Nature can be scary. Sometimes, more than rain, sun, fog, and snow fall out the sky. When the conditions are right, mother nature can throw storms at us that are straight out of the end times.
Almost every miraculous wrath of god or sign of apocalypse has come true at some point or another. Trumpets have sounded from the sky; hail, fire, and blood have been thrown down to the earth; great stars have torn through the sky and poisoned our waters; and the sun itself has turned pitch black — and every time, people have panicked, convinced the end is nigh.
10 Pillars of Flame
While California was being ravaged by wildfires in 2018, people fleeing from their homes in Redding saw something straight out of the Bible. A gigantic pillar of fire, climbing up 5,500 meters into the air, descended upon their city, destroying everything in its path.
A literal manifestation of God’s wrath destroyed their homes. You wouldn’t blame them if they got a little reflective. But the thing is, during wildfires, great pillar of fires like the one that led Moses out of Egypt are actually pretty common.
These pillars of flame are called “fire tornados” or “fire whirls”, and they’re perfectly natural. They’re essentially whirlwinds that pick up flames. When hot, dry air rises and swirls into a vortex, they sometimes pick up the burning embers and debris in the wildfire around it, creating a vortex of fire.
Usually, these things are pretty small and short-lived — but some fire whirls can rise up to the clouds and last for hours, wreaking havoc as they travel at tornado-like speeds, hurling flames that burn as hot as 1,093 °C.
9 Hail Mingled With Fire
When the first trumpet of the apocalypse sounds, the Bible says, a mixture of hail and fire will be hurled down onto the earth, burning the grass and trees into cinders.
Which is pretty much exactly what happened in Canberra, the capital of Australia, in 2003. Bushfires outside the city got so out-of-control that spilled into the suburbs, and the sight was horrific.
Canberra looked like Sodom and Gomorrah. Lightning crashed without rain, a pillar of fire 10,000 meters high and 300 meters wide ravaged the city, and—just like in the apocalypse—hail and fire fell together. And, just to make things creepier, the hail was black.
Scientists believe that the hail turned black because ash and soot got mixed up with the water vapor in the clouds, creating a black, dirty hail that actually gets mixed up inside of the smoke plume.
It all makes for a horrifying sight—but in Australia, the dry air can make bushfires brutal enough that this has happened more than once. In some parts of the world, the first sign of the apocalypse is just something to watch out for whenever there’s a fire.
8 Trumpets Sounding in the Sky
On Aug. 11, 2011, a woman in the Ukraine uploaded a video to YouTube of a strange, groaning, metallic sound emanating from the sky. It sounded like something out of a horror movie, or an alien invasion, or—as some pointed out—like trumpets blaring in the sky.
On its own, it was creepy enough — but over the coming months and years, more and more people uploaded more and more videos online. Today, there have been literally hundreds of these videos uploaded from every corner of the world.
While some of those videos were hoaxes from people trying to join a trend, noises like these really do happen. Whole towns have have lived through these kinds of strange sounds, and nobody’s completely sure what causes them.
Some have been chalked up to the rumblings of tsunamis or meteors, while others have been credited to the small earthquakes below the surface emitting the sounds of the earth’s crust moving underfoot.
Whatever it is, it’s hard not to feel a little terrified when you hear trumpets blast from heaven. But when you live with it, it’s nothing short of hell.
“It’s maddening… It won’t go away,” one woman in Rochester has said. “I don’t care what it is. I honestly don’t care. I just want to identify it and get rid of it.”
7 Blood Rain
In July 2018, the Siberian city of Norilsk became coated in scarlet. A blood-red rain fell down from the sky, covering the buildings, vehicles, and roads, and staining people’s clothes red.
It was a horrifying sight — but of all the apocalyptic plagues that mother nature likes to throw at us, this one’s actually the most common of all.
Countless blood-red storms have fallen throughout history, with the earliest records tracing all the way back to ancient Greece. Typically, these storms start when red sand from the desert gets mixed up with the rain, sending down something that looks more than just a little like a death metal music video.
It’s so common that, technically, the process that leads to “blood rains” hits the United Kingdom several times each year. Typically, those rains end up more of a brownish-yellow than red, but other than the color they really are the same thing.
The one that hit Norilsk was actually caused by rust residue from a factory, but, as terrifying as it looked, it still wasn’t real blood — even if a few of the people it fell on were convinced it really was.
6 Plagues of Frogs And Flesh
On Aug. 4, 1921, the people of Calgary found themselves right in the middle of an Egyptian plague. Without warning, the sky opened up above them a torrent of frogs can crashing down upon them just like rain.
It was pretty terrifying — and it’s also pretty common. Or, at least, as common as a Biblical plagues in real-life can be. Frogs have fallen in Japan, Hungary, and Uruguay, as well, while other parts of the world have been showered by fish, worms, jellyfish, octopuses, lizards, and almost anything else you can imagine.
It’s believed that the animals get sucked up by tornadoes passing over bodies of water, then are thrown back onto the earth, often far enough away from where they were picked up to leave the poor people pelted by frogs and fish completely clueless as to what they could have done to deserve this.
5 Rivers of Blood
Raining frogs aren’t the only Egyptian plagues that hit the earth on a semi-regular basis. Just like the rivers of Egypt, waters all around the world have reported spontaneously turning blood red.
Just recently, in Dec. of 2018, people in Dedza, Malawi broke into a panic when they found the Linthipe River running red. This, some of them insisted, was a sign — and, even when geologists explained that a red oxide mine had contaminated the water, plenty of people still insisted that it was real blood.
It wasn’t, of course. Contaminations like this one happen all the time. The Daldykan River in Siberia, which is near a metallurgical plant, has turned red on five separate occasions. In fact, even one of the biggest rivers on earth—China’s massive Yangtze—turned blood red in June 2018.
Usually, it isn’t really blood changing the color of the water — but there is one exception.
In Sept. 2017, a blockage in sewage pipe at a slaughterhouse in Jianxi caused blood and waste from dead pigs to fill the Lianxi River, turning the water supply red — and this time, it really was blood.
4 A Star Called Wormwood
In 2007, there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon upon the fountains of waters. And many men became ill of the waters, because they were made bitter.
Nobody specifically reported hearing an angel sound a trumpet before it happened, but otherwise, the 2007 Carancas impact event pretty well perfectly fits the description of apocalypse.
A meteor crashed into the earth just outside of the city of Desaguadero, Peru, landing with such an impact that the windows at the local health center shattered, leaving a crater 30m wide and 6m deep.
Water rushed up from under the ground after the meteor hit and filled the crater, and, by the time people came close enough to see it, that water was boiling. It was also emanating a gas so toxic that anyone who came near it became physically ill, often ending up hospitalized after they fell into spells of nausea and vomiting.
That’s pretty terrifying — but it has a scientific explanation. Scientists believe that the meteor opened up a channel of groundwater that had contaminated with a sedimentary deposit full of methane gases, which was what got the people sick.
3 Literal S—— Showers
Sometimes it feels God just opened the sky and pooped on your head, but when people complained about that in 2018 in Canada, it wasn’t just a metaphor. The country, for about a year, was overcome by an epidemic of feces falling from the sky.
One lovely Canadian family were enjoying a leisurely ride home when feces from the sky fell directly through their open sunroof and onto their heads.
“My son threw up,” the mother has told reporters. “We had so much in our faces. Both of us, our faces were covered in poop.”
Mother and son alike ended up with a rough case of pink eye — and they aren’t the only ones who have gone through it. 18 separate cases of falling feces were reported in Canada in a single year, with one family having it rain down on them while lounged on their back decks.
It’s not entirely clear why this happens. Transport Canada insists that the feces couldn’t have come from their airplanes, leaving scientists to expound on wild theories about flocks of ospreys and herons. One things for sure, though — sometimes, life really does poop on your head.
2 Blood-Splattered Snow
In May 1818, as Capt. John Ross and his crew were searching through the Arctic for the Northwest Passage, they discovered something eerie on the coast of Greenland. The cliffs were streaked with what the men described as “so dark a red as to resemble port wine.”
It’s a phenomenon that’s been given the cutesy name of “Watermelon Snow”, but it’s hard not to find it a little creepy. In the right parts of the world, you can wake up to find the snow outside looking a murder scene, splattered with blood.
Ross and his team popularized watermelon snow for the modern world, but as far back as Aristotle, people have been recording sightings of this strange phenomenon.
It forms during particularly hot days. When the sun melts the snow, sometimes, an algae called Chlamydomonas nivalis will bloom, turning the snow red or pink. This also speeds up the melting process, often leaving behind eerie little blood-red pools when the snow dissipates.
Not only is it creepy, but it can even be dangerous. Eating watermelon snow is said to have a laxative effect, a fact discovered by those special souls who, when confronted with freak of nature, still can’t resist the urge to put it in their mouth.
1 Days of Darkness
On the morning of May 19, 1780, the sun rose in the sky, changed its mind, and decided to go back down again.
Across New England and parts of eastern Canada, people watched in confusion as the morning sky darkened and, soon, turned completely black. By noon, it’s said, it was as pitch black as midnight.
It would have been creepy for anyone to see, but for a pack of Puritans who were deeply familiar with the Biblical passage promising that, in the end times, the sun would not shine for a third part of a day, it was nothing short of terrifying.
The good people of New England took this as a sure sign that the end was nigh, confessed their sins, gathered out, and waited for rapture.
The world didn’t end, of course, but nobody’s completely sure why it happened the sun went dark that day. There was no eclipse, there were no volcanic eruptions that could have blocked out the sun, and there’s no definitive answer as to what could have caused it.
We do know, however, that’s happened at least once since. In 1950 in Alberta, the sky turned so black that, in the words of one environmentalist: “If you’d woken up at noon you’d have believed it was midnight.”
The cause, that time, was a distant forest fire that had emitted enough smoke to block out the sun — which may very well have been what caused that black night that scared so many Puritans.
But who knows for sure. Maybe the world really did end in 1780, and now we’re in a hellish apocalypse where blood rains from the sky and pillars of flame ravage our cities.
I mean, that’s probably not what happened. But technically, it’s theoretically possible.
For more amazing lists on disasters see 10 Famous Disasters That Created Iconic Pieces Of Pop Culture, and 10 Famous Disasters That Created Iconic Pieces Of Pop Culture.
About The Author: Mark Oliver is a regular contributor to Listverse. His writing also appears on a number of other sites, including The Onion’s StarWipe and Cracked.com. His website is regularly updated with everything he writes.