Ball Lightning

Some UFO activity is thought to be explained by the mysterious and elusive phenomenon of ball lightning. Reports of events that could potentially be examples of ball lightning go back to ancient cultures. It is estimated that approximately 5% of the population has witnessed ball lightning but very few incidents have been documented due to its rarity.

Ball lightning is described as having many and varied characteristics. The most common attributes are:
– occur during a thunderstorm, particularly if there is a lot of lightning
– loosely spherical in shape with fuzzy edges
– range in size from 1-100cm with most being around 10-20cm
– they are about as bright as a domestic lamp
– they last from just seconds to over a minute with brightness remaining consistent
-they move at a pace of several metres per second in any direction
– some are able to pass through walls and other solid objects
– some appear to be drawn towards metal objects

There have been many reported encounters dating back thousands of years. In Paris in 1852 during a fierce thunderstorm, a man living next door to the Church of the Val-de-Grâce saw a bright glowing ball the size of a human head come out of the church’s fireplace. It flew haphazardly around the room before reentering the fireplace and exploding, destroying the chimney in the process.

In April 1877 at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, a bright coloured ball was said to have entered and exited through a side door. Several witnesses are reported to have observed the ball causing a great stir. The incident is depicted in art form on the front wall of Darshani Deodhi.

Perhaps the most frightening documented encounter with ball lightning is the events during the Great Thunderstorm of Widecombe-in-the-moor in Devon, England on the 21st of October 1638. Witnesses recounted seeing a 2 metre ball of fire colliding with and entering the church nearly completely destroying it. Several large stones from the church’s structure were thrown to the ground and large wooden beams collapsed. The ball smashed through pews and windows and the church filled with a strong odour of sulphur and burning. Approximately 60 people were injured and four people were killed. The incident was assumed to be the work of the devil punishing the parishioners for a lack of faithfulness to God.

It is possible that some sightings of ghost orbs could actually be an electrical phenomenon similar to ball lightning. Some theorise that faulty wiring or short circuits could cause a tiny version of ball lightning to appear for a split second or even appear in photographs. Ball lightning is a great example of one of the many things in our world that science still can’t explain. While we have documented it’s existence we can’t say for sure what causes it nor can we replicate it in a lab setting. Perhaps with more research into ball lightning we will find answers for some of the worlds many unexplained phenomena.

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