In 1955, something very odd occurred in Cincinnati: the sky appeared to bleed. Mr. Ed Mootz was puttering around his garden, enjoying the late summer weather. Feeling a few drops of rain begin to fall, he looked up and saw a very unusual cloud: “It wasn’t a big cloud, but it certainly did have odd colours. It was dark green, red and pink.” What was even more unusual was that the rain was falling right into his garden — on his peach tree especially. But strangest of all was the colour of the rain: an oily, sticky red… like blood: “The red in it (the cloud) matched the colour of the substance which hit me and the tree. I could see that whatever it was that was raining down on me was coming from that cloud.”
After staring up mystified for a few moments, Mr. Mootz suddenly realized that the liquid was stinging his skin and went inside to clean it off. He emerged the following morning to find his peach tree, along with the surrounding grass, dead. Explanations were not forthcoming. No planes were in the area at the time of the fall, and chemical/factory waste does not rain down undiluted. Although the Air Force took an interest, interviewing Mr. Mootz and collecting samples for analysis, no results/conclusions were ever shared.
The rational few among you are incredulous, dubious at best. And yet occurrences such as witnessed by Mr. Mootz, known as “sky falls” are legion — history is liberally “sprinkled” with world wide accounts of mysterious rains. And if Mr. Mootz’s claims test your skepticism, consider this: most other witnesses claim not to have seen **rain** fall, red or otherwise, but such objects as stones, grain and animals — mostly frogs and fish.
Events/experiences such as these must be rare, you say, or I would have heard of them. They are rare in some areas, yet so common in others as not to merit attention. India for instance, has sky falls so often that they have virtually given up reporting them. Naturalist Gilbert Whitley of Australia published a list of fifty fish falls in 1972’s Australian Natural History. And every year, in Yoro, Honduras, there is a fish fall (sardines) in early spring — the natives call it the “shower of fish” and collect them for food. The testimony of most witnesses is definitely mundane/unsettling enough to be believable: “…My four year old daughter put her little red umbrella up and we heard these things thudding against it. And, when we looked, to our amazement it was a shower of frogs. They were coming from the skies, hundreds of them!” say Mrs. Sylvia Mowday of Birmingham, England, who saw this in June ’54. Or how about the fish fall that occurred in summer ’56 near Uniontown, Alabama. After a small, dark cloud formed in the otherwise clear sky, three types of fish fell — catfish, bass, and bream. As with most animal falls, the creatures were **alive** when they hit the ground.
The previous examples have factors in common with all reported sky falls: the appearance of a small, dark cloud (often red, yellow or black) as a prelude to the fall; the falling objects usually cover an elliptical or swath-like area on the ground, perhaps only tens of metres across; mostly **natural** substances fall — ice is the most commonly reported, second is fish, frogs and toads.
Unfortunately, most proponents of sky falls are quick to link it with UFO/New Age theory, and use it to support their desperate claims. This is a shame, as it throws a shadow of doubt/hysteria on an otherwise well-documented, natural occurrence. These event have been witnessed/recorded since biblical times. Yet the believers’ theories are no more advanced than that of primitive man, who “explained” every natural occurrence as being the work of the gods! For instance, one book on the subject proposes such absurd hypothesis as aliens (for experiments or “generosity” – here, have some fish!), time-warps (other dimensions “intersect” with ours and frog falls are the result), or the time honoured gods theory (this book cites “otherworldly mischief” – the gods must be crazy?).
Fortunately, there are those who can accept anomalous phenomena without crediting it to a “poltergeist” or some other similarly useless conclusion. Various reasonable theories were proposed which were applicable in some instances, but weren’t valid in all cases. For instance, Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23-79) submitted that frog/fish “seed” was brought to life by rainfall (this is scientifically unacceptable — how were the creatures brought to life that quickly?). Then others suggested that the frogs were flushed out/tempted by the rainfall (this ignores actual witnessed falls). Then the 16th century astrologer Jerome Cardan (1501-76) put forward what is today the most accepted/plausible theory: that a whirlwind or waterspout was responsible.
But what is a waterspout? The answer to this question is easy enough: a waterspout is what is formed when a tornado reaches water. Which only begs the question — what is a tornado? A tornado is a vortex of swirling winds from within a strong and extensive rising thermal of air which is forming a convective cloud (eg. cumulus or cumulonimbus). A tornadic-waterspout is that which traverses both land **and** water. The first visible sign of either is a funnel cloud, although a waterspout may be present **without** a visible funnel cloud. But could a waterspout be the cause of these mysterious descents? The answer to this question is not so easy. Europe’s Tornado and Storm Research Organization (TORRO) is a private storm research group that has studied sky falls (although their interest in the matter is only the likelihood that a whirlwind/waterspout was involved).1 Their studies conclude that nature, not aliens/demons/etc… are the source of these freakish rains. Their reasoning is such: a latent tornado could be hidden in a cloud mass; a tornado/waterspout usually only affects no more than a few square miles, and lasts only minutes, even seconds; “super” tornados (whose winds can be in excess of 280 m.p.h.) can rip buildings from their foundations, and toss them miles away, so it is not inconceivable that a pond’s contents could be likewise thrown.
Other reports of bestial descents include a squid (in a shower of herring) in Boston – 1841, a gopherturtle (in ice) in Bovina, Washington – 1894, ducks (in ice) in Worchestor, Massachusetts – 1932. Notably large animals have also been reported: alligators (Charleston, Utah – 1893 & Evansville, Indiana – 1911) and a five foot crocodile (Long Beach, California – 1960). Food for thought…
Man-made substances have also been witnessed to drop, although logical reasoning points to a plane/aerial transportation error. For example, money has been seen to fall on many occasions: silver coins in the Gorky area of the U.S.S.R. – 1940, dollar bills ($588 was collected) in Chicago, Illinois – 1975, and German marks (2000 were collected… by two clergymen) in Limburg, West Germany – 1976.
If you’ve read this far, you’re obviously intrigued, but probably/hopefully anxious for an explanation. A fair demand, but unfortunately, only **theories** are available. Disbelievers and believers alike are free with their conclusions, but none are satisfactory…
No rational mind could argue that this is the most reasonable explanation. And yet problems exist within in this conclusion. For instance, how do the whirlwinds/waterspouts manage to select only a **single species** of fish/frog/etc…? Not only that, only fish of a certain **kind**, or frogs of a certain age?
And, in some instances **size** selection is also carefully controlled. This is inconsistent with a whirlwind, which sweeps up/deposits **everything** in it’s path. Why then is no **debris** (sand, rubbish, etc…) dropped along with the animals? How come salt-water fish fall in a fresh-water rain? And how do the creatures manage to survive their aerial trip? This suggests that a fish could withstand being lifted suddenly out of it’s natural habitat, being spun around at a considerable speed, rest for a while in a cloud, descend at a high rate of speed, and smash into the ground to flop around happily. So, while a whirlwind/waterspout may be the most **acceptable** theory, it is far from complete, and is only valid in that it explains more than most.
If a whirlwind is not the cause, what could it be? Deductive reasoning would suggest that a **new** or undiscovered type of vortex is the solution to this mystery. But until this is proved, any theory is as valid as the next: The sky’s the limit.