What is the mysterious substance called “angel hair” that has been widely reported around the world and is often associated with sightings of UFOs? There is scant information about the phenomenon, although sightings have been relatively recent. So let’s take a closer look at an elusive and ethereal subject. We take a look at angel hair folklore with an open mind and a grain of salt, or strand of angel hair if you will.
Angel hair is apparently by nature ephemeral. People who report seeing it say it disappears when you touch it. Some say it becomes gelatinous on contact, but it’s visible as thin wispy threads or strands falling from the sky. Others say that it rises back into the air like an “angel.”
Whatever it is, real or imagined, it was associated with one of the most widely reported UFO sightings in history: The so-called “Miracle of the Sun” in Fátima, Portugal on May 13, 1917. On that day, an apparition that later became recognized by the Catholic Church as the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in a field. Thousands say they witnessed the “sun” whirl about the sky and some reported seeing angel hair falling.
Then in 1959, on November 2, the Portuguese city of Evora evacuated schools when “strange gelatinous filaments of white began to fall all over the city, completely covering it in a dense white layer.” Once more, the substance fell after sightings of an alleged UFO. According to a published book called Files from the Edge: A Paranormal Investigator’s Explorations into High Strangeness by paranormal expert and scientist Philip Imbrogno, a local school director and later armed forces scientists of the University of Lisbon were able to collect a sample. They found that the angel hair appeared to be a tiny single-celled organism, but also thought perhaps it was created by an insect.
The video below details what happened in Evora, but is in Portuguese. For a loose transcript of the video see our second article on the subject.
A third reporting of angel hair in Portugal happened much more recently in 2014 for two consecutive weekends. According to How Stuff Works:
“One anonymous (and lone) quote from the incident came from a witness who claimed to have gotten a sample analyzed, only to see it come “alive” under UV light. Of course, there was no report on what that meant, or where the sample ended up.”
Metro included an animated GIF (below) of what the substance looks like.
A local person explained that the substance seemed to come alive under UV light.
“One local, who did not want to be named, said, ‘It fell during the afternoon. I tried to inquire if airplanes flew over before, but no straight answer. It happened two weekends in a row.
“Me and a couple of friends sent it to be analyzed – and the weirdest things happened. It reacts to UV light. It comes alive.”
— HowStuffWorks (@HowStuffWorks) May 25, 2016
Clearly, Portugal seems to be an epicenter for angel hair, but there are sightings across the globe in Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, and France. Although there are plenty of reports, the proof remains elusive.
How do you study something that disappears into thin air?
Theories abound about what it might be, from conspiracy theories about chemtrails to a biological weapon to an alien creature to a divine substance. Another guess is the material derives from the propulsion system of UFOs. You name it; there is a story about what angel hair is.
Ufologist Nigel Watson notes that sightings of UFOs and sightings of angel hair often go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, any extensive research on the subject seems to have disappeared as quickly as the substance itself.
“Sightings of UFOs were commonly associated with angel hair up to the 1970s, and in the past it has been seen in association with religious visions in the sky, such as in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.”
“These fine fibers falling from the sky were regarded as being the byproduct of UFO propulsion systems, although skeptics tend to explain them as being created by migrating spiders or by dust particles polarised by atmospheric electricity and are a natural phenomenon.”
“It is only in recent years that angel hair sightings have returned again. Samples quickly evaporate making it difficult to analyze their composition and nature.”
An explanation based in the real world is that angel hair is created by spiders, which sometimes travel through the air on cobwebs. We know this is definitely a real phenomenon, but do spider webs disappear when you touch them? If the substance is actually tiny cobwebs, why are they associated with UFO sightings?
Unless you have seen angel hair for yourself, and even then, it seems this story will remain an interesting and enduring mystery. If you have seen angel hair, let us know in the comments. See images of “angel hair” created by spiders below:
— LBS Horticulture (@lbshorticulture) May 15, 2015
— RN Drive (@RNDrive) May 24, 2015