One other aspect has become apparent. As mentioned above, there was a case on the 10th, in Greensboro, just a few miles from Whitsett, where UFO’s and angel hair were reported 17 days later. This aspect was also apparent during the French sightings written about by Vallee and Michel. UFO’s and angel hair were reported in Oloron, France, on October 17, 1952, and again in Gaillac, France, on the 27th. This happened again in 1954, with UFO’s and angel hair reported in Tarn, France, on October 13, and again in Vienne, France, on the 18th. There have also been repeater cases in Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. While I can’t explain the entomological reasons for this, it seems more reasonable to assume this is related to natural causes, and not UFO’s returning to the same spots a few days later when the weather is clear.
The big question is why are UFO’s reported if it is nothing but balls of spider web? As Kevin Randles’ lecture at the recent MUFON symposium in Greensboro made clear, pop culture cannot be underestimated in its ability to influence UFO reports. I find it interesting that a recent wave of sightings in Middleton, Ohio, started on July 3, perfectly correlating to the opening of the movie Independence Day. To put angel hair into this perspective, UFO’s had been brought to the public’s attention by the media, and in particular, Life Magazine in 1952. The space age had begun, and I feel many UFO’s reported during this era were a psychological knee -jerk reaction to unknown prosaic objects brought on by the hysteria of the time.
I know of only one case that could have been considered a UFO involving angel hair before 1948. This involved a luminous object sighted in Japan in 1477. This could have been associated with earthquake lights, as an earthquake preceded an angel hair fall in Kyoto, Japan, in 1596. Anyone familiar with Persinger’s work will see the correlation. In all, I have 20 cases that predate 1948, and only the 1477 case reports anything even remotely resembling a UFO. This is a far cry from the cases during the Blue Book years, where 43% of angel hair cases were associated with UFO’s.
One question that remains is why are there no reports of angel hair today? One possible reason is that people are not as observant of nature as they once were. We have air conditioning, cable, video games, and the internet. We spend much less time outdoors than people did 30 or 40 years ago. Couple this with the modern perception of UFO sightings, like in the movies Close Encounters and Communion, and a little dissolving silvery ball in the sky pails in comparison. It is also possible that angel hair has not occurred with the intensity that it once did. This may be a cyclical phenomenon like cicadas, or perhaps there are other environmental reasons, such as global warming or pollution. I find it interesting that there were a rash of hurricanes during 1954 and 1955, the peak angel hair years.
So we have UFO’s associated with angel hair that correlate with weather and geographical distribution patterns. This does not fit in with the over-all UFO phenomenon. I am satisfied with the spider web theory. But if we have people turning blobs of spider web into UFO’s, what else might be a catalyst for the human imagination, and what might the mind imagine? It’s time for the sociologist to step in. The real pay dirt in the angel hair phenomenon won’t be an answer to the UFO enigma, but rather a deeper understanding of the human mind.