The Forgotten Horrors of Hiroshima’s Ant-Walking Alligators

After the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the city was turned into a hell on Earth.

In one blinding flash, tens of thousands of men, women and children perished, while those who weren’t immediately vaporized suffered from a slow, agonizing death from burns and radiation sickness.

Aside from the smell of burning human flesh, what the Japanese called “atomic bomb disease” afflicted countless innocent civilians. The horrors survivors witnessed are unspeakable. We wouldn’t wish these experiences upon even our worst enemies.

After the blast, people recount seeing what they called “ant-walking alligators.” These were once people, although they appeared neither human nor animal. They looked like creatures from some distant planet.

In American author Charles R. Pellegrino’s book The Last Train from Hiroshima, he describes these so-called “ant-walking alligators” as men and women who “were now eyeless and faceless — with their heads transformed into blackened alligator hides displaying red holes, indicating mouths. The alligator people did not scream. Their mouths could not form the sounds. The noise they made was worse than screaming. They uttered a continuous murmur — like locusts on a midsummer night. One man, staggering on charred stumps of legs, was carrying a dead baby upside down.”