The 7 Most Bizarre Objects to Ever Fall from the Sky
You've probably heard the urban legend about the time it rained frogs somewhere, or seen news stories about a meteorite that crashed through a roof and landed feet away from somebody's recliner. But in the annals of baffling objects that have come raining down from the heavens, you find much weirder examples ...
Lots and Lots of Worms
In 2007, Eleanor Beal was making her way to work at the Jennings Police Department when she sensed that something was amiss. Spidey senses tingling, Beal then observed what appeared to be small brown balls raining down from the sky.
Now, this is one of those situations where there is zero chance that closer inspection is going to make you feel better about what is happening. What's the best case scenario for squishy brown blobs from the sky? An explosion at a nearby fudge factory? Well, Beal took a closer look anyway and found that the objects were actually large, crawling clumps of tangled-up worms. To make sure that she hadn't completely lost it, Beal called a co-worker, who confirmed that there were indeed globs of worms littering the parking lot.
"Ah, so we're entering the last days, then. Pardon me; I have to go fuck something."
So where did they come from? Since they probably didn't spontaneously generate in midair, scientists' best guess is that a water spout sucked the worms out of nearby Lacassine Bayou and then -- apparently -- attempted to turn them over to the police. The obvious problem with this theory is that it fails to explain how or why so many worms were hanging out in tangled knots just waiting to be airlifted to the station.
The best part of this creepy crawly mess? It's happened before.
In April 2011, physical education teacher David Crichton was playing soccer with his students at Scotland's Galashiels Academy when another mysterious wormfall began. Crichton said he heard a "wee thudding noise" as the worms impacted the ground, followed by the shrieks of students as they headed for cover.
"Right, oo's up for a pint!?"
Crichton and other teachers found worms scattered over a hundred-yard area, including the artificial grass soccer and tennis courts. Crichton checked with instructors from the school's science department, whose extremely technical expert analysis was that "maybe it was a freak weather thing." Lacking any better suggestions, we'll go with that -- never mind the fact that the day was completely cloudless and water-spout-free, and that Galashiels is about 40 miles from the nearest beach.
In November 2007, Charles and Linda Everson were traveling down Manson Highway in Washington State, where they were celebrating their very first wedding anniversary. As they drove along, probably holding hands and whispering the sort of sweet nothings that make single people vomit, a 600-pound cow dropped out of the clear blue sky and onto the hood of their minivan.
After they finished shitting themselves and gazing in abject horror at their new hood ornament, the fortunate couple realized they were, against all odds, uninjured. Authorities arrived, euthanized the cow, and reminded the already traumatized duo that they'd missed a gruesome and untimely death by "a matter of inches." Because, you know, that was just the sort of thing they were likely to forget quickly.
"This is completely unsatisfying. Would you mind standing back and throwing the steak at my face?"
As for the cow, it probably plummeted to its (eventual) death from the top of a 200-foot cliff near the highway. In what we suppose was a fit of adolescent bovine angst, the year-old cow had run away from its Chelan County farm two days prior to the accident, slowly making the 5-mile trip to the precipice where it then went BASE jumping sans parachute. Because cows are stupid.
A Live Shark
We wish we could tell you that one day a golfer was lining up his putt when a goddamn falling shark bounced off his head. But unfortunately, it appears that no one was around when, in October 2012, a live leopard shark fell out of the sky and onto the 12th tee at the San Juan Hills Golf Club in San Juan Capistrano, California.
An unsuspecting course marshal (the guy who yells at golfers when they play too slowly) happened upon the 2-foot-long animal while on patrol. Oh, did we mention that it was still alive? So, in what was probably the high point of this dude's career, he loaded the flopping thing onto his golf cart and got to pull up to the clubhouse with a freaking shark in his back seat.
"Dude ... let's find another one, tape them to the ends of sticks, and make shark swords!"
Since it stubbornly refused to die, someone had the wherewithal to put the poor thing in some actual water, where it "wiggled around" while being ogled by most of the staff. Finally, an employee made the 5-mile drive to the Pacific Ocean, where he released the shark and it swam away, effectively giving fate the middle finger. Again. That's right -- it lived. At least, it lived long enough to re-enter the food chain, where it will likely realize its destiny by being eaten by another, larger shark.
So how did it end up on a golf course? It was probably snatched from the ocean by a bird, since employees noticed puncture wounds and a small amount of blood near its dorsal fin. This dude managed to endure the bad-day-for-a-shark trifecta of being picked up by a bird, faceplanting in the middle of a golf course without dying, and spending countless minutes being poked and prodded by caddies while slowly asphyxiating. According to experts at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, the only birds native to the area with the necessary strength to hoist a shark and fly 5 miles with it are ospreys and peregrine falcons, and if the shark had been any smaller, odds are excellent that he'd have finished his day being reconstituted as bird poop.
In October 2012, a teenager taking a horseback riding lesson got hit in the head by a hunk of falling chicken. Cassie Bernard of Assawoman, Virginia (yes, that's really the town's name), was in the middle of her class when the raw meat impacted her riding helmet, which conveniently doubled as a meat shield. Two additional pieces, both larger than the one that hit Bernard, fell to the ground nearby. The instructor, parents, and students who witnessed the meatfall said that the sky was clear and offered no clues as to the origin of the meat.
The first suspect was a nearby food processing plant, but the management predictably and vehemently denied that the chicken parts were theirs. Another likely candidate was a local farm, which may have failed to properly dispose of their dead chickens. Scientists did manage to agree on one point, saying that no matter where the meat had come from, high-flying seagulls were probably responsible for the bombing run. Apparently, gulls are complete assholes and do this sort of thing from time to time.
For instance, way back in March of 1876, The New York Times ran a story about a Kentucky housewife who was making soap in her yard when it literally began raining meat. Raw and apparently fresh, the meat "fell like large snowflakes" with a few larger pieces mixed in. The meatfall continued for several minutes, eventually blanketing the woman's entire yard. At that point, she decided that she really had to call someone to come check this shit out.
Several men stopped by to observe the carnage, and all bore witness that the meat was indeed stuck to the fence and scattered all over the ground. The two gentlemen who tasted some of it said that it was probably either mutton or venison.
Yeah, that's right. They ate it.
A scientist gathered and tested several samples of the meat, and while he confirmed that it was "of animal origin," he could offer no real explanation for how or why pulverized bits of it had dropped out of the sky. However, he did suggest the possibility that vultures flying overhead could have barfed up bits of their last meal, which they vomited down on the unsuspecting housewife.
And then her neighbors ate it.
"Oh, man, I cannot wait for those things to puke! Honey, get out the frying pan."
Remember praying for a puppy when you were a kid? Your parents said no, so you appealed to a higher power in hopes that a dog would somehow miraculously appear, adorable itself into your folks' good graces, and proceed to love you forever? Apparently, this actually happened once.
"It came from that large blue area up there."
In May 2012, 7-year-old Taylor Callaway and his grandmother were spending some semi-quality time in the backyard of their home in Los Banos, California, when a puppy fell out of the sky. The two caught sight of the animal on its way down, saying that he bounced upon impact before being scooped up by Taylor. Adopting the dog was a foregone conclusion, as the grandmother said, "My thought is that when God drops a puppy from the sky, you keep it."
As it happens, the puppy's appearance was less an act of God and more an act of hawk.
From an avian point of view, this is an extremely depressing story.
Just as the pup made his big entrance, his new owners noticed a hawk circling low over the yard, so they surmised that the dog had very narrowly escaped becoming bird food. T.J. Heavenly, as he's now called, had some puncture marks that were likely caused by talons; he was also covered in grease, suggesting that he may have been picked up from the nearby junkyard. Given his current celebrity status, T.J. was taken to the vet and now lives with Taylor and his grandmother ... and their existing assortment of cats, dogs, horses, and pet hawks. Yes, really.
Frozen Human Waste
In 2008, Calgary resident Marian Liknes was minding her own business when she experienced that magical, rare moment when what you thought was a ridiculous urban legend suddenly becomes true. The grandmother of four had just walked into her bedroom to answer the phone when chunks of frozen waste from an airplane lavatory came crashing through her roof. When firefighters responded, they found numerous large pieces of the stuff on the woman's bed, along with scraps of shingles, plywood, drywall, and other bits of her house that the poop took out on its way down.
Waaaay too happy about holding this.
Liknes was hit by shards of ice, and the falling poop left a foot-wide hole in her roof. Screams were uttered, tears were shed, fingers were pointed, and the Transportation Safety Board was called to sort out the whole shitty mess. Authorities confirmed that the ice was from the bathroom of a passing airplane and that it was comprised of toilet water, antifreeze, disinfectant, human waste, and generous contributions from members of the mile-high club.
While most mid-flight loads don't end up targeting old ladies and partially destroying their homes, "blue ice" isn't completely unheard of. Although planes are prohibited from dumping their restroom tanks on the fly, transitioning from cold air to warm air can cause certain leakage problems. O-ring valves are used to empty the lavatory tanks; when they become incontinent, the seepage can freeze outside the tank and become a shit missile when it finally dislodges.
Take care of business, but understand that you're basically loading a torpedo bay.
Yeah, yeah. You're comforting yourself with statistics, reminding yourself that the odds of being mortared by frozen poo are decidedly in your favor. But hey, the odds were in poor Liknes' favor, too, until all of a sudden they weren't. You've been warned.
And then, one day, it rained a man. Hallelujah.
In September 2012, residents of London's Mortlake neighborhood woke to find the mangled body of a man crumpled on the sidewalk between a lingerie shop and a place that sold Chinese medical cures. Believing that the man was a murder victim, police began their investigation while parents kept their children indoors and away from the gruesome sight. The unidentified adult male was approximately 5 feet, 4 inches tall and was thought to be between 20 and 30 years old.
After inspecting the body more closely, officers came to the shocking realization that the man's injuries weren't caused by another person, but were rather the result of an extremely long fall. Specifically, the part of the fall where he impacted the pavement and became a victim of his own inertia.
But where did he come from? Authorities think he may have fallen out of an airplane headed to nearby Heathrow Airport. The man had no identification, but he was carrying some money from Angola, leading detectives to surmise that he'd stowed away on a plane and fallen out when the landing gear was lowered. Residents of the neighborhood confirmed that planes frequently fly low over the area and that they often see the landing gear appear as planes prepare to land.
Notice how the diagram doesn't say "seat" anywhere?
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, the man probably died long before he fell out of the plane. Not that the alternatives are much better: He was likely crushed when the landing gear was raised after takeoff, or he may have froze during flight, since temperatures in uninsulated parts of the plane can reach minus 40 degrees Celsius.
It really is worth it to just buy a ticket, kids.