It may rain not only cats and dogs but also frogs and fish

October 24, 1987 Britain’s The Daily Mirror and The Daily Star reported that some old lady had informed the Gloucester Wildlife Trust that she witnessed her native town of Stroud was blanketed with rain of pink frogs during a storm. The woman said she had seen that thousands of frogs were falling down from the skies on umbrellas of passers-by and on the pavement, and then rushed to brooks and gardens in search of shelter. The newspapers also stated that citizens also had seen lots of pink frogs in some other place two weeks before, but nobody said the frogs were falling down from the sky. Both newspapers reported the opinion of naturalist Ian Darling who examined many of the pink frogs. He said they belonged to some albino breed, and the pink color of their skin was owing to blood vessels seen through the skin. Right at that period, Great Britain was hit with the Sahara red sands. And the naturalist believed that the pink frogs appeared as a result of a whirlwind that took the frogs away to thousands of miles.

Other naturalists did not support the opinion. The majority of newspapers reported that no matter what type of frogs was seen in both places, they just jumped out of the grass or bushes that was quite typical of them. They added the old lady who alleged that she saw pink frogs was too eccentric to be trusted.

It is not clear why frogs may fall down from the skies together with rain more often than other creatures. However, there is quite enough evidence proving that reports of rains of frogs or other creatures are not a mere fake.

In his work, Charles Fort describes dozens of reports about rains of frogs and other creatures registered in the second half of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. 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.” After Fort died in 1932, the number of similar reports increased but those rains were not that massive as that in 1901.

On July 12, 1954 Englishwoman Sylvia Mouday was one of those who witnessed a heavy shower of khaki colored frogs at fair in Birmingham ’s Satton-Colefield. The woman saw frogs jumping on people’s umbrellas and then covered an area of 50 square yards.

In 1969, well-known English journalist Veronica Pepworth was one of eyewitnesses pelted with a frog rain in Penn, Buckinghamshire. In ten years on July 27, 1979, another Englishwoman Miss Wida McWilliam from Bedford saw the ground of her garden was covered with little green and black frogs after a stormy rain. And threads of frog spawn were hanging on the trees and bushes.

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 habitat of the frog species was located in North Africa!

The phenomenon of a frog rain was never given a thorough scientific research, and it is unlikely that some may be given in the nearest time. Majority are inclined to state that rains of frogs or other creatures are the result of powerful whirlwinds. But why there are not other articles besides frogs or some creatures falling down together with these rains?

On a sunny day in May 1956, the Chilatchee farm near Uniontown, Alabama, was pelted with a rain of fish. Witnesses stated those fishes were falling down out of the only dark cloud brought by small whirlwind from nowhere. At first, it rained only over the territory of 200 square feet. Then, the dark cloud turned into a white one, and three sorts of fish – cat-fish, perch and bream – burst out of it. The fishes were alive that meant they did not stay for long in the skies. But the witnesses said the fish rain lasted for about 15 minutes. The fishes were of the species found in the local brook located two miles away from the farm. There had been no storms or tornado for several weeks and it was not clear how the fish could get to the skies.

Last century, much evidence was collected of fish rains in the US including floods in Boston, Massachusetts, Thomasville, Alabama. Early December 19, 1984 a fish rain pelted on Santa Monica (the freeway near Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles ) thus causing an emergency situation on the road. Next year in May 1985, a great portion of fish fell down from the skies near Luis Castorino’s house in Fort Bort, Texas. Later, Castorino confessed he had believed the rain was a supernatural phenomenon. Fish rains are so habitual in some countries such as India and Australia that local media seldom report them. Australian naturalist Gilbert Whitley made a list of fifty fish rains registered on the sixth continent within the year of 1972.

Meteorologists believe that since fish rains prove to be not a fake there must be some non-paranormal explanation to the phenomenon. These experts say that some whirlwinds or water swirls may take unlucky fish out of rivers and seas, then take them some distance away and pour down with a heavy rain. The version may explain some of the fish rain instances. However, there is still no evidence or witness proving that whirlwinds can actually drag fish out of water while there is enough evidence telling about fish rains. And can you imagine some whirlwind sorting fishes into different species to further pour them down? And why there is no sand or seaweeds raining down together with fishes?

Three fishermen from Kiribati probably witnessed the most astonishing fish rain on April 4, 1986 . After a shipwreck, the fishermen spent 119 days afloat before they were picked up over 500 miles away from the shipwreck site. All the time before the fishermen were found in the sea they had to catch small sharks barehanded and ate them uncooked. One night, the desperate men begged God for some other food, and at once something plopped down in their boat. That was a rare but very tasty fish of the species that never surfaces but stays very deep in the sea whatever happens.

Later when the fishermen were rescued they told the mysterious story which turned out to be a real puzzle for hydrobiologists. Indeed, the fish which the fishermen mentioned in the story usually stayed at a depth of 600 feet. So, it is unlikely that the mysterious gift was a catch of some bird that failed to keep it and dropped immediately in the boat. So, the fish rain phenomenon can be better described by the words of Winston Churchill: “It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov