The small town of Oakville, Washington is typically a peaceful, quiet place where nothing much really happens. Located in Grays Harbor County, Washington, United States, fewer than a thousand people live here, and it is mostly a placid place historically known for its lumber production, but now mostly known for its seemingly never-ending rain, with 150 days a year of precipitation. It rains so often here, that when it started raining on August 7, 1994, it was pretty much business as usual, but it would soon become apparent that this was no normal rain, launching an unsolved mystery that is still not totally understood.
People soon noticed that what was falling was not water. Instead, is seemed to be tiny blobs that smeared like jelly when they hit and clung to objects in lumps of gelatinous ooze. Some drivers would complain that the viscous substance was streaking across their windshields to obscure visibility and cause accidents, and those who dared to touch the strange substance described it as a mushy gel similar to jello. One motorist who experienced the downpour of blobs was police officer David Lacey, who was out on patrol with his partner when the gelatinous pieces began smacking against their windshield at approximately 3 AM. He would say of what happened:
We turned our windshield wipers on and it just started smearing to the point where we could almost not see. And we both looked at each other and we said, ‘Jeez, this isn’t right.’ I mean, we’re out in the middle of nowhere, basically, and where did this come from? The substance was very mushy. It’s almost like if you had Jell-O in your hand and you could pretty much squish it through your fingers. We did have some bells go off in our heads that basically said that this isn’t right, this isn’t normal.
This was already strange enough, but then it got weirder still. People began to report that animals that sniffed at or licked the substance soon got sick and dropped dead, often with a green vicious fluid dribbling from their mouths, and after this people began getting sick as well. There would begin admissions to the hospital of people suffering from nausea, headaches, shortness of breath, vertigo, blurred vision, and fainting, as well as flu-like symptoms. Many of the patients were described as having inner-ear problems, severe intestinal problems, and major respiratory issues. In some cases, it was bad enough people were spontaneously collapsing, and whole families were coming down with the mysterious illness, all of whom had been in contact with the blob rain. Officer Lacey was one of the first to fall ill after touching the stuff on his windshield, and would say:
I was to the point where I could hardly breathe. I started to put it together that, possibly, whatever the substance was, it made me violently sick like I never had been before, to the point where it just totally shut me down.
In the meantime, the strange rain fell several more times over the coming weeks, and people all over town were coming down with the symptoms, which would last anywhere from days to weeks, baffling doctors in the process. Another resident who would talk of her experience with the strange illness was a local named Dotty Hearn. She claims that shortly after coming into contact with the strange jelly from the sky she had fallen severely ill, with dizziness and nausea, and it made her collapse one day in the middle of the floor. Her daughter, Sunny Barcliff, would say of her mother’s worsening condition:
She was cold, drenched with perspiration. My mom had been vomiting. She had extreme vertigo. She complained that she had difficulty with her vision, her vision was blurring. For some reason, as we were going out the door, I remembered the substance and I wondered if perhaps it might have had some sort of an effect on her, if it might have made her sick. So I opted, at that moment, to take a sample of this gelatinous material to the hospital.
An analysis of the sample turned up some strange findings, in that it contained human white blood cells and two types of bacteria found in the human digestive system, but no one could figure out what the substance actually was, why it was causing such harsh symptoms, or why it kept falling from the sky. It was at first speculated that it was human waste dropped from a passing airliner, but this was quickly ruled out, as regulations state that human waste on airplanes much be dyed blue, and the blobs were completely colorless. Furthermore, Federal Aviation Administration regulations forbid the dumping of human waste mid-flight. The goo was then sent to the Washington State Department of Health for further analysis, and one microbiologist Tim Davies would say, “I saw what I think was a eukaryotic cell, which is, basically, a cell that has a definable nucleus, and is found present in most animals.”
In the meantime, there was all sorts of speculation flying around, ranging from chemical spill to aliens. One of the weirdest theories was that the Navy, which had been performing live bombing runs off the coast, had blown up a school of jellyfish, after which the fragments had somehow been sucked up into the atmosphere to be dumped on Oakville. However, the town was 50 miles from the coast and the rain had fallen numerous times over a 3-week period. Another theory was that the military had intentionally dispersed the material as some sort of a test of biological warfare. Some residents would report having seen an abnormal number of slow-moving military aircraft in the sky during the time of the falls of blobs, as well as mysterious helicopters that were unmarked and all black. In the end we are left with no real answers, all of these various stories floating about and no real concrete solutions as to what exactly was happening here. What was going on in Oakville, and what does it all mean? We may never know for sure.