Mysterylights Group Message 0375

Subject: Re: exactly what can and cannot an earthlight do
From: "sean_b_palmer" <sean@...>
Date: 04 Apr 2006 16:35

On Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:38 am, Mike Williams wrote: 

> What does the "earthlight" have to do or display to separate itself 
> from being just a ufo. Because at the moment it sems an "earthlight" 
> can do/be anything the researcher wants it to be. 

The main distinguishing characteristic is the tight coupling to the
earth. Many of the reports that Devereux originally reproduced were of
light phenomena that were observed at close range and were seen to
specifically have come from the ground, or appeared in flaps where
others of the lights had been seen to come from that source. The Egryn
Chapel lights of 1907 are a good example of that.

On the other hand, Peter Hassall was right in his follow up when he
said that "Ball lightning, UFOs, earthlights, spook lights, ghost
lights, etc.are all intermixed and given interchangeable labels!" For
example, St. Elmo's Fire has been called the Will-o'-the-wisp on more
than one occasion (see, e.g., Observations on Popular Antiquities,
John Brand, 1777). And Ball Lightning is sometimes reported as having
appeared when no clouds were apparent. No cloud, no lightning, if you
ask me. It doesn't make taxonomic sense.

And this is all a question of taxonomy. My current thought is that
there are two ways that you can divide all the lights up. You can
trawl colloquial anecdotes about lightforms and try to descriptively
link phenomena names to characteristics. Or you can treat the
characteristics independent of what the observers thought and said
about it, and make your own categories based on statistical analysis.

Both of these approaches are valid to some extent, but they both have
pitfalls. Using the former approach, you're trusting the
interpretation of the observer, which is bound to be invalid in a huge
majority of cases, not least through to cultural bias ("I saw a
spaceship!"). With the latter, you're trusting your statistical
analysis to have included enough trustworthy data along the right axes
to provide you with some good output; and then you'll probably find
yourself assigning arbitrary names to arbitrary groups anyway.

I've tended to concentrate on the former approach, whereas people such
as William Corliss have concentrated on the latter. As I say, either
approach is flawed, so it's best to do some of both--I'm currently
trying to shift my focus to the latter approach and do a more
neutrally characteristic based assessment of the lightforms.

And the whole thing gets very complicated when you consider, for
example, that what is traditionally viewed as several different
phenomena such as earth lights, ball lightning, and earthquake lights
may have different energy sources but the same atmospheric carrier


Sean B. Palmer, UK, 2006

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