FALL­ING FOOD

Hon­duras’s an­nual rain of fish and a shower of frozen sausages in Florida

Fortean Times - - Strange Days -

The story goes that a Span­ish priest prayed for three days and nights that God should pro­vide sus­te­nance

FISHY MIR­A­CLE

In late spring or early sum­mer ev­ery year for the last cen­tury or so, hun­dreds of small sil­ver fish are said to have fallen dur­ing tor­ren­tial down­pours over La Unión (pop. 93,000), a com­mu­nity on the pe­riph­ery of Yoro, a farm­ing town in north-cen­tral Hon­duras. Af­ter heavy rain, a sunken pas­ture is sud­denly cov­ered with stil­l­liv­ing fish. The fall has shifted lo­ca­tion slightly from time to time; it mi­grated to the pas­ture near La Unión about a decade ago. The har­vest be­comes a com­mu­nal af­fair for La Union’s 200 or so homes, and ev­ery­one shares in the bounty. Those who col­lect the most re­dis­tribute their fish to fam­i­lies who are un­able to get to the field in time to col­lect their share. Ped­dling the catch is pro­hib­ited. In the 1970s, a Na­tional Geo­graphic team wit­nessed the fish on the ground.

Sci­en­tists are said to be baf­fled; the fish are not lo­cal but may be com­ing from the At­lantic about 45 miles (72km) away, pos­si­bly car­ried by wa­ter­spouts, al­though none have been ob­served at the time of pre­cip­i­ta­tion – and why would they fall in the same re­gion so reg­u­larly? No­body has ac­tu­ally seen a fish fall from the sky, but res­i­dents say this is only be­cause no­body dares leave home dur­ing the kinds of pow­er­ful storms that bring the fish. Some have sug­gested that the fish live in un­der­ground rivers and are ac­tu­ally be­ing forced up by flood­ing. This hy­poth­e­sis is sup­ported by the 1970s Na­tional

Geo­graphic team’s find­ing that the fish are blind. But why should the phe­nom­e­non be re­peated an­nu­ally at roughly the same time of year?

Lo­cal peo­ple say it’s a mir­a­cle. The story goes that a Span­ish priest, Fa­ther José Manuel de Jesús Su­bi­rana – who ar­rived in Hon­duras in 1855 and worked there un­til his death in 1864 – prayed for three days and three nights that God should pro­vide sus­te­nance for the poor. In an­swer to his prayer, a dark cloud ap­peared and fish rained from the sky. This won­der is re­peated ev­ery year – some­times twice a year. A llu­via

de peces (rain of fish) fes­ti­val was in­au­gu­rated in 1998, with a pa­rade car­ry­ing ef­fi­gies of Fa­ther Su­bi­rana through the streets. The priest’s re­mains are buried in the church on Yoro’s cen­tral square. Young women com­pete to be elected Señorita Llu­via de Peces; the win­ner of the pageant rides a float dressed like a mer­maid. at­la­sob­scura. com, wikipedia; ny­times.com, 16 July; breakingis­rael­news.com, 19 July 2017.

SAUSAGE FROM THE SKY

At 4am on 15 July 2017, sev­eral bun­dles of frozen pork sausages, weigh­ing 15lb (6.8km) in to­tal, landed on the roof of Travis Adair’s house in Deer­field Beach, Florida. Adair thought the “big bang” was thun­der, but his wife Jen­nie went out­side and found two bun­dles of sausages next to the house. Then his son Austin found three on the roof. “It had to fall from the sky,” Adair said. “It was too heavy to throw on the roof.” The house is near three air­ports, sug­gest­ing the meat fell from a plane. How­ever, the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion made no im­me­di­ate com­ment.

La­belling on the pack­age showed it orig­i­nally be­longed to Jim Wil­liams, who lives 170 miles (270km) away in Myakka City. Wil­liams, who owns a com­pany that pre­pares fields for plant­ing, said he bought some pigs from some chil­dren at a county fair last Jan­uary. He kept much of the meat and gave some away but he has no idea how any of it ended up on the Adairs’ roof. He is not a pi­lot and doesn’t own a plane. “I would have thought 15 pounds of frozen meat fall­ing from an air­plane would have put a hole in the roof,” he said. As for the meat, the Adairs threw it away – though Wil­liams had of­fered to throw the fam­ily a bar­be­cue. lo­cal10.com, 17 July; [AP] 20 July 2017.

ABOVE: Some of the mys­te­ri­ous pork prod­ucts that landed on Travis Adair’s roof.

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