Samui Wining & Dining
Pigs Can Fly

Watch out when you look up; there’s all sorts of food falling from the sky!


16A few of you probably won’t believe some of the things you’re about to read. You’ll assert that squadrons of pigs flying in formation into the setting sun are far more plausible. But, then, history has always had its antagonists; those who prefer their armchair and slippers to the rocky perch of truth. And truth it is, as probably each and every one of the Fortian events you are about to read were recorded and documented at the time, often by the local, if not also the national press, sometimes even making it to the pages of the hallowed National Geographic. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of,” as The Bard once observed.

All sorts of strange and unusual things seem to be hovering around up there somewhere, just waiting their chance to hail down on the unsuspecting populace below. And for some reason almost all of them seem to be edible. And, for those seekers of causes and rooters for explanations amongst us, I can state with certainly that some of these events have certainly been caused by known and logical phenomena.

Like, for example, the annual rain of fish in Yoro, Honduras. This has been happening every year since 1998 and has given rise to a televised-live local annual festival. Investigators from the National Geographic have determined that the fish are a blind, cave-dwelling freshwater species of unknown origin. However, the fish-fall is always preceded by dark clouds, a thunderstorm and heavy rain. Thus it’s a fair assumption that weather and pressure conditions are affecting a subterranean reservoir somewhere causing waterspouts (plus fish) to surface and be sucked upwards. But that’s an easy one.

As also is the case of the (non-edible) golf balls that rained all over the streets of Florida’s Punta Gorda in 1969. Located on the western Gulf Coast, Punta Gorda regularly experiences severe weather which often causes waterspouts. The region is also home to lots of golf courses. It would seem a simple step to draw a conclusion by combining these two facts …

But what about the clear blue skies over Naphilon, in southern Greece, from which suddenly tumbled thousands of 2-inch frogs in May 1981? The government’s official statement put this down to ‘strong winds’. They certainly must have been. Apart from the fact it wasn’t windy, this species of frog is only found in inland areas of northern Africa.

And then there was Chilatchee, Alabama, in 1956. Out of a clear sky, a farmer and his wife watched a dark cloud appear. When it was overhead, the cloud released its contents: rain, catfish, bass and bream – all of them alive and flopping. No less bizarre was the report in Popular Science News in 1890 that a rain of blood had fallen out of a cloudless sky in Messignadi, Italy. It turned out to be a huge quantity of bird’s blood. Although it was assumed that somehow the birds had been torn apart by violent winds, it was a completely calm day. And nobody seemed to dwell upon the fact that there was only blood – no other parts of the birds came down at all.

A little gruesome. But for a big gruesome, how about the report in The American Journal of Science which confirmed that an extensive shower of blood, fat, bone and muscle tissue fell onto a tobacco farm near Lebanon, Tennessee, in August 1841. The mess was identified as belonging to a group of cows, although later enquiries revealed no signs of indignant cow-less cowboys anywhere. And the weather was fine and calm without even a convenient cloud to act as some sort of aerial gore transporter. It was, in fact, perfect beefburger weather.

But not all such mysterious precipitation causes shock or horror, and one or two events have turned out to be quite jolly. In 1996, a heavy fall of what appeared to be large quantities of slime fell on the moors of Scotland. Referred to as the locals as the ‘snot shower’ the event quickly drew an audience from far and wide. The substance was like jelly, colourless, firm but yielding to the touch and absolutely perfect for heaving a blob at your unsuspecting neighbour. Within the hour (and before experts could arrive to do scientific and DNA tests) there was a full-scale slime-fight going on which was not at all dampened (other than figuratively) by the liberal consumption of alcohol. After the event, scientists were unable to determine the slime’s origin although it was deemed to be organic. Also after the event, such was the enjoyment of the occasion, a festival day was declared on every 17th of June thereafter which officially became known as ‘Slime Day’. A commemorative bar called ‘Slimey’s’ has appeared and has become the focus of the frolics where, once a year, a whole bunch of bearded guys in tartan skirts get drunk and throw jelly at each other. Yet another example of community spirit(s) emerging after a time of jointly-shared hardship – or jelly, as the case may be.

I could go on (and I often do). But if you’re not convinced by now, that’s your prerogative. I’m into the flow of the thing, delighted and intrigued by the off-beat eccentricities of Abundant Nature, red in tooth, claw and tumbling offal. I could burble on about the Japanese fishing boat that was struck and sunk by a falling cow in 1986. Or the group of plummeting polar bears that were filmed falling into a New York street and crushing cars, not that long ago. But then, you’d have to be really gullible to go for that one as everyone knows that polar bears don’t fall from the skies in New York. (It was, some say, a staged statement by the Plane Stupid protest group.) But I actually saw it on You Tube so I know it must be true.

All of which makes flying pigs almost a common-or-garden occurrence. They’re not that weird. In fact, compared to some of the stuff that you see in the skies, they’re positively ordinary. Although I do have it on the very good authority of one slime-slathered and slightly-swaying Scotsman that flying pigs are certainly real enough.


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