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Strange Falls From the Sky

With the looming arrival of Hurricane Irene here in New York City, I thought it would be fun to look at some paranormal storms: strange things that have fallen from the skies. Charles Fort documented a lot of these, and strange falls from the sky have been recorded for centuries. Sometimes the events are explainable, and sometimes the skeptics come up with explanations that are even more ludicrous than the falls themselves. So what sort of things have fallen from the sky? Read on…

  • Fish – Perhaps the most common thing to fall from the sky (aside from the usual rain or snow, that is), falls of fish have been recorded for hundreds of years. The usual explanation is that a waterspout formed over a lake or other body of water, sucked up all the fish, and then deposited them hundreds of miles away. The unusual thing about this is that usually only one species of fish is found in the fall, and nothing else from the lake (such as aquatic plants) are deposited with the fish.
  • Frogs – Frogs and tadpoles are perhaps the second most common strange thing to fall from the sky, and the waterspout explanation usually comes into play here, too. But once again, why is it only one aquatic species, and not a potpourri? Other theories have included alternate-dimension clouds that are connected to oceans in other realms and they sometimes deposit these animals in our world. Ummm, ok…
  • Blood – Yes, blood. In 2008, a red rain fell on Colombia, and a local bacteriologist tested the red water and found that it contained blood. A local priest declared that it was a sign from God, though I suspect there is probably a more rational explanation for it. What that might be, I have no idea, but still.
  • Birds – Birds falling from the sky may not seem so strange, but it happens. And sometimes in huge numbers, like in Arkansas back in January of this year. Our very own Laura Pennace even had a dead bird fall right in front of her here in New York City when she first moved here.
  • Fresh Meat – Ok, this is a very strange one. On March 9, 1876, a shower of meat fell near the house of Allen Crouch, who lived near Olympian Springs, covering a strip of ground about one hundred yards in length and fifty wide. The sky was perfectly clear at the time. Two gentlemen, who tasted the meat, expressed the opinion that it was a either mutton or venison. I’m all for catching snowflakes on your tongue, but eating strange meat that fell from the sky? No thanks.
  • Worms – Strange falls of worms are pretty common as well, usually found in clumps. Once again, we get the tornado or waterspout explanation.
  • Jelly – In 2009, a rain of what seemed to be a jelly-like substance fell in Scotland. Scientists commissioned by National Geographic carried out tests on the substance, but they have so far failed to find any DNA in it. Theories for the origins of “star jelly” abound, one of the most plausible being that star jelly is regurgitated frog or toad ovaries, vomited by buzzards or herons. Thankfully none of the Scots decided to try to taste it.
I hope everyone on the East Coast stays safe this weekend, and while hurricanes this far up north are by no means as dangerous as they are down south, we are pretty ill-equipped to deal with even the weak ones we get up here. I’ll be hunkering down with some beer, snacks and Instant Netflix, and hoping the power doesn’t go out.