A few folks in the town of Tampico, Mexico woke up to a strange sight a few days ago. When a light rain began to sprinkle their dusty streets, they noticed something odd: fish were falling from the sky and flopping around on the ground.
There’s a passage in the Bible somewhere–I think it’s Exodus–that talks about the ten plagues of Egypt. Yahweh was super pissed that the Pharaoh was using the Israelites as slaves, so he said he was going to drop the hammer on them if they didn’t stop. The second those plagues was a rain of frogs. “And if thou refuse to let them go,” Yahweh thundered from a hilltop somewhere, “behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs.” I would imagine (and I’ll have to, because it probably didn’t happen) that the people looked at each other and chuckled. “FROGS?” they laughed. “He’s going to smite us with FROGS?”
So was Tampico’s fish-rain a Biblical sign to go along with all the other shit that’s happening right now? All the earthquakes, floods, and wildfires do seem a little Biblical, but fish falling from the sky can be explained easily, and it’s actually not all that strange.
“Of course, it doesn’t ‘rain’ frogs or fish in the sense that it rains water — no one has ever seen frogs or fish vaporize into the air before a rainfall,” reads a report in the Library of Congress. “However, strong winds, such as those in a tornado or hurricane, are powerful enough to lift animals, people, trees, and houses. It is possible that they could suck up a school of fish or frogs and ‘rain’ them elsewhere.”
It’s happened all over the world over the course of the last century, from Kansans City to Australia. According to The New York Times, in fact, there’s one small town in Honduras that receives rainstorms filled with fish so regularly that the community organizes a festival around it.
While it is a relatively common phenomenon, the timing does seem a little strange considering the global catastrophes of the last few months. “I don’t know if it’s climate change,” said Pedro Granados, the director of civil protection in Tamaulipas state to NPR, “but we’ve had tornadoes, storms, rains, floods, raining fish, eclipses, earthquakes, all kinds of natural phenomena that we aren’t used to, but that we are experiencing these days.”
You know what happened after Yahweh waves his staff over the Nile and brought a plague of frogs? The frogs all died, and the whole places smelled of dead frogs. “The frogs died in the houses, in the yards, and in the fields,” reads the Exodus 8:13. “They were piled into countless heaps, and the land began to stink because of them.”