Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

You thought your day was bad? This guy was sucked through a sinkhole into a pit of rats

Graveyard Shift
Graveyard Shift
Screenshot: Paramount Pictures

Kick over a tree stump and you’ll find ants, thousands of them swarming at the sudden disturbance. You could’ve leapt over it, oblivious, but you wanted to see what’s beneath. You won’t make that mistake again. We’re happier oblivious. If you saw what swims in the depths of the ocean—hello, dragonfish—you’d think twice before dipping a toe. And if you dipped your head into a New York City sewer, you’d walk around those sidewalk grates. What lies beneath is not meant for human eyes.

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Just ask Leonard Shoulders, a 33-year old New Yorker who, in a freak accident, was swallowed by a sinkhole while waiting for a bus. Shoulders tumbled 15 feet and the pit of large, red-eyed rats he fell into did little to break his fall; he left the ordeal with broken bones and injuries to his face.

The physical toll, however, is nothing compared to the mental one. Shoulders’ family says he’s been “deeply traumatized” by the incident, during which rats crawled over his face and body, their filthy, cheese-flecked noses in search of warm burrows. “He didn’t want to yell,” his brother told CBS New York, “because he was afraid there were going to be rats inside his mouth.

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“He’s traumatized,” his mother, Cindy White, told NBC New York. “He said he went straight down, and he was falling, falling, but the debris was falling and hitting him in the head.”

In the below footage, you can see Shoulders’ get sucked into the hole, Johnny-Depp-in-Elm-Street-style. (You’d be forgiven for expecting a torrent of blood to spew out. Or, in this case, a fountain of rats.)

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The mere concept of rat sinkholes has understandably taken social media by storm, with users deeming it a fitting description for 2020, a great topic for a Mountain Goats song, and as good a reason as any to get the fuck out of New York City.

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City officials are investigating what manner of mismanagement led to the sinkhole, but, c’mon, we’ve seen Ghostbusters—the end is nigh.

[via The New York Times]

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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