Whenever there's a hurricane like the one we just had, or an earthquake, you hear somebody refer to it as a biblical disaster, meaning it calls to mind the God-sent catastrophes of the Old Testament. But the disasters that happened in the Bible tended to be weirder -- you knew it wasn't just a regular storm when the clouds dropped frogs and the seas turned to blood. That's the kind of stuff that just never happens anymore.
Well, almost never.
In the Old Testament, God had a tendency to unleash plagues of some hated creature on people when he got angry -- ancient Egypt alone was the target of spontaneous swarms of locusts, fleas and flies, while the ancient Jews got snakes. So it must have seemed like the days of Moses had returned when, in 2007, Christian Oneto Gaona was hiking with a friend in Argentina and spiders suddenly started raining from the sky. And this wasn't even Australia, where such a thing might be considered normal.
"So just to be on the safe side, I'd take an umbrella and maybe repent your sins."
Gaona wasn't able to identify the species of the "multicolored" spiders, but considering that this seemed like a scaled-up version of the kind of shit he used to pull on his little sister, it must have raised the question of whether God was in fact 12 years old.
Animals just straight falling out of the sky like hail is not unheard of, and the popular explanation for it is always that strong winds manage to pick up animals and deposit them into the atmosphere. Of course, this doesn't explain why the rain was limited exclusively to spiders. Why not toads, or chipmunks, or, you know, anything else whatsoever? God wasn't even mean enough to make spiders one of the plagues of Egypt, and he was really mad that time.
Or chocolate coins.
It's kind of unnerving that this kind of thing is going on in remote parts of the wilderness where people don't usually know about it, like some divine Manhattan Project. We can only assume that God is field-testing it before combat use on a modern city.
There is probably no more iconic symbol of God's wrath than the lightning bolt (especially if your god is Zeus). It's the Almighty's way of pointing directly at a person and saying, "Hey. You. Fuck you." And while it isn't too surprising when someone gets smote during a thunderstorm, lightning in the middle of a clear, sunny day has to make anyone feel like they've got enemies up there. But it's real, and it's called positive lightning.
And that shit can arc out from a storm cloud more than 10 miles away.
Normal or negative lightning occurs when negatively charged rain clouds send down a lightning bolt to the positively charged earth below. Positive lightning is just the opposite -- the cloud is positively charged and needs a negatively charged spot to unleash upon. The problem is, these spots are much harder to come by, so the bolt not only has to travel miles away from the actual storm to get there, but has a serious case of blue balls when it does. As a result, the bolt is six to 10 times as strong as a regular one when it touches down.
But hey, you shouldn't worry too much, since getting struck by lightning is about as common as winning the lottery. But you know what gets hit all the time? Planes. Each one gets struck by lightning once a year or so. Luckily, planes have measures in place to protect them from regular lightning. But, like we said, this is not regular lightning.
It comes from goddamn Krypton.
Positive lightning drew first blood in 1963 in an event that happens to hold the Guinness World Record for Worst Lightning Strike Death Toll. Another aircraft was felled by positive lightning as recently as 1999, and airline safety measures are still not capable of coping with lightning strikes this powerful.
So we're not saying that you should avoid getting on a plane with too many people that God is mad at, but, you know, that's actually exactly what we're saying.
In 1923, a devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Tokyo, creating an immediate citywide disaster, as earthquakes tend to do. But it wouldn't be on this list if it were just a typical earthquake.
One minute, citizens were calmly attempting to evacuate the city through scattered fires, and then suddenly a flaming tornado appeared out of goddamn nowhere and incinerated 38,000 freaking people in 15 minutes.
This definitely would have made The Wizard of Oz a much different movie.
See, apparently, tornadoes can be on fire sometimes. If Hollywood was looking to make a sequel to Twister, this is really the only way to go with it. It's called a fire whirl, and it's thankfully rare, but when it happens, it looks like the kind of event that would have been cut from the Bible for being too unrealistic. Given the right atmospheric conditions, a fire can just pick itself right the hell up and blaze across the landscape.
Unfortunately for Tokyo, the conditions were just right that day to make it the largest and deadliest fire tornado in recorded history. For comparison, the earthquake we just mentioned was the deadliest quake in Japanese history, but a full third of the total victims were killed just by the 15-minute spinning fiery vortex of doom.