- Education and Science»
- Geology & Atmospheric Science
One for the "I can live happily the rest of my life without seeing that again!" files
I've lived what I would describe as a normal life, typical in about every aspect. Even at this I have had some non-typical encounters over the years with things hard to explain in a manner appeasing to scientific rationalization. However, I really think that none of these events are anything that haven't been experienced by a great number of fellow human beings. And none of them have managed to daunt me so much that I live in constant dread. No, life's too short for this, and if you are willing -and if no one was actually harmed in or from the event- chances are you can usually find the humorous aspect of practically any harrowing experience.
Tonight I'm still looking for the humor in something that occurred two nights ago. I know it is there and my job is to find it. But as I've not yet I decided, what the heck I'll just write about it
This event had nothing to do with the paranormal or the supernatural; it was nothing more than a rare yet very natural phenomena. But I'll confess, it spooked me. And just thinking about it while sitting here at my desk by my window where it happened and round about the same time of night, too, I'm just a bit unnerved. I know there is no reason for me to be nervous because it is something that chances are I will never live long enough to see again. All the same, I'm sucking a breath mint like its the last cigarette in Winston-Salem.
Anyway, I was sitting here minding my own business the other night, working on a new novel. It was quite rainy at the time and with the kids in bed the only sound other than music and the echo of the keys on the keyboard the house was nice and quiet. I was in the middle of a nice sexy romantic scene, my thoughts on nothing else but how to describe the heroine's reaction to feeling the hero's mustache tickle her thighs. And then it happened: a BOOM hit the side of the house right outside my window. It was so strong my desk jumped on the floor and my lamp nearly fell over. Now you'd think a BOOM would be just that. A succinct detonating kind of blast and then be over. But no. This BOOM continued after I stilled the lamp and got out of my chair. And looking outside the window to the wall where I knew it hit (and did I mention it was still BOOMING?) I saw a light hanging on the side of the house. This was no ordinary light, but this massive orb of brilliant whiteness with flickering tendrils of light tailing off of it in a halo of directions. If this wasn't discomforting enough the BOOM was still going on, and within this sound was another sound, like a multitude of angry and crackling electrical currents.
My first thought was oh my gods some electrical device is on fire. So I grabbed the phone and ran outside, trying to call 9-1-1 as I did so and looking for something to suffocate the fire out with in the meantime. There was a blanket on the porch so I grabbed this in the dash, and ran around the side of our home, all the while still attempting to hit the proper numbers on the phone. But when I get to the wall the light has vanished. The BOOM has stopped. The electrical current gone away. I looked hard and saw no indication of flame, no scorch marks, and woah, no electrical wiring or box or anything else that could have been the focus of a fire. I walked back into the house, realizing I'd been dialing 6-1-1 all the while. But I was still scared, so after a brief look around the house and finding nothing smoldering or otherwise appearing to be on fire I called my husband at work. He came home and together we checked the part of the house exterior out again.
We found nothing. On returning inside I explained what I had seen and heard to him, in full detail. He nodded and said that it sounded to him like ball lightning. I had heard of ball lightning but didn't know much about it so he sat down and looked up info about it on the internet. What he found was quite fascinating. Sightings of ball lightning has been reported and described for centuries and is today considered a very real though not-yet fully explainable natural phenomena.
What the scientific community does know about ball lightning is that the balls appear in a variety of sizes, some as small as tennis balls, others very large. Balls have been filmed going through doors and walls and appearing to dance on both ceilings and floors. These balls are known to float through the air or to strike, though the floating type is more frequently reported. They come in clusters or singular and they have frequently been reported to hover near or to follow the path of power lines. Scientists who have investigated the phenomena have speculated that the balls contain a kind of plasma, and there have been a few incidents where studiers have reproduced the phenomena using microwave technology. While most people who have witnessed ball lightning confirm that the only harm they experienced was a fright, there have been a few fatal incidences reported.
Many reports of the balls include descriptions of an accompanying strange sound coming off them. This morning I came across this video of ball lightning taken in Saudi Arabia. As the video shows the phenomena seems attracted to the power lines. What I like most about this video is that you can so clearly hear the discomforting chorus of angry, crackling sounds. It is the same sound I heard the other night.
This next film is from news footage about a man who believed he was filming something other than ball lightning. Now while the temptation may be great to view the filmed event as something extraterrestrial, like the meteorologist who is consulted here I pretty well believe it's ball lightning. But even at being just a natural phenomena it is still quite spectacular and even kind of pretty!
My encounter with ball lightning was definitely a unique experience. As this phenomena is pretty rare it is also most likely the only encounter with it I will ever have, in this life time at least, lol. If it hadn't been so loud and frightful I might be disappointed in this. But with that gnarly sound the thing gave off and more so the fear it gave that my children and home were in potential danger, well it just makes me glad it is such a rare event!