Analysis of “Angel Hair” Deposited in Burlington, West Virginia (September 19, 2000)

Analysis of “Angel Hair” Deposited in Burlington, West Virginia (September 19, 2000)

Case File Information

Date of Event / Case File: 09/19/2000

Background

On the morning of September 21, 2000 Retha Rutherford found white fibrous “spider-web” like material in her yard. It did not look like the usual webs. She took several pictures and her husband sampled the material. Mrs. Rutherford reports, “When trying to collect the samples of the stuff it turned to a clear goo somewhat like the slimy stuff you see when you cut okra.”

On the previous night at approximately 7:00 p.m. she heard a loud “droning” sound similar to that from a large airplane. This sound lasted about an hour. Yet the source of the sound was not visually obvious. Subsequent to the droning sound the dog became ill and vomited. Mrs. Rutherford also experienced a severe sinus attack. It is the objective of this analysis to identify this material in hopes it will provide a clue as to the source.

Conclusions

A white fibrous material and small amounts of other components were identified in the sample. Following are the identifications and some of the conclusions based on their analyses.

1) The white fibrous material is identified as a polymer containing protein amide type linkages, i.e. protein. Therefore, it is suspected that a biological source is involved in its manufacture. However, as this point the specific source remains unidentified. The data do show the fiber is close to that of silk made by insects and caterpillars. Also coating the fiber are droplets commonly noted in insect silks.

2) Other components attributed to the sample include a variety of fatty acid amides. The following are specifically “suggested”: 4-methyl-pentamide; hexadecanamide; dodecanamide; N-tetradecanoic acid amide. It should be noted that this particular “angel hair” sample is unique in that it is the first time fatty acid amides have been detected. Trace amounts of heavier hydrocarbons such as eicosane (C20H42) and 2-methyl hexadecane are indicated. Eicosane has been found in a previous sample1. It is suspected these components are part of the purported gelatinous material (goo) noted by the witness. Perhaps they are final degradation products. Any lighter volatiles, if present, were probably lost during sample transferal and the failure of Ziploc bag containers to adequately confine them.

3) The fibrous material compares to that from “angel hair” falls in Los Gatos, California (October 19-20, 1977)2, Sacramento, California (November 11, 1999)3, and Burns, Oregon (November 4, 1999)4 which were also analyzed by this laboratory.

4) Research is being done to more accurately pinpoint the source of the “angel hair” and other materials. It should be noted that the suggestion that the material is from a biological origin does not rule out a possible “intelligent” influence. The “jury is still out” on the specific source of this material until further research is completed.

The Analysis

 

 

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Originating Organization: Phyllis Budinger


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