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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The fishmonger strikes again!

Recently Fort's Fishmonger paid a visit to the Philippine province of Agusan del Sur. Writing in The Philippine StarJaime Laude relates an old school Fortean story.

Small fish of still unknown species mysteriously fell from the skies over Loreto town in Agusan del Sur Friday afternoon during a heavy downpour, leaving residents and officials baffled and amused.

Blance Gobenciong, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) director in Caraga, confirmed the phenomenon but offered no explanation.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Benito Ramos also could not provide an explanation for the strange incident.

It came with the rain and about a kilo of these live fish is in the aquarium now,” Gobenciong said. Surprised residents went out of their houses despite the heavy rain to collect the fish that landed on rooftops and on the streets.

Artists depiction of the fishmonger's handiwork
Falls of fish are probably among the better known kinds of falls which Fort collected in his works. As was the case even in Forts day, there exists a pet theory offering a solution to this seemingly bizarre phenomenon. In this most recent example of Fish falls, the answer came back with a vengeance.

Lt. Col. Niel Patricio, commanding officer of the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion whose unit has operational jurisdiction over Loreto town, said one his men witnessed the incident.

Patricio said the phenomenon might have been triggered by a twister that sucked out a school of mudfish fingerlings from the Agusan Marsh, which is a breeding ground for mudfish.
That’s the most logical explanation for now,” he said.

Personally, I have always liked Fort's explanation for this phenomenon. On page 90 in his The Book of The Damned, Fort states:

I think that things raised from this earth's surface to that region have been held there until shaken down by storms – The Super-Sargasso Sea.

Of course in typical Fort fashion, he came later to offer an alternative explanation for Fish Falls that relied on a more earth bound explanation. In his third book Lo! Fort explains to his readers how a fish fall occurred in England around May in the year 1881.

a fishmonger, with a procession of carts, loaded with several kinds of crabs and periwinkles, and with a dozen energetic assistants, appeared at a time when nobody on a busy road was looking. 

The fishmonger and his assistants grabbed sacks of periwinkles, and ran in a frenzy, slinging the things into fields on both sides of the road. They raced to gardens, and some assistants, standing on the shoulders of other assistants, had sacks lifted to them, and dumped sacks over the high walls.

Meanwhile other assistants, in a dozen carts, were furiously shoveling out periwinkles, about a mile along the road. Also, meanwhile, several boys were busily mixing in crabs. They were not advertising anything. Above all there was secrecy.

The cost must have been hundreds of dollars. They appeared without having been seen on the way, and they melted away equally mysteriously. There were houses all around, but nobody saw them.

Would I be so kind as to tell what, in the name of some slight approximation to sanity, I mean by telling such a story?
But it is not my story. The details are mine, but I have put them in, strictly in accordance with the circumstances. There was, upon May 28, 1881, an occurrence near Worcester, and the conventional explanation was that a fishmonger did it.

Inasmuch as he did it unobserved, if he did it, and inasmuch as he did it with tons upon acres, if he did it, he did it as I have described, if he did it.

I for one prefer to believe that, much like his forebear back in the 1800's, a fishmonger struck the poor people of Agusan del Sur. Be sure to follow this link to read more of the story. Until next time; be sure to look up in the skies. Especially if you enjoy seafood!


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