James Cameron Confirmed The Titanic PCP-Laced Chowder Legend

Picture this: on a fateful August night in 1996, in the town of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, you find yourself in a room. You see chowder and some of Hollywood's biggest names, like James Cameron and Bill Paxton. But as time passes, something seems amiss. Paxton is inexplicably breathing into a paper bag (per Entertainment Weekly). People are crying, throwing up, or laughing, perhaps unaware of just how weirdly their food had affected them. It turns out, you're witnessing the final night of filming "Titanic" in the Canadian town, where the crew was reportedly stricken with the ill impacts of consuming PCP-spiked seafood chowder.

This sounds like the sort of Hollywood lore that is too delicious (or, well, horrifying) to be true. It's hard to believe something like this could actually happen, let alone happen to Hollywood's elite while filming what is famously one of the most beloved movies of all time. But it's true, and Cameron himself confirmed the rumor. First in 1996, and now again in an interview with the TikTok channel Pop Culture Brain. Nearly 30 years later, the director recounted the infamous night that he, the producers, and the actors were tripping in horror and awe in the Dartmouth hospital. "This is a 100% true story. Let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've been high on PCP, which by the way I do not recommend to anyone," says Cameron in the TikTok video.

The culprit has yet to be identified

At first, James Cameron thought the crew had been victims of "paralytic shellfish neurotoxin, which is very dangerous" (via Vanity Fair). Worse, while cooking may kill bacteria that cause shellfish-related food poisoning, it doesn't destroy toxins, per the NHS. However, the chowder was not ultimately to blame, at least not directly. The hospital tested the food and found the drug PCP in it. The symptoms of shellfish poisoning can be uncomfortably similar to bad reactions to a PCP high; cast members began vomiting and experiencing feelings of disorientation, and breathing difficulties.


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♬ original sound – Pop Culture Brain

Why would something like this happen, and better yet, who would do it? This question remains unanswered. "Basically somebody had taken a pound of PCP and dumped it into the chowder," Cameron recalled (via TikTok). Some have theorized it was a disgruntled, recently fired crew member. Or perhaps it was a case of Hollywood big shots smuggling party drugs and things just getting out of hand. Whoever is responsible, we'll never think of seafood chowder or "Titanic" the same way again.