back to Who is Dumping All that Stuff on Our Heads?
Das Wetter [a German publication] of December last contains an account of a heavy thunderstorm which occurred at Paderborn on August 9, 1892, in which a number of living pond mussels were mixed with the rain. The observer who is in connection with the Berlin Metereological Office sent a detailed account of the strange occurrence, and a specimen was forwarded to the Museum at Berlin, which stated that it was the Anodonta anatina (L.). A yellowish cloud attracted the attention of several people, both from its colour and the rapidity of its motion, when suddenly it burst, a torrential rain fell with a rattling sound, and immediately afterwards the pavement was found to be covered with hundreds of the mussels. Further details will be published in the reports of the Berlin Office, but the only possible explanation seems to be that the water of a river in the neighbourhood was drawn up by a passing tornado, and afterwards deposited its living burden at the place in question.
"A thunderstorm of unusual severity passed over Worcester and neighbourhood almost three o'clock on Saturday. The rain was exceedingly heavy and the lightning very vivid. Several accidents are reported, but none of a very serious nature. At Whitehall, a woman was driving a donkey and cart along the road and the animal was struck dead by lightning. At Fearnall Heath a chimney in the house of Mr. John Baylis was struck, and a quantity of bricks were knocked down. A chimney at Mr. Chambers', Ashwood, was damaged, At Boughton Fields, St. John's, a woman was struck, and she lost the use of her limbs for several hours. The storm at St. John's was of an exceedingly phenomenal character. We learn from Mr. Bozward and others who observed its effects that when it began at three o'clock there was light wind from the north, and while the thermometer stood at 67 the barometer was at 30. At first there was a heavy fall of hail. It was more like the hailstorms that visit the south of France than those which the inhabitants of the Midland Counties of England have experienced. The hail tore leaves off tree, stripped a good deal of the crops of apples, plums, and bush fruit, cut off peas, potatoes, and beans, and generally battered the crops in the gardens as though they had been trampled on. During the course of the storms a man named John Greenall, taking shelter in his master's garden at Comer-Lane, observed large numbers of periwinkles fall, some of them being buried a considerable depth in the ground with others rebounding off the surface. The fall was confined to the market garden belonging to Mr. Leeds and the Comer-lane. Intelligence of what had happened had soon spread abroad, and an army of Worcester arabs took possession, and were as busy as diamond-diggers "prospecting." They gathered the periwinkles, which were in such profusion that one man alone succeeded in collecting two pecks. The search was prosecuted during the remainder of the day, and when darkness came it was continued by the aid of lanterns. All day yesterday it was still being persevered in, and today the periwinkles are still being found. A live specimen is before us as we write. In one large shell, which a boy picked up in the lane and gave to Mr. Joseph Phillips, of St. John's, was a living hermit crab. "
[Worchester is 50 miles from the sea, hermits crabs were also found according to other newspapers]
"Shrimps from the Sky. On August 1st it was reported that a large quantity of shrimps fell near Single ton in a prolonged shower of rain. The Chief Secretary, referring to this report, stated that specimens of shrimps had come to hand, and were pronounced by the ichthyologist at the Australian Museum to be fresh water shrimps Hiphocaris compressa. "Those crustaceans," said Mr. Fuller, "are found in great abundance in fresh water in our water systems, and the shrimps which fell with the rain near Singleton were doubtless collected by a waterspout from some shallot inland lagoon or waterhole and carried in the clouds to Broke, where the phenomenal shower fell. It will be of interest to re call the fact that at the latter end of 1913 a shower of small fish, identified as Cratorocephalus fluviatilis commonly known as Hardyheads, fell in a rainstorm at Quirindi."
Sources of which I haven't found the original reports (from Book of the Damned by Charles Fort):
"Fall of great numbers of larvae of beetles, near Mortagne, France, May, 1858. The larvae were inanimate as if with cold."
"That small snails, of a land species, had fallen near Redruth, Cornwall, July 8, 1886. "Cornwall had enjoyed a beautiful summer's morning and afternoon. By the late afternoon, however, there was a distinct blackening of the skies as ever-darker clouds rolled in from the west and the temperature plummeted. Then came the rain, pulsing waves that swept across the land, and soon thunder began to rumble. In Redruth at the height of the storm came another sound – a pitter-pattering like hail. But this was no common sky-fall. From beneath umbrellas, bay windows and shop-fronts, residents of the town were astonished to see masses of small snails descend from the heavens. "Those caught out in the open had no option but to crunch their way over the creatures, so thickly did they cover the ground. The roads and fields were strewn with them over a distinct area of half a square mile." Contemporary reports stated that the shower lasted for ten minutes. On closer inspection it was discovered the snails were alive, but quite different in appearance to those common in the area.."