By Ashley Hoffman
March 29, 2019

For 35 years, toy Garfield phones the color of macaroni and cheese have inexplicably washed up onto the beaches along the coastal waters of Brittany, France, and now we finally know why.

It appears they all came to Marine Nature Park from a shipping container that washed up into a cave after a storm.

On Friday, five members of Ar Viltansoù and journalists from FranceInfo visited the cave to discover the origins of the onslaught.

“I saw Garfield and container pieces all over the cave. But the bulk of the phones are already gone, the sea has done its job for thirty years. We arrive after the battle,” the president of the local beach cleanup association, Viltansoù Simonin-Le Meur, said according to Le Monde.

As it happens, the mind-boggling phenomenon of the lasagna-loving cat phones making their way to the French coast for years started at the height of the comic strip star’s popularity in the mid-80s when people were warming up to Jim Davis’s cartoon creation.

The random parts of the phone from his smug chubby face to the number dial pads people used to punch to the coiled lines just kept on coming, which is almost too strange to be true.

'Garfield' phones are displayed on the beach on March 28, 2019 in Plouarzel, western France. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images)
FRED TANNEAU—AFP/Getty Images

As many as 200 Garfield’s sea-faring parts were discovered strewn across France’s beaches just last year, according to FranceInfo.

The environmental activist group Ar Vilantsou didn’t give up on finding the source.

They even made Garfield the kid-friendly face of the mission to clean up the ocean pollution in the area.

Recently, a farmer got in touch with the organization to say that he discovered that a metal shipping container with a massive stash of the orange Garfield telephone cargo was tucked away in the deepest recesses of a cave after a storm back in the ’80s.

Check out what people found in the video below.

The landline phone, like the titular cat, is a notorious sleepyhead so it only opened its “eyes” when its user picked up the receiver, and it remains a novelty item to this day.

Both Ar Viltansou and local officials told the BBC that they’re going to continue to collect these phones.

Write to Ashley Hoffman at Ashley.Hoffman@time.com.

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