Tech UPTechnologyStarjelly, the mysterious jelly that did not come from...

Starjelly, the mysterious jelly that did not come from heaven


“A gelatinous substance is occasionally found in grass, soil, and even sometimes in the branches of trees, the origin of which modern scholars attribute neither to stars nor to meteors; but who are divided as to whether they regard it as a animal or vegetable product Botanists call it tremella nostoch and say that it is a fungal plant, of rapid growth and short duration, of which even the seed has been discovered, but zoologists , although they differ among themselves, agree in affirming that it is the altered remains of dead frogs .” This is how the American writer and senator Samuel Griswood described the ‘star jelly’ or star jelly in 1845, so called because it was supposed to have come from heaven.

The prestigious Scientific American magazine published this note in November 1846: “On November 11, 1846 , a luminous object estimated to be 4 feet in diameter (1.2 meters) fell in Loweville, New York, leaving a heap of foul-smelling luminous jelly. which quickly disappeared. For its part, the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia announced that “a yellowish substance fell over Genoa, Italy, on the morning of February 14, 1870 . It was analyzed by MG Boccardo and Professor Castellani of the Genoa Technical Institute and found to contain 66% sand (mainly of the silica type and some clay), 15% iron oxide (rust), 9% carbonate of lime , 7% organic matter and the rest water. The organic matter contained spore-like particles, starch grains, diatom fragments (forms of algae whose cell walls contain silica), and unidentified cobalt blue globules.”

Apparently, under this peculiar phenomenon different causes can be hidden. Its last appearance was in June 2019 in the garden of a couple in Goochland County, Virginia: they found five small piles of a strange substance similar to crushed ice, but gelatinous in nature. Microscopic examination by a Chesterfield County agricultural expert found no evidence that it was a living organism , concluding that it was a water-based polymer used in landscaping. On the other hand, in 2015 the BBC program Nature’s Weirdest Events , sent a sample of star jelly found in England to the Natural History Museum in London for DNA analysis , which confirmed that it was the remains of a frog . He also found some magpie tracks, which explained the disappearance of that frog…

The truth is that almost all the samples that have been examined so far have turned out to be some type of biological tissue. The most common explanation is that we are dealing with frog spawning that is unfertilized and ripped from the abdomen by predators. Thus, in some samples collected in Dartmoor (England) in 1926, oviducts and ovaries were found together with remains of an alimentary tract and a bladder belonging to a frog or toad. It is also thought that we may be dealing with slime molds -the slime mold-, a type of organism that lives as individual cells but can join together to form multicellular structures that reproduce and slide along the ground feeding on decomposing plant matter.

However, there are many testimonies that do not seem to fit these explanations . Thus, in 1979 in Texas several purple specks of a slimy substance appeared in the front yard after a Perseid meteor shower . Although it was suspected that this substance could have come from a nearby battery reprocessing plant, nothing conclusive was reached.

Rarer was what Philadelphia police officers reportedly found on the street in 1950 : a kind of jelly that gave off a dull purple glow . When they tried to pick it up, it dissolved into a sticky, odorless foam . Interestingly, this story inspired the B-series horror movie The Blob , starring Steve McQueen in 1958, where a gelatinous being arrives on Earth inside a meteorite.

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