When it rains, it pours. And typically, it’s just water falling from the sky. But not always. Every so often, thanks to a bizarre quirk of nature, something else will come down from above, whether it be a mysterious rain of bloody meat in Kentucky or a deluge of golf balls in Florida. Sometimes it even rains…cash. In this article, we’ll share 10 times lucky people found themselves in the middle of a shower of currency and how it happened. Keep your eyes on the skies, friends. Tomorrow could be your lucky day.
The Middle East is a fascinating illustration of capitalism, with the super rich and super poor living in a tenuous peace. So it’s not surprising that rains of unexplained cash from the heavens are a fact of life here. In February 2015, a video hit the Internet that depicted a group of pedestrians running out into traffic to gather up 500 dirham notes (about $88 each) that were falling into the street from above. The bills were spotted in several different locations in the Jumeirah district, but nobody has any clue as to their original source. It’s highly possible that some moneybags just decided to “make it rain” from their penthouse apartment on a whim.
One of the oldest confirmed stories of money falling from the sky comes from 1940 and the small Russian town of Meschera. Residents of the area reported a bizarre rain of coins landing all over town, but this wasn’t ordinary currency. When examined, experts discovered that the coins dated from the 16th century — certainly not something that was in common circulation. The theory at the time was that a tornado had roared through the area and lifted up topsoil covering a buried treasure trove from hundreds of years ago. The natural process of erosion had weakened the ground enough that the wind could lift its bounty into the sky and drop it down on the heads of unwitting peasants.
In April 2015, motorists on the Mitchell Freeway running through Perth, Australia, had something new to look for on the road besides kangaroos. At about 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night, a serious traffic situation emerged when hundreds of $100 bills started falling from the sky. Drivers pulled over to the shoulder and left their cars to dart out into the freeway and grab what they could. Thankfully, nobody was hurt in the bizarre stunt, and once the police arrived they dispersed the crowd. Some Good Samaritans even handed in the money they’d collected to the authorities. As yet, the police haven’t identified the source of the bizarre windfall.
Sometimes rains of money are a little easier to explain. In 1997, a Brink’s armored car crashed on an overpass in Miami, Florida’s Overtown neighborhood. The truck was carrying a staggering $3.7 million in cash and food stamps, and when the impact opened its back doors, several bags of currency burst out and rolled down the hill. This naturally set off a swarm of people looking to grab everything that they could. By the time police hit the scene and dispersed the crowd, the truck’s haul was $500,000 lighter. The Miami Police Department announced a 24-hour amnesty for people who had taken off with the money, but only three people turned themselves in out of over 100 who were at the scene of the accident.
Here’s another tale of cash hitting the road, this time in Germany. A motorist outside the city of Worms on the Upper Rhine went to police in 2007 after a very bizarre incident on the freeway. As she was driving, she spotted a cloud in her rear view mirror, and realized that it was a windswept accumulation of Euro notes. Like any of us would do, she pulled over to the shoulder because traffic wasn’t heavy and picked up as much of the free cash as she could. However, in a remarkable act of Good Samaritanism, she then proceeded to the nearest police station and turned every penny in to the cops, who pledged to find who it originally belonged to.
There’s a lot of money floating around Seattle these days, with big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft creating a market for overpriced apartments and fancy restaurants. But when cash falls from the sky, things can still get a little unusual. In 2012, a group called Mic Check Wall Street organized a demonstration downtown on Valentine’s Day where they dropped currency from atop a building. Each one of the 500 $1 bills that the organization let loose into the streets was stamped with an anti-corporate message urging people to show appreciation for their loved ones without spending money on them. It’s a cute statement, but I doubt most of the people in the streets snatching up bills paid much attention.
Sometimes all we see of a rain of money is the aftereffects, as this 1995 story aptly illustrates. Mat Jameson was heading to his Fair Oaks backyard to check on his dog, a cheerful black Lab named Beauty. When he got there, he found something quite out of the ordinary — his pooch was rolling around in a pile of $100 bills. The currency had fallen from some unknown location on at least three neighborhood yards, and when police counted it the total came to over $10,000. It’s unknown as to whether Jameson and the other lucky recipients were allowed to keep their literal windfall, but the dog at least got a pretty good time out of it.
How often do you see a $2 bill in circulation? If you happened to be walking around Boylston Street in Boston in April 2013, you might have seen some circulating in the air. On one Thursday afternoon, pedestrians were surprised by a shower of bills from the sky, many of which were two buck notes. The source of the cash was never identified, and witnesses didn’t see any other suspicious activity. Some people thought that workers in offices at 745 Boylston St. were to blame, as they were seen looking out the windows at the time, but the $2 bill dropper has never been identified.
This particular rain of cash had a very visible source, but people still got free money out of it, so it counts. Lunchers enjoying the warm weather in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in May 2015 were treated to a little financial incentive when a drone helicopter flew over and started dispensing free money to the scene. The copter had a payload of about 50 $1 bills, which it let loose over Rosa Parks Circle, a popular spot in the downtown business district. Police believe that the operators were standing on the roof of a nearby hotel controlling the drone, but don’t plan to hunt them down and press charges.
We’re going to close this one out with something very valuable falling from the sky that wasn’t money, but better. In September 2015, Nogales, Arizona, resident Maya Donnelly was awakened by a loud crash from her yard. She figured it was just a storm and went back to bed, but later in the day headed outside to check on the damage and discovered that the roof of her carport had been punched clean through by a plastic-wrapped package that fell from the sky. Inside the parcel? $100,000 worth of primo Mexican marijuana. Alas, Donnelly wasn’t allowed to keep the weed, and ended up out $500 for repairing her carport. Sometimes life isn’t fair.