This story took place in the summer of 1996, on rural Highway 36 near Lacey's Spring, Alabama, which is a small community located between Huntsville and Hartselle.
I was living in Birmingham, Alabama at the time, and my girlfriend then (now my wife) was with me for this experience. I am a professional musician, and I'd come up to Huntsville, Alabama for a gig I had at a local music hall just outside the downtown area of the city.
After my show, I packed up to leave, got paid, and we were on our way back to Birmingham.
It was approximately 2am as we were leaving Huntsville, and some inclement weather was beginning to form out to the west of the city, so my girlfriend and I opted for a short-cut route toward our destination and to possibly avoid the approaching storm.
We stopped once at a gas station on the main thoroughfare, Highway 231 (also known as Memorial Parkway), to get a bottle of water and some snacks for the hour-and-a-half drive back to Birmingham.
While in the store, the friendly clerk offered information that a tornado had been reported due west of Huntsville, and that we'd do well to keep the radio tuned to a local weather station if we were continuing on the road.
(The entire North Alabama area is considered a year-round "Tornado Alley," so while are always cognizant of weather, we simply monitor conditions and go about our lives.)
We continued out of Huntsville on Highway 231, crossed the Tennessee River and entered the tiny community of Lacey's Spring, Alabama. The skies looked ominous as we took a right turn on to Highway 36, which would eventually cross Interstate 65, leading us back to Birmingham.
Alabama Highway 36 is a rural, 2-lane state road that passes through several extremely tiny communities. There is only one traffic light on the entire 36-mile stretch, and save for a handful of houses and small businesses located along the road, so at night, the area is nearly pitch-black, desolate and seemingly deserted.
Even during daylight hours, traffic on Highway 36 is very light, usually one would occasionally see a sheriff's patrol car, dump truck or a small trailer with bales of hay.
On this particular night, however, my girlfriend and I got the scare of our lives as we turned west on to Highway 36. It was approximately 2:30am.
Small hail had begun to fall, and the winds were picking up. Thus far, the road was absolutely deserted and no light anywhere. The radio reported a possible tornado was just west of the city of Huntsville, which was now about 25 minutes north of our location.
What we saw on our drive in the next 30 minutes will haunt us the rest of our days.
We'd driven west on Highway 36 approximately 3 to 5 miles when the hail turned to light rain, and as we came around a bend in the road, we saw headlights... But something didn't look right.
The headlights we saw were not in horizontal array, but a vertical one, and they had obviously been set on "bright," what you might use in inclement weather. The vehicle was facing east.
We approached the headlights carefully, and as I slowed the car to a crawl and lowered my window, my girlfriend and I saw that the headlights were from a brand-new red SUV, which was lying on its passenger side on the edge of the road, interior lights on and engine running, and the driver's side door was inexplicably open.
I stopped my car completely and repeatedly yelled out, "Anybody in there? Is anyone hurt? Can you hear me? Do you need assistance? Anyone need help?"
I got no response at all.
The inexplicable thing was that the red SUV looked brand-new, and there were no marks or any evidence that the car had been in any sort of an accident or had been picked up by the high winds of a tornado.
Since our area of North Alabama is threatened by tornadoes year-round, I have seen literally hundreds of vehicles that have been flipped, rolled, or destroyed by the deadly force of a tornado.
Vehicles anywhere close to a tornado are ALWAYS covered in silt, debris, and usually many of the windows are blown out. The red SUV we saw was absolutely pristine... It looked as if it had been simply lifted by a giant hand and set gently on its side!
My girlfriend and I decided to continue on, hoping to flag down a sheriff's deputy if we happened to pass one. (We did not own cell phones yet.)
Just a couple more miles down Highway 36, we spotted the lights of yet ANOTHER vehicle stopped near the road ahead. As we got closer, we saw that this particular vehicle was a green SUV, upside down in the shallow roadside ditch, engine running, all lights on, driver's side door open, and no one anywhere around the vehicle.
Creeped out but still concerned, I lowered my girlfriend's passenger-side window and yelled for anyone who might need help. And again, no response whatsoever.
There was no evidence that a tornado had passed through the area, as there were no limbs down, no signs of debris or no trees bent or snapped. It was just a little rainy. But what happened next is one of the scariest things I have ever seen.
We continued west on Highway 36, and it was now nearly 3am. We rounded another wooded bend that opened into a clearing on both sides of the road, and already a little freaked out, I noticed the road seemed to be MOVING.
I slowed, and as we got closer, my girlfriend and I saw that the road, the shoulder, the ditches, EVERYTHING was covered in small frogs, hopping in all different directions.
And I don't mean there were a couple hundred frogs in the road... There were thousands upon thousands of frogs. They covered every inch of the road and shoulder as far as we could see!
Now, we were really scared, totally freaked out. Whatever we'd driven into, my girlfriend and I decided that we should get the hell out of there RIGHT THEN. The insane thing was that we kept driving, running over the frogs (sadly), but there seemed to be no end of them.
We estimated that we drove at least 3 more miles before we couldn't see any more frogs. They were EVERYWHERE. The road and shoulders of the road were inundated with small, hopping LIVING frogs everywhere you looked.
We saw no further cars on the road until we had to make our turnoff toward Birmingham.
By the time we reached the junction of Alabama Highway 36 and Interstate 65, we stopped at an all-night gas station to hop out and shake our heads.
We simply couldn't believe what we'd seen. Two different SUVs, one on its side and one flipped on its roof, but with no visible damage, the engines running and lights on, with the owners nowhere to be found...
...and what looked like a veritable Biblical plague of small frogs covering every square inch of a rural highway for probably 3 or more miles!
A few details:
Neither I nor my girlfriend had been drinking alcohol nor had ingested any mind-altering narcotics of any sort. Neither of us are prone to hallucinations, and we are both super-alert, highly educated, Christian people with no history of psychotic behaviors.
The next morning, we'd found that no tornado (or high winds) had been spotted, reported or recorded anywhere in the immediate vicinity of our "sighting," which ruled out that the "wrecked" SUVs and the frogs were a product of any weather-related event.
Seeing that we are extremely weather-aware, I immediately began research into the incident with the frogs.
Our area has a very high concentration of professional people educated on weather, science and psychology. I consulted with meteorologists, engineers, scientists, a psychiatrist, and even a couple of people who are known to be "lighting rods" for paranormal activity.
The scientists all agreed that frogs do have a mating season where they will make an exodus from their environment to begin the mating process, but since there were no large enough freshwater bodies nearby, the sheer number of frogs we witnessed could not be explained by animal biology.
The meteorologists all agreed that, during certain weather events such as a tornado or waterspout, it is highly likely that marine-dwelling animals like frogs could be sucked out of their watery habitat by the vortex of the winds, but they would likely be blown quite high into the air and will actually fall back to ground (usually) encased in hail, and very few (if any) animals would survive a fall from even a height of 20 feet.
Also, a waterspout or tornado would not simply pick up frogs, it would also pick up fish, birds and water-dwelling vegetation. None of those were present.
Therefore, if the frogs that my girlfriend and I witnessed had been sucked up by a storm before being deposited into the road in front of us, it is highly unlikely that many of them would still be alive, and ALL of them were alive. Furthermore, the sheer number of frogs and size of the area where we witnessed them rules out a mating migration.
Scientists and meteorologists all agreed that the number of live frogs we saw over so large an area populated by such small bodies of water (a couple of small lakes and creeks) makes any rational scientific or meteorological explanation impossible.
As for the "wrecked" but intact SUVs, area police and sheriffs had no reports of vehicle accidents in that area for that date and time, per my research.
The two people with experience in paranormal activity whom I consulted with were equally baffled.
Finally, I have quite a few experiences which I consider to be "paranormal" in nature, but no other experiences like this. What could this be?
The wrecked cars are one thing, but a plague of hopping, living frogs in every direction for at least 3 miles on Alabama State Highway 36?
All I hope for is some sort of explanation. This event (from 20 years ago) does not cause me any fear or anxiety. Just very scary and unexplained by rational thought and professional sciences.
Thank you for reading. Any thoughts or ideas are appreciated. Best to you all.