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Home > Culture and Society

Strange things happen

15 June 2005

Imagine the scene. You're riding your bicycle across town, maybe you're on your way to the summer fun fair to meet a new sex-partner, maybe you're taking a basket of fruit to your ailing grandmother - doesn't matter - you're smiling, and the sun is shining.

Until - quite suddenly, it stops; disappeared by a particularly vibrant, dark green cloud. Crisp with confused foreboding, the air cools. Goose-bumps trash your arms and shoppers in the high street stop shopping and peer skywards in silence. You stop your bike. You crane your neck. You peer along with the rest. The cloud moves toward you with great speed. Clouds come in all shapes and sizes of course, as you know from years of observing them, but this is like none you've ever seen. This is no ordinary cloud. Just as you begin to realise that this incredible cloud is actually directly overhead, the first of a shower of tiny green
frogs smashes into your face and knocks you to the ground.

Imagine that.

Without wishing to spoil the film Magnolia for anyone who hasn't seen it - but knowing full well that we are about to - the above scene is of course reminiscent of the film's spectacular denouement. And as child genius Stanley Spencer so wisely observes, 'This is just something that happens.' He was right too. This week it happened in the village of Odzaci in north-west Serbia. Frogs. Raining down.

Frog Storms are caused of course by tornado-type winds which suck up and deposit stuff at whim as they travel about the place, making a nuisance of themselves. But not everyone knows that, so there were naturally a whole bunch of theories knocking about in Odzaci this week. One resident told the press, 'I thought maybe a plane carrying frogs had exploded in midair.' Others were convinced that it was the end of the world was upon them. Well, you would, wouldn't you? Meanwhile, echoing the narrator of Magnolia and his matter-of-fact pronouncement that 'these things happen all the time', Belgrade climatologist Slavisa Ignjatovic described the phenomenon as 'not very unusual'.

Oh, come on.

It is.



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