Pat Shingleton: "Snakes and Earthquakes..."
Today marks a unique anniversary on the south side of Memphis. During the morning hours of December 15, 1876, light rain turned to torrential downpours lasting about 15 minutes. Acts of God, The Old Farmer’s Almanac reported that dark brown snakes measuring 12 to 18 inches long were crawling all over Vance Street. The snakes took over the sidewalks, streets, yards, and street gutters. There were no witnesses that the snakes fell from the sky and there were no snakes on higher places such as rooftops. Many believed it was a hoax and no plausible evidence resolved the mystery. On October 23, 1947 thousands of fish fell on Main and Monroe streets in Marksville, Louisiana. Another item, Scottish naturalist John Bradbury explored the Mississippi River on a flatboat for the Botanical Society of Liverpool. On the evening of December 15, 1811, he and his crew moored at a small island on the horseshoe bend of the river for the night. In the early morning they were awakened and Bradbury’s journal notes that multiple earthquakes rumbled through the area known as New Madrid. The shocks continued until daybreak with extensive damage along the shore as Bradbury and his crew noted that the river was covered with foam as empty boats floated by with no cargo or crew. In the first series of shocks, witnesses noted that acres of riverbank crashed into the channel in huge columns creating eight foot swells.
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