#49 – “Fafrotskies”

Charles Fort Christened them “Fafrotskies” – a contraction of “falls from the skies”. Frogs, coins, spiders, even blood have been recorded raining down for millennia. In Yoro, Honduras, fish fall so regularly that the Festival de Lluvia de Peces is held annually.

Back in the mid-twentieth century the American writer and researcher Charles Hoy Fort christened them fafrotskies (a contraction of “falls from the skies”), but accounts of mysterious objects dropping from the heavens have been around since records began. In ancient times such events were often believed to be bad omens; portents of impending disaster or perhaps even signs of the beginning of “The End”.  Nowadays such occurrences tend to be written off as harmless anomalies; falls of sea creatures are readily dismissed as having been thrown into the upper atmosphere by waterspouts, huge sheets of ice are explained as human lavatorial waste ejected from aeroplanes at high altitudes. 

“In August 2000, a shower of sprats, dead but conveniently still fresh, fell from the skies onto the English port of Great Yarmouth just after a thunderstorm. A torrent of live toads pelted a Mexican town in June 1997. And in 2001, 50 tonnes of alien life forms rained down from the clouds over India.” – Hazel Muir, New Scientist #2541 [1] 

The article “When aliens rained over India” appeared in NS on March 2nd 2006. The piece discussed mysterious falls of red rain which occurred in the Indian state of Kerala in 2001. After examining residue left by the precipitation, a physicist named Godfrey Louis concluded that the red particles which coloured the rain could, in fact, be alien microbes carried to Earth by a comet (a sonic boom was heard before the downpour which could have been caused by a meteorite). The scientific community were, naturally, sceptical of Louis’s theories but, subsequent analysis of the particles forced critics to admit that they “look[ed] biological”.

Eventually, it was concluded that the Indian red rain was caused by algae spores, although Godfrey Lewis remained unconvinced. In August 2010 Louis and his collaborators presented a paper at the SPIE astrobiology conference held in San Diego, USA, claiming that the red rain cells develop internal daughter cells and multiply when exposed to extreme temperature of 121 °C in an autoclave for two hours, and that the fluorescent behaviour of the red cells is similar to the extended red emission observed in the Red Rectangle nebula (a protoplanetary nebula in the Monoceros constellation) [2]. 

Red rains of “blood” have been recorded for millennia; from Homer’s Illiad to the 9th Century CE Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, to the gore showers which splattered down upon Germany in an omen of the coming Black Death in the 1300s. Falls of fish seem to be even more common though, even predictable. 

La Lluvia de Peces (the “Rain of Fish“) is said to occur at least once, and sometimes twice, in a year in the small town of Yoro, Honduas. First documented in the 1800s, the fall of fish takes place with such regularity that it has become an annual festival, beginning in 1998. The date of the Festival de Lluvia de Peces is variable, coinciding with the first major rainfall in May or June, which invariably sees the town’s streets covered with fish. [3]


  1. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18925411-100-when-aliens-rained-over-india/ 
  2. https://arxiv.org/abs/1008.4960 
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lluvia_de_Peces