JERRY'S RUN ICE FALL

The date of June 26, 1990 fell on a Tuesday. On that clear, hot, sunny day, something else fell on Wood County, West Virginia which made that particular Tuesday forever special.

At about 12:30 PM on that day, Heisel and Alice Amos, and their grandson, Aaron, had just settled down to watch a television show when the entire house was suddenly rocked by what they thought was an explosion. Although they heard no explosive report they were quite certain that some single, intense concussion had taken place nearby. On looking out the front door, Heisel and Alice noticed their 43 year-old son, Donald, looking at something on the ground near their television satellite dish. In their once-peaceful, grassy meadow a small crater now lay about 10 feet in front of the dish--a mere 30 yards from the Amos house--and in and all round that crater was ice. From a clear, cloudless summer sky fell a 50 pound chunk of ice. Its impact crater was nearly 2 feet in diameter and 6 inches deep. As the incredulous family surveyed the strange sight, they could hear, whizzing overhead, more chunks of ice that apparently were destined to crash in the forested hills beyond the Amos property in Jerry's Run, West Virginia. The "ice bomb" that pockmarked Heisel Amos's yard broke up on impact leaving large pieces within the crater and "baseball-size" chunks strewn in a 30 foot radius around the site. Interestingly, in its descent, the frozen curiosity severed the "primary neutral" of the electrical power lines which run along the Amos property. Before all of the mystery fragments melted in the 88 degree summer heat, Heisel Amos wrapped about six pounds of the stuff in plastic and put in his freezer.

All witnesses agree that no aircraft of any type were seen or heard at the time of the incident. In fact, a flight control operator with the FAA was contacted for comment and said that some falls of ice from the sky have been aircraft-related,  typically resulting from the leakage of jet airliner toilets, though ice of this type is characteristically blue due to  the disinfectants used. Even though the ice that fell at Jerry's Run was colorless and by past reports perhaps too large to fit this category, the flight operator--having no other suitable explanation--defaulted to the opinion that it "just about had to be aircraft related."

About two months ago, INFO's Allan Rosensweig first told me of this West Virginian mystery and said that New York science writer, Patrick Huyghe, was an original recipient of the report and wanted to discuss it with me in the hope of having detailed chemical and physical analyses performed on the ice. After discussing the matter with Huyghe (recent co-author of The Big Splash, a book that deals with possible cometary bombardment of earth), I was able to make contact with people in West Virginia who were the actual participants in the drama. Without delay, I made arrangements for the Enigma Project's ace investigator, Alan "Cuz" McCann, to travel to Parkersburg, West Virginia to interview witnesses and thoroughly document the incident. Through the kind cooperation of Wood County Emergency Service Director, Gale Hartshorn, the Amos family and others, Alan, with assistance from his brother Paul, obtained accurate accounts from witnesses and was able to bring back a one pound fragment of the ice for analysis.  

Reports of unusual ice falls have occasionally graced the pages of Fortean books and journals. Charles Fort himself, mentioned this enigma about 70 years ago and since his time other investigators have uncovered hundreds of documented occurrences throughout history. Obviously, there are situations were oversized hailstones and other natural weather phenomena have contributed to this subject. However, falls of ice chunks--some alleged to have weighed hundreds of pounds--have during history precluded any known meteorological processes or the advent of the airplane. What we are left with, quite simply, is a mystery.

Within the constantly revised science of astronomy there is the theory (apparently given a cold reception by some scientists) that huge masses of extraterrestrial ice--presumed by some to be cometary in origin--may sometimes bombard the earth. These "hydrometeors," some researchers contend, may have contributed to the lush and lively environment that has always set the earth apart from its other planetary neighbors. Could the ice that fell on Wood County, West Virginia have come from deep space? A positive answer to this question would certainly help to explain the many mysterious ice falls that have occurred over the years. Perhaps the pending analyses of the ice will reveal some clues...

 

2001 M.A. Frizzell