Birmingham Named Weirdest Place to Live in the United Kingdom

IT’S OFFICIAL - Birmingham is the weirdest place to live in the UK.

With freakish weather, including a tornado and a shower of frogs and tales of alien visits, the Second City comes first place in a spotters’ guide to the country’s real twilight zones.

Almost two-thirds of Brummies believe in the supernatural after reports of giant hailstones hitting city streets and Martians dropping in for mince pies at the Rowley Regis home of Jean Hingley in 1979.

Dr Kenny Webster, resident scientist at Birmingham Science Museum Thinktank, said: "It will come as no surprise to the residents of Birmingham that we live in our own twilight zone.

"Birmingham has the youngest population in Europe and it is well recorded that children entering puberty report the highest number of ghostly sightings. It has even been suggested that imaginary friends might be ghosts."

The shower of baby frogs which occurred in Sutton Park in 1954 is one of the curious incidents mentioned in the guide, put together by Euro Disney to promote its latest attraction called The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Sylvia Mowday had taken her young son and daughter to see a naval exhibition at the park when the sky suddenly turned dark.

"I thought it was hail, but my son suddenly said ’It isn’t hail, mum, they’re frogs, baby frogs’," Mrs Mowday said.

"There were literally thousands of them. When we looked up we could see them. They covered our shoulders and umbrellas. This went on for about five minutes, but afterwards we were afraid to move in case we trod on them."

Marian Baxter, historian and local studies librarian for Sutton, is familiar with the tale which hit the national headlines.

She said: "It certainly isn’t something which happens every day.

"Sutton has got a lot of ghosts, bumps and bangs which haven’t been explained."

Between 1957 and 1958, Cynthia Appleton, a housewife from Fentham Road, Aston, claimed she was repeatedly visited by "spacemen" who showed off their futuristic technology, taught her Venusian and got her pregnant with a "space baby".

After lots of local interest the whole family, including baby Matthew, appeared to have vanished.

In January 1979 Jean Hingley had just seen her husband drive off to work when she noticed a large orange sphere hovering near the driveway.

She rushed back to the house and said three tiny winged figures, wearing goldfish-bowl helmets, flew past her into the living room and started shaking the Christmas tree, dislodging the fairy from the top.

The strange beings told Mrs Hingley they came "from the sky" then talked about Jesus and Tommy Steele.

She offered them a tray of mince pies and they took one each before flying off to their ship, which then lifted up in the direction of Oldbury or West Bromwich.

In July 2005 a twister ripped a kilometre-long path across the city and caused £40 million’s worth of damage.

The 130mph winds stripped houses of their roofs, uprooted hundreds of trees and flung cars across streets.

In just two minutes it devastated large parts of south Birmingham with Moseley, Sparkbrook, Kings Heath and Balsall Heath among the worst hit.

Scientists said the frog downpour over Sutton Park, in 1954, could be put down to yet another tornado.

The winds would have whipped across a pond, hoovering up the frogs and carried them away in a cloud until they got too heavy and were dropped.

More bizarre weather was recorded in December 1980, when a giant hailstone weighing 1lb 6ozs landed in Brum.

In 1978, 11-year-old Tracy McCarthy was listening to music on a home-recorded tape when the song was interrupted by a crashing noise, screams and a boy’s voice calling "is there anybody down there?"

Her mother Joyce McCarthy said: "We recorded the music some time ago and there was nothing like that on the tape. The ghostly voices suddenly appeared."

The family lived in an old mining area and it was since discovered that the nearby Black Bat mine had been closed in 1883 after a roof caved in and killed a group of men and boys.

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