It rains many things beside water

23 Jul

This, from May 1919 Popular Science:

  • Next time someone tells you its raining fish or frogs, don’t laugh: the story is probably true. There is, for instance, record of a fish rain in 1666 that showered smelts all over Stanstead in merry England.

  • At Baton Rouge in 1896 it rained ducks, catbirds, and woodpeckers. We pause right here to say that scientists explain these showers by the lifting power of the wind and the ancient principle that what goes up must come down: and you never can be sure what’s up.

  • Getting down to 1917, John Lewis of Aberdare, Wales, reports: “I was startled by something falling all over me … On putting my hand down my neck, I was surprised to find they were little fish.”

  • Singapore, as might be expected, holds the shower record, with a rain of fifteen-inch catfish, which the Chinese and Malays gathered up by the basketful.

  • No less a person than Alexander von Humboldt writes of a downpour of fishes in the Andes which seemed to be aided and abetted by a very active volcano. The natives said they rather counted on fish showers to reduce the H.C.L., usually having several a season.    (I’m guessing that HCL = High Cost of Living)

  • Boston, in the days of the “plug” hat, had what it called (being Boston) “a piscatorial deluge.” But in Connecticut that same year it rained fish and ice together, which we call thoughtful.

  • Nine native eye-witnesses, urged by a canny Scot, made depositions before a magistrate attesting the truth of their tales of a shower in Bengal during which at least five kinds of fish fell from the heavens.


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