The Amazing St. Elmo's Fire
When I was young, my father's helpers (mostly young men) usually passed the night with stories about the unknown, including St. Elmo's fire. We usually call it santelmo in Tagalog or Filipino language.or maybe, the corruption of the term became the popular term for the phenomenon.
They said that is also called "ball of fire" or bolang apoy usually found in many caves, as if guarding it at night...an unrest soul that cannot found peace in the afterlife. Even, the drama soap opera on the radio tackled this phenomenon or the comics before. My father's helpers said that maybe, santelmo was guarding hidden treasures in the cave.
My father have a close encounter with St. Elmo's fire. He's been a member of their family band. There was no electricity, then (1950s) in our place, so they have to brave passing vast riceland through its paddies in order to reach another barangay. He recounted that he saw a ball of light. He also carried a bamboo torch or sulo (fueled with kerosene gas or crude oil). He hurried and want to the person carrying the light ahead of him. When he went near the light, he found out that it was santelmo. He felt that every hair on his body, especially his nape sprung, an indication that he'd just met a supernatural being when he is being attack by the light. He said he ran for his life and hide at the irrigation canal (submerged himself) until the light disappeared.
Our visual encounter with it was after the heavy rain that happened in the ricefield. Our house was near the highway and we saw that there are many lights playing around the field at a distance. We've seen that these ball of lights were moving, playing in the ricefield, then forming a huge ball of fire, separating again, then disappear. It lasted about half an hour.
Now, that I am a sailor, stories at sea always include St. Elmo's fire. I've seen sightings of it at a distance. I've also known that it is the patro saint of seafarers, St. Elmo or San Elmo that became santelmo.
If you have experience with St. Elmo's fire, please share your stories here. Thanks.
Flying through Iraq thunderstorm c/o rfp313
Saint Erasmus or Saint Elmo - Patron Saint of Sailors
Saint Erasmus of Formiae, Italy (ca. 303) is venerated as the patron saint of sailors. St. Erasmus or Elmo is also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, saintly figures of Christian legend who were venerated specially in Central Europe as intercessors.
Erasmus was persecuted by Emperor Deocletian because of his continued preachings of Gospel to the pagans and converting many of them into Christianity. His legend recounted that many kinds of tortures were afflicted to him but he was always saved by the angels of God. This continued during the reign of Roman emperor Maximian.
His being the patron saint of the sailors happened when he continued preaching even a thunderbolt struck the ground beside him. This prompted sailors who are always in danger from sudden storms and lightning at sea, to claim his prayers. The electrical discharges at the mastheads of ships were read as a sign of his protection and came to be called "St. Elmo's fire".
St. Elmo's Fire as explained by Science
Although, it is referred as "fire", St. Elmo's fire is actually a plasma. The electric field around the object in question causes ionization of the air molecules, producing a faint glow that is visible in low-light conditions. It is usually seen during thunderstorms at sea.
St. Elmo's fire and normal spark can both appear when high electrical voltage affect a gas.
The nitrogen and oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere causes St. Elmo's fire to flouresce with blue or violet light; similar to the mechanism when neon lights glow.
Ball lightning is often mistaken as St. Elmo's fire. It is another phenomenon.
The belief on St. Elmo's fire still amazed me up to these days, although science explained hot this phenomenon exists.
From my viewpoint based on the series of events that happened during my childhood, I can say that I already have a better understanding why such thing occur.
Although in the far flung barangays of the Philippines, locales still believe that the appearance of Santelmo or St. Elmo's fire will lead them to a treasure. That I strongly doubted if such tip can be given by it.
Fuego de San Elmo c/o luisrn
St. Elmo's Fire -Movie Trailer c/o zukki3skh
St. Elmo's Fire Story
St. Elmo's Fire: A Phenomenon
Back in the 1950s, seamen who can get a glimpse of St. Elmo's Fire believed that it can bring both good and bad luck.
Former Chief Fire Officer James Cassady of Liverpool, England recently published a book on St. Elmo's Fire (July 2011) narrating the protagonist's (Jack Druce -fictional character) experience about the phenomenon.
Born in 1934, this World War II veteran narrowly escaped the perils of that period and spent most of his life as fireman.
As a retiree, he was able to weave this interesting fiction that is relative on how he moulded his life for the past decades.
Yet, the humour-laden twists on the story also reflects on how he loved his other profession as a sailor on the Merchant Navy of UK.
More Stories on St. Elmo's Fire
- Seeing A St. Elmo's Fire: How Does It Look Like?
If you saw a round, floating light, would you follow it? St. Elmo's fire or will-o-wisp, here is my story of seeing one.
- St Elmo's Fire by James Cassaday
St Elmo's Fire is a phenomena most famously associated with sailing ships. To sailors the sight of it on a ship's mast is full of superstitious beliefs. In James Cassaday's latest Ebook, ex-seaman Jack Druce regrets the day he ever saw St Elmo's Fire
- Looking Back at "St. Elmo's Fire"
From a sociological perspective, it’s interesting to take a snapshot look of at a pivotal point in any generation. Case in point, the decade-defining yuppie culture of the mid-1980s. A quintessential film in the “brat pack” legacy, “St....
More by this Author
Seafaring is as old as the history of this world and its people.I can consider Noah as a very prominent sailor of the human race as he was instructed by our God to build the Ark and be saver & sailor.
HOMESICKNESS-a book by Murray Bail (Courtesy of http://www.middlemiss.com/) Homesickness is a state of mind. When you’re far away from your love ones, you tend to be lonely. You miss the voices of your wife, your...
Ahoy, there! SAILORS of the WORLD... can you hear me? Hoping this Christmas message will reach you safe and sound while on voyage. I wish that you'll have a peaceful travels while celebrating the...