From Fortean Times 146 (June 2001):

NEARLY A HUNDRED DIVERSE OBJECTS FALL OUT of Fort's skies, from aerolites to worms. Though less promiscuous, the ancient heavens also provided some peculiar precipitations.

As I wrote in FT 138:14, there was a rain of frogs, along with something Fort (Books, p81) never found: falls of tadpoles - in their second Book of Lists (Bantam, NY, 1980, p89), D Wallechinsky and the Wallaces (Irving/Amy/ Sylvia) say tadpoles hatched from mysterious black eggs that fell on Port au Prince on 5 May 1786.

Our frog-man, Athenaeus, also proclaims "I know it has rained fishes in many places. Phaenias says in book two of his Rulers of Eresus that in the Chersonese it rained fishes for three days, and Phylarchus in his fourth book says people in many places have seen this."

Livy (History, hk3 ch10 para6 - 461BC) records: "It rained lumps of meat Thousands of birds seized and devoured pieces in mid-air. What hit the ground lay there several days without putrescence."

Fort thrice (Books, pp651, 655, 665) correlates weird reports with times of national crisis or religious revivalism. Livy (bk21 ch62 para1) beat him to this point. "Many queer things were believed on small evidence, as is usual when men's minds are shaken by fear." Hence his narrative of the Hannibalic War (bks21-30) is studded with falling objects: stones (once, red-hot) are the commonest; blood, chalk, and milk each come down once. Many others, culled from his later (lost) hooks, are inventoried in Julius Obsequens' Book of Prodigies.

Plutarch (Life of Fabius Maximus, ch2 para4) adds writing tablets inscribed "Mars Now Brandishes His Weapons".

Nothing ever hits anybody. The ones in Pliny's register (Natural History, bk2 ch57) are likewise merciful: "frequent" falls of meat, milk and blood (114BC); iron (54BC); wool (49BC); baked bricks (also 49BC).

Cicero's list (On the Nature of the Gods, bk2 chs3-4; cf. his On Divination, bkl ch98, for earth and milk) of the commonest prodigies includes showers of blood and stones; Livy (bk43 ch13 paral - 169BC) records a concurrence of these at Rome and Reate. A phenomenon is sometimes explained. Falls of birds in 204 and 196BC were the result of violent air-pockets caused by the shouts of soldiers and Olympic spectators (Livy, bk29 ch25 para4; Plutarch, Life of Flamininus, ch10 para6). Pindar (Olympic Odes, no7 v34) waxes over a shower of golden flakes; cf. Fort (p132) for golden thread inside a stone, also Lists (above, p89) for 1971 golden rain on Sydney.

Manna from Heaven (Exodus, ch16 vvl4-6) is dubbed by Fort (p554) "one of the commonest of miracles." Acts of the Apostles (ch19 v35) mentions Ephesian worship of a statue of Diana that "fell from heaven". Plutarch (Face of the Moon, ch937 paraF) has a lion fall on the Peloponnesus. Diogenes Laertius (Philosophers' Lives, bk8 ch72) mentions at third remove a man plummeting from the Moon (cf. Fort, pp609-1 1, on creatures teleported from Mars or Moon), a perhaps suitably lunatic finale to this column.

"Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" - Popular song

Barry Baldwin
(reprinted with permission of the Author; blame any typically graphic transcription errors on dm)