What is Angel Hair?
(Thanks to Patrick Cooke who pulled this material together from many different sources)
Angel Hair is so named because of its delicate, glittery, and white, hair-like appearance. As with crop circles and cattle mutilations, there is an association with angel hair and UFOs. Although nothing is known about the true origin or purpose of this anomaly, there are consistencies in the sightings. It is either seen floating from the sky or found clinging to trees and structures in such a manner as to make a sky drop obvious. Very few samples have been obtained because the substance literally melts when touched. When handled, it becomes gelatinous, then vaporizes into the air. There is no apparent reason for falls which sometimes cover several square miles.
There are many theories about the source of angel hair, with the bulk of the suspicion going to migrating spiders, mainly due to the spiderweb-like delicacy. This would not even be reasonable if spiders migrated at low altitudes, due to the immense quantity, and the fact that spiders don’t just pump out great quantities of web for no reason. Spider migrations are a high-altitude affair for one very good reason, they can’t fly. They ride the thermals up into the upper atmosphere and glide along with the prevailing winds. Even if they did produce webs on these migrations the turbulence would be more than sufficient to disperse them. And, of course, how many spider webs turn to goo at the touch?
Another theory has the angel hair being produced in the funnels of tornados through a combination of dust particles and organic materials, high electron current, and high gas velocity. Supposedly this is all spun into threads by centrifugal force of the spinning column of air because charged particles would tend to form long chains of filaments. After falling to the ground, the filaments would lose the electrical charge and disintegrate into fine dust. This is only slightly more palatable than spiders.
Sightings of odd patterns with very specific designs are often reported and strands of angel hair up to 50 feet long have been found. Another odd characteristic is that angel hair is as volatile as cellophane when exposed to a flame. Scientific analysis has concluded that angel hair begins to degrade when exposed to oxygen. The structure contains silicon, magnesium, calcium, and boron.
A most interesting report of tiny filaments discovered on clothing, which brightly fluoresced under a black light, suggested phosphorus or barium titanite microfilaments or polymers possibly emanating from persistent contrails or other atmospheric source.
There is no reasonable means of determining the true number of Angel Hair drops because of the almost natural appearance of the phenomenon. Surely it is even less reported than UFO sightings, which it is estimated are only reported 1% of the time.
Here are a few Angel Hair reports.
A drop took place in England, in the towns of Bradly, Selbourne, and Alresford, and in a triangular space included by these three towns. The substance is described as “cobwebs”–but it fell in flake-formation, or in “flakes or rags about one inch broad and five or six long.” Also these flakes were of a relatively heavy substance–“they fell with some velocity.” The quantity was great–the shortest side of the triangular space is eight miles long.”
Australia. During the unusual weather conditions following the break of the 1914 drought, in the Far North of SA (at a boundary riders hut called Leslies Well on Mount Lyndhurst station) the weather was cool and damp following the first winter rains. In mid-afternoon, on a steady light breeze from the southwest, this substance floated by at a constant altitude. Some pieces, six to nine inches long, fell to earth and dissolved in about minutes, leaving no trace. This visitation lasted about an hour and was followed by another two or three weeks later, in the same conditions. My late father spoke of several visitations, especially after the great drought of the 1860’s. The consensus was that the substance was an atmospheric fungus.
In the Philadelphia Inquirer, in September, it was reported that two South Philadelphia police officers while patrolling on Vare Blvd. around 10 p.m. spotted what looked like a “parachute” slowly drifting downward at treetop level. This 6-foot object settled to the ground and the officers called for two other officers to join them in investigating this strange landing. “The four officers stood a few feet from the object, turned on their flashlights and it gave off a purplish glow, almost a mist that looked like it contained crystals.” When one of the officers reached out to pick up part of the object, “the mass on which he laid his hands dissolved, leaving nothing but a slight, odorless sticky residue.” Within 25 minutes the whole object had evaporated.
One of the most interesting cases, which appear to connect UFOs to contrails to “Angel Hair”, happened on July 19, 1952 over a river in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. “The attention of Customs Inspector Sr. Domingo Troncoso, then with the Peruvian Customs Office at Puerto Maldonado on the jungle frontier with Bolivia, was called to a very strange cigar-shaped flying object over the river area. The big dirigible-shaped craft was flying horizontally and fairly low in the sky, passing from right to left from the observer’s position. It was leaving a dense trail of thick
smoke, vapor, or substance on its wake. This object was a real, structured, physical machine and may be seen from its reflection in the waters of the Madre de Dios River underneath it. The object was estimated to be over a hundred feet long.”
France, in At Oloron, in October, the high school superintendent Jean-Yves rigent, together with his wife and children, witnessed a strange event. To the north they saw a fleecy cloud, of curious shape, floating along. Above it was a long, narrow cylinder, tilted at an angle of 45 degrees and slowly heading southwest, at an estimated altitude of 2,000 to 3,000 meters. The object was whitish in color and its shape was quite distinct. Puffs of white smoke were coming from its topside. ome way ahead of the cylinder about 30 other objects were traveling on the same course. When viewed with field glasses, each of these objects was seen to have a red ball at the center, surrounded by a yellowish ring. These objects traveled in pairs in short, swift zigzags. When two of them moved apart they seemed to be connected by a whitish trail. All of these objects left long trails, which is integrated and drifted slowly to the ground. A white, hair like substance rained down from all of the objects, wrapping itself around telephone wires, tree ranches, and the roofs of houses. When observers picked up the material and rolled it into a ball, it turned into a gelatin like substance and vanished. One man, who had observed the episode from a bridge, claimed the material fell on him, and he was able to extract himself from it only by cutting his way clear. A nearly identical series of events occurred in Gaillac, France, ten days later.
Australia, October, Victoria “In recent years only a few UFO reports refer to a filamentous substance “angel’s hair”, having been seen falling from the sky after a flying saucer had passed over. In the case below, the second in Australia but only now reported to UFOIC, it is believed that the same substance is involved. In the earliest report of October 1953, over Victoria a sample was recovered and made available for laboratory analysis. The examination revealed that the substance consisted of a nylon-like amorphous mass with traces of magnesium, calcium, boron, and silicon. Since then the original material, which was kept in an air-tight container shrank from three to a mere half inch without residue.”
Australia. “While cycling along a street in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield a white, hair like substance rained down from all of the objects, wrapping itself around telephone wires, tree branches, and the roofs of houses. When observers picked up the material and rolled it into a ball, it turned into a gelatin like substance and vanished.”
On October 22, Principal Mr. Rodney Warrick and students watched with astonishment as “a large, silvery, cigar-shaped object” hanging in the sky suddenly took off “in a horizontal trajectory”. In its wake, this object left a trail of white web-like substance, which floated down and hung on the wires along the road. It was reported to have descended in both strands and balls.
Australia, Shepparton, Victoria. “Mr. Ramon Estrada, of Shepparton, reported that at 4pm on May 12th, 1954, he happened to see silk-like threads floating down from the sky. He also saw several long strands of this material sailing north. The average length of these strands was thirty feet. At 4.30 pm there was a similar occurrence, only the number of strands was doubled. Mr. Estrada gathered some of these filaments and although they became wrinkled, they did not disintegrate. In an airtight container he sent a sample of this mysterious substance to the headquarters of AFSB, which, in its subsequent report, said that the substance was pure white in color, silky in formation, though harder in texture. It was odorless, warm on touch like cotton, and different from cobwebs, which, after a time, are sticky and grey. A microscopic examination revealed a mass formation of uniform threads of a very fine type. A comparison with the microscopic analysis of cobwebs showed that the Shepparton filaments were coarser. There was some resemblance to white raw silk or even nylon. The ‘Cosmic Silk’ was highly susceptible to the disintegrating action of the atmosphere and the sample had to be kept in a tightly closed container. The substance did not dissolve in water. A test in a strong caustic soda solution caused the matter to disappear momentarily. It burned rapidly, leaving no smell or ash unlike wool, cotton, silk or cobwebs. The threads were not sticky, or oily but dry. Like silk they stretched easily at the ends as little hairs were detached from the spool. The most important characteristic was the length of the original strands coming down from the sky, which averaged thirty feet. “
Australia, Melbourne, Victoria. “Millions of gossamer threads draped Melbourne’s seaside suburbs and hung from wire and trees, but then completely vanished in a few hours. A Commonwealth Industrial Organization studied and tested them with ethyl acetate, acetone, and lacto phenol dye. They magnified the threads 100 diameters, burned, and melted them. They decided that the threads were not wool, did not come from feathers, were not cotton, nor did they appear to be any known synthetic fiber.”
Australia, Kingsthorpe, Queensland. “My neighbor, Mrs. E Kath, while in her garden happened to look up and saw what she thought was a huge flock of birds, or a large amount of smallish pieces of tissue paper high in the cloudless sky. However, several pieces came floating down. She examined them and found they were like lather off soap. They quickly melted in her hand.”
Australia, Mt Hale Station, Western Australia. “Twelve round flying objects, moving fast in pairs, were sighted by ten independent witnesses near Meekatharra. They left a white trail of “streamers” which crumbled and disappeared when picked up by startled watchers at Mt Hale station, seventy-five miles west of eekatharra. The silvery, round objects passed over the station at regular intervals between 8.20 and 9.15 am. One of the witnesses, Mr. E Payne, stated: “The objects were flying at an altitude of 8,000 to 10,000 feet. I picked up one of the ‘streamers’, but it vanished in my hands as it touched my skin.” He drove into Meekatharra to report the incident to the police. Constable J Coyle checked with the Department of Civil Aviation, which said that no aircraft were in the area and no meteorological balloons had been sent up. An official said that the RAAF would make a report on the sightings to the Department of Air.” Australia. “I am a Shearing Contractor aged 37 years and am at present working at Mt Hale station which is situated about 70 miles west of Meekatharra. My home address is (deleted). About 8.20 am on the 5th August, 1961, Mr. (deleted) Mt Hale Station came over the shearing shed
and asked me to have a look at two objects in the sky. The objects were round in shape, bright silver, about 2 feet each in diameter that is from ground level. The objects appeared to be about 8 to 10,000 feet, possibly higher. They were traveling at a fast speed and could be kept in sight for only about two minutes. Their course appeared definite, no surface wind. In all 12 objects were sighted, the last being about 9.15 a.m. They appeared to be in pairs. The objects gave off a white substance, which took on various shapes whilst falling to the ground. The white substance was followed and I managed to pick up some of the substance, It was of snow white color and appeared to be in a fine mesh. It crumbled very easily.”
Australia, Caroda, New South Wales. “On 6th June 1962, at 11.20 a.m., six silent UFOs, erratically flying high in a cloudless sky, attracted the attention of residents of “Shalimar” Caroda. The first of these objects resembled a very brilliant star, and climbed slowly to an altitude slightly south of the zenith, where it became too small to be seen. A few minutes later, a second silvery globe was observed traveling from the north about halfway between the zenith and northeast horizon, and then in an arc, which brought it overhead. After completing a circle, it hovered for ten seconds, then moved off in a south-easterly direction where it was lost from view about 30 degrees above the horizon. Of all the objects, this one was the lowest and best-defined, enabling its circular outline to be distinguished from that of an aircraft. A third object appeared, resembling the first and following a similar route. Then another very high speck of light became visible in the west. It appeared to leave a trail of shiny, web-like filaments, which gradually disintegrated as they drifted through the air. Two UFOs followed very high in the sky and were seen for only a short while. Mrs. Jean Williams, her daughter Julie, and Mrs. Marie Moore are agreed that, for some time afterwards, a hazy mist of light threads seemed to fill the sky. Mr. S Williams, who returned home later, noticed that these traces of silvery thread, which slowly disintegrated , were sometimes as long as five feet, and seemed to be of a fine nylon-like texture. Although a search over the countryside for traces of these wispy threads was to no avail, he is convinced that the strange substance emanated from the flying saucers, which had passed overhead.”
Canada, Montreal. This report was made on the deck of the M.V. Roxburgh Castle, moored at Montreal on 10 October 1962,” while the Roxburgh Castle was moored to her berth in Montreal, I was walking around outside my accommodation and noticed fine white filaments of unknown kind hanging around stanchions and topping lift wires of derricks. Calling the attention of the Chief Officer, 1 pulled one of these strands from a stanchion and found it to be quite tough and resilient. l stretched it, but it would not break easily (as for instance a cobweb would have done), and after keeping it in my hand for 3 or 4 minutes it disappeared completely; in other words, if just vanished into nothing . Looking up, we could see small cocoons of the material coating down from the sky, but as far as we could ascertain there was nothing either above or at street level to account for this extraordinary occurrence. Unfortunately, 1 could not manage to preserve samples of the filaments as the disappearance took place so quickly.”
Australia, Brinkley. Web-like strands, up to a chain in length, floated down like snow, on a farm belonging to Mr. R A Kennett. He said that it was similar to asbestos rope of pencil width, which stuck to soil and twigs.
Australia, Cheltenham Adelaide, South. Web-like “fine woven cotton” was seen on a lawn and draped over wires and a fence.
New South Wales North Coast region once again became the focus of intriguing UFO phenomena. There was a rash of unusual ground effects in the area, the most prominent being a large flattened crop site near Bungawalban found on April 17th. The talk was of flying saucers and that this was a “saucer nest”. The fact that the local Member of Parliament who owned the property was involved ensured the affair came into national prominence.
Australia, Christies Beach Adelaide South Australia. Five silver objects were seen. Four of these were in a “box” formation, i.e. forming the corners of a square, and a fifth leading. Filaments were reported falling.
Maslins Beach South Australia. Between 3.10 and 3.50pm Mr. Matthews of Maslins Beach sighted objects described in the AFSRS Newsletter in the following terms: silvery white, globular, moving (a) rapidly west to east, (b) almost stationary. Some were rising until they disappeared. Some appeared to be double, joined together by a cord or thread. These double objects moved around each other in an apparently aimless pattern. Near the ground were a lot of pieces of what looked like white “fairy floss.” When picked up and handled, this tended to “melt” or “disappear.’” It was extremely light and tenuous, and sometimes seemed to be made up of white strands, extremely thin. Some of the very high objects moved from west to east. Some in other directions. Some changed direction. The high ones went higher and disappeared. It was a perfectly cloudless day, bright sunshine. Absolutely no wind at ground level. “Small pieces were floating in our garden later.”
Glenelg Adelaide, South Australia. “While working outside I noticed a length of glistening material wrapped round a signpost…Looking up, I could see that the sky was holding a small amount, and that in places around the Anzac Highway, pieces of “cobweb” had stuck fast to telephone cables and other objects. I was curious about the substance so collected a small sample in a plastic drinking cup. It did not dissolve before I placed it in a fairly airtight container at home. Looking up near the Sun, strands of the cobweb could be seen., along with small spheres of it, drifting by occasionally. I cannot estimate the size of the spheres, because I had no reference point with which to guess their size, except blue sky…As sample specimens were sparse I decided that I would get the longest strand visible, which was the one initially seen…It was not easy collecting the sample in the open because of the wind and sunlight. However, a small piece of the thickest section was collected but unfortunately the thin strands dissolved into my fingers.”
Gawler, South Australia. Strange nylon-like patterns observed in the sky, which vaporized on touching when they descended. Looked like a “shower of nylon.”
Sudbury, Massachusetts, a child ran into the house calling to his mother to come outside to see “the biggest spider web in the world”. The mother discovered in her yard a silvery-white web-like material covering bushes and hanging from the trees. As she looked toward the sky, she witnessed a shiny, silvery, spherical object moving off to the west as more of this web-like substance fell from the sky for another 2 hours. The witness took samples on construction paper and placed them in a glass jar and into the refrigerator taking them to a local laboratory for examination. The material was white and translucent and diminishing rapidly.
On a partly cloudy early evening on October 17, 1983, Angel Hair fell in the vicinity of 1310 South 5th Avenue, in Wausau. Eight people witnessed the gentle descent of the wispy strands. The strands came floating in from the northeast, settling softly on streets, lawns, and tangling in trees throughout the neighborhood. First observed at 5:45 p.m., the witnesses spent the next half hour gathering the mysterious strands as they continued to fall. One witness, Todd Roll, gathered samples from the roadway and took pictures of the falling material. Roll sealed the Angel Hair in plastic and has kept the samples in his collection to this day. Roll reports that the long strands “were sticky to the touch,” resembling “white string, only thin,” and weighing slightly more than the strands comprising a spider’s web. He reports that the afternoon temperatures were in the mid-to-low-50s, with little wind. Two airplanes were observed in the near vicinity, with one considerably downwind. It was undetermined whether the strands were released from the airplanes or were coincidental to their passage.
- Twenty UFOs, described as “shiny silver spheres,” flew over a number of farms near Quirindi, New South Wales, last weekend, littering the ground with cobweb-like filaments called “angel hair.” According to USA Today, “Residents of a small Australian community swear that they saw cobwebs fall from the sky after UFOs passed overhead. Dozens of residents of Quirindi called Australia’s National UFO Hotline after the incident.” According to the Tamworth, N.S.W. North Daily Leader, “Mrs. E. Stansfield, 61 years (old), said that she saw cobwebs falling from the sky. She saw twenty silver balls, which passed overhead. When she went out to her daughter, she too was covered in fine strands of cobweb. When she tried to pick it up, it disintegrated in her hand. The family car had cobwebs all over it.” Australian researcher Raymond Brooks reported that the “various craft” performed aerobatic maneuvers over the farms “for 1.5 hours, including the release of ‘angel hair.’
Esperance, Western Australia. A man witnessed tons of white filamentous threads falling from the sky. Paddocks, hedges, trees were covered with the stuff and it hung off power lines in great shrouds with lengths up to thirty feet long. Apparently the sky was thick with it up to a thousand feet or more. There was no wind. The threads fell from 10am to 3pm. All the paddocks in the area had a “sheen” caused by layers of the stuff. Peter, the witness, picked up some of the “hair” to try and get it analyzed. A Cessna aircraft was flying around as low as 200 ft through the falling threads. Three contrails were stationary much higher, one with a spiral in it.
Aldinga, South Australia. A man spotted a silver disk in the sky and called out his wife to look at it. Over the next 90 minutes they saw an additional three whitish balls and three things looking like a helicopter in shape, making a total of six to nine objects in all travelling west to east. The sky was completely cloudless at the time, with the temperature being mild. From the sighting of the first object there was a fall of material. Sheila stated that it fell in large wads/strands. She used a stick to pick up some of the material, which fell onto her house and TV antenna and gatepost. The material was long, silver, cobweb like in color and texture. Once touched with the stick it shriveled up and evaporated. No sound was heard.
North Texas. “I awoke to a thick almost dusty colored fog along the bottom land near my house. As the sun began to rise, this eerie fog began to lift — the sky above the fog was clear and the top of the dusty fog looked white and wispy similar to some of the wispy cirrus-like clouds associated with persistent contrails. This fog rose in a matter of minutes revealing small white fluffy almost cotton ball looking material all over the tall weeds in the area. These balls looked to be about 2-3 inches in diameter and literally vanished as the sunlight hit them.”
On Thursday afternoon, September 28, m a male jogger was out running in Livonia, Michigan, a suburb 15 miles (25 kilometers) west of Detroit, when he spied something weird on the grass. “Yesterday I collected the largest amount of angel hair I have ever seen,” he reported, “I literally ran into it while outrunning. It was spread across the grass near a drainage ditch, under a tree that looked like a weeping willow. I had never seen the stuff before, in person, only photos and stories on the Internet, But I found it and collected all of it, and I have a large sample of it inside a Ziploc (plastic) bag. It feels like cat fur, but it has a static cling to it. All of the hairs cling to each other in the bag. There are no stray hairs floating around. When I put my hand down on the grass to pick some up, it just came up against my hand like static cling almost. I (had) decided to go out running and at first ran past it, then stopped and turned around to look more closely. It was obvious it had blown from a northerly direction. It was only a small patch, about three feet (0.9 meters) wide. I picked it all up and stuck it in the pocket of my jogging sweatshirt, then ran up to the nearest grocery store to get a plastic bag to put it in. I thought it would disintegrate like everyone says, but it didn’t. It’s still right there, in the Ziploc. Maybe because there’s so much of it, it all just stuck to each other. Weird!”
Italy, Vercellese and Alessandri, two towns in the Piemonte region of northern Italy, heard an unusually loud boom. This “sky quake” rattled roof tiles and windows in both communities. Immediately afterward, the residents saw “long sheer white filaments drifting down from the sky.” The fibrous material fell most heavily in Vercellese but was also reported on the farms surrounding the town. “The filaments were clearly ‘angel’s hair’ or ‘hair of the Virgin,’ as it is called here in Italy, and it is usually associated with UFO phenomena,” reported Italian Ufologist Paolo Toselli, “Similar phenomena have also been reported in the United States.