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Residents in Harrison Township, Michigan, got a rude surprise on Sunday when they awoke to find a strange oily substance coating their cars and homes.
Days later, what the substance is and where it came from remain a mystery.
“Everybody’s concerned,” Harrison Township resident Paul Schlutow, 73, told ABC News today, adding that his major concern is finding out if the substance is harmful.
Schlutow said he contacted several organizations on Tuesday morning, including the local fire department, the Department of Environmental Quality and even the nearby Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
Schlutow said he believes the substance might have come from the airbase, as it is only a few miles away. However, in a press release today, the Selfridge Air National Guard Base stated that "there is no indication that the substance in question came from a military aircraft of any type."
The fire department came by on Tuesday and inspected the scene. "It was an ash type of substance with a little bit on an oily consistency to it," Harrison Township Fire Department Chief Michael Lopez told ABC News.
“It appears to have fallen straight down,” he added, noting that the substance was only found on the roofs of cars and homes, and not splattered across the sides.
By the afternoon that day, David, Dotty, and various other residents had become mysteriously and violently ill. They described having difficulty breathing, extreme vertigo, blurred vision, and an increasing sense of nausea. Beverly Roberts, another resident of the area, said that everyone in town contracted a flu-like illness that lasted two to three months. Additionally, several cats and dogs that came into contact with the substance fell ill and died. An hour after first noticing her symptoms, Dotty was found sprawled on her bathroom floor, conscious but very weak. Her daughter, Sunny Barclift, described her as feeling cold and sweat-drenched and looking pale. She was moved to the hospital where she stayed for three days and was diagnosed with a severe inner ear infection. As she was being moved to there, Sunny remembered the odd rain and, thinking there might be a connection to her mother's illness, collected a sample and sent it to the hospital. A lab technician examined it and found that it contained human white blood cells but couldn't identify what it was or how it came from the sky.