We know pigs can’t really fly and that if it’s raining cats and dogs you’re just in line for a soggy-afternoon, but, to the horror of many no doubt, did you know that it can actually rain spiders?
A blanket of millions of baby spiders was spotted falling from Goulburn and the Southern Tablelands sky recently.
It’s a natural migration phenomenon called Angel Hair, and one South Australian retiree Keith Basterfield is keen to hear more about.
“What happens is that during a particular time of the year, particularly in May and August, young spiders in the Outback somewhere throw these threads of spiderwebs up in the air and use them as a parachute to detach themselves from the ground and move in large colonies through the sky,” Mr Basterfield explained.
“They fly through the sky and then we see these falls of spider webs that look almost as if it’s snowing.
“We see these vast areas of baby spiders, all coming down at once in the late morning or early afternoon.
“You can know this has happened by either seeing it or spotting what looks like long threads of cotton telegraph poles, power lines and houses.
“It tends to happen a couple of times per year, usually on clear days with slight winds.
I was on the Bureau of Meteorology last week and watching the weather for Goulburn and the conditions were just right.”
Mr Basterfield is hoping that anyone who witnessed the event, likely to have happened on Monday or Tuesday last week, to contact him.
Information provided will go toward updating his personal research, a catalogue of findings he has been collating since 2001.
“If anyone else saw it I would love to know where exactly they were when they saw it, how long it lasted for and what were the weather conditions at the time,” he said.
If Facebook is any indication, Mr Basterfield might be receiving quite a few emails.
A post to the Goulburn Community Forum page by Ian Watson, shortly after 1pm on Monday, detailed the event.
“Anyone else experiencing this “Angel Hair” or maybe aka millions of spiders falling from the sky right now? I’m 10 minutes out of town and you can clearly see hundreds of little spiders floating along with their webs and my home is covered in them. Someone call a scientist!,” Mr Watson wrote.
“If you look toward the sun there are millions of them and really high up here, like over 100m or more up, there is also a cotton like substance coming down that is kinda like spider web but not exactly…”
To get in contact with Mr Basterfield, please email keithbasterfield@ yahoo.com.au or send him a letter, at PO Box 13, LPO Holden Hill, South Australia, 5088.
How the world reported Goulburn's reign of spiders
It started with a quirky story by Goulburn Post journo BRITTANY MURPHY, and soon spread across the world. From the US to the UK, and all points in between, news services couldn't get enough of the story about Goulburn's Spider Rain.
CNET reported "Welcome to Australia, where even the rain is spiders." Newsweek and Time couldn't agree with each other with Time reporting - "It's raining spiders in Australia," and Newsweek countering with "Why it's NOT raining spiders in Australia." And E online took a typically measured approach with "Everyone's worst nightmare has come true! It's literally raining spiders in Australia."
And it wasn't just the news services. Goulburn was trending on twitter for this freaky phenomenon. You could even say we were all over the web (get it?).
All that's missing so far is a catchy #SpiderRain song with a Youtube video... maybe something based on "It's raining men"... or "Purple Rain?"... or "Spider-man"?
Anyway, we'll leave that to the budding musos. Here's how the news services of the world reported Goulburn's Spider Rain, mixed with some social media reaction.