Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Angel Hair" - spiders or UFOs? A "new" old Australian case located.

Introduction:

In 2001 I published a catalogue and analysis of known Australian "Angel Hair" cases (click here). "Angel Hair" is the name given to falls from the sky, of a substance which carpets an area of the ground. Debate has raged over whether the falls are due to spiders, or to something connected to the UFO phenomenon.

"New" old case:

While in the South Australian State Library recently, I came across details of another Australian fall, previously unknown to me, from 1963. It was reported in the Western Australian newspaper, the "Sunday Times" dated 8 September 1963, as cited in the UFO magazine "Panorama." published by the former Adelaide group UFOPIA (Volume2 number 6 of 1963.)

The details:

At 8am on 29 August 1963, a fall of "air silk" (as the newspaper put it)  began, which lasted for two hours. Lengths of a substance up to about 30 feet (9 metres) glistened in the sunlight as they fell from the sky. The material fell over a wide area which included the locality of Cue, Western Australia (latitude 27deg 26min S; 117 deg 54 min E); Mt Magnet (50 miles - 80kms - south of Cue); and Big Bell (18 miles -29kms - NW of Cue.)

One eyewitness, Mr A N Deas, of Cue said the material had the appearance of large cobwebs and drifted in from the East on a slight breeze.

Other eyewitnesses, Mrs P Thomas and her three children, reported seeing what appeared to be two "balloons" moving across the sky at about 8.30am.

A public analyst, Mr P Asotoff, conducted a chemical analysis of the substance. He reported that the strands of the material measured 2.5 to 3 microns across. It was not synthetic; or plastic and not asbestos. He detected the presence of Glutamic acid, which is associated with silk compounds. Mr Asotoff is quoted as stating "it is spiders web."

Research:

In the analysis section of my 2001 paper, I wrote that the data on known Australian "Angel Hair" falls revealed that:

1. The geographic areas of falls clustered between latitude 25 and 38 degrees South of the equator.

Cue, WA, is at latitude 27deg 26min South, which fits in the above range.

2. The calendar months with the highest number of falls are May and August.

The Cue fall was in August.

3. All falls occurred with start times between 8.20am and 4pm and were daytime events.

The Cue event started at 8am.

4. An odd fact which I noted was that all falls which occurred in the season of winter, occurred in the morning; and all spring/autumn falls took place in the afternoon. Why this should be so is unknown to me.

The August 1963, Cue event took place in August, i.e. winter in Australia, and in the morning. Thus Cue once again fits the previously observed pattern.

5. All falls were of lengthy duration, ranging from 40 to 300 minutes.

The Cue event is reported to have taken place for 120 minutes.

6. In rural locations (Cue is rural) the air temperature at the time of the event was in the range 7.2deg C to 15.2deg C measured at the nearest meteorological observation site.

We do not have temperature details for the Cue event.

7. In all cases set in rural surroundings, the wind speed was reported to be "light" at the nearest meteorological observation site.

Cue eyewitness, Mr A N Deas reported a "slight breeze."

8. Cloud cover was 2/8 or less in 11 out of the 15 cases where this factor is known. It was a cloudless sky in 9 out of the 15 cases.

This factor is unknown for the Cue event.

9. "UFOs" were reported in 8 out of the total number of cases in the catalogue. Their shape was described as round (5 cases); elongated (1 case) with 2 shapes not known.

Cue eyewitness Mrs P Thomas reported seeing what she thought were balloons (presumably round) in the sky at 8.30am.

10. Falls were recorded over a large distance, i.e. 40-80kms.

The WA fall was reported to have been noted at places 80kms apart.

Comments:

It is fascinating, 11 years after producing a catalogue and analysis, to have located another Australian "Angel Hair" event.

The data from Cue, closely resembles that discussed in the original 2001 analysis.

Have readers of this blog come across any other Australian "Angel Hair" cases not reported in my 2001 catalogue?

1 comment:

  1. When I lived in California as a child it was quite common to witness spider webs floating thru the sky. Me and my friends called them 'flying spiders'. I'm not trying to discredit ufo or aliens as I myself am a strong believer. The idea of spider webs floating in sky sounds wild but it is very real. The webs I would witness sometimes were higher than the clouds. Somehow the wind will blow in an area usually not common for wind and when it does it will capture the massive webs that were created by a certain type of spider known to create huge webs. I have no idea what the type spider is.

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