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No. 54: Nov-Dec 1987

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Toads Fall To Squashy Fate

On Route 66, near Gallup, New Mexico, June 1949. "Temperature 104. Absolute blue sunny skies. No clouds anywhere to be seen, from one horizon to the other for 360.

"Out of nowhere, without warning, it poured extremely hard rain, hail, and toads. The hail balls were maybe the size of grapes to the size of peas. The toads were a medium brown in color and approximately the size of an adult's thumbnail. This whole incident lasted for less than 5 minutes, if my memory is correct. ..... "The highway and the desert sands seemed to be one and the same, and the whole area seemed to be alive and moving. By now, we were down to a very slow speed, and under closer observation we noticed that the area was littered with millions of hailstones and those toads hopping all over.

"The storm stopped as fast as it started, and the toads disappeared just as fast. I'll never forget how slippery the road was as we drove over those toads, and the popping of their bodies under the tires of my automobile."

(Schuler, Richard A.; personal communication, July 23, 1987.)

Comment. The sudden onset of the violent storm and the huge numbers of toads are both difficult-to-account for. If a whirlwind picked up the toads, as prevailing explanations would have it, where in nature would the whirlwind find such a concentration of toads?

Reference. Frog and toad falls are cataloged in GWF11 in our Tornados, Dark Days. Ordering information here.

From Science Frontiers #54, NOV-DEC 1987. 1987-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987