A Shower of Blood

Patrick Weston Joyce

Eleven years after the occurrence last recorded viz., in the year 875, there was a great storm of wind and thunder all over Ireland, which ended in a shower of blood. After the shower had ceased, splashes and clots of blood were seen on the ground in various districts, especially at a place called Duma Dessa near Duleek in the County Meath, where all the houses and fields were thickly covered over.[1]

[1] These two last wonders (12 and 13) were merely natural occurrences, like the ninth, tenth, and eleventh, magnified by the excited imagination of the people. Showers quite as wonderful as those recorded above have fallen in recent times. Some years ago a shower of little fishes fell near Merthyr Tydvil in Wales, and sprinkled the ground with sticklebacks for several square miles all round; and in India there have been showers of fishes as large as herrings which have generally reached the ground dead, but occasionally alive. These fishes must have been raised from the surface of the neighbouring seas or lakes by violent whirlwinds or waterspouts, carried to considerable distances through the air, and deposited on the ground when the force of the wind was spent. After the great storm of 6th Jan. 1889—the "Big Wind," as it was—and is still—called, herrings were found six miles inland on the western coast of Ireland.

Red coloured snow is quite common in the Arctic regions; and it falls annually in parts of the Alps. Showers of "blood" have also fallen in recent times; but what appears to be blood to the simple people, is really nothing but water coloured deep red with millions of little scarlet fungi, which, like the water containing fishes, is raised by whirlwinds and deposited in distant places. And snow becomes coloured from the same cause.

It is very well known that fungi of various kinds grow and disappear under favourable circumstances with extraordinary rapidity; and it sometimes happens that a green field, which in the evening has nothing remarkable in its appearance, is white all over with mushrooms in the morning. It needed only a sudden growth of minute scarlet fungi in Lough Leane to make the people believe that the lake was turned into blood, and that it remained so, till the fungi disappeared as suddenly as they came and left the water clear.