The Mystery of the "Oakville Blobs”

In August 1994, police officer David Lacey was driving his cruiser on patrol around the tiny town of Oakville, Wash., when he noticed it had started to rain. That wasn’t unusual for Oakville — where it rains 275 days out of the year — but something about this storm seemed different. When Lacey turned his wipers on, he noticed that the rain wasn’t being swept aside. Instead, it seemed to smear, as though someone had taken petroleum jelly and spread it across the car. When he pulled into a gas station, Lacey donned gloves and felt the substance, which was goopy and sticky. Somehow, the skies over Oakville had opened up and let loose a baffling mystery. While Officer Lacey was the first to see the mysterious blobs, others soon followed. One woman stepped outside to find the translucent blobs dotting the ground, each about half the size of a grain of rice. “The substance was very mushy, almost as if you had Jell-O in your hand,” said Lacey. Officer Lacey was perplexed, but not concerned…… least not until he began to feel ill with fatigue and nausea. Then a wave of illness began in Oakville. Resident Beverly Roberts grew curious about the goo and took some home for a closer look. Within a day, she was struck by weird symptoms, including vertigo, and had to seek medical care. Others reported upper respiratory infections and inner-ear infections at roughly the same time the blobs appeared. What appeared harmful to humans was fatal to animals, with 12 animals dying since the blobs appeared. Dr. David Little, who treated resident Dotty Hearn for dizziness and nausea, took the sample she gave him and sent it to the Washington State Department of Health for analysis. They found two bacteria, but were unable to identify them. So, what were the Oakville Blobs? Some believe they were jellyfish, while others said it was waste from an airplane toilet, still others said it was “star jelly” — a substance similar to the blobs that falls from the sky during meteor showers. All of the original, uncollected blobs have long disappeared and there are no known remaining samples of the them, including at the Washington Department of Health. In fact, they apparently have no record of ever having received the samples. So where does this leave investigations? It seems that, unless they make another appearance, explaining the blobs in Oakville and any connection they may have had to the sickness that spread in their aftermath may be forever out of reach.