Here are some documented cases of really weird precipitation
As I sit writing this week's feature and glance out my home office window, it's pouring rain outside. One might say it's raining cats and dogs. Not literally, of course. But that's not to say that at times in many areas around the world that it hasn't rained things just as strange as felines and canines. Sometimes, things even stranger.
Weird rain is one of the more bizarre - and still largely unexplained - phenomena that is periodically (yet continually) reported from all corners of the globe. There have been accounts of frog rain, fish rain, squid rain, worm rain, even alligator rain. The logical explanation for the odd occurrences is that a tornado or strong whirlwind picked up the animals from a shallow body of water and carried them - sometimes for hundreds of miles - before dropping them on a bewildered populace. This explanation has yet to be proved, and it can't quite account for all of the documented incidents, as you'll see below.
Here are some of the more unusual cases - a small sampling from thousands of reports over the years - that defy all rational explanation.
- In 1873, Scientific American reported that Kansas City, Missouri was blanketed with frogs that dropped from the sky during a storm.
- Minneapolis, Minnesota was pelted with frogs and toads in July, 1901. A news item stated: "When the storm was at its highest... there appeared as if descending directly from the sky a huge green mass. Then followed a peculiar patter, unlike that of rain or hail. When the storm abated the people found, three inches deep and covering an area of more than four blocks, a collection of a most striking variety of frogs... so thick in some places [that] travel was impossible."
- The citizens of Naphlion, a city in southern Greece, were surprised one morning in May, 1981, when they awoke to find small green frogs falling from the sky. Weighing just a few ounces each, the frogs landed in trees and plopped into the streets. The Greek Meteorological Institute surmised they were picked up by a strong wind. It must have been a very strong wind. The species of frog was native to North Africa!
- In 1995, reports Fortean Times Online, Nellie Straw of Sheffield, England, was driving through Scotland on holiday with her family when they encountered a severe storm. Along with the heavy rain, however, hundreds of frogs suddenly pelted her car.
- A powerful whirlwind might explain a rain of small fish, but it cannot account for the ones that fell on a village in India. As many as 10 people reported picking up fish that weighed as much as eight pounds that had come crashing down on them.
- In February, 1861, folks in many areas of Singapore reported a rain of fish following an earthquake. How could the two possibly correlate?
- Golfers dread gathering clouds and a rain that might ruin their game. But imagine the consternation of several duffers in Bournemouth, England, in 1948 who received a shower of herring.
- Priests often pray for blessings from above... but fish? In 1966, Father Leonard Bourne was dashing through a downpour across a courtyard in North Sydney, Australia, when a large fish fell from the sky and landed on his shoulder. The priest nearly caught it as it slid down his chest, but it squirmed away, fell to the flooded ground and swam away.
- These things don't always happen in a heavy rain. In 1989, in Ipswich, Australia, Harold and Degen's front lawn was covered with about 800 "sardines" that rained from above during a light shower.
- This report is most unusual: In an otherwise clear sky in Chilatchee, Alabama in 1956, a woman and her husband watched as a small dark cloud formed in the sky. When it was overhead, the cloud released its contents: rain, catfish, bass and bream - all of the fish alive. The dark cloud had turned to white, then dispersed.
Next page: Rains of flesh and blood... and more