November 16, 2015 8:38 am

You’ve heard the expression, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” While that might seem a little far-fetched, it’s not exactly beyond the realm of possibility.

Plenty of things that weren’t water have rained from the sky — everything from spiders and sharks to inexplicable, jelly-like substances. Sounds strange, but the world can be a really strange place.

Here are eight utterly bizarre things that have rained from the sky.

1. Tadpoles


(Source: Flickr / RayMorris1)

In 2009, tadpoles fell from the sky in the Japanese city of Hakusan.

Normally, this phenomenon could be attributed to strong winds, storms or water spouts (when a tornado forms over water and can sometimes suck up smaller animals); however, meteorologists noted that there were no strong winds present during the incident.

It is also possible that crows, who eat tadpoles, could have dropped the reptiles over land mid-flight, but scientists also noted that the tadpoles would have covered a larger range if they were spat out by a murder of crows.


2. Spiders

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(Source: YouTube / ODN)

This phenomenon is called ballooning, and while most of the spiders die during their journey, their webs can be seen coating the surrounding area like snow.

In southern Australia, it has been known to rain spiders — millions and millions of spiders. The event occurs when spiders are forced out of their homes by circumstances like a flood or fire. The spiders will climb to a high point, build a parachute out of their silk and allow air currents to carry them somewhere else.

It sounds pretty horrific, but these tiny spiders are harmless to humans.

3. Fish


(Source: YouTube / Real Thing TV)

4. A Shark


(Source: Flickr/tomhilton)

While not a full-on “Sharknado,” a shark (not the one pictured, but a similar two-foot-long leopard shark) did fall out of the sky and land on a Southern Californian golf course.

The director of club operations explained that the creature was likely picked up by a bird and dropped mid-flight. The shark was brought back to the ocean (after the golf course employees made a makeshift salt water aquarium — a bucket — for it to pass the time), where it swam away.

5. Star Jelly


(Source: YouTube / Dave Bliss)

In August of 1994 during the Perseid meteor shower, a strange, sticky substance rained down over the city of Oakville, Washington.

After coming into contact with the substance, many Oakville residents came down with strange, flu-like symptoms. A sample of the material was brought to the Washington State Department of Health, and it was found to contain two different types of bacteria. It was believed that the jelly-like substance was a matrix, a kind of carrier in which other substances are embedded. This is found typically around amphibian eggs but can also be man-made. The source of this jelly was never discovered, as the sample mysteriously disappeared from the facility.

Star Jelly is surrounded by many conspiracy theories, and there are numerous stories of the substance falling out of the sky. No one can really pinpoint what exactly it is. Some believe it to be slime mold or nostic, a type of cyanobacteria that forms colonies that swell up when it rains to create a jelly-like mass. Others believe it’s formed in the glands of frogs and toads. Birds eat the frogs, but since star jelly is toxic (humans who have come into contact with substance fell ill) they do not consume the oviducts. When it rains, the discarded oviducts swell and deform, causing them to look like jelly. Some people have a much more sinister outlook on star jelly, claiming it’s the product of secret biological warfare testing or it’s extraterrestrial.

One thing is for sure, the National Geographic Society studied the substance and could not find any DNA in the material.

6. Meat

Known as the “Kentucky Meat Shower” (appetizing, right?), in 1876, flakes of red meat fell from the sky in Bath County, Kentucky during a period of several minutes.

The meat fall spanned a 100 by 50 yard area. Some said the meat was beef, others claimed it to be venison or mutton. One scientist claimed that the “meat” was not meat at all, but rather nostic. Scientists later debunked this theory believing that the meat was lung tissue from a horse or human infant.

It was eventually thought to be lung tissue, muscular tissue and cartilage from some type of animal. It was theorized that a species of vulture, who are known to vomit when startled, regurgitated the meat, sending it down in a rain.

7. Golf Balls

On September 1st, 1969, golf balls rained down in Punta Gorda, Florida. Scientists believe that since the area was near a golf course, a water spoutcould have sucked up the golf balls, then dropped them over the town as it dissipated.

8. Blood

Blood rain, as terrifying as it sounds, only looks like blood.

Reports of this phenomenon have been circling since the 1800s — and as recently as 2001 in Kerala, India – and scientists initially thought that strong winds had swept up reddish dust from the surrounding deserts or that it was volcanic ash.

But one recent study exposed the rain’s red tint as a species of green microalgae, Trentepohlia annulata, which uses the rain to help disperse spores.