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Lightning Balls

November 28, 2015

It happened yesterday evening, 27th November 2015, at around 8.15pm.  Maureen and I had been to a pub for a game of pool.  Normally we’d have walked, but it was such a foul night with howling wind and driving rain that we’d gone by car instead.  When we returned to our car park, the storm was so ferocious we didn’t get out at once, hoping for a lull.

Five minutes later or thereabouts, Maureen suddenly jerked forward, pointing.  “Did you see it?  There, over the wall.  Did you see it?  No, no, really, there was something there – aargh, look, look…”

This time I saw it myself – a small ball of intensely blue light: it shot this way and that over the rear garden beyond the tall brick wall, zig-zagging erratically at such speed that it seemed to leave momentary blue lines in the darkness before dipping out of view.  It had been accompanied by a muted rumble of thunder.

A few minutes later, more thunder as the ball reappeared, zig-zagging through the air at lightning speed towards the back of a supermarket.

I’d say it was golf ball sized, maybe slightly smaller on its second appearance.

What on earth had we witnessed?  Human involvement seemed unlikely as the ball in no way resembled torchlight or the beam of a laser-pen, not that there’d been anyone about in the storm or at a window anyway.  No, this had to be a natural phenomenon, a lightning ball, surely?

It was some time before we nerved ourselves up for the dash back to our flat.

Research indicates that ball lightning remains a mystery to scientists though luminous spheroids of various sizes have been sighted during thunderstorms down the centuries, reportedly.

During a severe storm on 21st October 1638, an 8-foot ball of fire reportedly entered the church at Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon, during a sermon, causing great damage, killing four people and injuring sixty, leaving a sulphurous odour and dense smoke.  There are many other historical examples.

There may be sceptics inclined to write off ball lightening as urban myth.  But what we witnessed last night, Maureen and I, was very real indeed – all too frighteningly so!

 

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2015

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From → General, True Stories

10 Comments
  1. You are a bevy of information. I have never heard of a lighting ball. I will have to research it now. It is amazing to witness a phenomenon. How lucky you were.
    Did you ever get to play that game of pool? :o)

    • Hi Pat, thanks for this. I’ve read that in 1960 a study found that only 5% of the Earth’s population had reported ball lightning. So lucky we were indeed to have witnessed this phenomenon – lucky to have lived to tell the tale, anyway! Yes, we greatly enjoyed our game of pool – Maureen won!

      Take care,

      Paul

  2. It’s impressive that you are getting ideas from this article as well as from our dialogue made at this time.

    • Dear Ball, I’m afraid I cannot recall the article or any discussion between us – maybe you’re confusing me with someone else? My blog post relates to an actual occurrence of ball lightning in Shotton, North Wales, on Friday evening 27th November 2015, witnessed by myself and my partner. I hope you enjoyed the post anyway.

      Regards,

      Paul

  3. And now there’s probably a poem or two brewing…:-)

    • Thanks, Cynthia, you’re probably right, and someday – perhaps in the shower – a first line will pop into my head!

      My very best to you,

      Paul

  4. This was a strange, strange experience. A natural phenomenon, and while we watched it an exciting one. Yet it could have proved a very dangerous one. However being together I somehow wasn’t frightened.

    From your Maureen xxx

    • Maureen, love, I know what you mean about not feeling frightened. As with the Barmouth Ghost back in ’76, I felt more intrigued than alarmed. My head told me that, unlike with the ghost, it would be bad news indeed if the lightning ball suddenly veered our way, as it might have done at any moment, yet the phenomenon was so amazing, beautiful in a way, that it was fun to watch. A scary experience in retrospect, though – definitely!

      Your Paul xxx

  5. I have heard of lightening balls, but naturally, have never tried to catch one. xo

  6. Very wise, Sabiscuit, lightning balls are not for juggling with!

    Take care,

    Paul

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