On December 31st, just hours before the new year would coast in bringing hope of a brighter future with new triumphs and threats, the last high profile Fortean occurrence occurred when residents walked outside to find a large swath of their neighborhood had been covered by a thick frozen layer of pink snow. No evidence suggested that any tampering had been done to the snow that covered every inch of several rows of houses.
The snow fell on Revere Drive just off Chalfonte Road covering houses, cars, people, snow-people, and even the tops of trees too high to be hoaxed by anything but a low flying crop duster which was not spotted in the area. The event was so perplexing that the police were even called in to document it and possibly even figure out what could be causing it. At first, residents and police alike were merely confused by the mysterious weather phenomena. One resident blamed local industry for the incident, “See what happens when you disturb natural areas by building garbage developments?” Others were simply amazed by the surreal spectacle of it all.
Perhaps one of the most iconic phenomena of Charles Forte’s career, that of mysterious precipitations of fish and other unexplainable unnatural but almost always uniformed objects, had bade a final farewell to a certainly strange year. But unlike many occurrences that popped up again and again throughout the year, this incident actually did have a natural, although unusual explanation. Many suggested that a strain of a mysterious but famous bacteria was pulled up into the sky and deposited by high winds and snowfall onto the roofs. It’s called “watermelon snow,” and it occurs when thin red algae is pulled up by high winds and evaporation and later deposited after reproducing at a rapid rate in freezing temperatures. The snow is said to have a scent similar to watermelon. Most notably it was encountered by Captain John Ross as he returned from his expedition passing by Baffin’s Bay. Chlamydomonas Nivalis is the bacteria responsible, and it is cryophilic which makes it thrive in freezing temperatures, such as on roofs covered in freshly fallen snow, or the heart of a pink snowman.
Others have said that many occurrences of pink or red snow are actually rust deposits from rust taken from natural iron deposits, though these claims are easily found false by testing the snow for high concentrations of iron and nickel. Occasionally an incident of red snow (or red rain) results in an unidentifiable substance that doesn’t appear to be Earthly in origin. Some even say as Earth passes through unseen clouds in space that we encounter massive living organisms that sometimes fail to avoid the atmosphere and fall to Earth as “alien rain.” Of course such a substance would have to survive the entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Still others have blamed shadowy figures and members of clandestine organizations for attempting to “dust” diseases into populations. Still, these sightings are rarely followed by disease outbreaks. It seems for the moment the explanation of Chlamydomonas Nivalis will do, at least for now.