That Time it Rained Meat…

That Time it Rained Meat…

On March 3, 1876, one Mrs. Crouch was working
in her yard in Bath County, Kentucky, making soap, when suddenly “meat which looked like
beef began to fall all around her. The sky was perfectly clear at the time.” Falling
like large snowflakes and settling all around the 5000 square foot yard, pieces of flesh
ranging in size from about two inches square to four, dotted the ground and were even stuck
on the fences. When it first appeared, the meat was said to be fresh, and, accordingly,
two unidentified (but brave) men even sampled it. They claimed it tasted a bit gamey – like
mutton or even venison. The story was published in the New York Times
on March 9th, and it caught the attention of Leopold Brandeis who was able to get his
hands on a sample that had been preserved in glycerine. After examining it, Brandeis
declared that the meat wasn’t a supernatural phenomenon, or in fact, according to him,
even meat at all, but a substance called nostoc. Nostoc has been known to scientists since
at least the 16th century when it was named by Paracelsus. As with the Kentucky shower,
early on people believed that nostoc fell from the sky in large chunks (or more rightly
blobs), and to medieval people it was known as “witch’s jelly” and “troll’s
butter.” Technically a genus of cyanobacteria that
live in colonies, it’s not clear when people realized that nostoc does not, in fact, come
from the sky, but rather lives in the soil and on moist surfaces. When dry, it is easy
to overlook nostoc as it appears as a dark, flaky crust; however, after a rain, nostoc
will swell up into jelly-like masses. This led people to think it fell from the sky with
rain, thus one of its nicknames “star jelly.” Edible and said to taste like chicken or frog,
Brandeis was convinced that the Crouch’s had nothing more than bacterial blobs on their
hands; however, although his theory accounted for some of the details in the report, he
had overlooked two important points – eye witness testimony claims they actually saw
the substance falling from the sky and it was a clear day with no rain. Further investigations were also conducted,
including one by histologist, Dr. A. Mead Edwards, who also examined the chunks. He
concluded that the substance was definitely not nostoc, but rather hunks of flesh. From
the tissue samples he had, it appeared to come from the lungs of either a horse or a
human baby. A third investigation by another histologist,
Dr. J.W.S. Arnold, confirmed the presence of lung tissue, but also found animal cartilage.
Subsequent investigations confirmed both histologists’ findings and also revealed muscular tissue. Finally, one man provided a theory that covered
all of the facts. L. D. Kastenbine, M.D., a Professor of Chemistry at the Louisville
College of Pharmacy, published an article on the matter that same year in the Louisville
Medical Journal. Kastenbine concluded that the best explanation was that supplied by
an old Ohio farmer: the meat had been vomited by several vultures who were flying too high
to be seen (some varieties of vulture can fly as high as 40,000 feet; for reference
Mount Everest is about 29,029 feet). Given that the chunks fell from a great height,
they were scattered by the wind over a relatively large area. Both the turkey vulture, Cathartes aura, and
the black vulture, Coragyps atratus, are found in that part of Kentucky, and both have been
observed projectile vomiting the contents of their stomachs, sometimes in or just before
they take flight. They particular do this in the presence of a predator, with the discarded
contents of their stomachs simultaneously distracting the predator while also lightening
the vulture’s load for flight. When one vomits, this also often induces others nearby
to vomit as well. As to why this particular flock of vultures chose to vomit mid-flight
is anybody’s guess, but at least the theory seems the most plausible explanation for this
bizarre phenomenon. In November of 1970, whale meat rained from
the sky over a portion of Oregon. The cause of this one is definitively known. The Oregon
Department of Transportation had the bright idea of disposing of a dead beached sperm
whale by blowing it up with a half a ton of dynamite. This did not work out as anticipated
and instead of disintegrating much of the whale, instead huge flying, very dangerous,
chunks of whale were launched in all directions, with one large chunk destroying a car some
1/4 of a mile away from the detonation point. Frogs and toads have been reported falling
from the skies many times. In 1794, near Lalain, France, 150 French soldiers were pelted with
hundreds of toads, many of which still retained some of their tadpole tails.

100 thoughts on “That Time it Rained Meat…”

  1. Vultures…. That is the best explanation they could dream up. Charles Fort would be disappointed in this seemingly meaningless and banal hypothesis.

  2. lungs of a horse or a human baby? did i hear/understand that correctly? isn't there a major size difference?

  3. Great stuff first time I've heard of falling meat. Really like your delivery. Thanks again for the info.

  4. I wonder if when one vulture vomits the others follow is like how humans throw up when they see someone else throwup causing a chain reaction

  5. Ok, this thought has been burning me up for weeks now: how do cemeteries make money after all the plots are sold?

  6. Can you imagine being the owner of that parked car destroyed by flying whale meat?

    "I parked around this corner….WTF???"

  7. So… Someone threw out a goddamn baby… Vultures ate it and puked it up at the altitude of a goddamn airplane… The remains rained from the sky…. Then people ATE said remains…

    I don't think I'm hungry anymore.

  8. I had a buddy that was in Desert Storm, he told me of a camel that stepped on a landmine once. He said it rained camel parts all over the convoy. The largest parts were 2 of the feet, the rest was essentially red vapor and small chunks.

  9. The Exploding Whale story is still one of the funniest local news stories

  10. If the vultures vomit in the presence of a predator to escape, and they were in the air at them time this happened, there may have been an eagle in the air with them, possibly threatening them.

  11. So what your saying is that the guy who sampled the mystery sky meat actually ate vulture vomit… hope nobody told him…

  12. I have nostock at my house and am struggling to get rid of it. I have tried petrol, bleach, salt, diesel, washing detergent and various swimming pool chemicals. Does anyone have any ideas ……

  13. Imagine my surprise when I took my son to McDonald's play-place and saw Simon Whistler and "Today I Found Out" on McD's T.V. Way to grow mainstream, guys!

  14. I’ve actually seen copies of the newspaper article of this! It was part of a plot point in one of Rick Yancey’s Monstrumologist books

  15. That time it rained water😱😱😱😱😱😰😰😰😱😰😱😰😱😰😱😰😱😰😨😰😨😱😨😰😨😱😨😨😰😨😨😱😨😨😰😨😱😨😰😨😳😳😳😳😱😱😨😰😨😱😨😰😨😰😨

  16. Nooo the aliens exploded an animal in the sky and then dropped it to fuck with everybody instant cocked bbq

  17. I really though it was going to be bits of dead and decaying farm animal meat being catapulted like in Monty Python's search for the holy grail, and yes I know this was a medieval tactic to spread disease into a walled settlement. Never guessed it was vomiting vulture. That's pretty damn nasty. Catapulting diseased livestock is a very interesting way to decimate the enemy during a siege – especially late on when the settlements food stocks are way low, people would eat the animals because they were starving and end up spreading all sorts of nasty shit to those close in proximity via excrement and vomit

  18. But wouldn't the vultures super corrosive atomic acid have destroyed all the plant's it landed on not to mention hurting the people who touched it and eaten said meat and wouldn't the scientists have found it in the meat and think why is this meat super corrosive.

  19. Just want to state for the audience that I've seen a flock of turkey vultures climb very high in the sky – they never did it before, or after without help, but a warm-air vortice – like a water-spout without the water, or a tornado that is only going 75 MPH – they took advantage of it, and rode it up higher than any bird I've ever seen. Somehow they all seemed to know that that was what they wanted to do instead of just flying off in some direction away from the vortice, and they rode it up and up. When the vortice passed over me, I was standing on a plank platform over Everglades water. I held on to the hand-rail, and saw the water really kick up like nothing I'd ever seen back there before. The water area I was over was pretty protected by a levee, higher dirt sides and trees, and it still kicked up pretty wickedly.

  20. If getting shit on by a bird is considered a sign of good luck to some people, I wonder what having a vulture vomit meat on you means?

  21. "…known as spider rain, which you can learn more about…" That's going to be a big no on the nightmare inducing topic.

  22. I live in Oregon, that whole blowin up a whale was as funny as it sounds. People gathered to watch them blow it up….until it starting raining chunks of Whale blubber up to qtr of a mile away.

  23. Scientists will find one or 2 points in a story, match it to an existing phenomenon and then mark it as explained. Even though they ignored the other 5 points. This is why every UFO sighting is either swamp gas or a weather balloon. And yes, a small percentage are just mirages or a non-alien flying object; most sightings include other details that cannot be so easily explained. Also this nostoc stuff looks green or brownish, it looks like slime. It does not look like meat.

  24. Vomiting vultures… did they find any evidence of stomach acids or that the meat had been partially digested? Also what kinds of animals did the meat come from??

  25. Vulture stomach acid would have been obvious. And I'm pretty certain they don't scissor out consistent chunks to eat.

  26. I have a more plausible theory:
    Someone stuck the world's largest bottle rocket up a poor sheep's but.

  27. As I'm from a country which uses the metric system, I would love if there could be subtitles in the video with conversions when those videos tell distances, weights or capacities, because if it wasn't for the Everest comparison, I would have no idea of how up vultures can fly. Thank you!

  28. Also there's the story of the town that woke up to find itself covered in some kind of strange goo (plus a bunch of other seemingly supernatural occurrences such as lights in the sky) only to discover that it was magpie vomit.

    Best guess? Secret testing of some kind of weapon/technology that made the local birds sick.

  29. Remember that one time? The day it rained pigeon shit. Hold your tongue and say "apple." Do it! Do it now!

  30. Whatever the cause, it is clear that this theory sucked. Reaching for sure. A person can't tell the difference between regular meat and regurgitated vulture puke? Also, if this is a common phenomena why don't we see many more reports of raining meat?

  31. Looking for more fun food facts? Then check out this video and find out Why a Bakers Dozen is 13 Instead of 12:

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