Science File Information:
Mulder and Scully travel to New Hampshire to investigate the
seemingly ritualistic murder of a local teenager. As they're
investigating the crime scene it starts to rain...frogs, that is.
Althought this phenomenon may seem weird and contrived, it has been
documented several times
Whirlwinds have, on strange occasions, been known to lift frogs, fish,
ducks, grasshoppers, etc., into the air and then let them fall to earth
as "unnatural" rains.
To read a little more about raining frogs, go to
If you're still curious, look for the book
It's Raining Frogs and Fishes!
in your local library.
Mulder is certain that there is something "weird" about the area.
When he goes to a school water fountain for a drink, he notices that the
water is flowing down the drain clockwise, rather than counterclockwise.
As he explains it, this defies the Coriolis effect, a principle of physics
that (as he asserts) says that all water in the northern hemisphere swirls down drains
counterclockwise and all water in the southern hemisphere drains
clockwise. Mulder needs to check his sources! Although, in theory,
this could be the case, scientists have shown that the Coriolis force is a very weak
force that is usually overcome by the initial velocity of the water flow. In
other words, the manner and speed with which the water flows out of the
fountain in the first place probably determines which way it swirls down
To read more about the Coriolis effect, check out a simplified definition at
or a more detailed description at
- Later in the episode, Mulder is questioning a Satanist about the murders
when he gets a call on his cellular phone and is tricked into leaving the poor guy
alone and handcuffed in a cellar. Why is this a bad thing? A python from
the school's biology classroom has found its way to the Satanist's house and
decides to join him in the cellar. What happens next is completely outside of
scientific bounds: the snake constricts around the man and eats him whole (and
digests him) in just a few hours. First of all, I think I remember the agents
saying that it was a ball python, which is a relatively docile snake
that primarily eats rats. Secondly, it's impossible (as Scully notes) for a
snake to put down such a large meal so quickly (if at all). Even though the
Burmese python has been known to eat animals as large as small deer, there is no
way that the python in this episode could swallow an entire man and move on
as quickly as it did.
To get your python facts straightened out once and for all, take a detour to
the Python Page at
The people who make this show should have looked there before shooting that
scene--but Oh! I'm sorry, the snake was "demonically possessed," after all....
When the two agents finally start putting the clues together about the
murderer-at-large, they discover that it seems awfully strange that the
substitute teacher would arrive to replace a person who'd taken two sick days
in his entire tenure and then suddenly contracted "necrotizing fasciitis" and
died. Otherwise known as the "flesh-eating bacteria" that caused a British panic
in 1996, this strain of Streptococcus infection is quite rare, yet it
effectively turns your insides to mush. (Nice scientific term there, eh?)
"Necrotizing" means causing the death of organic tissue, and "fasciitis" describes
an affliction of the "superficial fascia," the connective tissue that lies directly
under the skin (also known as the hypodermis). For more gorey details, read
about the Group A Streptococci strain at
or find more specifics on necrotizing fasciitis at Yahoo under http://www.yahoo.com/Health/Diseases_and_Conditions/Necrotizing_Fasciitis.
(Be forewarned that some of these pages have disturbing photos of infected appendages.)