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Garlic Fog Invades Los Angeles, 1949

Back in late 1949, people throughout Los Angeles County reported a strong odor that smelled like garlic. The smell persisted for weeks, periodically increasing in intensity. Some residents took to wearing gas masks. There were reports of the fumes being so strong that they discolored fences and buildings. There was a widespred fear that it was a poison gas attack.

Despite a lot of speculation, I'm not sure that the source of the mystery odor was ever identified, although leading theories were that it was either coming from the Los Angeles River bed, or from a chemical factory. It became known as the invasion of the Garlic Fog. [Sydney Morning Herald, Aug 7, 1949] (via Buried Words and Bushwa)

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Dec 14, 2012 | Number of Comments: 6
Category: Unsolved Mysteries, 1940's, Weather
More weirdness from the WU archive:
Comments
Listed in chronological order. Newest comments at the end.
A new strain of weed?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/14/12 at 01:30 PM
In West Texas the odor has a name - "sour crude." It is the odor of natural gas associated with high-sulfur crude oil deposits.
Signal Hill in 1949 looked like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/silbermanlaw/75091779/
West Texas from Lubbock to Midland-Odessa *still* smells like that.
Posted by tadchem on 12/14/12 at 02:16 PM
It figures. San Francisco had Mel Torme, The Velvet Fog.

Los Angeles had Mario Torino, The Garlic Fog.
Posted by KDP in Madill, OK on 12/14/12 at 05:06 PM
No comment
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 12/14/12 at 07:24 PM
Wow, that would be awful to have the whole area smell like that for an extended period of time.
Posted by patty in Ohio, USA on 12/14/12 at 09:14 PM
So.....I live in the South Bay, near to Gilroy, the Garlic capital of California. Starting in August, when the harvest starts you can smell Gilroy 20 miles away. As my husband tells me it was how he knew it was time for school to start back in session. raspberry
Posted by Rhi in A cube in Cali on 12/19/12 at 02:47 PM
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