A fine, filmy substance observed falling from the sky, sometimes extensively. It has been explained as cobwebs from airborne spiders, but the strands of angel's 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 Devil's 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.