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Indoor and outdoor mystery falls

Updated on December 12, 2015

Cape Town 1982: Douglas and Gladys Stowe are at home and hear a thump. On investigation they find a soot covered goldfish in the lounge [1]. Once they put it in a bucket of water it thrives. The speculation is it was dropped by a crow but if so why was it still alive when it landed?

Over a period of days coins fall in a house in Finland, enough to let the group assembled to look at the phenomenon to buy a meal at a restaurant [2].

December 23rd 1982,Kenya: stones fall on a house for days, and some appear to materialise indoors then be thrown [3]

In Honduras there is a festival celebrating an alleged annual fall of fish for over a century [6].

Mysterious falls such as these are part of a cluster of phenomena that overlap the Poltergeist phenomenon. Most of such falls occur outdoors, indoor falls being associated, but not invariably, with poltergeist infestations. Long time anomaly researcher Charles Fort believed these and poltergeists were caused by a phenomenon for which he coined the name Teleportation, but it seems more reasonable to consider mystery falls, at least indoors, as related to the poltergeist rather than an ill defined phenomenon.

Mystery falls, especially of identifiably man made objects indoors, raises the question of where the objects came from. Exploring this question raises, as do all good answers, further interesting questions.

Most of the cases that led to this article are old cases and are part of an ongoing project to catalogue and classify paranormal phenomena. One goal is, funds allowing, a statistical analysis of poltergeist phenomena in order to classify them and perhaps be able to differentiate between fraud/hoaxes and then classify classify genuine phenomena. In the process poltergeists may be lost but the next stage that will be to bring them back, labelled and perhaps tamed a little till the Cosmic Joker (Who seems to be a little behind with their projects recently having perhaps been trumped by current politics of the “couldn't make it up” variety and plotting revenge) gets their act together again.

Outdoor falls

The most common outdoor falls are fish and ice, with seafood and amphibia rather less frequent. Falls of objects with little or no relation to water seem much rarer, which supports the theory that such objects get picked up by a whirlwind or tornado and links, tenuously, to a medieval belief that the souls of some sinners were carried round the earth by strong winds for ever, and, given the similarity between poltergeists and some fairy related phenomena, there is an even more tenuous link to the Wild Hunt and from that to crop circles: but this is all currently speculation to be tested as new evidence arises.

Many outdoor falls occur unobserved, with the fallen objects, say fish or frogs being seen only after the fall occurs. In cities such unobserved falls led to the Mad Fishmonger theory, the notion that a mad fishmonger ( or several over a number of decades if not centuries) had thrown them around, without being noticed. The idea of an immortal Mad Fishmonger, or a succession of Mad Fishmongers, perhaps a cult acting over decades, if not centuries, is perhaps less plausible than a politician's promise (vote Mad Fishmonger to avoid famines). And who finances these Mad Fishmongers? No, leave this theory before we start blaming the Illuminati, the Rothschilds and the Bilderberger group.

Indoor falls

Indoor falls make the Mad Fishmonger hypothesis less tenable, even when replaced by the Burglarious Mad Fishmonger and the Finnish Insane Coin dropper, in the Finnish case where coins appeared from nowhere and fell to the floor: enough were dropped for the group that was investigating the falls to enjoy a meal at a restaurant. There are also some cases of stones falling indoors and the soot covered South African Goldfish mentioned above.

Lets focus on coins as a concrete (!) example.

Where do the falling objects come from?

Falling objects don't come from nowhere (If they did we would have to define nowhere and that is going to be hard !): Quantum theory states that particles constantly pop in and out of existence, but coins and fish must be considered as vanishingly improbable: no one is yet ready to suggest there is an infinite improbability generator at the earth's core, and energy would be needed to transport them. Energy that needs to come from somewhere.

A ghost or force that could create a coin indistinguishable from a genuine one would be even more unlikely than one that could take genuine coins from one place to another. If poltergeists really are sentient entities they may realise that taking high value object like gold coins or diamonds could be easily detectable and simply remove coins dropped behind the cushions of sofas. Or they could just be cheapskates. If they are the result of subconscious longings on the part of those who witness them then these people have subconsciousness that think small.

The argument that existing objects are transferred from place to place and therefore mystery vanishings should be as prevalent as mystery falls is falls down (!) when one considers that the vanishing of a shoal of fish in mid ocean or of frogs from a pond would not be noticed and that in many cases loss of a small coin would be put down to it rolling away into an inaccessible corner after, by a well known law dropping on a sensitive toe. Some people will, when an object vanishes and cannot be found, “ask the pixies” to return a missing object. The object often reappears in an unexpected place, frequently one already searched. But no one would ask the pixies about missing small change though a favourite book would merit a request.

Why do poltergeists drop stuff like small change that would not be missed? This suggests an intelligence behind such phenomena, one that wants to leave some doubt about its existence. If a poltergeist wanted to show it existed it could easily bring something recognisable into the area where it is manifesting, for example a street sign from another country (useful items like billion pound bearer bonds might be so closely tracked the poltergeist could not remove them without them being noticed and causing problems for the recipients). Perhaps there is a reason why they are cheapskates.

But some objects do vanish [4].

In July 1987 an 18 foot steel bridge in Gwynned, Wales, fitted with gates at either end vanished and could not be found. It was bolted together and weighed several tons and would have had to be dismantled, loaded onto a truck and carried away, all with no one noticing. In the same month a 160 foot iron bridge which spanned the Santa Luco Chico river in Florida, Uruquay vanished and not a bolt was left behind: this is in itself remarkable.

In 1988 165 feet of Oceanic cable vanished in a period of 30 hours, The speculation was that it had been melted by an unobserved spirt of superheated water from nearly volcanic events with traces of

the event being wiped out by cold water rushing in to replace the superheated liquid. Whether water could heat to such a temperature is a matter for experts to decide.

On a smaller scale ( though I have lost the reference) in the extremely cold British winter of 2010 grit for the roads was extremely scarce and a roadside container of grit just vanished. It would have needed a small crane to lift and no one noticed anything untoward.

And on a smaller scale I have a report of money that vanished from someone's pocket. The person concerned who was alone at the time gripped a banknote in their pocket and felt a sensation like it was being pulled out of their hand. The banknote vanished and was never found despite intense search.

In summary

The case reported here are only a small subset of those that have been reported over the years. The references are all from Fortean Times since that is the only publication I have yet combed for examples.

Mysterious falls, especially those indoors, raise the question of where the objects come from. It seems most likely that existing objects are apported, like the objects that materialised in some seances ( sometimes into sealed tanks ), rather than being created from thin air. This led to the hypothesis that the objects involved were objects that would not be missed. The cases of vanishing objects described here are countercases: vanishings without a corresponding reappearance, unless someone had a160 foot bridge appear in their garden.

As always much more research is needed.


  1. Fortean Times 44 p.40 citing Rand Daily Mail 16th August 1982. Unfortunately the original is not freely accessible online

  2. Fortean Times 45 page 48-9 citing Ihmidieton rajamailla ( on the fringe of human knowledge), Aikki Pertolla-Flink (ed) pub. Tammi Helsinki 2nd Impression 1972

  3. Fortean Times 44 p.36. No newspaper accounts cited and the report came from a Journalist named David Barritt. I have been unable to source this further

  4. Fortean Times 49 p.15

  5. Fortean Times 53 p.17: Cites New York Times of 15th November 1988 which in turn cites a US journal called Eos of November 1st. This incident needs more verification of course but Eos may be the transactions of the American Geological Union and their archives are accessible only to members.

  6. Lluvia de Peces (Rain of Fish)


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