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The Top Five Bizarre Events In Pacific Northwest History

Updated on October 3, 2013

I love Top Ten or Top Five lists. They give me a chance to read them and then proclaim that the author is an idiot who is obviously in need of serious counseling. On the other hand, when I write one it gives you, the reader, a chance to share in my wisdom and deep insights. Having said that, I present to you the Top Five Bizarre Events in Pacific Northwest History.

There were only two criteria in compiling this list: the events had to be verifiable (sorry, no Bigfoot sightings) and they had to have occurred in the Pacific Northwest. Idaho residents will scream at their exclusion from this list but let’s face it, Idaho does not border the Pacific Ocean. As for Alaska, I for one consider Alaska to be a completely different country, so they were excluded as well. This is my list and as such I can exclude anyone I want. If you are from Alaska or Idaho make your own damn list.

So read on, debate until you are blue in the face, and hopefully you will find entertainment in the process. Mt. St. Helens was left off the list, by the way, simply because I do not consider a volcano erupting to be a bizarre event, just as I don’t consider our puppy going to the bathroom in our kitchen to be bizarre; troublesome to be sure but in no way bizarre.

No earthquakes either. As much as people in the midwest want to believe that earthquakes happen often here, I can't really say that they are often or bizarre. They just are!

Now if you want to talk about bizarre, let's talk about my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Brown, who had a mustache and looked a great deal like D.B. she was bizarre.

But I digress. Let's get to the real top five list and allow Mrs. Brown to rest in peace.

Quite obviously a pig!
Quite obviously a pig!

#5 a Pig Almost Changes History

On June 15, 1859, an American settler on what today is San Juan Island shot and killed a pig that was eating his potatoes. Unfortunately the pig belonged to Englishman Charles Griffin and an international incident began. Since the United States and Great Britain were already in heated discussions about poorly defined boundary lines through the San Juan Islands, 461 American forces faced off against 2,140 British forces for a two-month standoff. In the end tempers cooled, the boundary was established and the only casualty in what could have been the third war between America and Great Britain was the pig.

#4 Seattle Builds a City on Top of a City

In the aftermath of the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, which destroyed twenty-five city blocks, city officials made two daring decisions. First, they decided to rebuild Seattle of stone and brick to protect against a repeat of the deadly fire. Second, they ambitiously chose to raise the street level one to two levels higher to guard against flooding and backed-up flush toilets. As a result, today’s Seattle stands 12-30 feet above the old Seattle. The Underground Tour, which takes visitors along the streets of the old Seattle and gives them a wonderful view of rats the size of pigs in their natural habitat, is still a popular tourist attraction in Seattle.

The Big Flood

#3 Ice Age Lake Missoula Floods Washington State

Approximately 12,000 years ago, before I was born for sure, Glacial Lake Missoula in what is now Western Montana, broke through its ice dam and unleashed a series of floods of Biblical proportions. Imagine a wall of water 60 feet high travelling at 36 meters per second with the force of sixty Amazon Rivers. When the floods finally ended the Scablands of Eastern Washington were created, the Columbia River Gorge was carved, the Willamette Valley in Oregon was formed and remnants of the largest waterfall in the world, Dry Falls, can still be seen. For those of you who think Niagara Falls is the cat’s meow, Dry Falls has 3.5 miles of cliffs and drops 400 feet, making it three times as large as Niagara. Since the Flood happened twelve-thousand years ago I have no idea if there were casualties. There are unsubstantiated reports of large deposits of bacon being found in Oregon leading one to believe at least a few thousand pigs died during the Flood.

Many a bizarre tale has come out of Olympia
Many a bizarre tale has come out of Olympia

#2 Brookings, Oregon, Is Bombed By Japanese During Wwii

In June of 1942 the Japanese long-range submarine I-25 took position off the Oregon Coast near Ft. Stevens and opened fire on the fort, leaving craters on the beach and marshland near the fort. Three months later, on September 9, 1942, the same Japanese submarine arrived near the coast of Southern Oregon. A seaplane was launched from the submarine and incendiary bombs were dropped near the town of Brookings, Oregon, making it the first aerial bombing of the United States mainland by a foreign nation. Because of the dampness of the Pacific Northwest the forests around Brookings were so wet that they failed to catch fire even though the bombs did indeed explode. Despite exhaustive research I was unable to determine if any pigs died during the bombing.

Unsolved Still

#1 D.b. Cooper Skyjacks Boeing 727

On November 24, 1971, a man claiming to be Dan Cooper purchased a ticket for Northwest Airlines Flight 305 from Portland to Seattle. As the plane began its takeoff he handed a note to the stewardess claiming to have a bomb and demanding $200,000. Upon landing in Seattle the ransom was paid, all passengers and some of the crew were allowed to leave the plane, and then the skyjacker demanded that the plane fly to Mexico. At 10,000 feet, with gusting winds of 80 knots and a frigid rain falling, the man known as Dan Cooper parachuted out of the plane and into local lore somewhere near the Columbia River north of Portland. After forty years he remains to this day a mystery, whereabouts and true identity unknown. Whether he owned a pig is also unknown.

So there you have it! Hopefully you have been somewhat entertained and are moved to at least do some research about pigs. If evidence of Bigfoot’s existence should ever surface then I will be sure and put him/her at the top of the list where he/she deservedly belongs.


One Final Note

I purposely left out Sasquatch because, well, I need a little more proof. I'd like someone to come forward with something other than a grainy picture and the word of some drunks out on a hunting trip.

I also left out Dixie Lee Ray, a governor we had in Washington awhile back. She was a pig farmer and as such I thought she mentioned honorable mention, but no way does a pig farmer make the top five, even though a pig did.

I hope you enjoyed our little romp through history. Now that I look at this list, we really aren't that bizarre. I mean, compared to New York or Los Angeles, we hardly register on the Fujita Scale of Weirdness.

2012 William D. Holland ( aka billybuc)


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    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Smile indeed, Peggy! I'm glad the pigs were spared during your visit.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      15 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Haha! You had me laughing at this. When we toured the San Juan Islands, we learned all about the Pig War between the U.S. and Britain. The killing of a pig took on serious consequences!

      We did not take the time to tour underground Seattle, but if it features rats the size of pigs, I 'm glad we passed. Ha!

      I always enjoy reading what you have to offer. No pigs were sacrificed in this comment. (Smile)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nate, I'm sorry I let you down on the pig thing. LOL

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Greatly appreciated!

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 

      9 years ago from California, United States of America

      I am definitely going to have to do some research on pigs. This is fascinating stuff and I didn't know about any of it. The incidents truly are surprising; and I was entertained for certain. Funny and interesting and I learned some new things but nothing about pigs.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Mary, thanks so much! It's fun to look back at old hubs and see how far I have come from the early days. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate you.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      9 years ago from Florida

      I really got a kick out of readng this! I've been underground Seattle, and it was pretty neat. One can really learn a lot from you, billybuc!

      Hey, I'm going to vote this UP,and share it, too

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LaThing, thank you so much! I had a bit of fun with this one, but all the events were true. I appreciate you stopping by.

    • LaThing profile image


      9 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Hey billy..... This was great!! history with humor, lol....... Enjoyed reading it! voting up and awesome :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, my mind went to the same place yours did. I'm a little disappointed I didn't include it in the hub. :) Thanks as always my friend.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      9 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Well there you go- glad you posted this one Bill as I missed reading it somewhere along the way... now as for the pig story, I am now thinking of the movie Babe!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well then Mary, my job is complete. A little knowledge, a lot of laughter...that's a successful hub in my view. :) Thanks my friend; this really wasn't one of my better efforts but I did learn from it.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      9 years ago from New York

      I have a feeling Miss Piggy might have some qualms about this hub but the rest of us find it entertaining and educational. Of course there are some that might debate Alaska being another country as well as the deposits of bacon in Oregon...but for the rest of it, I learned a little and laughed a lot!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, not many people know about the Oregon bombing. I'm surprised it wasn't more successful. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stephanie, most people don't know that mainland US was bombed....I don't think that's something the military wants to admit. :) Thank you for the visit and the kind words.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I think I have a thing for oddities of any kind...kind of explains my personality. LOL Thank you buddy!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sherri, great line...let me know how that conversation is received. Thanks for the visit; I now matched my total comments prior to today. LOL

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      9 years ago from Singapore

      Wow, a page full of history! I am particularly fascinated by fact No. 2. I didn't know that Oregon was actually bombed by the Japanese. The voice of that information is probably drowned out by Pearl Harbor! Interesting hub, Bill!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      9 years ago from USA

      I don't think that news of these bizarre events in Pacific Northwest history have every reached the Northeast (or at least me) because I have never heard of any of them before. How did I not know that the U.S. was actually bombed during WWII? But how fortunate that no pigs died...

      Funny and very interesting bits of history!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      LOL Bill, This is great. you have a thing for Pigs?

      #4 is really interesting :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Well, I guess I can say I now know more about the Pacific Northwest than I did, although I don't know how valuable this knowledge might be. Perhaps it will make me more of a conversationalist at American Swine Association cocktail parties? Up and very, very funny. :)

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Efficient, the underground tour is quite interesting; it's a site you will only see in a couple cities in the world. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Michelle Dee 

      9 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I didn't realize the Northwest had such a colorful history. the underground old Seattle sounds like a nice adventure I would like to see. Interesting and voted up.

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lamb, fascinating for sure! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and commenting.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      9 years ago from United States


    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      hazelwood4...shoot, I replied to this last night but it disappeared somehow. Anyway, thank you for the comments and for following along faithfully. I appreciate having someone like you in my corner as I start out.

    • hazelwood4 profile image


      9 years ago from Owensboro, Kentucky

      Hi Billy, I enjoyed all your interesting stories. At one time I heard they had located some of the money Dan Cooper had been given during the hijacking, but I am not sure if the monies found could be proven to be a part of the incident. A mystery for sure!

    • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, it will forever remain a mystery; thanks for reading.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, maybe the pigs ate Dan Cooper! lol! fascinating hub, loved the stories, cheers nell

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 

      9 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Maybe Bigfoot has a herd of pigs to keep him busy and keep him away from prying

      Great hub! Loved the bizarre happenings!


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