Its name was Goliath, it weighed 68 tons and on June 6, 1954 it was killed off the coast of Trondheim, Norway.
The carcass was stuffed with 700 litres of formalin to preserve it in order to display it and allow people to visit its inside.
The Turinese businessman Giuseppe Erba sniffed the wind and got his hands on the big cetacean, but the first problem occurred on the Italian border: it was illegal to import a dead animal.
Erba didn’t give up and placed an engine inside the belly of the whale to simulate a movement of the tail and make it seem alive; thanks to this gimmick and under the cloak of darkness, the businessman managed to cross the border in the dead of night.
So, the giant cetacean was placed in the Giardino della Cittadella, in central Turin.
On July 19, 1954 La Stampa announced the opening of the exhibition on the front page and the Turinese rushed up, intrigued. But a problem arose from the very start of the exhibition: it was midsummer, and soon the whale started smelling unbearably bad.
Geranium pots were placed along the platform, maybe for decorative purposes or perhaps to recall more delicate sensations; but it didn’t help.
Grinning and bearing it, Erba sold the worms proliferating inside the whale to the fishermen.
The exhibition lasted only six days, and it hastily closed on Sunday, July 25, 1954.
Source: Blog of Wonders by Mariano Tomatis | marianotomatis.it/blog