“We have not been lucky enough to find anyone who saw him come down,” wrote H. L. Pinckney in the Charleston Mercury, “but the important fact that he was there is incontestable—and as he couldn’t have got there any other way, it was decide unanimously that he rained down.” On this date in 1843 in Charleston, South Carolina, a two-foot alligator was found on the corner of Wentworth and Anson in that city after a particularly violent thunderstorm, in which “the whole firmament growled thunder and shot lightning.”
Weather is fairly complex but it is also quite consistent. There are many stories of rainstorms bearing tadpoles and sometimes larger creatures that have been given a baffling free ride. In a world of many weather events taking place continuously, these things happen. But a two-foot-long gator, perhaps and perhaps not. As the writer in the Mercury confessed, no one saw the gator deposited with the downpour. But no one didn’t, either. By that standard, a two-foot-long alligator came down with the rain on this date in 1843 in Charleston, South Carolina.
The story was briefly popular in the national press; the clipping at the top of today’s “Today in History” is from the July 11, 1843, New Orleans Times-Picayune, but it reproduces Pinckney’s article.
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The last indisputable radio transmission from Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan while they were on their trip around the globe was received on this date in 1937. It was: “We are running on line north and south.”
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Nostradamus died on this date in 1566. Ernest Hemingway died on this date in 1961. Vladimir Nabokov died on this date in 1977. Lee Remick died 25 years ago today. James Stewart died in 1997 on this date. Mario Puzo died in 1999 on this date.
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Hermann Hesse was born on this date in 1877. Thurgood Marshall was born in 1908 on this date. Wisława Szymborska was born in 1923 on this date.
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Imelda Marcos is 87. Richard Petty is 79. Polly Holliday is 79. Larry David is 69. Jerry Hall is 60.
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