Washington: Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller ‘The Birds’ was apparently inspired by a ‘strange’ real life event, which occurred two years before the release of one of the scariest films in history.
In 1961, two years before the debut of ‘The Birds’, hoards of disoriented seabirds rammed themselves into the sides of homes in the Monterey Bay area, ABC News reported.
Over two decades later, in 1987, four people died and 100 were hospitalized on Canada’s Prince Edward Island after eating mussels.
In 1991, there were numerous animal-stranding events in Southern California.
Subsequently, all the events were considered to be connected and it all fed into the mystery that captivated Hitchcock and the rest of the nation.
Bewildered by the strange events that had occurred over a 30-year time period, scientists started seeking answers.
Researchers have now asserted the birds had ingested a toxin that caused them to act strangely.
By probing the contents of the stomachs of animals, they found toxin-making algae that cause amnesia, disorientation and seizures.
“I have a special connection to this movie,” Oceanographic researcher Sibel Bargu of Louisiana State University, who worked on this study, said.
“When I was a kid, they showed it on TV and my parents didn’t let me watch it. While they were watching in the family room, I was outside, trying to see the movie from the keyhole. What I saw was so scary.”
“When I started work on harmful algae blooms and their toxins and then learned of this superexciting connection, I felt I had to work on this,” she added.
Bargu and her colleagues observed a link between the algae consumed by the victims of events in 1991 and 1987, which propelled them to believe that the algae was also responsible for the original 1961 incident.