Red Rain

Tennessee "Flesh and
Blood Fall" of 1841

In this case there was thought to be a shower of blood, muscle and fat in a tobacco field near Lebanon, Tennessee on August 17, 1841. Between one and two p.m. on that day the workers in the tobacco field came inside and reported that blood had been raining from the sky. They said that around noon there was a rattling noise "and drops of blood, as they supposed...fell from a red cloud which was flying over." They displayed portions of flesh and fat 1.5 " long with a "very offensive smell."

The drops were found on an area that was 40-60 yards wide and 600-800 yards long (American Journal of Science, 41: 403-404). A Dr. Troost visited the field and investigated, offering the following meteorological "explanation": "Such a wind might have taken up part of an animal which was in a state of decomposition, and have brought it in contact with an electric cloud, in which it was kept in a state of partial fluidity or viscosity."

It was later determined definitively that this supposed fall of flesh and blood was in fact a hoax perpetrated by slaves who had spread bits of a decomposing hog over the field, as a practical joke on their masters (American Journal of Science, 44: 216). Thus the humble hoax joins our list of explanations for blood falls.


İMark Chorvinsky, 1995