8 Weird Disasters from History

Florida's weather is often predictable—but few people would have expected “partly cloudy with a chance of golf balls” as the weather forecast. In this episode of The List Show, editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy dives into some of history's most peculiar disasters.

Cloudy with a chance of golf balls. / Fotovikus / Shutterstock
Cloudy with a chance of golf balls. / Fotovikus / Shutterstock /

When you think of a disaster, things like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes probably come to mind. But some catastrophes aren’t quite that run-of-the-mill.

On September 1, 1969, the Florida weather forecast was “partly cloudy with a chance of golf balls.” Residents of Punta Gorda were stunned when, in the words of one newspaper, “dozens and dozens and dozens” of dimpled white balls rained upon the city during an otherwise commonplace rainstorm.

More than 150 years earlier and an entire ocean away, a huge vat of porter at London’s Horse Shoe Brewery broke open on October 17, 1814, sending an estimated 3500 barrels’ worth of beer, or about 1 million pints, into the surrounding streets.

Boston’s Great Molasses Flood of 1919, meanwhile, released 2.3 million gallons of what has been called “sweet, sticky death.”

On this episode of  The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy explores toxic smog, a downpour of mystery meat, and a sticky situation for Pepsi.

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