Anomalous Phenomena


Chicken Little’s prophesy is coming true: “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” This is not sensationalism. This is not media hysteria. This is not a drill. This is not the boy who cried wolf. This is surrealism as reality. This is dream in waking life.

I thought I saw a lady floating to her home the other day. There she was gliding effortlessly to her house, a paper grocery bag in her arms. She moved with such levity. Such grace. You know how when you look at something that doesn’t seem to make sense, your brain rationalizes it? Tries to come up with something that already fits into your known frame of reality? I did not do this. I accepted that she was floating for the length it took her to get from her car to her door. And then I saw her legs and she, too, walked on solid ground. What does this say of my state of mind that I entertained this thought for more than a passing moment? What does this say about me, that I suspended my frame of reality so easily? The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Anomalous phenomena. Say it aloud. Let it roll of your tongue. The sounds come easier than you think. Like the words are waiting to be lifted off your tongue in little sonic waves of noise.

For several minutes on March 3, 1876 “flakes” of red meat fell from the sky in a small settlement in Kentucky. The flakes were described as dry looking and flat, maybe akin to dehydrated meat nowadays. The meat fell for a period of minutes over an area of 100×50 yards. Two brave souls ventured forth to taste the meat which they thought looked like beef. Both agreed decidedly after a taste, “Mutton or venison.” A sample was passed along to the Newark Scientific Association. They identified the sample as lung tissue from either a horse or that of a human infant. Apparently, the lung of a horse and the lung of a young human infant are almost structurally identical. Further analysis backed up this claim, with two other samples being tested and identified as lung tissue, three samples identified as muscle, and two more as cartilage. The theory favored by locals was that buzzards vomited the meat, as they often vomit as a means of quick escape. Another theory was hypothesized by Leopold Brandeis. Brandeis conjectured that the origin of the Kentucky meat shower was a nostoc (a translucent, jelly-like bacteria that can often give the appearance it is falling from the terrain when it rains). To me, this seems more far-flung than the buzzards. No one reported rain (other than flakes of red meat). Then again, no one reported seeing buzzards vomiting.

How we rationalize. How we sharpen Occam’s razor and cut. Sometimes the simplest explanation is not always correct.

On November 9th, 2016 I learned the sky was falling. Things I felt: Sorrow. Fear. Anger. Listlessness. Numb. Kind of like I woke up in an altered state of reality. Social media became unbearable. It was like I was pushing the needle in. Helplessly aggregating data of sweeping hate and miscommunication. No, not miscommunication. A complete and utter breakdown of communication. Individuals became generalizations. People soap-boxed and threw virtual reality stones that left the internet a wounded and bloody entity. This was what it looked like to see millions of people trying to rationalize at once. I unplugged. Suspended in disbelief, I floated, untethered.

*collage: Still life in balance by Sammy Slabbinck



The Book of the Damned, Charles Fort, 1919


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