Mysterylights Group Message 0266

Subject: Fwd = UFO UpDate: Ball Lightning Forum - No. 4
From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <fw-nx@...> (by way of UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@...>)
Date: 17 Oct 2003 03:48

From: Terry W. Colvin <fortean1@...>
To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003 16:55:44 -0700
Subject: Ball Lightning Forum - No. 4

Another not well understood natural phenomenon that contributes to the 
chaos and confusion of reported UFOs.


After rummaging through books, magazines, clippings, etc. I've found a few 
more ball lightning references. These vary from the academic to the 

[1] *Space-Time Transients and Unusual Events*, 1977, by Michael A. 
Persinger and Gyslaine F. Lafrenie(`)re. Nelson-Hall Inc., 325 West 
Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Illinois 60606. ISBN 0-88229-
334-6 (hardback), ISBN 0-88229-462-8 (paperback). A general phenomena book 
using statistical analysis; only Chapters 6 and 8, Unusual and Infrequent 
Astronomical Events, and Unusual and Infrequent Meteorological Events, 
resp., have a bearing on BL.

[2] *The Nature of Light & Colour in the Open Air*, 1954, by M. Minnaert. 
Dover Publications Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014. A review 
and explanation of atmospheric phenomena, "mirages, haloes, shadows, 
double rainbows... hundreds of other phenomena visible with the naked 
eye... explained by a famous physicist" as written on the jacket blurb.

[3] *Final Report of the Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects* 
conducted by the University of Colorado under contract to the United 
States Air Force, Dr. Edward U. Condon, Scientific Director. Research 
supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Office of 
Aerospace Research, USAF, under contract F44620-67-C-0035. Daniel S. 
Gillmor, Editor, 1968, with an introduction by Walter Sullivan of *The New 
York Times*. My paperback edition is 965 closely printed pages. Discussion 
of ball lightning and related phenomena occurs on pages 681-682, 723, 729, 
732-733, and 735-750. References and Notes

Section 7: Surveys of ball lightning are:

1. Preliminary Report on Ball Lightning, J. Rand McNally, Jr.; Second 
Annual Meeting, Div. of Plasma Phys., Amer. Phys. Soc., Gatlinburg, Tenn. 
Nov 2-5,1960.

2. Ball Lightning Characteristics, Warren D. Rayle: NASA TN D-
3188, January,1966.

3. Ball Lightning, James Dale Barry: Master's Thesis, California State 
College, 1966.

4. Ball Lightning, J. Dale Barry: Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial 
Physics, vol. 29, p. 1095, 1967.

Bibliographies of earlier ball lightning work:

5. Ball Lightning Bibliography 1950-1960: Science and Technology Division, 
Library of Congress, 1961.

6. Ball Lightning (A Collection of Soviet Research in English 
Translation), Donald J. Ritchie (editor): Consultants Bureau, New York, 

A theory based on standing microwave patterns is given in:

7. The Nature of Ball Lightning, P. L. Kapitsa: in Ball Lightning, 
Consultants Bureau, N.Y., 1961 (Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR, vol. 101, p. 
245, 1955).

8. Ball Lightning, David Finkelstein and Julio Rubinstein: Physical 
Review, vol. 135, p. A390, 1964.

9. A Theory of Ball Lightning, Martin A. Uman and Carl W. Helstrom: 
Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 71, p. 1975, 1966.

Theories based on magnetic containment are given by:

10. Ball Lightning and Self-Containing Electromagnetic Fields, Philip O. 
Johnson: American Journal of Physics, vol. 33, p. 119, 1965.

11. Ball Lightning, E. R. Wooding: Nature, vol. 199, p. 272, 1963.

12. On Magnetohydrodynamical Equilibrium Configurations, V. D. Shafranov: 
in Ball Lightning, Consultants Bureau, N.Y., 1961 (Zhurnal 
Eksperimentalnoi i Teoreticheskoi Fiziki, vol. 37, p. 224, 1959.

13. Magneto-Vortex Rings, Yu. P. Ladikov: in Ball Lightning, Consultants 
Bureau, N.Y., 1961 (Izvestiya Akademii Nauk SSSR, Mekhanika i 
Mashinostroyenie, No. 4, p. 7, July-Aug., 1960).

A theory of ball lightning as a miniature thundercloud is given in: 14. 
Ball Lightning as a Physical Phenomenon, E. L. Hill: Journal of 
Geophysical Research, vol. 65, p. 1947, 1960.

The creation of ball lightning by man-made devices is discussed in:

15. Ball Lightning and Plasmoids, Paul A. Silberg: Journal of Geophysical 
Research, vol. 67, p. 4941, 1962. Ball lightning as burning hydrocarbon is 
discussed in:

16. Laboratory Ball Lightning, J. Dale Barry, Journal of Terrestrial 
Physics, vol. 30, p. 313. 1968.

A skeptical view of ball lightning theories is given in:

17. Attempted Explanations of Ball Lightning, Edmond M. Dewan: Physical 
Sciences Research Paper #67, AFCRL-64-927, November, 1964. An elementary 
review of ball lightning is:

18. Ball Lightning, H. W. Lewis: Scientific American, March, 1963. The 
first eyewitness account presented in this review is found in:

19. The Nature of Ball Lightning, G. I. Kogan-Beletskii: in Ball 
Lightning, Consultants Bureau, N.Y., 1961 (Prioroda, No. 4, p. 71, 1957). 
Eyewitness accounts 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and many others even more incredible 
are found in:

20. Eyewitness Accounts of Kugelblitz, Edmond M. Dewan: CRD-25, (Air Force

Cambridge Research Laboratories) March, 1964. Account 4 concerns a 
photograph taken by Robert J. Childerhose of the RCAF. The description is 
found in the book by Klass, which is cited below. The strange case in St. 
Petersburg, Florida is discussed in: 21. Theory of the Lightning Balls and 
Its Application to the Atmospheric Phenomenon Called "Flying Saucers," 
Carl Benedicks: Arkiv for Geofysik (Sweden), vol. 2, p. 1, 1954.

[4] *Book of the Damned*, 1919 and 1940, by Charles Hoy Fort. 1. pp. 
273-274: In *Nature*, 37-187, and *L'Astronomie*, 1887-
76, we are told that an object, described as "a large ball of fire," was 
seen to rise from the sea, near Cape Race. We are told that it rose to a 
height of fifty feet, and then advanced close to the ship, then moving 
away, remaining visible about five minutes. The supposition in *Nature* is 
that it was "ball lightning," but Flammarion, *Thunder and Lightning*, p. 
68, says that it was enormous. Details in the American *Meteorological 
Journal*, 6-443--Nov. 12, 1887--British steamer *Siberian*--that the 
object had moved "against the wind" before retreating--that Captain Moore 
said that at about the same place he had seen such appearances before. 
*Report of the British Association*, 1861-
  30: That, upon June 18, 1845, according to the *Malta Times*, from the 
brig *Victoria*, about 900 miles east of Adalia, Asia Minor (36 degrees, 
40 minutes, 56 seconds, N. Lat.: 13 degrees, 44 minutes, 36 seconds E. 
Long.), three luminous bodies were seen to issue from the sea, at about 
half a mile from the vessel. They were visible about ten minutes.

2. "As to what ball lightning is, we have not yet begun to make 
intelligent guesses." (*Monthly Weather Review*, 34-17.) In general, it 
seems to me that when we encounter the opposition [to] "ball lightning" we 
should pay little attention, but confine ourselves to guesses that are at 
least intelligent, that stand phantom-like in our way. We note here that 
in some of our acceptances upon intelligence we should more clearly have 
pointed out that they were upon the intelligent as opposed to the 
instinctive. In the *Monthly Weather Review*, 33-409, there is an account 
of "ball lightning" that struck a tree. It made a dent such as a falling 
object would make. Some other time I shall collect instances of "ball 
lightning," to express that they are instances of objects that have fallen 
 from the sky, luminously, exploding terrifically. So bewildered is the old 
orthodoxy by these phenomena that many scientists have either denied "ball 
lightning" or have considered it very doubtful. I refer to Dr. Sestier's 
list of one hundred and fifty instances, which he considered authentic.

[5] *Flying Saucer Review*, London, United Kingdom. 1. Vol. 10, No. 5, 
September-October 1964, pp. 14-15, "A Note on Fireballs." 2. Vol. 14, No. 
4, July-August 1968, p. 35, "All Fireballs?". 3. Vol. 15, No. 1, 
January-February 1969, pp. 25-26, "UFOs And Ball Lightning." 4. Vol. 18, 
No. 3, May-June 1972, pp. 23-24, "Some Thoughts on 'Thinking Globes'". I 
quote from the introductory paragraph of item [5]1.: Readers of Dr. 
Menzel's latest book, *The World of Flying Saucers* will recall that the 
author attempted to explain one mystery (UFOs) in terms of another 
(fireballs). It would seem that the latter subject has attracted as little 
scientific attention as the former. Indeed, if one takes a close look at 
the history of fireballs one is almost persuaded that their behaviour 
resembles that of the Foo Fighters of the 1939-1945 war. Even Dr. Menzel 
had to admit that scientists knew very little about fireballs, though he 
was prepared to invoke them as conventionalisations for flying saucers. 
The saucer student could equally well reverse the process and claim that 
what was known as a fireball in the past was in fact the flying saucer of 

The 21 references in [3] above are the more academic while all else is 
anecdotal. While not exhaustive these references are some of the more 
unknown to most students of ball lightning. I'm sure other references 
exist in the specialty (a.k.a. fringe science) magazines; however, little 
to no indexing makes it difficult to find ball lightning "stuff" when 
mixed in with luminous, atmospheric, meteorological, and UFO phenomena. 
That will be the focus of my next search.


"No editor ever likes the way a story tastes unless he pees in it first." 
-Mark Twain

-- "Only a zit on the wart on the heinie of progress." Copyright 1992, 
Frank Rice

Terry W. Colvin, Sierra Vista, Arizona (USA)

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