Every once in a while, mother nature unleashes something that comes at us straight out of a horror movie. Like that glacier in Antarctica that occasionally bleeds, or Lamprey Eels—those things are horrifying—or how about this, a river that turns into blood in less than an hour. Okay, the particular Chinese river that we’re talking about didn’t actually turn into real blood, but in just about 60 minutes it did turn a deep red that sure as hell gives it the appearance of a giant stab wound.
Last week, at approximately five in the morning local time on a Thursday, a smattering of people were up, going about the business of getting their day started in Xinmeizhou village in Cangnan County in eastern China’s Zhejiang province. On the surface, everything seemed normal, like just another day. Then people noticed the river. Within the span of a few minutes, the water started running darker than usual, and in a few more moments it turned completely red, like someone stabbed a giant from a children’s story. The 200 to 300 meter stretch of water also took on a strange smell according to the villagers.
This is the kind of thing you can usually chalk up to pollution or contamination of some kind, but this situation is especially flummoxing to the locals, because they like to say that theirs is one of the healthiest, cleanest rivers in all of China. There aren’t any factories or big companies with facilities up river that may be dumping chemicals or pollutants in the water. Some other reports, however, do indicate that there may be a food coloring factory near the river, which could play into the coloring.
Local resident Na Wan told NBC, “The really weird thing is that we have always been able to catch fish and you can even drink the water because it’s just normally so good. Nobody has any idea how it could have ended up being polluted because there are no factories that dump anything in the water here.”
Right now there is no concrete explanation for what I will call Blood River, which could also double as a the title of a of grim, brutal western. Experts arrived on the scene to take water samples and examine the results. For the moment, the working theory is that some as yet unknown party took discharge from a dye factory, drove it up river, and dumped it in. They are also searching the area above the village, looking for a possible dump sight.
Then again, perhaps this indicates that the end-of-days are upon us. Stay tuned for a rain of frogs and other biblical adventures.