Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fort's Thoughts On Falls

I've presented that tornadoes and such probably have a relationship to many of these mysterious Falls (as they are known), of which the Arkansas birds are the most recent (if not the most mysterious). The literature is full of strange things--organic or otherwise--that rain down from the sky. It's hard to discount that there was very recent tornadic activity in Arkansas prior to the event. It's also hard to discount that it occurred on New Year's Eve. Many blame fireworks and bad weather on the sudden plummit of several thousand dead red-winged blackbirds in Beebe, AR. All very sound and logical.

Still, in looking through my library and files of all things weird, I came across a quote by the noted anomalist, Charles Fort:

"Coffins have come down from the sky; also...hats and horse collas and pajamas. But these things have come down at the time of a whirlwind.  The two statements that I start with are that no shower exclusively of coffins, nor of marriage certificates, nor of alarm clocks has been recorded; but that showers exclusively of living things are common. And yet the explanation by orthodox scientists who accept that showers of living things have occurred is that the creatures were the products of whirlwinds. The explanation is that little frogs, for instance, fall from the sky, unmixed with anything else, because, in a whirlwind, the creatures were segregated by differences in specific gravity.  But when a whirlwind strikes a town, away go detachables in a monstrous mixture, and there's no findable record of washtubs coming down in one place, all the town's cats in one falling battle that lumps its infelicities in one place, all the the kittens coming down together somewhere else, in a distant bunch that meows for its lump of mothers."

He makes a valid point, assuming we agree to one condition: that the accounts of mysterious falls throughout history are to be believed entirely as they have been perceived. Doubtlessly many are fabrications, drafted for the amusement of either the reader or the writer. In the era Charles Fort collected many of his tidbits from newspapers everywhere, these same said newspapers were rife with tabloid tales meant to drum up sales. It's hard to take every fantastic story serious when so many were known frauds. What is it they say? One bad apple? Maybe there's a fall of apples in the literature as well.


"Early tests on the birds showed no toxic gases trapped in their feathers, though biologists found some physical trauma indicative of being hit by hail or lightning. Still, a bird die-off of this magnitude is unusual. Among the possible explanations: People shooting off fireworks in the area flushed a large roost of birds out of treetops, causing them to fly into either a hail storm or a lightning strike.

Beebe's blackbird population is large enough so that the US Department of Agriculture has in the past attempted large-scale scarecrow techniques to move large flocks out of the area. Outnumbered and outmaneuvered, the USDA gave up those efforts a few years ago.

In 1973, several hundred ducks dropped from the sky near Stuttgart, Ark., known as "The Duck Capital of the World," victims of a sudden storm. In another case, biologists found hundreds of what Ms. Rowe calls "perfectly good," but dead, pelicans in the middle of the woods. While the pelicans showed no outward signs of injury or singe marks, necropsies showed they'd been hit by lightning.

Adding to the mystery is an apparent fish kill 125 miles away in the same state. A day before the bird die-off, a tugboat operator near Ozark, Ark., spotted thousands of dead drum fish floating in the Arkansas River. Biologists say the two events are probably not related and suggest that the fish kill – a much more common event than a bird rain – is likely linked to a disease that affected only one species."

More from this article HERE

[ch] I used to work for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. I can tell you that both fish and bird "kills" (as they're termed) aren't that uncommon. These just made the news because there wasn't much else to discuss apparently.


Confirmation on the Louisiana bird kill, although it took linking through three different websites to find it. You're no help at ALL, GOOGLE! Check it out.


Autumnforest said...

This really intrigues me ever since I heard in England of fish falling from the sky. I was in a tornado one time as a kid and when I walked around the property afterwards, I found something really weird. In the pasture, there were loads of bicycles and metal objects. In the creek area, there were a lot of smaller things like wallets and dolls and such. I wondered if perhaps it had more to do with mass and how it would fly from the tornado as it dissipated. Don't know, but anything caught in a whirlwind here in the desert (dust devil) can be strewn around like a tornado would do. In fact, one time a dust devil emptied half the water out of my pool.

Cullan Hudson said...

I always marvel out how a tornado will flip a car but leave a styrofoam cup untouched. There are some very weird physics that take place during these events that, while well-studied, still hold a great number of mysteries. It would seem to me that if a centrifuge can separate various substances, then any object(s) caught up in such a storm might do the same thing. Perhaps it has more to do with how long inside they stay. Certain things get picked up and tossed immediately. Others might swirl about in that cloud for a while, giving them time to separate according to mass.