Daily's Strange's Toxic Thursday: Inexplicable Explanations

In addition to more or less scientific explanations of skyfalls are others that invoke mechanisms even more mysterious than the phenomena they explain. These explanations fall into the categories of extraterrestrial, supernatural, and time warp.

In the extraterrestrial hypothesis, alien spaceships are supposed, for unspecified but perhaps scientific or culinary reasons, to gather up supplies of earthly materials and then release them, or most of them. Or —a gain for undisclosed but perhaps horticultural or zoo cultural reasons or perhaps simply in spasms of interplanetary generosity—materials are directed to the earth from another similar planet and jettisoned upon us in the upper atmosphere.

In the supernatural theory, gods, demons, spirits, poltergeists, or other, unnamed, entities are responsible for the skyfalls, or at least some of them. Advocates of this theory point to those cases where dry ponds or newly dug ditches have been found to contain full- grown fish after a rainstorm — as though some aching need for fish had been mysteriously satisfied — as examples of a kind of supernatural benevolence, and to prolonged showers of stones from clear skies as in stances of otherworldly mischief.

In the time - warp theory, it is conceived that worlds of another dimension, but of parallel constitution, intersect occasionally with our own and that when they do, currents of fish, fields of ice, screes of stone, and mounds of jelly come tumbling into our ken.

The virtue of these theories is that they account for all contingencies, however bizarre. Their flaw is that they do so by invoking untestable powers and circumstances that are even more fantastic. This is not to say that there may not be some truth in the theories, but simply that if there is, it is a truth of the most remote kind.

On the other hand, if objects do indeed materialize in our world from other realms, perhaps those realms are subject to corresponding disappearances. Perhaps reverse skyfalls occur, in which objects are inexplicably sucked into the air. There is no evidence for this, of course, but if such events were to occur in our own world, we might feel more comfortable theorizing them in another. Therefore, the following reports of reverse skyfalls are included here.

The Times (London) of July 5, 1842, reported the following from the Scottish Fife Herald:

Wednesday forenoon [June 29] a phenomenon of most rare and extraordinary character was observed in the immediate neighborhood of Cupar (Scotland). About half past 12 o’clock, whilst the sky was clear, and the air, as it had been throughout the morning, perfectly calm, a girl employed in tramping clothes in a tub in the piece of ground above the town called the common, heard a loud and sharp report overhead, succeeded by a gust of wind of most extraordinary vehemence, and only of a few moments duration. On looking round, she observed the whole of the clothes, sheets, etc. lying within a line of certain breadth, stretching across the green, several hundred yards distant; another portion of the articles, however, consisting of a quantity of curtains, and a number of smaller articles, were carried upwards to an immense height, so as to be almost lost to the eye, and gradually disappeared altogether from sight in a south-eastern direction and have not yet been heard of. At the moment of the report which preceded the wind, the cattle in the neighboring meadow were observed running about in an affrighted state, and for some time afterwards they continued cowering together in evident terror. The violence of the wind was such that a woman, who at the time was holding a blanket, found herself unable to retain it in fear of being carried along with it! It is remarkable that, while even the heaviest articles were being stripped off a belt, as it

were, running across the green, and while the loops of several sheets which were pinned down an (sic) snapped, light articles lying loose on both sides of the holt (a wooded hill) were never moved from their position.

From the July 10, 1880, issue of Scientific American comes this report from the Plain Dealer of East Kent, Ontario:

Mr. David Muckle and Mr. W. R. McKay ... were in a field on a farm of the former when they heard a sudden loud report, like that of a cannon. They turned just in time to see a cloud of stones flying upward from a spot in the field. Surprised beyond measure they examined the spot, which was circular and about 16 feet across, but there was no sign of an eruption nor anything to indicate the fall of a heavy body there. The ground was simply swept clean. They are quite certain that it was not caused by a meteorite, an eruption of the earth, or a whirlwind.

#poltergeist #gods #demons #supernatural #supernaturaltheory #extraterrestrial