More than a million people have seen the Vancouver Courier’s video about The Blob of Lost Lagoon.
You can multiply that by 135 when Discovery Channel features it in a new fall season of one of its popular shows.
On May 1, Celina Starnes of the Stanley Park Ecology Society and I were back in front of the camera. However, unlike our first encounter last August when we filmed the YouTube sensation, we were being interviewed by the American network for a new season of one of its popular shows.
“People have never seen anything like [the blob],” director of photography Mark Goodhew said as we walked from the Stanley Park parking lot to the place where volunteers had found the blobs, aka bryozoans, lurking under the surface of the biofiltration pond that feeds into Lost Lagoon.
“There’s also a mysterious element of submerging into an underwater world,” he adds of what piqued the Discovery Channel’s interest. “When it’s so bizarre and alive like that, it’s fascinating to people — and The Blob from Lost Lagoon sounds like a film.”
Goodhew is from Luton, north of London, England. The day before, he and Graham Evans, a London-based producer/location director, were in Seattle filming what might be the world’s smallest horse. That night they were flying to Colorado to interview a man who’s built a car with four hydraulic arms that allow it to climb rocks. All told, they will be in 13 locations over three and a half weeks.
When the blob story and video appeared on the Courier’s website last August, it was a low-key story about the invertebrate animal which had gone largely unnoticed in the park for a few years. Best described as a gelatinous mass that feels like a large unpeeled litchi fruit that’s been left out for a few days, bryozoa have been moving north in freshwater lakes as North America warms up. Last summer was so hot and dry that the pond’s level dropped, undoing the blobs’ best attempts to camouflage themselves in the murky depths.
The Courier’s video might have gone unnoticed were it not for National Geographic’s interest. It wrote a story on its website, as did Popular Science (which introduced us to the term “dragon booger”) and The Smithsonian. When the British tabloids got a hold of it, however, they made it worthy of a 1950s horror flick.
“Mystery of the slimy brain-like ‘alien blobs’ found in a Canadian lagoon that appear to be SPREADING,” reads the Daily Mail story.
"Terrifying blob creature that looks like a BRAIN discovered in spooky lake called 'The Lost Lagoon,” screamed The Sun, adding more drama with its subhead: "Video shows hideously ugly organism jiggling and pulsating as it's dragged from the water."
For Starnes, whose sultry voice helped made the blob seem even more fascinating, and who is a natural in front of the camera, reaction to the video was both fun and unexpected. She was out for dinner when someone recognized her as “the blob lady.”
As for those who hope to catch sight of the blob, she says right now they’re in the statoblast stage, “their version of an egg. They’re still hiding out, waiting for conditions to be right.”
You’ll also have to wait to watch the Discovery Channel show. It’s not yet known when it will air this fall.