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A Rain of Stones

by Doug MacGowan

Throughout history there have been documented instances of unlikely objects falling from the sky. There was the rain of beans from the sky over St. Louis in 1945; fish falling from out of nowhere in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1985; and silver coins falling over Russia in 1940.

Probably the most common event of this type, however, are stones falling from the sky. Incidents of this type have been chronicled from around the world.

rain of stones

A deadly rain of stones. Woodcut with early handcoloring from Conrad Lycosthenes’ (Chronicle of Prodigies and Omens) – “Prodigiorum ac Ostentorum Chronicon” Published Hendricus Petri, Basel, 1557.

These events are separate from unexplained objects being thrown by poltergeist activity, in that only stones are thrown and the incidents often happen outdoors, instead of inside a house.

One of the best chronicled rain of stones took place in the little town of Harrisonville, Ohio, in October of 1901. A local newspaper wrote of the event: it began on October 13th, when a small boulder came crashing through the window of a house near the town. The family went outside to see who had thrown the rock, but nobody was found in the vicinity. While the family was outside, other stones began to crash into the house, apparently without a source. Several days later, the area afflicted by the phenomenon grew as stones fell from the sky throughout the town. Villagers panicked and armed themselves, but the stones continued to come out of the sky from no apparent source. The phenomenon continued for several days, and the townspeople even went to the extreme of rounding up all of the men and boys of Harrisonville to make sure none of them were throwing the boulders. The stones continued to fall. Eventually, however, the rain of stones stopped as mysteriously as it had begun.

Several years later a similar incident happened in Indonesia. A witness stated that soon after midnight he was awoken by a stone falling near his bed. When he lit his bedside lamp he saw boulders falling through the roof from no apparent source. The man and his servant searched the house and the area around the house but found no source for the rocks, which continued to fall from the sky. The man reported: “I…tried to catch the stones while they were falling through the air towards me, but I could never catch them; it seemed to me that they changed direction in the air as soon as I tried to get hold of them.” He climbed up to investigate the ceiling and found that the stones came through the roof without causing a hole in the ceiling.

Also in Indonesia, in 1928, a similar incident took a strange turn. A Fortean researcher was present and stated: “Our host invited us to pick up some of the stones and mark them with chalk, lipstick, paint…and then toss them as far as we could into the surrounding garden….We threw the small stones, duly marked, far out (into the garden and) within a minute they were all back (inside)! Nobody, without a powerful flashlight or super-eyesight could have found those little stones in that tangled mess (of the garden) in that length of time, and thrown them back on the veranda.”

Despite the sheer number of rocks falling from the sky, it is rare that one of the stones came into contact with people. Buildings and objects may be destroyed, but injuries to persons are not often chronicled.

A 1982 incident in Kenya lasted for several months and the homeowner took desperate measures: “I can tell you honestly that we are being driven mad by what is happening. Hundreds of people have come to the house promising help but nobody has been able to do anything. We have prayers said and we have had witch-doctors performing strange ceremonies. Nothing has helped.

Investigators are stumped. There has never been a conclusive solution to the problems. On analysis, the stones turn out to be ordinary rocks easily found in the area of incident. Some have postulated that the stones may be swept up in tornado-like conditions, but often the rocks fall out of a clear sky.

Further research is needed to come to conclusions about the puzzling phenomenon, and if the past is any indication, there will be plenty of similar future incidents to study.

Sources
Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century

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