It’s been a long time between posts, Fortean fans. I could blame COVID, a day job that’s gotten way more intense or a gorgeous new puppy (Yuki, a beautiful Shiba Inu) but the real reason was that I just hadn’t found anything that had motivated me to get back on the keyboard.
Good news, folks – that’s no longer an issue!
My first post on this blog was a rain of fish in Fulshear, Texas back in February 2018. Another Texas fish fall in December 2021 is now something of a Fortean landmark – possibly the first video record of a rain of fish. I’m working on a longer piece on this event so this post will only summarise some of the key points of the case. Stay tuned for a longer treatment, hopefully in Fortean Times.
The 2021 event occurred during a severe storm that hit the city of Texarkana late on the afternoon of December 29. The story was well covered in the local Texarkana Gazette.
Several local TV stations also sent reporters on-site to cover the story. Here are a few selections.
The story got wide U.S. coverage but most outlets simply repeated the same material from the Texas stations. On social media, the story exploded. On Facebook and Instagram dozens of people shared the story and images and videos of fish they had found at their homes or businesses. I managed to collect some great images and videos from Texas who were more than willing to share. Like the Fulshear rain, the fish were all threadfin shad, Dorosoma petenense.
Social media made it relatively easy for me to reach out to witnesses. By mapping these and the media reports, it was soon apparent that the fish had fallen over a wide area of Texarkana. This map highlights eyewitness reports that I plotted on a map of the city.
Several auto businesses on Summerhill Road, Texarkana found fish in their yards and several employees I interviewed actually saw the fish falling during the rain. I suspected some of them may have had security cameras operating and I began calling businesses all along Summerhill Road. Eventually I hit pay dirt, and a very helpful Tiffany at Discount Wheel and Tires offered to access the system and grab video from the time of the storm. A few days later it arrive and I started work. Bingo! I think I have isolated six fish falling in one segment. There are other segments I’m still looking at.
Here is my initial analysis – what do you think?
There is a lot more to this fascinating case and researcher Sharon Hill and I have been working with some Texarkana locals and University of Texas scientists to build a working theory on might have caused the fish to fall in the rain, as they obviously did. We may have an answer and it’s connected to the 2018 Fulshear case. Birds – more specifically, cormorants. But that can wait for a longer and more detailed analysis.
So – The Fortean is back! Now, all I need is a rock-throwing poltergeist…