"Pennies From Heaven"

"A long time ago
A million years BC
The best things in life
Were absolutely free."


I stop in the street and pick up every penny I find, sometimes the penny is a five pence piece and sometimes the penny is a pound; twice a ten pound note has fluttered past and I've picked up that too. By the end of a month I've usually got enough of this assorted loose change to buy a beer or two - cheers world!


"But no one appreciated
A sky that was always blue.
And no one congratulated
A moon that was always new."


I have always found pennies or pounds, though I once found a single centime in Paris, France many years ago. I claim no supernatural agent has been involved in any of these discoveries, I claim no miracles and do not assert that they fell from a clear blue sky. Other folk have got luckier, thousands of 1000 franc notes fell or rather fluttered down upon Bourges, France in 1957. [1] In the December of 1975 over Chicago, Illinois dollar bills fell from the sky - a total of $588 was collected and handed over to the police. [2] Free falling pennies mystified the parishioners of St. Elizabeth's Church, Reddish, between Manchester and Stockport. In May of 1981 a young girl claimed to have seen a 50p coin fall "from nowhere" as she walked through the churchyard. Other coins fell or were said to have fallen, other coins fell and embedded themselves in the ground; other coins fell with a quiet "tinkle". [3] I have an expression that the pennies didn't so much fall as were pushed upwards, this would account for the coins that were not seen to fall, coins found embedded in the ground and the "tinkle" as coins emerged from the earth and rolled upon the pavement.


"So it was planned that they would vanish now and then
And you must pay before you get them back again."


Perhaps these stories of pennies found complete a circle of all the pennies that I have lost down the back of the sofa or the banknotes I've inadvertently lost to my avaricious washing machine, (I'll repress the urge to write a money laundering pun). Once I found a five pound note in the pocket of a jacket I bought at a jumble sale! I propose the proposal that 'for each and every lost penny there is an equal and opposite found penny.'


"That's what storms were made for
And you shouldn't be afraid for
Every time it rains it rains
Pennies from heaven."


I have another expression: that francs fell in France, dollars fall in the United States and pennies tumble down upon England's green and pleasant land. I'll quote Charles Fort and then present another datum: "One repeating mystery - the mystery of the local sky." [4] Outside of the Co-Op in Newington Road, Ramsgate pennies fell on 3 December 1968. A cashier at the store, Mrs Jean Clements said: "They came down in short scattered bursts for about fifteen minutes. You couldn't see them falling all you heard was the sound of them bouncing off the pavement." [5] In this case the report concludes curiously that all of the coins were bent. If the coins were bent by the fall then I accept that my 'pushed upwards' expression doesn't fit. If the pennies were pennies then my expression that when falls of coins are reported and the currency of the coins are declared they always correspond to the national territories upon which they fall.


"Don't you know each cloud contains
Pennies from heaven.
You'll find your fortune falling
All over town."


There was a local sky above Italy when twice in the course of a week banknotes rained down from the heavens and were blown about by high winds. At least £8000 fell in Mantova, and an estimated £5000 worth of lira fluttered down upon the streets of Frosinone, near Rome. The police remained baffled as to where the money came from. [6] That the police were baffled at this windfall is of no surprise as there were more baffled constables in Oxfordshire, England. On 20 February 1995 in the village of Kidlington locals grabbed at £10 notes as they fluttered out of the sky.[7] I can only assume that American police were equally baffled when they recovered over $7000 that fell upon the four-lane McClellan Highway, East Boston, Massachusetts. [8] July 2007 and a female motorist in Worms, Germany collected a "substantial amount of money" that was swirling through the air before handing it over to the authorities. [9] Lira fell over Italy, pounds tumbled down upon England, greenbacks fell on the United States and euro's swirled about the streets of Europe.

"Be sure that your umbrella is upside down.
Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers.
If you want the things you love
You must have showers."


A Fortean, whether he knew he was or not once declared the there is 'an exception to each and every rule.' And our exception to my expression of local coins, local falls and local skies is of a most Fortean kind, a quote from The Sunday Telegraph of 16 January 2000 by one Paul Sieveking:


"One the morning of December 7, I was sitting in the kitchen at my home in north London when I noticed an old coin on the linoleum floor, which had been swept only an hour or so earlier. I collected coins as a boy and recognised it as a Russian one-kopeck piece, but it was definitely not from my collection. The worn copper coin bore the date 1800, and a large Cyrilic II which I knew stood for the mad Czar Paul (who reigned from 1796 to 1801). I am at a loss to explain how the coin came to be under the kitchen table and tentatively assume that it just materialised from the void as some kind of paranormal jest at my expense." [10]


"So when you hear it thunder
Don't run under a tree.
There'll be pennies from heaven for you and me."

[1] Geoff Tibballs: The Guiness Book of Oddities (Guiness, GB, 1995), p140,141.

[2] Geoff Tibballs: The Guiness Book of Oddities (Guiness, GB, 1995), p141.

[3] FT36:27

[4] Charles Fort: The Complete Books of Charles Fort (Dover, NY, 1974), p403.

[5] Sunday Telegraph, 16 Jan 2000

[6] FT61:15

[7] FT84:11

[8] FT84:11

[9] http://uk.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUKL0587827020070706

[10] Sunday Telegraph, 16 Jan 2000

[11] Song Lyrics: Pennies From Heaven, music by Arthur Johnston and words by Johnny Burke (1936)