By Bobette Bryan
All through human history, man has reported seeing both organic and inorganic things fall from the sky, including fish, lizards, grain, coins, toads, blood and flesh, nuts, slime, leaves, seeds, stones, fire, salamanders, worms, turtles, straw and countless other things. In fact, if you plan on going out on a rainy day, you better take a sturdy umbrella with you, because it may rain cats and dogs–literally.
Usually strange rains only occur when there are heavy winds or a bad storm, but occasionally, things rain from the sky on bright and sunny days.
Here are a few interesting cases:
On May 28, 1982, a young girl was strolling St. Elisabeth’s churchyard in Redding, a small town near Manchester England, when she saw a 50-pence coin fall from nowhere. As the day wore on, other children found coins in the same location. When these tales circulated, a local candy store owner who’d been swamped by coin-bearing children all morning, became concerned that the children were stealing the coins from the church’s poor box. He contacted the reverend of the church, but no money was missing. What’s more, when questioned, the children all swore that the money had fallen from the sky.
This was not the only time in history that money has fallen from the sky.
In December, 1968, shoppers at Ramsgate, Kent heard the ping of coins on the pavement. Witness Jean Clements told the London Daily Mirror, “Between 40-50 of them came down in short scattered bursts for about 15 minutes.” She added, “You could not see them falling–all you heard was the sound of them hitting the ground.”
Strangely, these coins were also dented as if released from far above. Yet there were no tall buildings or airplanes going by at the time.
There have been other rains of money reported: in Meshehera, Russia in 1940; in Bristol, England in 1956; in Bourges, France in 1957 when thousands of 1,000 franc notes rained on a crowd; and Limburg, West Germany in 1976.
Live Fish fell out of the sky on February 9, 1856, astounding the citizens of Glamorganshire, Wales. The tiny fish covered an area no less than 80 by 12 yards. There were buckets of them. Many people collected the fish and later released them.
More recently, thousands of fish rained on Marksville, Louisiana on October 23, 1947 during a foggy day. Unlike the fish in Wales, these were cold, some frozen. They covered an area of ground that was 75 feet wide and 1,000 feet long. Interestingly, this fish rain was observed by wildlife expert and biologist, A. D. Bajkov, who said that the fish were typical of those in local waters.
One of the ugliest fish falls occurred in Nokulhatty Factory, India on February 19, 1830 when several headless fish fell from the sky. In the American Journal of Science, M. Prinsep said: “The fish were all dead; most of them were large; some were fresh, others rotted and mutilated. They were seen at first in the sky like a flock of birds descending rapidly to the ground.”
Other Animal rains
Thousands of young toads fell on Brignoles, France on September 23, 1973 during a “freak storm.” In another French village, Chalon-sur-Saone, toads fell on the town for two days.
Alligator rains have also been reported. In Silvertown Township, South Colorado, in 1877, Dr. J. L. Smith noticed that something was falling from the sky and crawling toward him. A closer inspection revealed that these objects were alligators. The alligators were all alive and were about 12 inches long. Luckily for him, they weren’t full grown.
In December 1857, Montreal, Quebec received a lizard storm. The sidewalks and streets were covered with several live creatures.
Even more horrific, on July 25, 1872, Nature Magazine reported that after a black cloud appeared on the horizon, a black worm storm descended on the people. “All the streets were strewn with these curious creatures.”
Blood and Flesh rain
Some of the most horrific rains have involved blood and flesh. Imagine the terror of the mourners at a farm near Los Angeles as they attended a funeral in July 1869 only to have blood and flesh rain on them for three minutes. The sky was clear and sunny, yet the red rain poured, covering no less than two acres of corn fields. On examination, it appeared that the blood and flesh was that of animals, since it contained fur. The hunks of flesh averaged six to eight-inch strips and included parts of organs, possibly pieces of kidney, liver, and heart.
In July 1841, the slaves of Wilson County, Tennessee received a similar blood bath when a small red cloud descended upon them, showering them with blood, flesh, and small pieces of fat.
On February 15,1849, residents of Simpon County, North Carolina were also showered in blood after a red cloud appeared in the sky, sending pieces of liver, brains, and flesh down upon them. An area that was 250 yards long and at least 30 feet wide was splattered with the foul concoction.
Yes, water. Sometimes water falls from a clear, blue, cloudless sky and sometimes this strange rain only rains on small areas as if a pouring tap. In October 1886, this type of rain fell on a patch of land between two trees in Charlotte, North Carolina. The patch of land was drenched every day for three weeks, even when a cloud wasn’t in sight.
In October 1886, a similar thing happened in Aiken, South Carolina. Rain fell from morning until late at night on two graves in the town cemetery–and it rained on nothing else. People flocked to the graves by the hundreds to witness the strange phenomena.
Purple Blobs or Star Jelly
Imagine finding jelly-like purple blobs in your yard one morning. This is what happened in 1979 to Mrs. Christian who lived in Frisco, Texas. On August 10, there was a bright light over the city. The next day, she found three purple blobs on her lawn. One dissolved, but the other two were sent away to be analyzed. Chemical reports could not clearly determine the origin of these blobs, but said they were similar to waste from a battery factory. Other reports refuted that information, so the jury is still out on the composition of the mysterious blobs.
These blobs are also often know as “star jelly.” Often purple blobs are seen after witnesses have spotted strange lights in the sky or after a meteorite is seen moving across the horizon, and the blobs are attributed to meteors. The welsh refer to them as “pwdre ser,” rot from the stars. Modern scientists, however, are baffled, because they believe that these blobs could not survive the fiery trip of entering the earth’s atmosphere.
What accounts for these strange rains? Scientists have no idea, but there are many explanations.
One is that these objects are carried from funnels, tornadoes, whirlwinds or waterspouts, and of course objects can be picked up and carried in this manner, but the problem with this theory is the selectivity factor. How could a tornado pick up only one type of fish from the water and cart it somewhere? Why nothing else? Tornadoes are known to drop everything they pick up.
Then if waterspouts, tornadoes, and whirlwinds aren’t responsible, then how are these objects transported? Some people have attributed these strange rains to aliens.
Morris K. Jessup, UFO writer and enthusiast, believes that strange rains are the product of alien waste. He claims that aliens collect and raise earth creatures in special tanks, and occasionally empty these tanks for cleaning or for some other reason.
Writer John Philip Bessor has a more horrific hypothesis. He believes that UFO’s are actually meat-eating animals who live in the atmosphere. Occasionally these beings reach out and snare something tasty. He claims this is also the reason why people disappear sometimes. We can only hope that he’s far off the bat.
Other hypothesis include teleportation and electromagnetic fields, but like the other hypothesis, they fall short. None of these hypothesis have been put to the test, and scientists remain as perplexed as the rest of us.
Have you heard of a case of strange rain? If so, please tell us about it.
Burke, John G. Cosmic Debris: Meteorites in History, Berkley, California, University of California press, 1986.
Contance, Arthur, The Inexplicable Sky, New York: The Citadel Press, 1957.
Corliss, William R., ed., Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena, Glen Arm, Maryland: The Sourcebook Project, 1977.
Knight, Damon, Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained, Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1970.
Loenzen, Coral E., The Shadow of the Unknown, New York: Signet, 1970.
Michell, Johnand Robert J. M. Rickard, Phenomena: A Book of Wonders, New York; Pantheon Books, 1977.
© 2000 Bobette Bryan