We’re all familiar with the phrase “raining cats and dogs,” but what about fish and frogs? Since biblical times, there have been reports of strange things falling from the sky. Some incidents have occurred more than once and are the result of natural causes. Others were more random and are less likely to repeat themselves.
1. Raw Meat
A few pieces of poultry fell from the sky in Virginia in 2012, one landing on the head of a teen in the middle of a horseback riding lesson. Experts guess that a seagull was the culprit. But it was buzzards, thought to be responsible for regurgitating venison or mutton, that caused the 1876 event now known as the Kentucky Meat Shower.
3. Blood rain
In 2001, a weird red “blood” rain fell over the Indian state of Kerala. The cause of the mysterious event stumped scientists. Some speculated that dust or fungal spores were to blame for the colorful downpour, while others speculated the red rain had extra terrestrial origins.
Like fish, frogs are easy targets for updrafts and can be carried and dropped miles and miles away. In one 2009 incident, tadpoles rained down on a town in central Japan.
In 2012, a leopard shark fell on the 12th tee of a Southern California golf course. A course marshal found it and transported it back to the ocean, where it was successfully released. Witnesses say the shark had puncture wounds and concluded that it had been scooped up by a bird and carried over land before it was able to shake free.
Water spouts were thought to be the cause of around 120 worms falling in tangled bunches onto a group of students during gym class in 2011.
7. Golf Balls
We all joke about golf-ball sized hail, but what about real golf balls? Popular Mechanics cited a St. Petersburg Times story that reported “dozens and dozens and dozens” of golf balls falling on the town of Punta Gorda on the gulf coast of Florida in 1969. Water spouts and an abundance of golf courses were thought to have been behind the strange and dangerous occurrence.
In 2007, a German woman was able to collect “a substantial amount of money” that fell from the sky as she was driving. In what is a really impressive combination of honesty and foolishness, she later turned it in to police.
Spiders can’t fly, but they can build a parachute with the best of them. It's a somewhat common phenomenon when the weather heats up on southeastern Brazil.
J.W. Moore of Easton, Pennsylvania, wrote to the editors of Science Magazine to recount a "mud shower" caused by a dust storm and subsequent rain that occurred on April 12, 1902. It happened again later that year, this time in New Zealand: According to a telegram from November 14, "The south train yesterday afternoon encountered a shower of red mud the whole way from Henley to Waihola."
A version of this story originally ran in 2013; it has been updated for 2022.