Case File Information
Date of Event / Case File: 11/11/1999
Thomas Brewer was driving on I-5 about 30 miles north of Sacramento on his way to Alaska.
He observed strings of fiber-like material of varying lengths (from a few inches to 50 feet) floating at different elevations. This continued for approximately 10-15 miles, when he noticed some of it on the highway shoulders, trees, signs and lawn. He collected samples of the material and noted the material diminished in size over a period of time. His detailed description may be found in Art Bell’s website: http://artbell.com/stringy.html (now defunct).
No other unusual phenomena were noted in the sky. There were thin wispy clouds overhead. Brian Boldman forwarded three samples of this material to Frontier Analysis on recommendation of Mark Rodeghier. Thomas Brewer took photographs of the material at the site of the fall. Some selected pictures follow. These were obtained from the Art Bell website.
1.) Both the white fiber and volatile materials associated with the fiber were identified. The fiber is a polymer containing protein amide type linkages. This suggests an animal/biological source is involved in its manufacture.
Also coating the fiber are droplets which appear to be a natural long chain fatty ester type material. The volatiles are primarily composed of a mix of the following light hydrocarbons: 2-methyl propane; 2-methyl-1-propene; 2-methyl-1-butene; 2-methyl pentane; 3-methyl pentane; hexane; dimethyl-pentane; 2 C6H12 (MW=84) hydrocarbon structures (specific isomers unidentified); one C8H16 hydrocarbon (MW=112) (specific isomer unidentified). There are possibly trace amounts of heavier hydrocarbons such as two C20H42 components and a C23H43 component. Additionally, trace amounts of carbonyl sulfide (COS) and carbon disulfide (CS2) are indicated.
2.) No weight loss or physical degradation of the fiber was observed over a period of 4 months.
3.) The fibrous material is identical to that from an angel hair fall in Los Gatos California (near San Jose) on October 19-20,1977 (see Frontier Analysis T.S.R. No.: UT002.)
4.) The material does not originate from spiders, i.e. spider webs. It is more similar to that of silk from caterpillars, e.g. silkworms, tent caterpillars etc. While the material has been identified as being of biological origin, this does not rule out a possible “intelligent” influence. Spider web/silk properties are desirable for many applications.