It is interesting that from 1948 to 1958 that 47% of angel hair cases occurred during October, and if November is included this number balloons to 65%. The angel hair peak for this century is in October of 1954. This alone is highly indicative of spiders being the culprit. But I had a serious problem with the fact that spider webs do not disintegrate upon handling, the large amounts, as well as the chemical constituents that are not consistent with spider web.
But if the web material was discharged by millions of ballooning spiders, and acquired a static charge, it could pick up contaminants from the surrounding atmosphere. The probable answer for the disintegration was answered by Peter Sharp: “A chain of dust linked by electrostatic charges would slowly disintegrate as the charge leaked away and this process would be accelerated by handling.” Angel hair is most prominent on clear, dry, fall days. Humidity allows the static charge to equalize, and this is why you don’t get a shock when touching a doorknob in the summer. Warm air holds much more moisture than dry, fall air.
In order to verify the humidity hypothesis, I went to the National Data Climatic Center in Asheville, NC. One of the many problems I have encountered during this investigation came to light once again, that being the age of the data. Foreign daily data was almost unobtainable. I managed to get enough foreign weather maps to verify that many cases happened around high pressure zones, which indicate clear skies. The Local Climatic Data (LCD) sheets issued by the US Dept. of Commerce were of much more value, as these record many parameters, such as hourly observations in locations where angel hair events took place.
Out of 17 cases in the United States for which I was able to obtain LCD’s, 9 occurred during perfectly clear days, and 6 of these occurred during October, and 2 during November. Around 50% occurred during the peak months for spider migration. A large number of angel hair events during these perfectly clear days had extremely low relative humidity. For example the Jerome, Ohio, case (see DA# 3) occurred on October 22, 1954, after four days of no rain, and the humidity was 41%. There where no clouds. Only two days that month had lower humidity (39%).
The Whitsett case (see DA#4) occurred on October 27, 1955, again, a perfectly clear day. The lowest humidity of the month occurred on the 26th. The second lowest humidity occurred on the 10th, another clear day, along with a report of “silvery balls”, just a few miles from Whitsett, in Greensboro. There was also an angel hair report on the 10th in Cincinnati, Ohio, and again, the sky was clear with the second lowest relative humidity for the month. The “silvery ball” report is a good example of several cases where the charged mass of web broke up in flight. “The objects in the sky looked very much like silvery colored steel balls about the size of a baseball...These were not flying saucers because all we watched disintegrated while we were watching.” Compare this to a report from Paradise, California in 1950. “While the Paradise residents watched, one “saucer” disintegrated in mid-air, and particles floated towards the earth.” I have several other reports where the “UFO” disintegrated in mid-air, and the answer is that the static charge that held the web mass together simply dissipated.