#19 - The Oakville Blobs: A Gelatinous Mystery


Oakville, Washington. AKA: Timber Town, USA. Centrally located along the West Coast of the state, it’s a humble little town located about 30 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean – a town, that if you were driving through it, you better not blink, or you’ll miss it. Back when it was incorporated in 1905, its foundation rested upon the lumber and railway industries of the time.

Today, it’s considered to be basically in the middle of nowhere, with its most notable feature being a giant wood carving of Sasquatch on E Pine St, across the street from Oak Burger, which looks pretty good. Not a sponsor, but they can be if they want to reach out to us.

According to the 2020 census, it has only 715 residents, so it’s safe to assume that everybody knows everybody. A place so small that it would make Mayberry look like New York City.

But in August of 1994, something sinister would fall from the sky and rain plague and devastation upon this quiet, unassuming community.

As the dog days of summer were winding down on August 7, 1994, rain clouds formed in the early morning hours and it began to rain. This would not be unusual, as the town gets rained on for most days of the year.

However, as Officer David Lacey was out on patrol early that morning at 3AM, it began pouring rain, which would not be unusual for Oakville. However, as he turned his windshield wipers on, they just smeared a strange substance all over the windshield, so much so that he was having trouble seeing the road. He decided to pull into the local gas station to clean his windshield off to inspect what it was that was raining down from the sky. But as a precautionary measure, he decided to put on latex gloves before touching any of the substance.

“The substance, it was very mushy. It’s almost like you had jello in your hand. And, you know, you could pretty much squish it through your fingers. We knew it wasn’t something that we would normally see because we had never experienced it before.” He told Unsolved Mysteries.

By the time the sun came up that morning, the rain had ceased, and local residents began noticing the strange gooey substance which caked their homes and driveways. It was clear in color, and described as gelatinous.

When local elderly resident Dotty Hearn came out of her home that morning, she stepped out onto her front porch and noticed the strange goo and touched some of it with her bare hands, perplexed as to what it could be.

“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.”

Both Dotty and Officer David Lacey would both fall very ill by the afternoon, as did most people in the town of Oakville. Officer Lacey described it as being “violently sick”, and being to the point where he could hardly breathe, and went on to say that it was an illness unlike any other that he had had.

Dotty Hearn began to feel dizzy that afternoon, and came down with extreme vertigo, vision problems, and nausea, and even started uncontrollably blowing chunks. Her daughter and son found her lying on the bathroom floor, sick as a dog.

Her daughter Sunny had the presence of mind to connect the strange gooey substance with the brutal illness of her mother, and collected a sample of it to take with her to the hospital.

Dotty spent 3 days in the hospital, but was only diagnosed with a severe ear infection.

As for the substance, a lab technician at the hospital found that the substance contained human white blood cells, but as for what the substance was specifically, it could not be determined.

The goo sample was then sent off to the Washington State Department of Health for further analysis.

Microbiologist Mike McDowell, the scientist who examined the sample, told Unsolved Mysteries “It was very uniform, there was no structure that we could see visibly or with the microscope. I set it up on various microbiological media and attempted to isolate bacteria.”

Mike found that the sample had two species of bacteria, one of which comes from the human digestive system.

A year after Dotty’s illness, she took a sample of the goo that she had stored in her freezer and had it analyzed by a private laboratory.

Tim Davis, a microbiologist working at the lab, told Unsolved Mysteries “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.” Whatever the goo was, Tim Davis believes it to be biological.

According to Sunny, a significant amount of military aircraft flew over the area prior to this happening, and according to Dotty, there were slow flying bombers and helicopters, all black, going over them nearly every day. According to residents, military aircraft are a normal occurrence in the area, at least back in the 90’s.

One resident speculated that maybe they were test subjects for some kind of biological weapon.


All-in-all, the blobs fell from the sky a total of 6 times in a 3 week period in 1994, causing dozens of residents to fall violently ill, and several dogs and cats died after contacting the substance, including Sunny’s 8 week old kitten.

All samples of the mysterious, sinister goo are gone, making the task of figuring out exactly what it was nearly impossible.


On the website “factslegend.org”, they ran an article about this story in 2015, mentioning many of the names and events that were featured in the Unsolved Mysteries Episode with Robert Stack, which aired in 1997. As luck would have it, Sunny Barclift herself had responded to the article in the comments section of the page, and wrote the following.

I am the Sunny Barclift you mention in the Oakville Blobs mystery. First of all, I am a woman not a man. The Unsolved Mysteries segment on the fallouts was probably the most accurate media piece done on the subject. Not all information was covered during the program but what they did cover was correct. Oswiler did not find human white blood cells in the substance. That was done by a lab technician where my mother was hospitalized after coming in contact with the substance. I personally carried a sample of the gel to the hospital. Mike Mc Dowell the epidymiologist for the Washington State Health Lab found two types of bacteria in the gel. Over time and after studying the substance he concluded it was a man made material and called it a matrix. It was in his view a material made for the express purpose of being a delivery method for something like viruses or bacteria. Oddly, the material was kept in a medium containment facility and disappeared. When he reported it to his supervisor he was advised not to ask any questions. I have every reason to believe that the fallouts (there were 6 of them in August 1994) was a military exercise. I came across information about 2 years ago that led me to that conclusion. The notion that the blob like gel came from jettisoned human waste from an airliner was dismissed by the FAA as that material is dyed blue by regulations. The blobs were clear. No color. The idea that the blobs may have been remnents of jelly fish was ridiculous. The jelly fish would have had to be blown up into the jet stream, floated 50 miles inland and over a period of 3 weeks fallen 6 times. It never made sense and still doesn’t. My mother and I saw black military aircraft flying over her farm several months before the fallouts and they continued periodically for several months after. The aircraft was witnessed by many in the area including a county counselman who I spoke with. He had also wondered about the aircraft as they flew over his farm as well. I do not know who originally posted the photo of the gelatinous material shown above but you are correct it is a fake. If you want to know anything else please feel free to contact me.


After Sunny set the record straight, the writer of the article issued a retraction several days later, along with her full written story, which reads as follows:

It is my understanding that after the fallout several people in the community did come down with a flu-like illness that lasted for 4-8 weeks in some cases.  A couple that stick out in my mind were two individuals who had complications associated with kidney infection or kidney involvement,  which I think is somewhat unusual.  I did not go door to door and interview people as to the state of their health.  Mostly the information gleaned was during casual conversations and over-hearing statements made by others. ​I have no idea about what each person’s personal diagnosis was.

Communally it was thought to be something like the flu.  Some individuals, such as my mother Dotty Hearn and David Lacey, the police officer had more acute symptoms.  When my mother first found the substance, on top of a box on the porch where she stored her wood for burning, she touched the substance with her bare hands.  Although David Lacey said he wore gloves he too became very ill within hours of contact with the substance.

Initially my mother was treated for Meniere’s Disease (a disorder of the inner ear).  She had extreme vertigo, dizziness and felt the room was spinning.  Those are all symptoms of that disease.  However she also had a fever and other symptoms of infection.  She spent 4 days in the hospital.  Upon her release I asked Dr. Little what her discharge diagnosis was, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know.  Some type of virus.”  She did have a complete recovery after she arrived home and over time.  Meniere’s Disease usually manifests as an ongoing problem but she never had the symptoms again.

It is interesting to note that my mother had a plethora of outdoor cats used as mousers in the barns and such.  Gradually over the following months some of those cats also died or went missing.  In time the remaining cats were able to build up a healthy population again.

Dr. Little was the attending physician on duty when my mother arrived by ambulance at McCleary Hospital.  I had brought a sample of the substance to the hospital and explained to Dr. Little that less than 24 hours earlier she had made contact with the substance and since we didn’t know what it was would he be willing to do a lab test on it.  He agreed and had a lab technician do a routine lab exam.  That is when the white blood cell was found.  Dr. Little was intrigued by it but baffled as we were. My best recollection is that the lab tech who conducted the test on the goo was known as Kelly.

Once my mother had pointed out the substance to myself and my brother we decided to wear gloves because it was an unknown substance.  My background is in occupational safety and health so I opted to wear gloves as a precaution.  It is important to note that the gel like substance which was clear, no color at all and about the size of rice grains was literally everywhere.  In the grass, on foliage, on my truck window.

We probably would not have noticed them as they would have only appeared as drops of water had my mother not found them on the wood box.  She initially thought they were hail.  They were not liquid and had mass and were 3 dimensional.  I became mildly nauseated a week or so after the first fallout.  I became acutely ill with severe bronchitis 6 weeks post the initial fallout.  My kitten died on or around the 3rd day of the fall out.  It has been reported on some websites that the kitten had digestive problems prior to the fallout but that is not true.

Both of my mother’s dogs fell ill 3 weeks after the first fallout. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  The vet said they had an infection and they were treated with antibiotics.  It is important to note at this point the fallout of gel was not a single occurrence but instead was a series of 6 fallouts over 3 weeks.  All were documented by my mother in her journal.  There were rumors that some nearby farms experienced death of larger animals such as horses and cows.  I did not investigate those allegations.  I have no reason to dispute them but they are here say.

I was concerned about the material and spoke with Dr. Kobioshi at the Washington State Health Laboratory.  He advised me to send a sample of the material. I mailed a sample to The Washington State Health lab which was assigned to Mike McDowell one of their epidemiologist on staff.  Mike initially set the gel up on bacterial media to see if it would grow anything.  It grew two types of bacteria pseudomonas fluorescens and enterobacter collacae.  The gel specimen was locked in medium containment facility and over time Mike continued to research it.

At some point he drew the conclusion that the material itself was manmade and was being used as a matrix.  A vehicle capable of transporting a virus or bacteria.  He did report his findings to his supervisor.  When he returned to the lab at some point he discovered the substance was missing.  Again he reported this to his supervisor and was advised at that point to not ask any questions.  Mike is retired now and still does occasional interviews regarding the subject.  I trust his judgment and his findings as he was a credible expert in the field.  Mike was interviewed 4 or 5 years ago on a program on the National Geographic Channel the information about the substance missing was revealed in the program.  I suspect he was reluctant to speak of it while still employed.  He stated that it was the first time in 30 years of service with his job that a sample he was responsible for had gone missing.

I was contacting as many agencies as possible to find assistance in identifying the substance.  I took a sample to Mike Osweiler.  Mike Osweiler worked for the Department of Ecology. The Department concluded it was an organic material.  They determined they did find a cell with a nucleus which indicated to them that it was biological. The cell could have been a bacteria.  It was never specified.

Over the years I have held some information close to me.  Very little about it has been released to the press.  However, 2 years ago some information surfaced on the internet that led me to the conclusion that the Oakville Event was in fact a continuity exercise conducted by the military.


Important bullet points and facts about this case.

-The goo fell over an area of around 20 square miles

-It fell from the sky 6 times over a period of 3 weeks

- Symptoms of the illness ranged from extreme vertigo, nausea, blurred vision and breathing problems

-Symptoms lasted much longer than a normal flu, up to 3 months.

-Cats and dogs were reported to have died after coming into contact with the substance

-Mike McDowell, the microbiologist we mentioned in the story, reported that there were two types of bacteria in the substance, one of which is native to the human digestive system

- Tim Davis, the microbiologist from the private lab, believed the goo to be alive

-Despite the significance of the event and its widespread suffering it caused, no known samples of the goo exist anymore




The Jellyfish Theory


One common theory that circulates is that the substance may have been jellyfish. According to the US Air Force itself, they were conducting bombing runs over the pacific ocean during this time, and some believe that a bomb may have made a direct hit on a cluster of jellyfish, blowing them up and sending their guts flying all over Oakville. However, there are a few problems with this theory.

  1. Oakville is about 30 miles away from the ocean
  2. The substance, if it were jellyfish, would’ve made the entire town smell like a dumpster
  3. It seems unlikely for any bomb short of a nuclear one to send jellyfish guts flying 50 miles away

Furthermore, the US Air Force denies any knowledge or involvement either in the creation or dispersal of the strange gelatinous substance.

The local tavern in Oakville even serves a drink inspired by this theory called the Jellyfish, which is a mixture of vodka, gelatin, and juice.


The Biological Weapon Theory


Another common theory, perhaps the one with the strongest leg to stand on, asserts that the substance was some sort of biological weapon that was dropped on the town, either intentionally or accidentally. The implications for this would be massive, as these types of weapons have been banned internationally since post-World War 1, and the ban was reinforced in both 1972 and 1993 by prohibiting their development, stockpiling and transfer.

Potential diseases caused by biological weapons are not only dangerous, but highly contagious, and the effects would not be confined entirely to the location where they were used.


The “I’m not saying it was aliens, but…” theory

Panspermia is the theory that life on Earth originated either in outer space or on another planet, before somehow falling down to Earth and seeding it. Could the goo have been some sort of cosmic cumshot?

Some believe that a meteorite may have fallen to Earth, spreading some sort of strange, unknown, alien substance over the town. However, it’s important to note that the substance rained down on the town 6 times over a 3 week period, making this theory farfetched.

In a more sinister version of this theory, could this be where Georgio Tsoukalos got his hair gel from?


The “Boeing Bomb” Theory

Some have put forth the idea that this material may have been a more innocent version of an airdropped biological weapon – human waste which fell from a passing airliner.

It could explain the illnesses and the human white blood cells found in the material, but according to FAA regulation, all human waste from commercial airliners is dyed blue in color, and the goo in question was described as crystal clear in color. Furthermore, releasing this material mid-flight is strictly prohibited by law.