10 December 2015

Enough Gloom & Doom

The stories I've been reposting here are beginning to depress me, so it's time for a change of pace.

People Struck by Flying Cows

Imagine that you're walking along a road, minding your own business — or perhaps you're driving in your car — when all of a sudden, out of the blue, a cow comes hurtling out of the sky and lands on top of you. This situation, odd as it may sound, happens more often than you might think, often with tragic consequences both to the cow and the person struck.

How Cows Fly

Obviously cows don't fly of their own accord. Something has to launch the creature into the air, and this is usually one of two things. Either the cow is struck by a vehicle of some kind (a truck or train) which sends it flying, or it falls off a bridge or cliff.

Of course, for the person who gets in the way of a cow returning to earth, the means by which the cow achieved flight scarcely matters. All that person cares about is that a large bovine just landed on top of them.

Cow Sinks Boat?

When we examine the subject of flying cows we need to exercise caution, because folklorists warn that the topic is popular material for urban legends. And there definitely is one well-known urban legend that involves a cow dropping from the sky.

In 1997, a story appeared in newspapers around the world describing a fishing boat that sank in the Sea of Japan after a cow fell out of the sky on top of it. At first, no one would believe the crew who insisted that a cow had just dropped out of a clear sky, but eventually the crew of a Russian cargo jet admitted they had been smuggling cattle out of Siberia and had been forced to jettison the animals in mid-air when they had begun to panic and stampede. One of these jettisoned beasts evidently fell onto the boat.

The story made good copy, but it was soon revealed to be complete fiction. It was an old fishing tale that had been repeated on a Russian TV comedy series, which brought it to the attention of foreign embassy officials in Moscow. The story had then circulated among diplomats by email, before finally being picked up by members of the press and reported as news.

So yes, tales of flying cows have the potential to be urban legends. Nevertheless, a review of newspaper archives reveals a large number of reported cases of people struck by flying cows, and these reports contain specific details of names, places, and injuries sustained, which suggests they're not urban legends being reported as news. They're real events.

The Indianapolis Star - Mar 31, 1904

Definitely go to the linked article, for some of those real events they mention. It's good for a smile. :)


Sandy said...

Rev. Paul,

Oddly enough cows do fly here in OK. If a cow or cows are in the way of a tornado they're lifted and tossed for a big distance.

Rev. Paul said...

Sandy, I'd forgotten about that. It sounds funny, but is serious, especially for those involved!

drjim said...

Could almost be a WKRP episode!

Chickenmom said...

drjim: Can you just imagine an episode of Ma and Pa Kettle sittin' on the front porch as one goes flying by? :o)

Rev. Paul said...

Jim, except for the size of the livestock, it is! :)

Chickenmom, why not? It worked in The Wizard of Oz and Twister.

drjim said...