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No. 125: Sep-Oct 1999

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Two Down-Falls

"Falls" are a Fortean staple, particularly showers of fish and frogs. But the sky produces other exotic materials, such and blocks of ice and (ugh!) raw sewage.

July 26, 1998. Rue, Switzerland.

"On Sunday July 26, 1998, at around 9h 45m Central European DaylightSaving Time (7h 45m UT), a Rue farming couple were in front of their house when they heard a whistling sound "like a big rocket on August 1" (Swiss national holiday). They just had time to see a block of ice the size of a "football" pass in front of their field of vision and crash into the tarred path near to their farm. The block broke up into thousands of pieces and the witness recuperated [sic] the largest which was "the size of a skittle." The ice was "very hard" and "snow-colored."
"The witness estimated the weight of the ice block at 7-8 kg and the piece he was able to recuperate at 6-7 kg. Unfortunately, he did not think of conserving the block in the freezer, and let it melt near his house after having shown it to his neighbor, who had also heard the noise."

Swiss aviation officials claimed they could not identify any aircraft that might have been responsible "because of incertitude over the time of the incident"!

(Mancusi, Bruno; "A Block of Ice Falls on Rue, Switzerland," WGN, the Journal of the IMO, 27:2, 1999. WGN = Werkgroepnieuws.)

April 9, 1999. Salt Lake Valley, Utah.

"Maybe it's a bird, maybe it's a plane. But it is certainly sewage.
"And it's no joke in the Salt Lake Valley, where gobs of thick, raw sewage falling from the sky a dozen times since April 9 have soiled up to seven houses at once."

The smell in the area was "terrible" according to the mayor of Taylorsville. Sheriff's deputies were studying the "splatter pattern" and firemen were hosing down the houses. One house required 500 gallons of water and 30 gallons of bleach.

Aircraft landing at the Salt Lake City airport sometimes pass over the afflicted area, but the Federal Aviation Administration stated -- as they always do -- that jet toilet tanks can only be flushed using an external valve. Furthermore, the bluish disinfectant used in aircraft toilets was not present in the sewage samples.

(Anonymous; "Mysterious Sewage from Sky Splattering Utah Houses," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 16, 1999. Cr. L. Farish.)

Comment. The repetition of the phenomenon (a "dozen" times) in the same area is curious. Assuming that aircraft were at fault, was a single plane responsible, or did a dozen have the same defective valve?

From Science Frontiers #125, SEP-OCT 1999. 1999-2000 William R. Corliss