A fine, filmy substance observed falling from the sky, sometimes
extensively. It has been explained as cobwebs from airborne
spiders, but the strands of angels hair may vary in length
from a few inches to over a hundred feet, and often dissolve in
contact with the ground. Possibly the earliest account of angel
hair occurred in 1741 when it was reported that flakes or rags
about one inch broad and five or six inches long fell on the
towns of Bradly, Selborne, and Alresford in England. In 1881
Scientific American carried an account of huge falling spider
webs (one as large as 60 feet, over Lake Michigan). Other falls
have been reported over the years, and accounts were collected
by Charles Fort, famous for his assemblage of accounts of
anomalous natural events.
In the 1950s angel hair became associated with UFOs. A famous
case occurred in France in 1952 during which a local high
school principal reported seeing a cylindrical-shaped UFO and
a circular one. The flying objects left a film behind them, which
floated to the earth and fell to the ground covering trees, telephone
wires, and roofs of houses. When the material was
picked up and rolled into a ball, it turned gelatinous and vanished.
Occasional additional accounts have appeared in the literature
over the years, though angel hair is by no means a common
element of UFO reports. Analysis of angel hair has proved
elusive as the material seems to dissolve very quickly. (See also
Devils Jelly; Falls)
Clark, Jerome. The Emergence of a Phenomenon UFOs from the
Beginning through 1959. Detroit Omnigraphics, 1992.
Corliss, William R., ed. Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena.
Glen Arm, Md. Sourcebook Project, 1977.