The so-called Angel hair is a crucial element of the UFO phenomenon. There are hundreds of cases (some of them go back even to antiquity) where this sticky, fibrous substance was reported in connection with UFO sightings.
Florence, Italy 1954
In 1954, during a football match, UFOs were spotted above a stadium in Florence, Italy. Tens of thousands of people, including players and spectators, saw those objects over the football field. The most important aspect of this story is Angel hair, which was falling out of the sky.
BBC report entitled “The day UFOs stopped play” quoted Ardico Magnini, an Italian footballer who played in the 1954 World Cup: “It was something that looked like an egg that was moving slowly, slowly, slowly. Everyone was looking up and also there was some glitter coming down from the sky, silver glitter. We were astonished we had never seen anything like it before. We were absolutely shocked.” Roberto Pinotti, the president of Italy’s National UFO Centre at that time, was astonished by the material that fell from the sky – what Magnini describes as silver glitter.
“Variously described by witnesses as similar to cotton wool or cobwebs, the substance was hard to collect because it disintegrated on contact – but some people were determined to find out what it was.
One of them was a journalist at the Florentine newspaper La Nazione, the late Giorgio Batini. In 2003, he told an Italian television program Voyager that on that day, he received hundreds of phone calls about the sightings. From the offices of La Nazione in the town center, his own view of the sky was blocked by the Cathedral, so he went up to the top of the newspaper’s building to see what everyone was talking about. The 81-year-old recalled seeing “shiny balls” moving fast toward the dome of the Cathedral.
Batini ventured out to investigate. He came across a wood outside the city that was covered in white fluff. He gathered several samples by rolling them up on a matchstick and took them to the Institute of Chemical Analysis at the University of Florence. When he got there, he found that others had done the same.”
The lab, led by respected scientist Prof Giovanni Canneri, subjected the material to spectrographic analysis and concluded that it contained the elements boron, silicon, calcium and magnesium, and that it was not radioactive. Unfortunately this did not provide any conclusive answers – and the material was destroyed in the process.’
This material, so-called ‘angel hair’ is real, but the question remains what is it and how is it formed? One of the theories is that it’s just a spider web. Some types of spiders are known to migrate through the air, sometimes in large numbers, on cobweb gliders. According to the BBC article, the spider-web theory is proposed by pilot James McGaha. However, Roberto Pinotti, the president of Italy’s National UFO Centre said it’s unlikely.
Philip Ball, physicist and science writer, also told the BBC that spider-web theory is unlikely.
“He agrees that the elements said to have been observed in the “angel hair” don’t seem to tally with the spider theory. Magnesium and calcium are fairly common elements in living bodies, boron and silicon much less so – but if these were the main elements that the white fluff contained, it doesn’t sound to me as though they’d come from spiders,” he said.
Oloron, France 1952
Two years earlier, in 1952, the same phenomenon happened in Oloron, France. According to an eyewitness, high school superintendent Jean-Yves Prigent, a “cottony cloud of strange shape” appeared. (Source)
“Above it, a narrow cylinder, apparently inclined at a 45-degree angle, was slowly moving in a straight line toward the southwest. A sort of plume of white smoke was escaping from its upper end.”
In front of this “cylinder” were 30 smaller objects that, when viewed through opera glasses, proved to be red spheres, each surrounded by a yellow ring. “These ‘saucers’ moved in pairs,” Prigent said, “following a broken path characterized in general by rapid and short zigzags. When two saucers drew away from one another, a whitish streak, like an electric arc, was produced between them.”
But this was only the beginning of the strangeness. A white, hairlike 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. One man, who had observed the episode from a bridge, claimed the material fell on him, and he could extract himself from it only by cutting his way clear-at which point the material collected itself and ascended.”
1953 Victoria, Australia.”…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.”
Argentina in 1963: ”Entre Rios province, Argentina. Formation passed over Entre Rios, and observers recovered vitreous particles that had fallen from them… these particles were found to be an amalgam of silicon, boron, calcium, and magnesium, just the same as has been found in similar circumstances in other parts of the world.”
UFO researcher and pilot Brian Boldman conducted a major review of Angel hair in 2001, citing the existence of 225 cases of Angel hair between 679 AD and 2001. Boldman’s contention is that while some cases of Angel hair may be due to spiders, others are potentially extra-terrestrial events. He bases this argument on the fact that, according to his research, “Fifty-seven percent of angel-hair cases involve UFO reports, a significant number, which strongly links the two phenomena.” (Source)
Note: Brian Boldman was an FAA licensed Private pilot and Aircraft Mechanic. After a UFO sighting in 1989, he began more than a decade of research into the UFO phenomenon, concluding that physical trace cases, such as angel hair, might provide the best evidence for the reality of UFOs.
Interestingly, Angel hair was reported during the so-called “Miracle of the Sun” in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. On October 13, 1917, thousands of people gathered there to see an alleged miracle which was announced by three children. The witnesses claimed that they had seen a silver dull disk that appeared from the cloud, made rapid zigzag movements hovering only 30 meters above the ground, and then disappeared into the sky. They also reported that after the event, a strange white substance fell from the sky.
Curiously, reports about similar events go back to antiquity. In the NASA paper entitled “Unidentified flying objects in classical antiquity” by Richard Stothers, an astronomer and planetary scientist, there is a mentioning of these mysterious substances.
“On the other hand, rains of strange material were occasionally reported, and since analogous reports in modern UFO research are accepted when sufficiently well-documented and verified, ancient examples are cited here in the absence of more direct evidence. In modern reports, a whitish gossamer substance dubbed “angel hair” is said on rare occasions to have dropped from a UFO and sometimes to have vanished quickly on contact with the ground. In other reports, glassy fibers are left by a UFO after takeoff from the ground, or a chalky substance remains.”
An ancient sample of Angel hair was perhaps picked up at Rome in AD 196 by the historian Cassius Dio, who writes:
“A fine rain resembling silver descended from a clear sky upon the Forum of Augustus. I did not, it is true, see it as it was falling, but noticed it after it had fallen, and by means of it I plated some bronze coins with silver; they retained the same appearance for three days, but by the fourth day all the substance rubbed on them had disappeared.”
“Other falls in which a solid whitish substance was involved include two “rains of chalk,” one at Cales in 214 BC and another at Rome in 98 BC. No other information is offered about the physical nature of this chalk.”
Although the substance remains a mystery, one case in Evora Portugal in 1959 is notable, because it is a rare case when a sample of the ephemeral hair may have been tested and investigated in a lab. The true nature of the Angel hair remains unclear.
There are some unscientific explanations for Angel hair in correlation with Unidentified Flying Objects:
Ionized air may be sleeting off the electromagnetic field that surrounds a UFO or the usage by UFOs of a G-field would cause heavy atoms in ordinary air to react among themselves and produce a kind of precipitate that falls to the ground and disappears as the ionization decreases.
Brian Boldman concluded the evidence seems overwhelming that Angel-hair cases are indeed related to genuine UFOs, and provides more evidence of their reality. Both UFOs and Angel hair deserve the serious attention of the scientific community.