Not only am I an ancient history fan, I’m also obsessed with words. Particularly idioms and puns. I can’t say that I’m an expert at any of the millennial or Gen Z jargon, but I love running across it.
Words are like cars. Each one has a different feel. And although I may never been a race driver, I do enjoy stepping into the seat of a new phrase and seeing how it handles. Sort of like a Top Gear for vocabulary.
This urban myth began in Philadelphia with the SETA transport system. People would see a bus with no destination listed, only the SETA letters on the board. Called the Bus to Nowhere, the Wandering Bus, or Bus Zero — this bus is equal opportunity and will pick up anyone who is in a desperate situation.
Supposedly this bit of folklore was dreamed up by comedian Nicolas Mirra, who had lived in Philadelphia in 2011. He wrote and published a short story on his blog called “Philly Urban Legends: The Wandering Bus.”
Part of the allure of this legend is the references that shot through my head upon hearing it. Firstly was Danny the Street (who I discovered watching Doom Patrol). Danny is a gender queer sentient street that helps the down and out (very similar to Bus Zero). In the TV series, after being destroyed, Danny was reincarnated as a bus. Perhaps a reference to the Wandering Bus.
When I read that you could ride the bus for months, or even years, the other idea that popped into my head was the Party Bus from The Regular Show. In this Halloween Episode (Terror Tales of the Park), the group gets onto a bus with a raging party on board. However, as the bus travels forward, they all age. The Regular Show crew is able to reverse the bus, but this only de-ages them until they are babies.
When designing the Bus to Nowhere I chose a 1930s style bus. Totally inaccurate to the myth, but I love the design of vehicles during this era. Thus, most of the buildings are 1930s style.
Despite possibly being created by Mirra, the Wandering Bus is not isolated to Philadelphia. People have reported seeing it in multiple cities. Who knows, perhaps the Bus really is going to those who need it most.
Although I’ve known about how storms can pick up critters and deposit them, rain style, across various swaths of landscape, I stumbled across this particular story in the 400th issue of Fortean Magazine. I was struck by the oddness of the account.
Most scientists attribute critters raining from the sky to tornado waterspouts. High winds create a tornado-like suction that picks up fish or frogs or even snails and carries them for miles. The Farmer’s Almanac lists the most bizarre items to have rained down on humanity including meat in Kentucky and spiders in Australia.
In the case of the snail encounter, the witness claims that when he exited the phone booth, the snails formed perfect circle. As if the rain were concentrated exactly on his locale.
Of course the best story about raining animals comes from Stephen King’s Rainy Season (a short story from Nightmares and Dreamscapes). In this, a couple move to a small town only to find that every seven years it rains frogs. However these amphibians have a taste for flesh.
There have been three short films made of this story (2002, 2017 and an Australian short in 2019). The story reads the best.
I have never personally experienced any strange fauna falling from the skies. However, I do know that the creepiness of the event would long linger in my memory.