Angel hair is an alleged phenomenon during which mysterious white strands of an unknown material fall from the sky — or heavens, hence the name — without a clear source. In many cases, it’s been found hanging from trees or coating the landscape, and when picked up, it feels almost gelatinous. That is, until it evaporates or wilts away into nothing.
Sometimes, angel hair is discovered alone, raining down on a perfectly normal, cloudless day. Other times, it’s reported during or after a UFO sighting.
Angel Hair Sightings
The above video is an example of how angel hair may appear as it falls to earth, although in this case the white strands may just be a spider’s web — we’ll get to that possibility in a moment. For now, here’s a quick rundown of a few prominent sightings and their descriptions:
On October 17, 1952 in Oloron, France, locals spotted an unusual “cottony cloud” in the sky, floating beneath what appeared to be a “narrow cylinder” heading in a southwestern direction. The cylinder gave off a white smoke, and upon closer inspection, witnesses reported 30 small red spheres, in pairs, moving in front of it. Each one was “surrounded by a yellow ring.”
According to HowStuffWorks, one of the witnesses, Jean-Yves Prigent, claimed the pairs zigzagged throughout the sky. “When two saucers drew away from one another,” he said, “a whitish streak, like an electric arc, was produced between them.” Later, a “white, hairlike substance” fell from the objects, coating nearby trees and houses.
During a 1973 UFO wave, residents of Hamilton, Illinois witnessed two grayish oval UFOs, one of which appeared to be coated in something resembling cobwebs. Later, they found a “cotton-like” substance on the ground that melted when touched.
Angel hair appeared on November 2, 1959 in Evora, Portugal, where samples were analyzed both by a local school director and scientists at the University of Lisbon. According to Wikipedia, they found that the mysterious substance was likely “produced by a small insect or…single-celled organism.”
According to a more recent report by Metro, in November 2014 angel hair again rained down from the sky in Portugal. Samples were taken and analyzed by local residents, who found that it reacted to ultraviolet light, going so far as to say it “came alive.”
On October 27, 1954 in Venice, Italy, two men witnessed two “shining spindles” dart across the sky, leaving in their wake a trail of white smoke. These same two unidentified objects would later be reported over a soccer stadium in Florence, Italy, where a cobweb-like substance was discovered falling from the sky.
Although the material appeared to “disintegrate if held in the hand,” some of it was recovered for analysis at the University of Florence, where they determined that it may have been “some kind of boron-silicon glass.”
On October 22, 1973 at about 2:00 p.m., a sighting occurred in Sudbury, Massachusetts. A woman and her son found their yard covered in another cobweb-like substance, which also hung from the trees. The witnesses also noted a silver “spherical object” in the sky, and the mysterious substance continued to rain down “for another two hours.”
Some of these reports are found in a 2001 analysis of angel hair by Brian Boldman. His analysis includes microscopic photos of the material found during the 1973 Massachusetts sighting.
Boldman also looked into other data regarding angel hair – where sightings occurred, when, under what weather conditions, as well as the number of sightings that happened alongside UFOs. What he found was that there did seem to be a correlation between instances of angel hair and UFO waves, specifically the waves of 1954 and 1973. He also found that the majority of sightings occurred in the months of October and November.
You can view an archived PDF of his research here, which also contains information on other sightings.
What Is Angel Hair?
Now, you could say, if something looks like a spider’s web, that’s probably what it is. And in some (perhaps many) cases, that may be true. Ballooning, or kiting, spiders use their own webs (called gossamer threads) to carry themselves through the air, something that looks quite similar to descriptions of the angel hair phenomenon.
However, the fact that angel hair is said to rapidly dissolve or sublimate moments after contact casts this into doubt. Add to that the aforementioned possible correlation with UFO waves, and things get even more interesting. “True” cases of angel hair may very well be something entirely different, something we can’t yet explain.
Boldman’s research contains a lengthy overview of the analysis done to several alleged angel hair samples (page 13), as well as a potential rebuttal to the idea that it’s simply spiders’ webs, so check that out if you’re interested in more specifics.
There are, as well, other strange theories regarding its source.
One involves alleged chemtrails, which some claim are chemical agents sprayed into the air by passing aircraft for a variety of nefarious reasons. Others believe extraterrestrial or interdimensional crafts may be the culprit: Perhaps angel hair is a residue from their engines, or their electromagnetic fields.
The sighting in Oloron, France, where the substance allegedly appeared as an arc shot between two crafts, would seemingly support that. The 1954 sighting in Italy also led one ufologist to suggest that, perhaps, angel hair was the result of excess energy materializing as the crafts “return to their dimension.”
Wikipedia lists a few other possibilities, such as atmospheric electricity polarizing dust particles to create filaments, or that the substance may actually be a “vegetable product” of some kind.
A Spiritual Hypothesis
Many UFO sightings seem to point toward alternative explanations, beyond simple crafts (human, extraterrestrial, or otherwise). Some orbs, rods, and other types of unidentified objects have an almost spiritual presence, opening up the possibility that some UFO events may actually be manifestations of some kind.
As I explored in my post Why Would Ghosts Cause Cold Spots?, paranormal folklore tells us that, for a ghost, manifestation may require some form of energy. In the case of cold spots, ghosts may pull heat from the surrounding area, causing it to become colder.
Could the same happen for these possible UFO manifestations? And if so, could angel hair be a byproduct of this manifestation?
In fact, comparisons have been drawn between angel hair and ectoplasm, another silky white substance that spirit mediums once claimed manifested during spirit communication. This ectoplasm, unfortunately, turned out to be cheese cloth, but the idea that ghosts and spirits may leave behind a physical mark – be it ectoplasm, changes in temperature or, in this case, angel hair – is a compelling one.