregon. He was 84 years old.

Thornton worked for the Oregon Highway Division (later renamed the Oregon Department of Transportation) from 1947 to 1984. He retired several years before the Exploding Whale story became an internet sensation thanks to an article written by Dave Barry.

Many years later, Paul Linnman, the KATU TV news reporter who covered the Exploding Whale story, reached out to Thornton while writing his book on the subject (The Exploding Whale and Other Remarkable Stories from the Evening News). Thornton declined to be interviewed, saying only, “No, it seems like whenever I talk to the media, it blows up in my face.”

We’ve archived several related articles:

Exploding Whale Tribute Song

March 10th, 2013

Here it is folks — a brand new tribute song for the Exploding Whale!

Click the play button on the embedded SoundCloud player below and then read on to learn about the artist and his inspiration….

Johnny Stuka’s SoundCloud profile reads as follows:

Johnny Stuka is the pilot of a stolen Stuka Dive Bomber that crashed into the English Channel in 1999. Fortunately his life raft inflated. Unfortunately, his whistle sunk to the bottom. Since then he has bobbed on the currents, occassionally sighting the white cliffs but always whilst being driven back out to sea by weather. More recently he has sighted France but is unsure how close he should go.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s that time of year again….

November 12th, 2012

Just a quick note to wish you all a…

Happy 42nd Exploding Whale Day!


Inflated whale carcass mistaken for capsized ship

April 15th, 2012

The body of a dead and rotting Bryde’s whale, inflated from the gases of its decomposition, was mistaken for a capsized ship as it drifted toward the South African coast.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan on whales

April 15th, 2012

Whales in the News (2012-03-22)

March 22nd, 2012

Welcome to the second installment of Whales in the News:

Whales in the News (2012-03-15)

March 15th, 2012

Welcome to the first edition of Whales in the News here on! In this series of posts, we’ll be aggregating recent whale-related news and articles for your entertainment and education. And so without further ado, here are some of the top whale stories from the past week:
Read the rest of this entry »

In the UK, whales belong to the Crown — even when beached

March 8th, 2012

In the United Kingdom, whales are considered “royal fish,” and as such, they belong to the Crown upon being caught or landing upon the English shore. The rules evidently apply to dead and rotting beached whales, too.

In the BBC News article What happens after a whale is beached?, reporter Caroline Lowbridge describes how beached whales are (supposed to be) handled in the UK.
Read the rest of this entry »