A gelatinous material fell from the sky

A gelatinous material fell from the sky

A gelatinous material fell from the sky

A strange clear goo falls on the town of Oakville, Washington.

Oakville, Washington.   Population: 723. Clouds fill the sky here daily, bringing rain on average of 149 days a year. So when it began pouring on the morning of August 7, 1994, no one was really concerned, until they realized it wasn’t raining rain.  It was raining tiny blobs of gelatinous goo. It came down in torrents, covering 20 square miles. And it made people sick, including Maurice Gobeil:

“I got sick, my wife got sick, my daughter, everybody that lived here got sick.”

Beverly Roberts:

“Everybody in the whole town came down with, like, a flu, only it was a really hard flu. It didn’t last, like, 7 days. It lasted 7 weeks, 2 or 3 months.”

Officer David Lacey was on patrol with a civilian friend at 3:00 AM when the downpour began:

“We turned our windshield wipers on and it just started smearing to the point where we could almost not see. And we both looked at each other and we said, ‘Jeez, this isn’t right.’ I mean, we’re out in the middle of nowhere, basically, and where did this come from?”

Officer Lacey pulled into a gas station to de-goo his windshield. As an added precaution, he put on a pair of latex gloves:

“The substance was very mushy. It’s almost like if you had Jell-O in your hand and you could pretty much squish it through your fingers. We did have some bells go off in our heads that basically said that this isn’t right, this isn’t normal.”

Local resident Dotty Hearn was equally puzzled.  By the time she stepped outside that morning, the storm had ended but the blobs were everywhere:

“It looked like hail laying on top of the wood box and everywhere else.  So I just went over, and I touched it, and it wasn’t hail. It was a gelatinous-like material.”

That afternoon, Officer Lacey suddenly became ill:

“I was to the point where I could hardly breathe. I started to put it together that, possibly, whatever the substance was, it made me violently sick like I never had been before, to the point where it just totally shut me down.”

Tests were performed on the substance

Tests were performed on the substance

Across town, Dotty Hearn was sick also:

“I started feeling dizzy. Everything started moving around and around, and it got worse, and, as it did, I became increasingly nauseated.”

An hour later, Dotty’s daughter and son found her sprawled on the bathroom floor.
Sunny Barclift is Dotty’s daughter:

“She was cold, drenched with perspiration. My mom had been vomiting. She had extreme vertigo. She complained that she had difficulty with her vision, her vision was blurring.”

Dotty spent the next three days in the hospital. The diagnosis:  a severe inner ear infection. But Dotty’s daughter had a different idea:

“For some reason, as we were going out the door, I remembered the substance and I wondered if perhaps it might have had some sort of an effect on her, if it might have made her sick.  So I opted, at that moment, to take a sample of this gelatinous material to the hospital.”

A lab technician found a startling clue. The substance contained human white blood cells. But exactly what it was and why it fell from the sky could not be determined.  The goo was immediately sent to the Washington State Department of Health. It was examined by microbiologist Mike McDowell:

“It was very uniform. There was no structure that we could see visibly or with a microscope. I set it up on various microbiological media and attempted to isolate bacteria.”

Mike McDowell discovered that the sample was full of two species of bacteria, one of which makes its home in the human digestive system. Sunny Barclift wondered if it was human waste dropped from an airliner:

“The FAA ruled that out, because under the regulations, human waste is dyed blue. The substance was not blue. It was crystal-clear in color.”

The blobs rained down on Oakville six times over a three-week period. Dozens of people got sick. Several dogs and cats died after coming in contact with it. Nearly a year after Dotty Hearn’s illness, she took a sample of the material she had stored in her freezer to a private research lab. Tim Davis is a microbiologist with Amtest Laboratories:

“I saw what I think was a eukaryotic cell, which is, basically, a cell that has a definable nucleus, and is found present in most animals.”

Translation:  the goo was alive. But where did it come from? Sunny Barclift recounted one theory she heard:

“Someone theorized that since the navy had been conducting live bombing runs at sea, they might have blown up a school of jellyfish. And, of course, this jellyfish would have been thrown up into the air and floated 50 miles inland and, over a period of 3 weeks, fallen 6 times. I find that somewhat preposterous.”

The Air Force confirmed that practice bombing runs were being conducted over the Pacific.  However, they denied any knowledge of the unknown substance or any involvement in creating or dispersing it. But some locals were not reassured. Sunny Barclift:

“We had a significant amount of military aircraft flying over the home prior to this happening.”

Dotty Hearn:

“Every day almost, we had slow flying bombers, helicopters, all black in color, and we kind of thought maybe it might’ve come from them.”

Maurice Gobeil:

“They let off things in the air all the time here. There’s testing done all over the place. There are a lot of places you can’t go into.”

Beverly Roberts:

“Maybe we were a biological experiment of some kind, a small one, maybe just to get people a little bit sick to find out, say, if an enemy did come over here with a biological bomb or something and dropped it, maybe it was just a test run to see how, what would happen.”

Today it’s impossible to say what the goo was or where it came from because all the evidence has disappeared. The Washington Department of Health says it can find no record of what happened to the samples it received.