The story that alligators haunt the sewer system of New York City is thought to be an apocryphal one, possibly started by Thomas Pynchon’s mention of it in his novel V. But tales of out-of-place crocodilians have persisted for years.
“On December 26, 1877, no less than the New York Times reported the following: “Dr. J.L. Smith of Silverton Township, South Carolina, while opening up a new turpentine farm, noticed something fall to the ground and commence to crawl toward the tent where he was sitting. On examining the object he found it to be an alligator. In a few moments a second one made its appearance. The doctor looked around to see if he could discover any more, and found six others within a space of two hundred yards. The animals were all quite lively, and about twelve inches in length. The place whereon they fell is situated on high sandy ground about six miles north of the Savannah River.”
A similar story emerged in 1957, courtesy of writer John Toland, who told the story of the U.S. Navy airship Macon. In 1934 the Macon had participated in maneuvers in the Caribbean and was sailing westward on its return trip. As it was entering the sky over California on the afternoon of May 17, the commander, Robert Davis, heard a loud splashing over his head from one of the ballast bags.
Concerned, he climbed into the rigging as the splashing grew louder and louder. He opened the ballast bag and looked in. Swimming around excitedly was a two-foot alligator. No one had any idea where it came from. They had been in the air for several days and it seemed highly improbable that this big, noisy creature could have been with them all that time without being heard. Moreover, Davis had been up and around the ship ever since their departure, and he had seen nothing so out of the ordinary as an alligator.
The only possible explanation – though it made no sense at all – was that the reptile had fallen on the ballast bag from above.
Most people have heard of fish and frogs falling from the sky. The explanation usually given is that a tornado or strong whirlwind picked up the animals from a shallow body of water and carried them some distance before dropping them back on land.
In 1890, Popular Science News reported that blood rained down on Messignadi, Calabria in Italy – bird’s blood. It was speculated that the birds were somehow torn part by violent winds, although there were no such winds at the time. And no other parts of the bird came down – just blood.
J. Hudson’s farm in Los Nietos Township, California endured a rain of flesh and blood for three minutes in 1869. The grisly fall covered several acres.
The American Journal of Science confirmed a shower of blood, fat and muscle tissue that fell on a tobacco farm near Lebanon, Tennessee in August, 1841. Field workers, who actually experienced this weird shower, said they heard a rattling noise and saw “drops of blood fall from a red cloud which was flying over them.”
The most amazing of these stories was actually proven factual… but not supernatural. Sometime around 1990, a Japanese fishing boat was sunk in off the eastern coast of Siberia by a falling cow. When the crew of the wrecked ship were fished from the water, they told authorities that they had seen several cows falling from the sky, and that one of them crashed straight through the deck and hull. At first the fishermen were arrested for trying to perpetrate an insurance fraud, but were released when their story was verified. It seems that a Russian transport plane carrying stolen cattle was flying overhead. When the movement of the herd within the plane threw it off balance, the plane’s crew, to avoid crashing, opened the loading bay at the tail of the aircraft and drove them out to fall into the water below.
image from Canstructions