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Monday, September 3, 2007

Things What Done Fell From the Sky - Red Rain

Some time back, we reported on the recent red rains which fell across India. One scientist who examined the matter said that he believed the rain contained living organisms from somewhere in outer space. Obviously, these were very simple organisms, small enough that many of them could fit in one drop of rain, but the explanation lit a fire through the scientific community and made major headlines.

The thing which didn't make it into those reports is that red rain is not exactly unheard of. Rare, yes, but not unlike showers of fish and toads, there are several recorded instances of red rain throughout the world.

One such appears on page 190 of Time/Life Books' Mysteries of the Unexplained:

November 2nd, 1819, Blankenberge, Belgium: 144 ounces of red rain fell across the region. When it had evaporated to less than 4 ounces, it was found that no red sand appeared. The usual explanation for this rain is that red sand was caught in a whirlwind and mixed in with the rain. Further analysis of the rainwater found the presence of a chloride and cobalt, but no one could explain how that happened.

- Annals of Philosophy, September, 1820

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