I was skimming back through my copy of Fort’s The Book of the Damned as I often do when I happened upon another fascinating phenomenon which Fort describes and, in his unique humorist way, theorizes on a possible explanation for. In Lo!, Fort relates tale after tale of water seemingly manifesting within closed rooms with no external source apparent.

In almost every case, it seems that great care was taken to attempt to track down where the water might be originating from, but none could be found. In nearly every case of this mysterious water manifestation, there were other strange phenomena occurring as well, and not entirely unlike poltergeist phenomena, young children are often in the vicinity of the water outbreaks. As if that were not enough, Fort also finds reports of water manifesting in isolated spots outside as well, usually focusing on a single tree.

Classic Examples

Fort relates a number of these instances such as the following:

In the Toronto Globe, Sept. 9, 1880, a correspondent writes that he had heard reports of most improbable occurrences upon a farm, near the township of Wellesley, Ontario. He went to the place, to interview the farmer, Mr. Manser. As he approached the farmhouse, he saw that all the windows were boarded up. He learned that, about the end of July, windows had begun to break, though no missiles had been seen.

The explanation by the incredulous was that the old house was settling. It was a good explanation, except for what it overlooked. To have any opinion, one must overlook something. The disregard was that, quite as authentic as the stories of breaking windows, were stories of falls of water in the rooms, having passed through walls, showing no trace of such passage. It is said that water had fallen in such volumes, from appearing-points in rooms, that the furniture of the house had been moved to a shed. In all our records openness of phenomena is notable. The story is that showers fell in rooms, when the farmhouse was crowded with people. For more details see the Halifax Citizen, September 13.


In the Chorley (Lancashire) Standard, Feb. 15, 1873, is a story of excitement in the town of Eccleston. At Bank House, occupied by two elderly women and their niece, streams of water started falling, about the first of February, seemingly from ceilings. Furniture was soaked, and the occupants of the house were alarmed. The falls seemed to come from the ceiling, but “probably the most singular feature of the affair is that ceilings were apparently quite dry.” See back to Mr. Grottendieck’s story of objects that were appearing near a ceiling, or roof, with no signs of penetrating the material. Workmen had been called to the house, and had investigated, but were unable to explain. Openness again. House packed with neighbors, watching the showers.


Over the town of Noirfontaine, France, one day in April, 1842, there was a cloudless sky, but drops of water were falling. See back to data upon repetitions. The water was falling, as if from a fixed appearing-point, somewhere above the ground, to a definite area beneath. The next day water was still falling upon this one small area, as mysteriously as if a ghost aloft were holding the nozzle of an invisible’ hose.


New York Sun, Oct. 30, 1892—that, day after day, in Oklahoma, where for weeks there had been a drought, water was falling upon a large cottonwood tree, near Stillwater. A conventionalist visited this tree. He found insects. In Insect Life, 5-204, it is said that the Stillwater mystery had been solved.


In Science, 21-94, Mr. H. Chaplin, of Ohio University, writes that, in the town of Akron, Ohio—about while water was falling upon a tree in Oklahoma—there had been a continuous fall of water, during a succession of clear days. Members of the faculty of Ohio University had investigated, but had been unable to solve the problem. There was a definite and persisting appearing-point from which to a small area near a brickyard, water was falling. Mr. Chaplin, who had probably never heard of similar occurrences far from damp places, thought that vapors from this brickyard were rising, and condensing, and falling back.

As anyone who has read Fort is aware, he often offers “explanations” for the strange news reports he relates. Of course, it’s highly unlikely that he believes that these are the real answer for these events, but he offers them anyway. So how does Fort explain these strange water manifestations?

For all I know, some trees may have occult powers. Perhaps some especially gifted trees have the power to transport water, from far away, in times of need.

As to the manifestations that occur near people, inside of closed rooms? Fort offers this interesting hypothesis:

The look to me is that, throughout what is loosely called Nature, teleportation exists, as a means of distribution of things and materials, and that sometimes human beings have command, mostly unconsciously, though perhaps sometimes as a development from research and experiment, of this force. It is said that in savage tribes there are “rainmakers,” and it may be that among savages there are teleportationists. Some years ago, I’d have looked superior, if anybody had said this to me but a good many of us are not so given to the “tut-tut!” as we used to be. It may be that in civilized communities, because of their storages, a power to attract flows of water, being no longer needed, has virtually died out, still appearing occasionally, however.

Modern example?

While doing research for this post (read: surfing the internet), I came across a curious story of a young man who, amongst other anomalous phenomena, also seemed to experience a manifestation of water within a house. The story has most recently appeared on an episode of the SyFy Channel’s Paranormal Witness. It is the strange tale of Don Decker, the “boy who could make it rain”.Writing for Poconorecord.com, Christina Tatu tells a version of the events which befell 21yr old Don Decker back in 1983 in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. She writes that:

Decker’s grandfather had just died, and he was on compassionate leave from Monroe County Correctional Facility, where he was serving time for receiving stolen property. During his leave, Decker stayed at the Ann Street home rented by family friends Bob and Jeannie Kieffer.

He fell to the floor and had a vision of an old man wearing a crown in a window. Decker also had deep scratches that suddenly appeared on his wrist.

Kieffer noticed the blood when Decker sat down to eat and asked what happened. Decker told him about his vision and attributed the wound to Satan.

Shortly after, the family heard a loud noise from above and noticed water dripping from the walls and ceiling.

The men noticed Decker seemed to be in a trance, so Kieffer decided to call the police.
According to reports of the event, Officer John Baujan, who now serves as chief of Stroud Area Regional Police, and Officer Richard Wolbert responded.

Not only was it raining indoors, but it also appeared to be coming up from the floor, “defying gravity,” they said.

You can read the rest of Tatu’s article here, or alternatively the episode of Paranormal Witness which recreates the events and interviews the witnesses is available on Netflix. She goes on to show how, much like in Fort’s day, Scientists have stepped forward to “solve” this mystery. As for Decker and those who witnessed the events? They’re convinced that he was possessed by a demonic entity.

As for me? Maybe Fort was right, maybe there are some who still have access to a vestigial power to summon water. Or maybe there was an external entity which was causing these manifestations in Decker’s case. I can’t say for sure. Although in the cases Fort reported there didn’t seem to be a suggestion that any kind of entity was involved in all of them. It seemed to be a more natural, albeit heretofore unknown, phenomena.


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