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1844, November 1: Sparking Rain Falls in Paris

On Friday, November 1, 1844, a man by the name of Arago in Paris, France, reported encountering rain of a very unusual nature.

        Arago was in the Place Saint-Sulpice in a heavy rain at 8:45pm, on his way to his apartment at the Royal College of Louis-le-Grand (where he was a physical trainer), when he noticed that the north was overcast with a light whitish glow that was in sharp contrast to the darkness to the south of him. Upon getting to his apartment, around 9:15pm, Arago opened the window on the north side and saw the strange lightness was still there, though it now appeared to have a reddish tinge to it. Five minutes later, the light was gone. Arago regretted not having instruments to measure the eletrical or magnetic nature of what he had seen... but he did make note of it in his meteorological journal.

        On the following day a friend of Arago's, Dr. Morel-Deville, who also lived at the college, asked Arago to explain an odd phenomena he had seen the night before. Morel-Deville was out on the the college campus the previous evening at 8:30pm when he saw that the raindrops hitting the ground were producing sparks with a faint crackle, and the smell of phosphorus! Morel-Deville waited and watched... this phenomena repeated itself three times as he watched, but not again after that. It is not recorded if Arago had an answer regarding this strange matter.