Dec 21, 2020 I Nick Redfern

An Alternative Theory for at Least Some Ghost Lights

My previous article was titled "Taking a Look at Those Mysterious Ghost Lights." In part, the article went like this went like this: "Over the years I've been asked for my thoughts on what have popularly become known as 'Ghost Lights.' Well, I can say for sure I've heard all sorts of theories for what they might really be. Those theories include some kind of intelligent ball of energy, the souls of the dead (people and animals), shapeshifting aliens, ball lightning, and entry points to other dimensions. Of course, there may be numerous other theories, too, but these are most definitely ones that I often hear about. I can't say, at all, that I'm an expert in this field; however, I do have an interest in the subject." I have to say I think at least some so-called Ghost Lights might actually be the creations of military agencies looking to use them on the battlefield. While such a thing might sound too way out for some people, bear with me.

There's a distinct possibility some Ghost Lights are that rarely seen phenomenon called ball lightning. And what might that be? Read on. The following words are from the people at EarthSky: "Ball lightning is one of the best-known natural phenomena that few have seen. Until recent years, most scientists remained skeptical about ball lightning; it seemed more myth than reality. Nowadays, ball lightning’s street cred among scientists is stronger, but it’s still the case that most of the images you see online purporting to be ball lightning are just over-exposed images of ordinary lightning. In fact, no expert we asked could point us to an actual image of ball lightning in nature. What is ball lightning? Since the time of the early Greeks, there’ve been reports of small balls of bright plasma-like light moving over the ground and then vanishing. The explanation still eludes scientists for the most part, although various explanations have now been offered."

Over the years, I have taken a deep interest in the matter of ball lightning. As my research has progressed, I have used the Freedom of Information Act and requested – from many of the ABC agencies within government - copies of any and all papers dealing with ball lightning. Some of the material that was released to me was highly intriguing. The long list included: Theory of the Lightning Ball and its Application to the Atmospheric Phenomenon Called ‘Flying Saucers’, that was put together by Carl Benadicks in 1954; Ball Lightning: A Survey, prepared by one J.R. McNally for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee [year unknown]; D.V. Ritchie’s Reds May Use Lightning as a Weapon, which popped up in the pages of Missiles and Rockets in August 1959; and An Experimental and Theoretical Program to Investigate the Feasibility of Confining Plasma in Free Space by Radar Beams, the latter being the work of a C.M. Haaland, in 1960, for the Armor Research Foundation, situated in the Illinois Institute of Technology.

One document really stood out: Survey of Kugelblitz Theories for Electromagnetic Incendiaries. It was the brainchild of W.B. Lyttle and C.E. Wilson. At the time, they were in the employ of Melpar, Inc., which is described as "an American government contractor in the 20th century Cold War period. At a time when most employment in Washington, D.C. was directly by the U.S. federal government, Melpar became an early private sector contracting company training a high technology workforce in the area." Lyttle and Wilson were assigned to the Edgewood Arsenal, and to what was intriguingly titled as a "New Concepts Division / Special Project"” operation. At the beginning of their 92-pages-long report, the two wrote: "The purpose of this study was to review the theory and experimental data on ball lightning, to compare the existing theory and experimental data to determine whether ball lightning is a high or low energy phenomenon, and if it is a high energy phenomenon define an effective theoretical and experimental program to develop a potential incendiary weapon [italics mine]."

The pair added: "Three major categories were established for the purpose of grouping the numerous theories on the subject. These categories are the classical plasma theories, the quantum plasma theories, and the non-plasma theories. A theoretical and experimental Kugelblitz program is recommended by which the most promising high energy theories could be developed so that a weapons application could be realized." On the matter of what, exactly, ball lightning was, the pair had a few ideas. Those same ideas included a "plasma created by a lightning strike and maintained by electromagnetic standing waves;" a "non-plasma phenomenon;" and the “nuclear theory;" which was "based on the assumption that the content of the ball is radioactive carbon-14 created from atmospheric nitrogen by the action of thermal neutrons liberated by a lightning strike." Wilson and Lyttle said that "since the high energy Kugelblitz is clearly the only type weapon of importance, we believe that the major effort should be expended along these lines." The effort continued.

Keep one important thing in mind: the document I quoted from dates back from the mid-1960s. That makes me wonder just how much we might have advanced -  in relation to the utilization of ball lightning - since then?

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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