Throughout the history of the UFO phenomenon there have always been those cases of these mysterious objects leaving material evidence behind that has served to baffle and confuse, and one of these is something that has come to be known as "angel hair." The phenomenon known as “angel hair” normally involves a fall of a sticky, fibrous substance reminiscent of wispy strands or threads of silk or cotton, or like fine hair, usually in conjunction with some sort of aerial anomaly. These strands, which can vary in length from a few inches to over a hundred feet, then fall to earth, and are reported as disintegrating upon any attempt to touch them or collect them, but will also evaporate on their own in short order. Perhaps some of the earlier known reports of the angel hair phenomenon reportedly occurred during a mass sighting of unidentified celestial phenomena over Nuremberg in 1571, and there was a fall of “flakes or rags about one inch broad and five or six inches long" on the towns of Bradly, Selborne, and Alresford in England in 1741, but it goes back even further than that, with incidents across history. UFO researcher Brian Boldman has found hundreds of cases of angel hair spread across the world and going back as far as 629 AD. However, while this has been a strange occurrence for some time, it wasn’t until the 1950s that angel hair would become connected to the UFO phenomenon, when a series of sightings of UFOs dropping the stuff would hit the headlines, after which it would become intrinsically linked to unidentified flying objects and extraterrestrials.
Perhaps the first sighting that would entrench angel hair into UFO lore happened in October of 1952, in Oloron, France. On this day, numerous witnesses had their early evening interrupted by what was described as “a narrow cylinder, apparently inclined at a 45-degree angle... slowly moving in a straight line toward the southwest,” as well as up to 30 spheres emitting bright red light. These objects were reportedly dropping a feathery, white substance like strands of hair, which fell to cover trees, houses, telephone poles, and the ground. Depending on the witness, this material would either slowly dissolve when touched, or turn into a gelatinous substance before vanishing without a trace. One witness claimed that the material was actually sticky enough to trap him, and after a brief struggle he would claim that it had risen back up into the air to float off. The same phenomenon would allegedly happen in the nearby town of Gaillac just ten days later.
Other strange cases of UFOs and angel hair would soon follow. On October 27, 1954, two witnesses named Gennaro Lucetti and Pietro Lastrucci reportedly saw from their balcony at St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy two “shining spindles” that were leaving a trail of a wispy white substance that floated off in the wind. Also in 1954 is the weird case of a soccer match that was stopped because of UFOs dropping angel hair in Florence, Italy. On October 27, 1954, the Stadio Artemi Franchi was packed with nearly 10,000 fans watching a game between the Fiorentina club and its local rival Pistoiese, when they stopped watching to stare at several egg-shaped objects slowly moving across the sky dropping a “silver glitter,” later described as threads of “glass fibers.”
Then on November 2, 1959, two disc-shaped objects appeared over the city of Évora, Portugal and began spewing angel hair. On this occasion some of the strands were allegedly actually successfully collected, and researchers from the University of Lisbon rather bizarrely described it as “a small organism featuring 10 'arms' stretching from a central core.” It is unknown what became of these samples after that or what they actually were. With reports such as these and others like them, UFO researchers in the 1950s began routinely linking angel hair with UFOs, and this trend would continue on into later years. On August 9, 1998, a swarm of twenty UFOs described as “shiny silver spheres” were spotted flying over several rural farms near Quirindi, New South Wales, Australia. These mysterious objects were doing impressive aerial acrobatics and dropping cobweb-like filaments that covered the area beneath them, and a report on the incident in USA Today would read:
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. 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.
The strange show lasted around an hour and a half before the UFOs flew off and the angel hair dissolved away not long after. More recently, in 2003, Giorgio Batini, a journalist at the Florentine newspaper La Nazione, saw shining silver spheres flying through the sky from his office and these were seen by numerous colleagues as well, with them going to the roof to observe them fly over a nearby wooded area. He went to investigate and find that a patch of trees beneath where the spheres had been was covered in a white, fluffy material. He was able to collect a sample, very rare in these cases, and had it examined at the Institute of Chemical Analysis at the University of Florence. They would determine that the material contained the elements boron, silicon, calcium and magnesium, and that it was not radioactive, but were unable to examine it further as the analysis had destroyed the sample. What was this stuff? It was suggested that it might simply be spider webs, but the chemical analysis was totally different than what one would expect to find with webs, and so it remains a mystery.
There have been even more recent cases in which samples of the angel hair have been collected and analyzed as well. One is a case from Portugal in 2014, in which a sample was also allegedly procured, and in this case the material supposedly reacted and came alive under ultraviolet light. It is not known what became of these rather odd samples. In 2016, a metallic silver Barbell shaped object was sighted in Illinois, in the United States. The object was observed to fly out over a small lake, where it hovered and then began to rise while “exuding a white filament like material” that reportedly “stretched all the way to the ground.” The object was then joined by 12 other similar UFOs, which orbited the original object as it rose into the air, all of them shooting out the fibrous white material before shooting off out of sight. The two witnesses of the event were then able to collect some samples to send to UFO researcher Bill Schroeder, who would say of the incident and samples:
On November 4th, 2016 the Investigator was contacted by witness 1. He advised that he and witness 2 had observed a number of Barbell shaped objects in flight over his dwelling. The object first observed was silver metallic in color and 20 to 30 inches in length. When first observed the object was at rooftop level or about 35 feet over his head. The object was moving silently and laterally towards a small lake just south of the dwelling. At the time of the sighting witness 1 was in the company of witness 2. Witness 1 noted that there was no visible means of propulsion observed and no sound detected. As the object arrived to the center of the lake it stopped moving laterally and began to rise. As it started to rise it began exuding a white filament like material. The material was very fine and stretched all the way to the ground. After it had risen to several hundred feet is was joined by more than 12 other like objects that seemed to be circling it as it continued to rise. At this point in time the white material was spewing from the devices in such quantity it looked like rain. The objects rose together into a clear sky until they were no longer visible. The white material that had fallen remained visible in trees for about 24 hours before dissipating. When witness 1 contacted the Investigator, he was requested to get samples if possible. The witnesses were able to obtain some samples of the material.
The material was collected using a clean shish-kabob skewer. At the Investigators request the samples were placed in paper and plastic bags. The samples were sent to the Investigator via USPS Priority mail with tracking. The samples arrived intact on November 9th, 2016. Upon arrival the envelope was opened by the Investigator who was in the company of a second Investigator. The package and enclosed samples were photographed by the Primary Investigator. The samples were then placed in evidence bags and bottles by the Investigator. The bags and bottles were then sealed and initialed by the Investigator. The arrival, repackaging, and sealing of the evidence was recorded on video tape for later review. Witness 2 painted a picture that re-created the scene at the time of the sighting. A scan of the painting was forwarded to the Investigator. A partial jpeg image is included with this report. The evidence was placed in a safe at the Investigators residence. Part of the evidence was later sent to Robert Powell and Phyllis Budinger for examination and lab testing.
The angel hair was analyzed, but proved to be mostly biological in nature and similar to spider webs, although there were some anomalies, such as “small amounts of celluloidal material, i.e. plant derived substance, possibly inorganic nitrate and an unidentified rust/red material.” In the end, the analysis seems to be inconclusive, and although the sample seems to most resemble spider silk, the inconsistencies and the fact that the two witnesses were deemed to be very reliable by the investigator makes it all pretty weird.
One of the most common explanations for the angel hair phenomenon is that it is nothing more than spider webs. Some species of small spider will migrate or disperse from where they hatched from the cocoon by casting webs to the wind and drifting along, sometimes in great numbers for miles on end and at high altitude, and can leave an area covered with webs. However, this doesn’t seem to exactly explain why the material should vanish into thin air or disintegrate when touched. Another explanation is that it is atmospheric electricity causing floating dust particles to become polarized and form long filaments. Of course, considering the many cases of UFOs and angel hair being seen together, it has been theorized that it could be some sort of byproduct from an alien craft’s propulsion system or electromagnetic field surrounding it. To this day it has been debated and discussed, with no agreed upon answers. What is angel hair and why does it seem to appear in conjunction with UFOs? Is this merely a mundane phenomenon or is there something more to it? It remains to be seen.