Raining Cats and Dogs

Mae hi’n bwrw cyllyll a ffyrc

All around the world persons have evocative conditions for specially hefty rain. What is interesting about the English edition is that it phone calls to thoughts a person of those odd pure gatherings that has mystified onlookers during the ages.

As Wikipedia helpfully places it: A rain of animals is a unusual meteorological phenomenon in which flightless animals fall from the sky. These types of occurrences have been reported in many nations in the course of historical past. A single hypothesis is that tornadic waterspouts from time to time decide on up creatures this sort of as fish or frogs, and carry them for up to many miles. Nonetheless, this aspect of the phenomenon has hardly ever been witnessed by scientists.

Even so the mechanics of it function, rains of animals – and all way of other objects – have been recorded all over record. And, of course, Wales has a couple of of its very own tales to explain to…


Mountain Ash Old Postcard

In February 1859 it rained fish at Mountain Ash. Thousands on 1000’s of them. One particular early morning, in the course of a major rain with a rigid gale blowing from the south, fish started slipping from the skies in a shower that lasted about two minutes. Then about ten minutes later on yet another two moment shower of fish protected the region.

Monmouthshire Merlin 19/02/1859
The Monmouthshire Merlin of February 19th was just one of the first newspapers to report on the occasion, telling audience: SHOWER OF FISH. – A lot exhilaration has been occasioned in the valley of Aberdare, by the point of a complete shower of fish slipping at Mountain Ash, on Friday past. The roofs of some homes were protected with them, and many ended up residing, and are however preserved in everyday living and apparent well being in glass bottles. They have been from an inch to 3 inches in duration, and fell in the course of a pretty significant shower of rain and storm of wind.

Vintage Mountain Ash Postcard

Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian 26/02/1859
On February 26th the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian presented a a lot far more thorough report to the community:

THE SHOWER OF FISH. The curiosity of the inhabitants of Merthyr and Aberdare has been drastically excited throughout the past week by the fall of a shower of fish into Mr. Nixon’s garden, at Mountain Ash, Aberdare. Some handful of are also stated to have been picked up at Troedyrhiew, so that, assuming they dropped from the sky, the cloud must have coated a substantial area. 

Two inner thoughts – those of question and question – have been enthusiastic by the report of this occurrence and, as the circumstance if of desire in a scientific point of view, we have taken some pains to ascertain the specifics. Very first the, we may perhaps accept as a simple fact adequately attested, that there was a deposit of fish in these huge numbers as to render it essential to sweep them out of footpaths that his took place on Wednesday, the 16th inst., in Nixon’s property, Mountain Ash that the fish, countless numbers in amount, ended up quite a few of them alive, and keep on being so that they are about an inch in duration, of the minnow variety, or, strictly talking, possessing a lot more of the characteristics of roach or dace and that they stay in refreshing drinking water. They are dusky green on the back again, and a silvery white on the tummy the dorsal fin commences fairly driving the middle of the back the head is much larger, and the eyes far more prominent than these of the minnow and the tail is extra deeply forked. These are the normal attributes, but they do not all appear to be of the very same species.

The simple fact of the deposit staying set up, the next enquiry is how they arrived there. On this place also the testimony is explicit. They fell upon the tops of a drop, and some adjoining homes a gentleman who was passing by the time has his hat protected with them, and some of them nevertheless keep on being on the tops of the homes, and were being alive in the troughs a day or two later on. It may well, thus be assumed as an additional level established, that they fell in the variety of a shower.

And now we occur to the rationale of the subject. Fish incapable of living without humidity, and the air incapable of retaining them, how could they reside. Fish becoming of increased specific gravity than atmospheric air, how could they be taken up into the air and carried inland? We will endeavour to remedy each questions. It is a acknowledged point, that when two currents of drinking water of equal power fulfill in a slim spot they variety a whirlpool, and draw into the vortex every thing that transpires to float inside of their array. 
A equivalent phenomena is noticed in the atmosphere. When two winds relocating in reverse instructions, and in a slender area, as in one particular of our valleys, come about to meet, a vortex is the outcome, any cloud that occurs to lie involving them is condensed into a conical kind, and turned spherical with excellent velocity this whirling motion drives from the centre of the cloud all the particles contained in it: a vacuum is therefore produced, and h2o or any other overall body lying beneath the vacuum is carried into it, in accordance with a nicely recognized regulation in purely natural philosophy. Supposing this sort of a vacuum to have been shaped at the mouth of one particular of the rivers, there need to have be no terrific trouble in accounting for the suction of modest fry, and as the water deposited by a drinking water spout, probably exists in the cloud in a condensed sort, there is no additional difficulty in accounting for that, than for the retention of these fry.
Lastly, a waterspout commonly breaks from an inequality in the velocity of its constituent pieces. The higher and considerably less dense portion moves more quickly than the decrease and heavier aspect. At sea, in these types of scenarios, the cone shaped by the lessen section is observed to incline sideways, or even to bend, and then ultimately to burst. This sort of was probably the case in this occasion the working day was a rainy one particular, and in going along the facet of the mountain, the cloud may perhaps have escaped observation. But no matter what might be believed of the proposed clarification, the truth is specific we have seen the fish, and settle for the testimony that they fell in a shower.

Oxford Street, Mountain Ash

All through March different newspapers carried the story, and the Rev. Mr. Roberts, a curate in Carmarthen, wrote a letter to The Periods explaining:

“On Friday, the 11th of February, there fell at Mountain Ash, Glamorganshire, about nine o’clock, a.m., in and about the premises of Mr. Nixon, a major shower of rain and modest fish. The premier dimension calculated about four inches in size. It is meant that two unique species of fish descended on this point, nevertheless, the public normally disagree. At the time it was blowing a really rigid gale from the south. A number of of the fish are preserved in fresh water, 5 of which I have this working day noticed. They feel to prosper nicely. The tail and fins are of a shiny white color. Some persons trying to protect a several in salt and drinking water, the impact is said to have been almost instantaneous loss of life. It was not noticed at the time that any fish fell in any other aspect of the neighbourhood, preserve in the certain location talked about.”

Oxford Street in Colour, Mountain Ash

The tale was even interesting more than enough to advantage a point out in the Once-a-year Sign up for 1859 – click the backlink to read the overall tome on line at Archive.org – below the heading SHOWER OF FISH:

If anyone has entertained uncertainties as to the probability of this phenomenon, his hesitation will be place to relaxation by a effectively-certified event at Mountain Ash, Glamorganshire. At 11 a.m. of the 9th of February, throughout a significant rain, a stiff gale blowing from the south, a really huge variety of compact fish have been precipitated on the fields and housetops at that location. The phenomenon was witnessed by a excellent quantity of individuals: the Rev. Mr. Roberts, curate of St. Peter’s, Carmarthen, and the Rev. John Griffith, the Vicar of Aberdare and Rural Dean, manufactured inquiries on the location, in get to preserve the points of this curious prevalence. The subsequent is the testimony of John Lewis, a sawyer, who was the principal witness –

“On Wednesday, February 9, I was obtaining out a piece of timber, for the function of location it for the noticed, when I was startled by one thing falling all above me — down my neck, on my head, and on my back. On putting my hand down my neck I was surprised to uncover they were little fish. By this time I observed the whole floor protected with them. I took off my hat, the brim of which was complete of them. They were jumping all about. They coated the floor in a very long strip of about 80 yards by 12, as we calculated afterwards. That lose (pointing to a incredibly significant workshop) was covered with them, and the shoots were being very full of them. My mates and I may have collected bucketsful of them, scraping with our fingers. We did gather a good numerous, about a bucketful, and threw them into the rain-pool, exactly where some of them now are. There had been two showers, with an interval of about 10 minutes, and each shower lasted about two minutes or thereabouts. The time was 11 AM. The early morning up-teach to Aberdare was just then passing. It was not blowing quite tough, but unheard of damp just about the very same wind as there is to-day (blowing somewhat stiff), and it came from this quarter (pointing to the S. of W.). They arrived down with the rain in ‘a entire body, like.”

Mr. Griffith collected 18 or 20 living specimens of the surprising visitants and transmitted them to Professor Owen. The three largest have been four inches prolonged. Some, which died right after seize, had been thoroughly 5 inches in size.


Jenny Randles wrote in Truly Strange: Actual-lifetime Scenarios of the Paranormal (1998) that “a shower of glass beads fell on Swansea in 1984.” Google proved entirely unhelpful in verifying that, but if you know much more about this – or any other tumble of unforeseen products – I’d adore to hear from you!


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Weird Wales