BATH COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56) – On March 3, 1876, a woman in Bath County was outside making soap when an unexpected shower fell from the crystal clear sky.
Large chunks of flesh fell from the sky in Olympia Springs and left everyone in the surrounding area utterly bamboozled.
The owner woman’s husband, Allen Crouch, said the meat “fell like large snowflakes.”
The day after the meat fell from the sky, numerous people came out to investigate the veracity of the claims. One individual, Harrison Gill, made note of the meat sticking out of fences and scattered across the ground.
Gill observed most of the chunks of meat were around 5 x 5 centimeters but one was measured around 10 square centimeters. He also noted the meat was likely fresh when it fell.
Two other men, who remained unidentified, turned up and taste-tested the meat rain, which was believed to be either venison or mutton.
A man known as Leopold Brandeis analyzed some of the preserved meat specimens.
Brandeis claimed the meat was not actually meat but nostoc, a type of gelatinous bacteria. Nostoc floats around and swells up and falls when it rains, giving it colorful nicknames like “witch’s butter” and “star-slubber”.
“At last we have a proper explanation of this much talked of phenomenon,” Scientific American reported. “It has been comparatively easy to identify the substance and to fix its status. The Kentucky ‘wonder’ is no more or less than nostoc.”
However, weather conditions were reported as clear, so his analysis was largely discredited.
A pair of histologists later analyzed seven of the specimens and found two to be lung tissue, two were made of cartilage, and three were muscular tissue.
Still, there were no answers surrounding the “Kentucky Shower of Flesh.”
The best explanation came in 1876 when Dr. L. D. Kastenbine wrote in the “Louisville Medical News” the flesh shower was a coordinated bout of projectile vulture vomit.
After analyzing a specimen of his own, he set fire to it and made note of a rancid mutton smell.
- Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran appears before grand jury in Mar-a-Lago documents case
- Flapjacks with your favorite local celebrities’
- Santos, Brazilian prosecutors agree to deal in fraud case
- Sevier County teacher wins $27,500 to improve her classroom’s technology
- Kawasaki Motors recalling lawn mower engines due to fire hazards
“The only plausible theory explanatory of this anomalous shower appears to me to be that suggested by the old Ohio farmer – the disgorgement of some vultures that were sailing over the spot, from their immense height, the particles were scattered by the prevailing wind over the ground,” he wrote. “The variety of tissue discovered – muscular, connective, fatty, structureless etc – can be explained only by this theory.”
Whether it was nostoc coming from cloudless rain, coordinated vomiting from vultures, or a sign from God as the Crouch family believed, the Kentucky “Carnal Rain“, there is still no definitive explanation for the phenomenon.
Editors Note: Thank you to Scientific American, The New York Herald, and The New York Times for their contributions, which allowed this story to be re-told.