Alternate Perceptions Magazine, August 2020
RIDDLE OF THE ICE FALLS
by: Rick Hilberg
In modern times these falls have been written off as ice either falling from the control surfaces of aircraft or from their toilet holding tanks. Sometimes this has indeed been the answer, especially when analysis done on the ice shows the presence of human waste and chemicals used on aircraft toilets. But the fact still remains that many ice falls do not contain these telltale substances, nor the simple fact that such falls have been reported and documented hundreds of years before humankind learned how to break the bonds of earth and soar like the birds.
In this brief overview we will present selected cases listed in chronological order from past times right on up to today. The selection has purely been mine. I would also like to credit the late Allan Manak for his comprehensive list of historical ice fall cases that he cataloged a number of years ago. Others came from my extensive fortean newsclipping file as well as back issues of my former Weirdology and Flying Saucer Digest publications.
1802 May 8 - During a rainstorm in Hungary a mass of ice which was three feet long, three feet wide, and more than two thick was reported as having fallen from the sky.
1811 May 12 - Lumps of ice, a foot in circumference, fell in Derbyshire, England.
1829 June 15 - A block of ice weighing four and one-half pounds was seen to fall from the sky in Cazorla, Spain.
1849 August 13 - After a loud peal of thunder, as mass of ice said to have the circumference of an astounding twenty feet, fell upon the estate of a Mr. Moffat of Balvullich, Scotland. It was reported that the object fell by itself without any additional ice associated with it, and supposedly displayed a beautiful crystalline appearance.
1853 July 5 - Large amounts of irregular shaped pieces of ice fell at Poven, France. They were described as being about the size of a human hand and said to have possibly been broken from one enormous block of ice.
1860 March 16 - In the midst of a snowstorm in Upper Wasdale, England, blocks of ice fell which were so large that they at a distance they looked like a flock of sheep.
1883 July 12 - A lump of ice the size of a paving brick and weighing in at two pounds, was seen to fall at Chicago, Illinois.
1894 June 3 - In Portland, Oregon, fragments of ice fell from a clear sky, and averaged three to four inches square and approximately one inch thick. The ice fragments had smooth surfaces and gave the impression of a vast field of ice suspended in the atmosphere that suddenly broke into fragments and rained down on earth.
1908 July 2 - In Braemar, Switzerland, a newspaper correspondent wrote that when the sky was totally clear with abundant sunshine, flat pieces of ice fell along with the sound of loud thunder.
1950 July 4 - A large chunk of ice tore a hole in a roof in Spokane, Washington. The ice bounced into the yard, and after melting for 14 hours was still the size of a baseball.
1950 November 24 - In Wandsworth, London, England ice fell out of a clear blue sky onto the roof of a garage. The chunk was measured at a foot square and the sounds of it hitting the roof was so loud that a night watchman thought that a boiler had exploded.
1950 December 21 - In Tooting, London, England a piece of ice weighing a pound fell from the sky and glanced off the scarf on the head of one Margaret Patterson. She reported hearing no sound of an airplane when it happened.
1953 January 15 - In Whittier, California a piece of ice 13 inches long by six inches wide, followed by smaller pieces, narrowly missed hitting a startled mother and her child.
1957 March 16 - In Limerick, Ireland a 50- pound chunk of ice crashed through the roof of a house, smashing household objects at bedside where a man and his wife were sleeping.
1959 October 28 - The Smithsonian Institution was asked to examine a 40- pound block of ice that plummeted to earth in Toccoa, Georgia. The ice fell on to a farm field digging a crater about the size of an automobile wheel. The ice shattered into several pieces upon impact, and was said to have the purity or ordinary rainwater.
1960 July 3 - In Portage, Pennsylvania a chunk of ice almost hit a woman while she was hanging clothes at the home of her mother. The mass of ice broke into pieces and was scattered over a wide area of the yard.
1965 In Long Beach, California W. G. Oldham was standing in Bixby Park when a piece of ice about the size and shape of a brick plunged from the sky and landed within inches of where he was standing. It hit with such an impact that it buried itself several inches into the soft ground.
1972 May 23 - A piece of ice weighing between 30 and 50 pounds fell through the roof of a downtown Riverside, California office building landing on a third floor hallway. No one was injured in the incident, but the damage caused by the fall was said to be extensive.
1978 April 23 - A large piece of ice plummeted through the atmosphere and crashed onto the grounds of the abandoned Ashport School near Ripley, Tennessee. Nearby witnesses said that it trailed a cloud of smoke and made a roaring sound. It broke into three pieces about the size of a softball when it hit, and it made an indentation in the ground. The mass of ice was estimated to have weighed some 25 pounds.
1982 December 26 - In Santa Monica, California, Clara Riddle was sitting in the den of her parents' home that evening when she and the rest of her family were shaken by what sounded like a loud sonic boom. When the family ran outside to investigate, they discovered that the noise was caused by the sound of a three-foot-thick chunk of ice that had fallen through the roof of a guest room of their home.
1989 May 7 - In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, a large piece of ice fell and slammed into a baseball diamond not far from the Winnipeg airport. The chunk landed not far where some children were playing ball.
1992 May 26 - In Bellefontaine, Missouri, a large mass of ice the size of a basketball, fell through the roof of a home, dropped through the attic pushing through a second floor ceiling.
2000 In January of that year, numerous ice falls were reported in Southern Europe. In the Italian city of Ancona, a man suffered head injuries after being hit by a falling chunk of ice weighing more and one and-a half pounds.
2002 January 16 - A large mass of ice smashed through the roof of a car dealership in Charleston, South Carolina. It caused more than $5000 in damages to the roof, and damaged a car in one of the service bays.
2005 February 23 - A slab of ice about the size of a concrete block fell near a home in Decatur, Illinois. The fall was observed by two very startled witnesses.
2006 April 13 - In California early that morning a piece of ice the size of a microwave oven plunged out of a cloudless sky into the town of Loma Linda. The ice punched a hole through the metal roof of a recreation center leaving a gaping hole some two and-a-half feet wide.
2018 January 5 - Dawn Scarpella heard a loud noise at her Chicago area home. Upon investigating she found yellow ice on her roof. The five to six pounds of ice fragments cracked her ceiling. She speculated that it had fallen from a plane, but the FAA stated that that was highly unlikely.