Raining fish...

Ken Jones

Staff member
Date: October 10, 2007
To: PFIC Message Board
From: moonshine
Subject: How about fish in the rain?

Here's proof from accounts compiled on the xproject website:

Eyewitness account of a fish fall by John Lewis of Mountain Ash, Glamorganshire, Wales in 1859: "On Wednesday, February 9, I was getting out a piece of timber, for the purpose of setting it for the saw, when I was startled by something falling all over me-down my neck, on my head, and on my back. On putting my hand down my neck I was surprised to find they were little fish. By this time I saw the whole ground covered with them. I took off my hat, the brim of which was full of them. They were jumping all about. They covered the ground in a long strip of about 80 yards by 12, as we measured afterwards. That shed was covered with them, and the shoots were quite full of them. My mate and I might have gathered bucketsful of them, scraping with our hands. We did gather a great many, about a bucketful, and threw them into the rain pool, where some of them now are. There were two showers with an interval of about ten minutes, and each shower lasted about two minutes or thereabouts. The time was 11 AM. The morning up-train to Aberdare was just then passing. It was not blowing very hard, but uncommon wet; just about the same wind as there is today, and it came from this quarter. They came down with the rain in a body, like."

SOURCE: Annual Register, 101:14-15, 1859

Eyewitness testimony of Shekh Chaudhari Ahmed - 19 February 1830, Faridpur, India: "I had been doing my work at a meadow, when I perceived at the hour of 12 o'clock the sky gather clouds, and began to rain slightly, then a large fish touching my back by its head fell on the ground. Being surprised I looked about, and behold a number of fish likewise fell from heaven. They were saul, sale, guzal, mirgal, and bodul. I took 10-11 fish in number, and I saw many other persons take many."

Eyewitness testimony of Shekh Suduruddin - The same fish fall on 19 February 1830: "On Friday, at 12 o'clock P.M., in the month of Phalgun...when I was at work in a field, I perceeived the sky darkened by clouds, began to rain a little and a large fish fell from the sky. I was confounded at the sight, and soon entered my small cottage, which I had there, but I came out again as son as the rain had ceased and found every part of my hut scattered with fish; they were bodul, mirgal and nouchi, and amounted to 25 in number."

SOURCE: The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal; December 1833.

Eyewitness account of Francis de Castelnau, traveler and naturalist living in Singapore after an earth quake shook the land on 16 February 1861, and was followed by heavy rains which led to the strange fish fall: "At 10 o’clock the sun lifted and from my window I saw a large number of Malays and Chinese filling baskets with fishes which they picked up in the pools of rain water which covered the ground. On being asked where the fishes came from, the natives replied that they had fallen from the sky. Three days afterwards, when the pools had dried up, we found many dead fishes.

Having examined the animals, I recognized them as Slarias battrachi, a species of catfish, which is very abundant in fresh water in Singapore, and in the Malayan Peninsula. They were from 25-30 centimeters long and therefore adult.
These silurioids are able to live a long time out of water, and to progress some distance on land, and I thought at once that they had come from some small overflowing stream nearby; but the yard of the house I inhabited is enclosed by a wall that would prevent them entering in this manner.
An old Malay has since told me that in his youth he had seen a similar phenomenon."