'Earth is under attack - wet gel has landed'
Villagers believed the mysterious objects were aliens from outer space. Newspapers fanned the speculation. The result? Plenty of red faces.
Before the incident could become more embarrassing for the whole nation, experts yesterday pointed out that the unusually clear jelly-like rolls were not extraterrestrial beings but wet fever-cooling gel sheets.
"Definitely alike. For sure they are not a living thing and most likely they are fever-cooling gel sheets," Namchai Shevavivat, a scientist at the National Metal and Materials Technology Centre, said yesterday.
A team of scientists was testing samples of the rolls to find the chemical structure of them, he said.
After a Thai-language tabloid last week published a report of a mysterious object found in Uthai Thani, similar reports began popping up around the country, including Bangkok.
On Saturday, a resident in Bang Kapi found a similar object in a tub she had used to soak clothes before washing. Duangruedee Adam told a newspaper she had the impression that the object fell from above her house into the basin.
The object sparked excitement amongst neighbours as it gradually shrank when placed on the floor but expanded when soaked. As news of it spread, a massive number of people arrived to see for themselves.
In Uthai Thani, the first roll was put on display in a clear jar filled with water, allowing villagers to worship it as a sacred object.
"I am very concerned about its safety and am considering moving it to Bangkok where it can be kept securely," said Krisana Manoman, who found the roll.
An overwhelming number of eager visitors had swarmed to her house to see the object, she said.
Reports of similar finds have come from Samut Prakan, Chon Buri, Phrae and Khon Kaen. Each one has sparked a rush of spectators.
The rising public attention and wild speculation prompted the Public Health and Science and Technology Ministries to yesterday order an investigation into the mysterious objects to calm the public.