Some Accounts of Fortean Falls in Greece

by Thanassis Vembos

[initially published in Strange Magazine, #4, 1989]

Stone Falls : Accounts concerning stone falls are usually connected with poltergeist activity. Some decades ago, there was great interest in psychic phenomena in Greece, especially in the period before World War Two. During this period Angelos Tanagras founded the Greek Society of Psychic Research, and a great deal of psychic material was brought to light, thanks to the research of the Society.

We have one old report of phenomena centered in a house in Messolongi, western Greece, reported by farmer Yannis Barbetakis and friends Spiros Matsikas and George Mantzouratos. The three men were passing outside of a bar οn the first day of 1927, at 6 p.m., when they heard bangs οn the roof, caused by falling stones. The bar was bombarded for half an hour by stones thrown from an unknown source. At 7:30, Barbetakis noticed a little boy, approximately 4-5 years old, approaching the bar, walking steady and fast. He asked him: "Where are you going, little boy?" but he did not receive an answer. Barbetakis and seven other people followed the boy, when suddenly and with• out warning, the child disappeared into thin air before the astonished eyes of the eight people.

We have two poltergeist-like stories of stone falls οn the island of Corfu. The first took place in July 1957 in Canalia village, where a house was the target of falling stones that started to fall only after 7 p.m. The second case concerns a similar story on the same island, at Mallaki village, where the local priest's house was hit by stones for a period of days -with an interesting detail: threatening letters, written in capital Greek, were thrown under the priest's door. Ιn both cases, the police investigations found nothing that could indicate the cause of the stone falls. (Source: Apogevmatini, 2 August 1957).

Frog Falls : Οn the 17th of June, 1963, in Porto Lago of Coomotini (Thrace, north Greece), several drivers reported that during a very heavy rain, around midnight, they saw little living frogs coming down with the rain. Could a door to another world have been opened that night, and could the sudden heavy rainfall (not uncommon in that season in Greece) have been another manifestation of that opening? (Source: Apogevmatini, 19 June 1979.

Οn the 29th of June, 1979, nearly 16 years after the June, 1963 fall in Comotini, another fall of frogs took place in the same area. Ιn the Aegira area, near Comotini, thousands of them fell simultaneously with the rain. The frog fall was so heavy that the cars moving on the road connecting Aegira and Comotini had to stop for a while because the road was completely covered with frogs. (Source: Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia, 1 July 1979)

Fish Falls : According to the local newspapers of Saturday, August 10, 1979, little fishes (5-8 cm long) fell, during a rainfall, οn the rooftops and the streets of the Barra quarter of Trikala, a town in Thessaly, central Greece. The residents of Barra were astonished to find fish lying in their yards! Samples of the fish were brought to local newspapers. The explanation was the usual one: fish went up in the upper atmosphere due to a typhoon or a violent storm, and then fell with the rain. But they did not explain why the fish-fall took place only in Barra quarter. It is reported inApogevmatini, 12 August 1963, that a fall of frogs took place in the same area a few years before, in the late 1950s.

Anomalous Hail : Englishman Paul Ρinn from Mottingham, London, was vacationing οn the island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea when he observed something odd, which he described in a letter to Fortean Times (issue 36, Winter 1982):

“On the 9th of July, 1979, Ι was in Ypsos about 10 miles north of Kerkira in Corfu when around 10:30 am there occurred a hailstorm lasting about 15 minutes. The hailstones were about 1" in diameter and shaped like this

"The hailstorm started during the tail end of the thunderstorm and there were many witnesses, including three mates of mine, although Ι don't think they bothered to examine the hailstones. The weather for the rest of the day was very hot and sunny!"

This curious phenomenon is classified in William Corliss's excellent anomaly catalog series in the volume Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation and Related Weather Phenomena. Corliss assigns this particular phenomenon the code number GWP4 (hailstones with anomalous shapes). The "data evaluation" of the phenomenon in Corliss's system is 1; meaning that the incidents are many, the phenomenon is carefully observed, and often measured accurately. The "anomaly evaluation" is 2, meaning that it can probably be explained through relatively minor changes and modifications of present laws of physics-if we only knew how to do it!

Chiona Ice Falls : Οn the morning of September 10, 1980, a "celestial phenomenon" terrified the inhabitants of Chiona village, near Patra, Peloponnese. A big block of ice, weighing 5 kg (11 pounds) sud¬denly fell from the sky and landed οn a nearby field. The object may have been heavier, but apparently lost a great deal of its volume due to the hot weather before the villagers found it. They reported the fall to the local police station. Physicists at Patra University later declared that it was merely a chunk of ice that possibly fell from the wings of a high-flying plane. What they couldn't explain was why a similar incident occurred in the same area, four years before. They also didn't seem to notice that the village's name is Chiona, which means snow in Greek! (Source: Nea, 11 September 1980).

“Blue Ice” Mysteries : Late in November, 1981, Mrs. Androniki Maglara in Poros, Argolis, Peloponnese, heard a loud bang οn her rooftop. Upon examination, she saw a block of "blue ice" the size of a human fist. "At first," she said, "Ι thought they were pieces from my solar heater and Ι called a technician who explained that the 'blue ice' had nothing to do with the heater. Then Ι worried, and Ι called the police. Ι kept one of these things in the refrigerator. What are they?" The police, after a field investigation, didn't seem to be interested in the curious incident. A chemist friend of Mrs. Maglara performed some simple ex¬periments, but couldn't determine the composition ofthe "blue ice." Also, it was certified that the rooftop had blue stains that proved to be indelible. Apparently they were caused by the blue ice chunks melting. The piece that was found by Mrs. Maglara was kept in the refrigerator and later was said to be brought to Athens for a full scientific examination, but nobody knows for sure what finally happened to it. (Source:Apogevmatini, 26 November 1981).

On June 16, 1985, in Demiri village, near Tripolis of Arcadia, in central Peloponnese, a strange object falling with tremendous speed and emitting a whistling sound as it was coming down hit a hangar belonging to Konstantinos Nikolopoulos. The sound of the impact terrified Nikolopoulos and his friends Konstantinos Dimopoulos and Demetrios Dalamangas, who were sitting together chatting in the yard of the house. The object must have been enormous, since even after shattering οn impact, the largest piece was the size of a watermelon! The collision was so hard that a great hole was made in the hangar, and one of the thick, wooden, support beams was broken like a match. The three men approached the fallen debris and discovered that it was blue in color (like the object of Poros, four years earlier). Suddenly, a few minutes after the fall, the debris started to melt at a faster speed than that of normal water-composed ice. Its smell was undefinable, and it was not toxic οτ corrosive. They touched the pieces and found that their hands were colored blue. The biggest piece of ice was put into the refrigerator.

The next day, a Greek Air Force helicopter arrived at the scene, carrying Col. Andreas Varrenis, two other officers, and two scientists. They examined the chunk that was left, which had been carried to the police station by Mr.Nikolopoulos the day before. The first test was for radioactivity. The conclusion was that the "ice" was not radioactive. The officers took the object into the helicopter and left, carrying the "ice" to the Ministry of National Defense. On June 18th, the Minister of Defense, Antonis Drosoyannis, told reporters that the object was something unexplained and that it had to be sent for further analysis and research either to the Democritus Center for Nuclear Research οτ to the General Chemistry of the State. What finally happened remains a mystery. (Source: Apogevmatini, 18 June 1985; Ethnos, same date; Nea, same date).

Thunderstones : So-called thunderstones are supposed to fall with the lightning, usually during thunderrstorms. There are dozens of such accounts in Greece. The phenomenon was well known to ancient Greeks, and the thunderstones were called "Keravnia". Modern Greek folklore is rich in such stones. The thunderstones are supposed to be miraculous and to have special protective qualities. Οn the island of Samos, it is said that a person wearing a thunderstone as a talisman can never be hit by lightning. Ιn Samian folklore, these objects are considered tο be little pieces of fiery molten iron that fall to earth and burn trees and houses before entering the ground tο a depth of 40 meters (130 feet). Lore has it that year by year the thunderstone comes closer to the surface.

Ιn Samos, dogs are considered tο be hunted by the thunderstone-an odd tradition with interesting connections. Ιn Arcadia, Peloponnese, the thunderstone was named "Krattitira" and it was supposed to have curative qualities. There is an account of such a fall, back in the 19th century, existing in File nο. 334 of the Arcadian Monastery Files in the General Archives of the State. It is a report dated Oct. 3,1834, written by the abbot of the monastery in Valtesiniko village.

A more modern account of a thunderstone fall exists in George Betsis' book The Babini's UFOs (Agrinio, 1983). Οn p. 39, he describes the following:

... in a meeting of some friends of mine, someone talked about his childhood, in a village up οn the mountain. He said that near the village there were a lot of fir trees where a great amount of lightning was striking. He and other kids were going there and finding thunderstones. The old people in the village were saying that if you touched them when they were coming out from the ground, the thunderstones turned into gold. This could happen only the 39th day after the lightning strike. Οn the 40th day, when they were some hours οn the surface, they were turning into stone. The village people went tο the fir that was hit by lightning οn the 39th day after the lightning "fall" but they never found gold. But something curious was happening. The day after, they were always finding thunderstones οn the ground, like a little round ball the size of a pigeon egg, very heavy, but easily cut with a knife. But after a period of time it turned out to be very hard. Ι was interested and after a lightning fall, Ι went straight to the place it struck, to mark the exact point of the fall. After Ι did this, Ι returned the 39th day, without finding anything remarkable. Then Ι thought of doing an experiment. Ι covered the hole of the lightning fall with a thick sheet of paper, which Ι fixed steady οn the ground. The next day Ι was back, and Ι discovered something unbelievable. The paper, still fixed οn the ground, had a hole, and besides that, the thunderstone was lying οn the ground, very close to that! Ιt was a round stone of 3 cm (1.18 inches) in diameter, heavy and easy to cut with a knife. Ι thought iι might be radiating some kind of energy. After a field investigation, Ι verified hat the space near the object was conductive. Ι am absolutely sure that nobody approached this place to set up a hoax, and also nobody knew my aim ....

Scripta Volant
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