Skip to main content

The Mystery Storm at Mobile's Old Catholic Cemetery

For five days in 1870 rain fell continuously on the graves of the Lemoine family

The Old Catholic Cemetery in Mobile

One of the strangest meteorological mysteries in history took place in Mobile, Alabama, in 1870 at the Catholic Cemetery above Three-Mile Creek. Several witnesses, including the cemetery groundskeeper, claim that a gentle but steady rain fell continuously for five days over the cemetery.
Stranger still, the downpour was confined to just one particular area of the graveyard-- the Lemoine family plot.

It was October 29 when the rain began to fall, according to cemetery groundskeeper John Rosset. Rosset, who first noticed the strange phenomenon, brought it to the attention Louis B. Lemoine, whose father, Victor, had been laid to rest in the family plot in 1851.

One of many historic graves at the cemetery

On the evening of November 2, Louis drove out to the cemetery to witness the strange storm with his own eyes. He gave the following account to the Mobile Register:

"I drove out there last evening to satisfy myself, and, to my intense astonishment, I saw that a column of rain was coming down without ceasing, which although hardly powerful enough to lay the dust was enough to wet the hands or any article, and at times rained quite hard.

"The volume of rain fell inside of the enclosure and nowhere else, as the weather was and has been bright and clear all the time during the five days the rain has been falling on these graves. There are thirteen of my family buried in the lot upon which it has been raining.

"My mother, brother, and sister visited the spot yesterday and the day before to satisfy themselves about this matter, and declare that they too saw this wonderful phenomenon."

A family plot at the Catholic Cemetery in Mobile

During the course of this mysterious storm, over 200 residents of Mobile traveled to the cemetery to witness the event, many of whom were convinced that some sort of divine hand was responsible. Others of a less superstitious bent insisted that there had to be a perfectly logical scientific explanation for the phenomenon-- though nobody has ever been able to figure out what that explanation might be.

Popular posts from this blog

The Incest Capital of the World?

At the far eastern edge of Kentucky, nestled in Appalachia, resides Letcher County. In spite of its isolation and poverty (approximately 30% of the county's population lives below the poverty line), Letcher County has managed to grow at an impressive rate, from a population of just 9,172 in 1900 to a present-day population of nearly 25,000. However, even if Letcher County tripled or quadrupled its present population, there's still a pretty good chance that virtually all of the county's inhabitants would be related to each other-- thanks to one particularly fertile family whose astounding rate of reproduction can put even the friskiest rabbit to shame.

Around the year 1900, Letcher County was the home of a man by the name of Jason L. Webb, who made national headlines for having the one of the largest families in the world. According to newspaper reports of the era, Jason had 19 children, 175 grandchildren, and 100 great-grandchildren. Perhaps even more impressive was his b…

The Ticking Tombstone of Landenberg

If you look closely at a map of Pennsylvania, you'll see an anomalous semi-circular border at the extreme southeastern part of the state. This circle, known officially as the "Twelve Mile Circle", serves as the border between the Keystone State and Delaware. Much of the strange circle is surrounded by Chester County, one of the three original Pennsylvania counties created by William Penn in 1682. While there are many historical points of interest in Chester County, few are strange or as steeped in legend as the Ticking Tombstone.

Near the London Tract Meeting House in Landenberg is an old graveyard which contains a tombstone which is said to make eerie ticking noises, much like the ticking of a pocketwatch. Landenberg locals claim that the ticking is the result of two very famous surveyors who arrived in town during the 1760s- Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.  A young child supposedly swallowed a valuable pocketwatch owned by Mason and later died, and the boy's head…

Jenny Hanivers, Mermaids, Devil Fish, and Sea Monks

Three centuries before P.T. Barnum attracted flocks of crowds with his mummified Fiji Mermaid (which turned out to be a papier-mâché creation featuring a monkey's head and a fish's body), sailors around the world had already began manufacturing "mermaids".  Known as Jenny Hanivers, these creations were often sold to tourists and provided sailors with an additional source of income.  These mummified creatures were produced by drying, carving, and then varnishing the carcasses of fish belonging to the order rajiformes- a group of flattened cartilaginous fish related to the shark which includes stingrays and skates.  These preserved carcasses can be made to resemble mermaids, dragons, angels, demons, and other mythical creatures.

Jenny Hanivers became popular in the mid-16th century, when sailors around the Antwerp docks began selling the novelties to tourists.  This practice was so common  in the Belgian city that it may have influenced the name; it is widely believed …