Some things shouldn’t fall from the sky. This was the lesson driven home on an early evening in Kentucky on March 3, 1876, when the city of Olympia Springs experienced an unexpected shower… of meat.
The meat fell like snow across a small area of the town, with the greatest concentration landing near the house of Allen Crouch. The “flakes” were not small; they were closer to postage stamp size, with some even as large as contemporary post-it notes. They seemed to be tiny chunks of an undefined red meat, and questions immediately began as to how they got there. No rain accompanied them.
Their presence was evident the next day, as people sent to investigate found pieces of dried meat peppering the land. It was particularly evident to Allen Crouch’s wife – she had been outside making soap when the shower began. And not only did it look like meat, but according to two people who couldn’t resist the urge to test the bizarre, it tasted like meat, too… gamey, like mutton or venison.
The Wright brothers were a quarter of a century from being able to enact a bizarre practical joke, and a hot-air balloon would have been obvious. Theories abounded as to how the meat could have gotten there. Blame was quickly assigned to a type of bacteria which forms thick colonies and has been known to coagulate and drop during rainstorms.
Unfortunately… no rainstorm.
There will never be a conclusive explanation for the event, but a better theory came along almost a year later. Kentucky is home to a couple of species of vulture, and these birds occasionally regurgitate to lighten their load for flight. Vultures will also sympathetically vomit when other vultures do so; something most likely developed a survival mechanism for a carrion eater. It’s likely that the event that just preceded the meat shower was a flight of vultures overhead…
…Let’s not think about that too much. Let’s just say instead that there are some great mysteries in this world, and we don’t necessarily have to know the answer to everything, because that answer might be very gross.
Question of the night : What’s a bird you find beautiful to see or listen to?