It was the slash heard around the world.
We won’t go into all the details — we don’t need to. The world has been trying to scrub the incident from its collective memory for the last 24 years. We’ll just note the three main players in this tragedy: a wife scorned, a big knife. And a man named John Bobbitt.
But we just got transported back to this sordid scene in the most unexpected of ways. In the BBC’s acclaimed documentary series, “Blue Planet II,” a very long undersea worm with dagger-like teeth and a taste for meat was profiled.
“Behold,” narrator David Attenborough proclaimed, “the Bobbitt.”
That’s right, the BBC went there. And many viewers — some clearly still struggling with Post-Bobbitt Stress Syndrome — really wish it hadn’t.
You absolutely cannot call a giant carnivorous death-worm a bobbit!! #BluePlanet2
— Sarah Ryan (@Geekazoid) November 12, 2017
Sure, the Bobbitt worm is a scream in its own right. On average, it stretches a little more the three feet from tooth to tail. But some grow as long as 10 feet. With an ancestry that harks back more than 400 million years, the worm has had plenty of time to refine its deadly game. Essentially, it springs from the sea bed, a tentacle of terror and — did we mention teeth? — to snatch its prey.
Then it drags the whole unfortunate bundle back to hell — err, its undersea lair, to be eaten at leisure. And it manages it all with neither eyes nor a discernible brain. Just that serrated smile.
Say hello to the bobbit – a metre-long worm with jaws as sharp as daggers#BluePlanet2 pic.twitter.com/Oj8oYLdQSM
— BBC Earth (@BBCEarth) November 12, 2017
But why did they have to name it the Bobbitt worm?
Well, technically, that isn’t Planet Earth’s fault. The creature already had a scientific name — Eunice aphroditois. Eunice? Well, that’s a nice name! No trigger warnings needed there.
But then, in 1992, Terry Gosliner, curator at the California Academy of Sciences, was pressed to give the worm a less science-y moniker for his book about marine life.
Guess what case just happened to be making headlines at the time?
“Basically the ability to use those massive jaws to cut the spinal cord of a fish was something that reminded me of what Lorena Bobbitt did to her husband,” Gosliner told Great Big Story.
And so, as much as we wish Gosliner could take it back — heck, even if “Blue Planet” could scrub those images from our memories — that snip has already sailed.