Aug 22, 2021 I Nick Redfern

Orbs & Strange Balls of Light: What Are They? One Phenomenon or Multiple Ones?

Now and again I get asked about so-called "Balls of Light." Or, as some people call them: Orbs. Others just refer to them as BOLs. It's not a particularly well-known thing that BOLs pop up in just about nearly all sorts of different aspects of the paranormal: Ufology, Cryptozoology, alien encounters, life after death, Crop Circles and more. And there's no evidence to show they're all interlinked. Although, there certainly could be. With that said, let's get into it. I'll begin with Bigfoot. While the BOL phenomenon isn't particularly well-connected to Cryptozoology, there is a link. Much of that connection can be found in Texas' Big Thicket. For decades, people have seen small, floating balls of light in the Big Thicket, mainly in the area appropriately called Ghost Road. Much less well-known is the fact that the late Rob Riggs - who was the expert on Big Thicket weirdness - collected a number of accounts of people seeing large, Bigfoot creatures in the Thicket, but they were very different to other cases. In this handful of reports Rob had in the BOL category, he told me that people had seen strange, approximately tennis-ball-sized BOLs, fluttering around the Bigfoot animals like butterflies might around a person. Rob had no clear theory for the cause of these "Bigfoot BOLs," except to say that it led him to believe (even more) that there was something very strange about Bigfoot.

Nick and Rob Riggs 570x428
(Nick Redfern with the late Bigfoot-seeker, Rob Riggs)

Now, let's get onto the matter of Crop Circles. If you know your Crop Circle lore and history, you'll know that BOLs and Orbs are often seen above the intricately-formations. Very early on in his Crop Circle research, Matthew Williams (both a creator and a researcher of Crop Circles) came to realize something deeply strange and highly intriguing. Namely, that many people who make the formations experience unusual phenomena in the fields – and on numerous occasions in the formations of their very own making. For example, Matt has experienced (as have a number of other, well-known Circle-makers; more than a few of who are reluctant to speak on the record) a wealth of weird phenomena in Crop Circles that he himself created. That included seeing small, aerial balls of light zipping around, detecting unexplained animal-like growls and howls, and even experiencing significant periods of missing time.

Small Crop Circle 1999 570x373
(Nick Redfern)

Now, onto the 1950s-era Contactees and their "buddies," the Space Brothers. There are numerous reports of the Contactees having encounters with BOLs. We’ll begin with Daniel Fry, the author of The White Sands Incident. According to Fry he saw, on his first encounter, what looked like an "especially bright group of stars" that "seemed to beckon me." Truman Bethurum claimed amusing and outrageous encounters with a curvy, stacked-to-the-max, hot-looking babe from the stars who announced herself as Captain Aura Rhanes, of the planet Clarion. Interestingly, Bethurum said that prior to his meetings with the captain, he would often see "a small flare"or what appeared to be "a meteor falling though the starlit purple night." Orfeo Angeulcci – the author of (among others) The Secret of the Saucers – said that his main encounter with a pair of human-looking aliens involved the appearance of a red, glowing, oval-shaped light that was "about five times as large as the red portion of a traffic light." The sound of a male voice was soon heard, which was "strong," and had "well-modulated tones and speaking perfect English." The voice from the lights assured Angelucci that "they" were “friends from another world.”

Still on the matter of Space Brothers and BOLs: Decades ago, a man named Ralph Lael claimed amazing encounters with the Space Brothers on Brown Mountain, North Carolina. Just like those characters above, Lael reported seeing – in close proximity – eerie balls of light. In Lael’s case, the BOLs were around twelve feet in circumference. Lael felt, as one of the BOLs approached him, that "it was alive and had intelligence." Bob Short was a Contactee who I met on several occasions – a couple of times at the UFO Congress in Laughlin, Nevada in the late 1990s, and at the Retro UFO gig, which is now no longer around. I often saw people poke fun at Bob and his Contactee-driven claims, but they really shouldn’t have. Bob’s encounters, too, began with the sudden appearances of multiple BOLs. Bob wrote (in his book, Out of the Stars: A Message from Extraterrestrial Intelligence) that he often saw, specifically before an encounter of the Space Brother kind, "luminous ephemeral spheres of light."

Bob also said that the BOLs were "so dazzling" that "the actual form behind the light is masked and cannot be scrutinized visually." How about BOLs being the souls of the dead? More than a few people have claimed to have seen small, BOLs in the aftermath of the death of a relative or of a close friend. Are we looking at just one phenomenon that is somehow tied into all manner of strange things: ghosts, monsters, aliens, UFOs, Crop Circles and more? Are there multiple different types of BOLs and Orbs?  Do they interact with us when the time, the location, and the nature of the phenomenon come together? Absolute definitive answers are short. Theories? There's a bunch of them out there.

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.

Join MU Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions & much more! Subscribe Today!