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Id 111
Date 1925-10-11
Location -country na / -region na / -city na
Database p strange falls

Mystery "Red Rains" of Japan and other strange falls.

Transcription of the newspaper clip:


Science Strives to Fathom the Peculiar Phenomena Noted Recently in
the Land of Nippon, Where the Natives Were Aghast With
Apprehension at the Downfall of a Fluid "of the Nature of Blood
Rather Than of Colored Water"

Other Riddles for Science

The fall of "thunderstones."
The false lights of Durham.
The "live stones of London."
The appearance of wheels of light.
Rains of fishes.
What fell from the sky at Amherst, Mass.
"Phantom Zeppelin" of Burlington, Vt.
"Ice stones" of Tarbes.

When a recent dispatch from Tokio
brought news of the fall of a "red
rain" in the interior of Japan - "a rain
which appeared to partake of the nature
of blood rather than that of water" -
there were many who attributed the
phenomenon of the natives or took it for
granted, that, in some way, red volcanic
dust had become mixed with cloud moisture
and the "red rain" had resulted.

But the investigations of a number of
meteorologists and others who are interested
in running down phenomena of
this kind developed two facts very
clearly. In the first place, the "red
rain" had fallen. It was no figment
of the imagination. Secondly, the "rain"
was not of the ordinary consistency of
water, but considerably thicker - a thick,
viscous liquid, that clung and stuck, instead
of running off in a solid stream.

There have been numbers of other
cases in which "red rains" have fallen,
and these are by no means the only unusual
precipitations from the sky, for
the list of "riddles" of this kind runs
well up into the hundreds and embraces
objects all the way from tiny globules
of gelatinous matters to rocks and stones
of a considerable size which have either
rained down from a cloudless sky or
have fallen in the midst of violent

To the latter variety belong the
"thunderstones," the basis of one of the
most deeply seated beliefs of races
whose folklore goes back for many hundreds
of years that stones are cast from
the sky during thunderstorms of certain
kinds and that these stones are to
be found where particularly heavy bolts
of lightning have struck. In the tongues
of the natives of Holland, Belgium,
France, Sumatra and Siberia they are
referred to as "thunderstones." In the
early literature of England and Scotland
they are called "thunder axes." The
Spaniards and the Portuguese call them
"lightning stones," the Brazilians "lightning
flashes," the natives of Slavonia
"sky arrows" and those of Amboina
"thunder teeth." But in each case the
[word indiscernible] is the same - stones cast from
the sky and accompanied by brilliant
flashes of lightning.

Apparently, occurrences of this
kind are impossible, for they contradict
all the laws of nature as we
know them. But there cannot be the
slightest doubt that they have occurred
upon numerous occasions, for, in addition
to the legend which is to be found
in the folklore of almost all primitive
peoples, there are a score or more of
recent well-authenticated instances
where "thunderstones" have actually

One of the most remarkable of these
was observed near Wolverhampton,
England, in the fall of 1876, when, to
quote the report in Nature and in the
London Times, "a huge ball of what appeared
to be green fire fell during a
severe windstorm, otherwise unaccompanied
by lightning." Several persons
who had witnessed the fall of the "ball
of green fire" visited the spot where it
had struck and found "a highly polished
stone, totally different from any mineral
deposits in the vicinity and equally different
from any meteorite in existence."
Possibly, argued those who maintained
that stones could not possibly fall from
the sky, this particular stone had been
there all the time. But, if it had been,
the coincidence of the lightning striking
directly above it - to say nothing of uncovering
it to the gaze of those who had
never seen it before - was almost as inexplicable
as would have been its fall from the upper air.

Blinkenburg in his treatise on the
subject of "Thunderstones" gives many
similar instances, including the finding
of stone axheads under trees that have
been struck by lightning in Malacca,
Sumatra and Java, while in Central Africa
wedge-shaped, highly polished objects
described as "axes" have been
found sticking in trees which have been
hit by what seemed to be lightning. Nor
have these occurrences been limited to
Asia and Africa, for there are two officially
authenticated instances of similar
happenings in Prussia during the early
part of the last century, while Meunier
tells of one "axhead" in his possession
that fell during a storm in Sicily, while
a stone of eight pounds in weight fell
in London in 1876. All of these "thunderstones"
varied widely from the mineral
deposits in the neighborhood, and
science has been unable to account for
the appearance or origin of any of them.

Then, in addition to the "thunderstones,"
there are the phenomena
grouped under the heading of "live
stones," which have been noted on a number
of occasions - missiles which seemed
to have an activity of their own, dropping
from the air much as if they had
been loosed from some airplane soaring
at a height that made it invisible.

Possibly the best-known instance
of this kind - and there have been a
number reported by witnesses of unimpeachable
character - is that referred to
in the London Times of April 28, 1872
"From 4 o'clock Thursday afternoon
until half-past 11 Thursday night,"
states this account of the strange occurrence,
"the houses at 56 and 58 Reverdy
road, Bermondsey, were assailed with
stones and other missiles coming from
an unseen quarter. Two children were
injured, every window in the two houses
broken and several articles of furniture
destroyed. Although there was a strong
body of policemen scattered through the
neighborhood and a cordon of them
thrown around the houses in question
shortly after 8 o'clock, they could find
no trace of the source of the bombardment
and could discover no clue that
would throw the least light upon the
mystery. Eyewitnesses stated that the
stones appeared to be almost alive."

Other similar occurrences took place
at Palestine, Tex., in 1888; at Hillsboro,
Ill., in 1883, and at Kingston, Jamaica,
in 1898. At Bismarck, S. D., on
the evening of May 22, 1884, the city
was startled by a "shower" of flinty
stones which seemed to fall from the
air, and fifteen minutes later another
rain of stones occurred in the same city,
but over a slightly different area. On
none of these occasions was an explosion
reported near at hand or any other natural
explanation advanced for the appearance
of the stones which seemed
to be endowed with a life and activity
of their own.

The famous "ice stone" of Tarbes is
another of the strange phenomena
which belong to much the same category.
This stone fell in the midst of a
violent storm at Tarbes, France, on the
afternoon of June 25, 1887, or, at least,
it was naturally
supposed that it
had fallen during
the storm, for a
passer-by picked
it up immediately
afterward because
his attention was
attracted by the
fact that it was
covered with ice,
in spite of the unseasonable
of the day.

At first it was
thought that it
was a large hailstone
through some freak of climatic conditions,
had fallen by itself. But as the
outer coating of ice melted it was seen
that inside there was a stone or pebble,
described by M. Sudre, professor of the
Normal School of Tarbes, as being five
millimeters thick and thirteen millimeters
in circumference, with a weight
of two grammes. But the most amazing
part of the mystery was not the
presence of the ice-covered stone, unusual
as this was, but the fact that the
stone itself had been cut and shaped
by some means at least similar to
human mentality, while upon the disc
appeared a number of characters, clearly
but not deeply engraved - characters
which correspond to no writing known
to history.

Scientists puzzled over the problem.
The members of the French Academy
discussed the matter from all angles. It
was treated at length in the annals of
the Society of Meteorologists, in La
Nature and in L'Annee Scientifique, but
without producing the slightest explanation
which would tend to show how the
stone could have come to the spot where
it was found. Its characters undeciphered,
its origin untraced, the "ice
stone of Tarbes" remains to this day a
puzzle which has defied all attempt at

Taking equal rank with it as a riddle
of the sky is the "thing" which fell at
Amherst, Mass., on August 8, 1819.
This object, which had been previously
observed, was said to have fallen accompanied
by a brilliant light and was examined
and discussed by a number of
learned men, among them Prof. Graves,
of Dartmouth College.

The object itself was bowl-shaped,
about eight inches in diameter and from
an inch to an inch and a half in thickness,
bearing upon it a nap similar to
that of finely woven cloth. Upon removing
this nap a buff-colored
pulpy substance was found. This
gave off an offensive odor and
upon exposure to the air turned
a vivid red and soon disintegrated.

In the American Journal of
Science for 1819 there may be
found Prof. Graves' account of
this phenomenon, accompanied
by corroborative evidence from
scientists who examined "the
thing from the sky" before its
general disintegration. Their evidence
may be summarized as follows: On
the evening of August 8 a bright
light, somewhat similar to a flash of
lightning, but unaccompanied by thunder
or even a storm cloud, was seen in
various parts of Amherst. Outside of
Prof. Dewey's house there was heard a
sound as if some fairly heavy object
had struck the ground, followed by a
slight explosion. The next morning, in
the yard in front of the Dewey house,
was found "a substance unlike anything
before observed by any one who saw it"
and containing "a buff-colored pulpy
substance of the consistency of soft
soap, which exuded an offensive, suffocating
smell. After a few moments'
exposure to the air this substance
changed to a [word indiscernible] color resembling
venous blood, absorbing moisture
quickly from the air and liquefying."
Whence it came or what it was no one
has ever discovered.

A number of years later, on the
morning of March 11, 1876, an
event took place in Bath County, Ky.,
which appeared to be contrary to all
known laws of nature, but which was
witnessed and vouched for by hundreds
of persons - the fall from a clear sky
upon a strip of land 100 yards long and
some fifty yards wide of a large number
of flakes of a substance that seemed to
be of the texture of raw beef. The
"flakes" were of varying size, ranging
in general from one to four inches
square, though one flake which was preserved
and subsequently subjected to
microscopic analysis was five inches
long by about three inches in width.

In addition to the fact that these
flakes descended out of a cloudless sky,
the witnesses to the phenomenon agreed
that nothing but this falling substance
was visible in the sky at the time. There
were no hunters in the vicinity and no
large flock of birds overhead to account
for the sudden rain of fleshy substance -
and, even if there had been, it would
hardly have been possible for the flesh of
the birds to have been cut away in such
even slices of uniform width. Also,
there was the question of why it should
have fallen only on a narrow strip of

Naturally, the strange event attracted
widespread scientific attention and a
number of theories were advanced to
account for it. Prof. Lawrence Smith,
of Kentucky, said that it "resembled the
spawn of some reptile," but admitted
that he was unable to name the species.

And there science has been compelled
to permit "the Kentucky phenomenon"
to rest - a remarkable occurrence, which
defies explanation by any known theory.

Among the many authenticated accounts
of "rains of fishes," that which
occurred at Singapore, in the Straits
Settlements, on April 13, 1861, is probably
the most remarkable. Following an
earthquake which devastated a considerable
portion of the city there came an
extraordinary downpour, resulting in the
accumulation of as much water as would
be contained in a lake of considerable
size. For three days and nights this
rain came down in torrents, and in the
pools which it formed upon the ground
large numbers of fish were found.

Another phenomenon of the air of
a totally different kind took place
at Burlington, Vt., on June 27, 1907,
when a terrific explosion was heard
throughout the city and what seemed to
be a ball of light was seen to fall either
from the sky or from some huge torpedo-shaped
object. The "ball of light"
exploded as it struck the earth with a
detonation that was audible for miles.

Bishop John S. Michaud in giving his
impressions of the strange occurrence
said: "I was standing engaged in conversation
with former Governor Woodbury
and A. A. Buell, when, without
the slightest warning, we were startled
by what seemed to be a terrific explosion,
evidently very close to us.
Looking eastward along College street I
observed a torpedo-shaped body, stationary
in the air, about fifty feet above
the tops of the buildings. It appeared
to be about six feet long, the shell or
covering having a dark appearance, with
here and there tongues of fire issuing
from spots on the surface which resembled
red-hot, unburnished copper. Although
stationary when first noticed,
this object soon began to move and
finally disappeared southward. As it
moved the covering seemed to rupture in
places and through these ruptures intensely
red flames issued"


NEWSPAPER Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California, USA)



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