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Road Covered In Slime After Truck Carrying 7,500 Pounds of Eels Overturns

Nearly four tons of these hideous creatures turned the highway into a scene from Ghostbusters.

Nine years ago, the marine-science nonprofit Whale Times established Hagfish Day, an unofficial October holiday to 'celebrate the beauty of ugly' and praise the unparalleled nastiness of these disgusting slime eels. Unfortunately for the Oregon State Police, Hagfish Day got an abrupt, early start when a flatbed truck carrying 7,500 pounds of those writhing creatures overturned on a state highway.

According to Oregon Live, driver Salvatore Tragale had to slam on his brakes when traffic slowed down, which caused the containers of slime eels—a delightful, descriptive name for hagfish—to fly out of his truck and splatter all over the southbound lane of U.S. 101. And slime eel isn't just a clever name: when hagfish feel threatened or are frightened, they start oozing slime through their skin at a disturbingly rapid pace. (In just a couple of minutes, one hagfish can squirt enough slime to fill a two-gallon bucket. You're welcome.)


Not only did five cars end up covered in more slime than the cast of every Ghostbusters movie combined, the Department of Transportation, the Depoe Bay Fire Department and the Oregon State Police had to spend several hours trying to scrape dead eels and their mucus off the highway. At least the Oregon State Police's social media director enjoyed himself, writing "Cleanup on Aisle 101" and asking how the officers should explain this set of stains to the dry cleaner. ("Just burn the uniform with honor," one person suggested, and that's probably the way to go.)

"We were like, 'What is that?' And then you realize, 'The poor eels.' They were writhing and slimy, and it was unbelievable, just unbelievable," Erin Butler, a witness to the crash, told KPTV. "It was disgusting. I will definitely never, ever eat eel."

Plenty of people do eat hagfish—and despite their appearance, these boneless monstrosities aren't actually eels, but are part of collection of nightmare fuel known as jawless fish—but mostly in Korea. (If these containers hadn't been scattered all over the highway, they would've been shipped to Korea too.) The dish is known as ggomjangeo in Korea and, according to some, it's considered an aphrodisiac, despite being the least sexy creature on the entire planet.

According to Fishermen's News, Oregon fishing vessels catch up to 2 million pounds of hagfish every year, and a large percentage of it is exported to Korea. There, hagfish can sell for upwards of $20 per pound, so it's not the cheapest eat. Any hagfish aficionados with big coolers and zero gag reflexes should've tested the limits of Oregon's roadkill harvesting law and stocked up.

You know, for that big October holiday.