The strangest things that ever fell from the sky

The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote, "Into each life some rain must fall," and that is definitely true. Much rarer, however, is the life into which non-rain objects, animals, mystery fluids, and even human bodies fall. These are some of the strangest meteorological events in recorded history, enough to make "raining cats and dogs" seem totally ordinary and boring.

The Kentucky Meat Shower

Here's a question for you: if you were standing outside, doing normal chores like, say, making soap, and chunks of raw meat started falling from the sky like large snowflakes, what would you do? If you said "put it in my mouth and try to figure out what kind of meat it is," you have something in common with the people of Bath County, Kentucky, in 1876.

On March 3 of that year, the people of Olympia Springs experienced an event that has come to be known as the Kentucky Meat Shower, in which flakes of raw meat as large as a few square inches fell from the sky and piled up on the ground. Two unidentified men tasted the meat (for science, naturally) and declared that it was either venison or mutton.

An early theory was that the meat wasn't meat at all but was actually a colony of bacteria called nostoc in a "protective gelatinous envelope." (Sounds like something you might find at Guy Fieri's restaurant with donkey sauce on it, huh?) Later testing revealed actual meat tissue, including what was likely the lung tissue of either a horse or an infant.

The leading theory then became that the meat was the result of a bunch of vultures throwing up in the sky over Bath County. Those Kentucky boys probably regretted their bold taste test after hearing they may have eaten a buzzard-vomited baby's lung. A sample of the Kentucky Meat Shower can be found at Transylvania University's awesome Moosnick Museum.

Honduran fish rain

In the majority of the cases of strange precipitation, the weird rain is a one-time event, but in the small town of Yoro, Honduras, fish have been falling from the sky once or twice a year since the 1800s in a phenomenon known as the "lluvia de peces" or "rain of fish."

According to locals, every May or June, a large storm passes through the village and deposits into the streets thousands of still-flopping fish. The event was even observed by National Geographic in the 1970s, although those killjoys suggest the fish didn't actually come from the sky. 

There is no clear scientific consensus on the causes of various animal rains, which include reports of falling fish, frogs, worms, snakes, and even weirder things like jellyfish, sharks, and alligators. One theory on the fish rain is that it might be caused by a waterspout picking up the fish. Some locals attribute the event to a miracle caused by Father Jose Manuel Subirana praying for food for the village. National Geographic boringly suggests that the fish were actually fish from an underground river that got washed upward by the rain. Nerds ruin everything.

Money from heaven

In 1936, Bing Crosby starred in a movie called Pennies from Heaven, which featured him singing a song of the same name. That song has been recorded by plenty of artists in the years since; Louis Prima recorded a version in 1957 that you might be familiar with from the movie Elf. But here's a hard fact, Bing: any dumb baby can collect pennies. Falling from the sky doesn't make them special. Where's that real good folding money? It isn't really interesting until enough cash to at least buy a doughnut is falling from the sky.

Well, an unnamed woman in Worms, Germany, experienced euros from heaven in 2007. She was driving down the highway when she suddenly saw a storm of paper currency falling from the sky in her rearview mirror. She jumped out, grabbed all the bills she could, and … turned them over to the police. This was the boring choice, obviously. (It was possibly also the incorrect one: aren't there sky police who should have jurisdiction over that kind of thing?)

But this euro storm was nothing compared to what Russia did in 1940. A tornado deposited a shower of 16th-century coins on the village of Meschera. Apparently a buried treasure trove was exposed by erosion and picked up by a storm. Where's the great American jazz standard about that one, Bing?

Lake County candy shower

According to the 1881 book The History of Napa and Lake Counties by Lyman L. Palmer, Lake County in Northern California experienced some real Willy Wonka nonsense not once but twice in 1857.

On September 2 and 11 of that year, it rained candy in Lake County. Lumps or crystals of sugar described as "from one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch in length and the size of a goose quill" fell all over town in an event that Palmer undersells as a "very uncommon and curious phenomenon."

Confirming that Americans will eat apparently any trash that falls from the sky, Palmer reports that "syrup was made of [the candy] by some of the lady residents of the section." Too bad the Kentucky Meat Shower hadn't happened yet or they might have known to check the candy for the stomach acids of sweet-toothed vultures.

Where did this mysterious sky candy actually come from? No one seems to know, but you do have people like writer Ken R. Wells, who thinks it might have been aliens trying to lure residents into their sky vans and further speculates that the children who ate the candy and their descendants might have been "changed" by the sugar crystals, like some kind of sugary Skrull Kill Krew.

'Blood'

"Blood rain" is a 2005 film adaptation by director Uwe Boll of a 2002 video game about the half-human daughter of the Vampire King who hunts other vampires. No, wait. Sorry. That's BloodRayne.

Blood rain is actually a surprisingly common meteorological phenomenon attested to as far back as the ancient Greeks in which red, blood-looking liquid falls from the sky. You know, like rain. But blood. But not really blood. So … "blood."

Accounts of blood rain can be found across the world, with incidents in southern Europe being pretty common, but the phenomenon is not unheard of in Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. This particular type of red rain is said to be caused by storms in the Sahara Desert whipping sand into the air, which mixes with water in the atmosphere, falling to earth as a red or brown rain.

However, the Indian state of Kerala and the island nation of Sri Lanka are pretty darn far from the Sahara. Nevertheless, they have been experiencing blood rain since at least 1896. What, then, could be the explanation here? Rationally, reasonably, an astrologer on the show The Unexplained Files suggested aliens, who were presumably trying a new tactic after their sky candy failed to get us in their space vans.

In fact, the blood rain of Kerala seems to be caused by red algae dispersing its spores into the atmosphere. But, you know, maybe it's alien algae with alien spores?

Human body

Just a heads up: this one is kind of a bummer, so if that's going to wig you out, maybe skip ahead. Unless dead birds might bother you too, in which case, skip until you see golf balls.

A body was found crumpled on the sidewalk near a convenience store in West London in 2012, and, naturally, police initially assumed there had been a murder. However, further investigation revealed that in fact the body had probably been dropped there.

This particular neighborhood is near Heathrow Airport, and the likely scenario is that the man — probably from the African nation of Angola based on the currency in his pockets — had stowed away on the jetliner and fallen out when the plane lowered its landing gear upon approach of the airport.

What's more, the man almost certainly died long before hitting the ground, likely within the first hour of the flight, due to the lack of pressurization and oxygen in the undercarriage of the plane. So the lesson here is not to stow away in the landing gear of a plane.

Well, no. The lesson is actually to hope that you don't live in a place where you feel like you have to risk your life fleeing it to seek asylum somewhere else. You know, uh, if possible? Yeah, that was pretty heavy. Maybe watch this puppy for a minute to recover.

San Luis Obispo bird fall

San Luis Obispo, California, is famous for its birds, and its annual Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival brings bird watchers from around the world to witness the return of a wide variety of migrating birds every January.

But in 1976, the most notable (and messed up) bird-watching was on November 24, a day on which hundreds of blackbirds and pigeons fell dead in the streets of the coastal California town. The phenomenon was first discovered by a street sweeper who found the streets of downtown clogged with what has been described as "several hundred dead birds" during his early morning rounds.

That wasn't even the end of it. According to the city's public service director, birds continued to fall and die throughout the morning and intermittently over the next two days, with the birdy death toll estimated at 400 to 600. Hopefully the denizens of SLO put lids on their coffee before heading out for their morning stroll that November.

By now, you're probably — rationally, reasonably — suspecting alien activity, with a bunch of extraterrestrial Lennie Smalls who don't know their own strength disposing of their unfortunate pets, but alas, the answer is much more mundane. According to Popular Mechanics, the nearby California Polytechnic University had set out a bunch of poison grains in a field, hoping to curb the local bird population. They might have done a little of that, but they likely increased the number of California joggers with bird-related night terrors.

Golf balls over Punta Gorda

Look, at this point, you might think you won't be surprised anymore in this list. (You're wrong. The next one will almost definitely surprise you.) We could say, "Hey, in 1946, 700 grandfather clocks inexplicably rained down on the city of Topeka and several members of the local community turned them into a stew that the whole town partook of," and you would nod sagely and say, "Yes, this sounds real," because that's the kind of list this is.

So the fact that on Labor Day weekend in 1969, an amount of golf balls described by the St. Petersburg Times as "dozens and dozens and dozens" fell on the streets and homes of the coastal town of Punta Gorda, Florida, is almost comically boring to you at this point. Look at how jaded you are, only 80 percent of the way into this article.

You have probably also figured out that this area of Florida is positively replete with golf courses, and so you presume, as Popular Mechanics did, that waterspouts scooped up a bunch of golf balls from nearby water hazards and then dumped them on unsuspecting Punta Gordans. Or maybe you take a National Geographic fish rain approach and theorize a community of eyeless, underground-dwelling golf balls who were actually surged upward by swelling groundwater during the rain.

Of course, savvy readers who've been paying attention already know the real source of the golf balls: aliens.

Sex doll angel

It's the question every parent dreads hearing from their child, but they know it's coming eventually: "Mommy? Daddy? Where do sex dolls come from?"

And the prepared parent knows, as do the residents of the remote Indonesian fishing village of Kalupapi, that the answer is a single, simple word: "heaven."

According to the Telegraph, on April 19, 2016, a fisherman from Kalupapi discovered what local news organization Pojok Satu called an "angel child" that was "face down, crying and naked covered only a white cloth." The 21-year-old fisherman believed that the angel's arrival was tied to the then-recent solar eclipse that was viewed by many as a spiritual experience in Indonesia.

Struck by this angel's "round eyes with red eyebrows," the young man took the angel home, where the local community set it in a chair, giving it fresh clothes, complete with hijab, every day, a way to preserve the angel's modesty as it seemed to deflate over time.

Unfortunately, after excitement over this miracle led to images of the angel being spread across social media, the local police confirmed that the angel was, in fact, a sex doll, and it probably actually fell out of a boat and not from the hosts of seraphim and cherubim.

If nothing else, this story can add a sweet new pick-up line to the repertoire of the bold: "Hey, girl. Did it hurt when you fell out of heaven? Because you look like an Indonesian sex doll."

Thousands and thousands of spiders

Let's end on a nice, heartwarming one: the time thousand and thousands of spiders fell like snowfall on a town in Brazil.

This event was caught on video in 2013 by a 20-year-old web designer (which is stupidly on the nose, universe; please try harder) named Erick Reis who was just trying to film his friends' engagement party in San Antonio de Platina, Brazil, when suddenly a just truly horrifying number of spiders, each "around the size of a pencil eraser," started drifting down from the sky, like a legion of eight-legged Mary Poppinses.

Terrifyingly, an unnervingly nonchalant biologist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Parana characterized this event as "not so strange." Apparently in the areas around Sao Paulo, this particular species of spider, one of the very few species of social spiders in the world, inhabits the trees in colonies that can exceed 50,000 spiders.

One good, stiff wind can catch the webs of such a colony (which can grow to a staggering 65 feet tall) and the next thing you know, it's raining spiders. Hallelujah.

If your response to this is to say something like "Actually, spiders are good and not terrifying," keep in mind that beagles are also good and not terrifying, but that doesn't mean you want 50,000 of them falling on you from great heights at your engagement party.

A Shark: San Juan Capistrano, CA

San Juan Capistrano is about two miles from the California coast, but even that short distance would be a pretty long way for a shark to walk. When a golf course employee found a 2-foot leopard shark in the middle of the green in October of 2012, he popped it into the back of his golf cart and brought it to the clubhouse before eventually releasing it back into the ocean. While no one saw the shark actually get through security, it's presumed that a predatory bird had dropped its catch as it was heading back to its nest, based on a few small puncture wounds along the body of the shark.

'Star jelly'

Reports of a mysterious, evaporating jelly that appears during astrological events date back over 700 years, citing everything from meteor showers to animal products as the source of the "star jelly." An 1846 report from Lowville, NY claims that a UFO hovered near the ground and left a pile of the stuff, presumably using Earth like the Dave Matthews tour bus uses bridges and dumping its septic tank. A 2009 report from Scotland claims that witnesses actually saw some weird goop fall from the sky onto the local hills, but it was later tested and proven to be the undigested reproductive systems of local frogs and lizards, consumed by birds and later disgorged. So even though it's not space alien toilet matter, the stuff's earthly origins are no less disgusting.

Even more 'star jelly'

While the description of "star jelly" seems to change from incident to incident, a Frisco, Texas, woman claimed to have found a lawn full of the stuff in 1979, coincidentally appearing during the night of a meteor shower, and this time, having a purple hue. Rather than being space gunk, a search for the material's origin revealed that it likely came from a plant outside of Frisco that used a chemical process to purify lead in batteries, which resulted in a purple by-product. A change in the wind caused an unusual deposit in her front lawn, but some locals remained skeptical, preferring the nonsensical Maniac Mansion theory instead.

Unknown Force: Tunguska, Russia

Space will kick your butt without even touching you. On June 30, 1908, a 770 square mile of uninhabited forest in Russia was scorched and flattened, and no one knows exactly why. While distant witnesses recall hearing an explosion, and surrounding seismographs registered a 5.0 magnitude earthquake, there's absolutely no evidence of anything actually colliding with the Earth. Over 8 million trees were broken outward from the epicenter, with many near the center being burnt and stripped of branches. Prevailing scientific theory states that the blast was probably an unbelievably strong blast of air resulting from meteorite passing about five miles over the surface of the Earth. The blast of force was many times that of a nuclear weapon and could have killed millions if it occurred over a populated area, so keep your eyes on the skies, you helpless sack of meat and bones.