Rob Beschizza at 4:44 pm Tue, May 11, 2010
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Eurovision 2013: An American in London
The technology that links taxonomy and Star Trek
In the Seventies, I was living in an apartment in a complex in west Houston. I was lying in bed, getting to sleep, when for some reason I opened my eyes. A ball of light came out of the closet(left of foot of bed), floated across the room, & went thru the wall.
My heart was pounding.
I’ve heard theories that movement along fault lines causes ball lighting. Hey, it’s not my fault, it’s the Spring Branch fault.
Unless the same magnetic field could create the same hallucination is multiple people at the same time….
That doesn’t seem particularly improbable.
However, my ex-aunt’s sister had ball lightning go up one sleeve and out the other without harming her. She was always a bit squirrely after that, though.
How does one have an ex-aunt, Antinous?
She was found mysteriously disemvoweled. Best not to ask too many questions.
I think it’s interesting that MRI’s (which is likely the most common source of high power transcranial magnetism) may make people and mice happier though.
Their D I V O R C E
Became final in about 1963
Aunt R O S A L I E
Left and took the TV
To me it seems some what improbable. You are not dealing with a static point charge or some type of simple field vector. You are dealing with a magnetic field altering the neurons in your brain. Since everyone’s neural pathways are slightly different a simple magnetic field would have a hard time creating the sames changes in multiple subjects.
It might be more plausible that the field is creating an electrical charge or voltage that the brain is detecting. Similar to the implied electrical voltage on a radio antenna. That might explain cases where the lighting forms in unusual places and disappears, but it would not explain the sound or damage seen from the lighting exploding.
It does seem improbable, but our brain’s aren’t too different. There are distinct regions for different components of speech, vision, sound, memory, music that are in largely the same position with minimal wobble between individuals.
“Explained: Ball lightning, fairies, aliens, glitches in the matrix” and â€œBall lightning is in your mind’s eyeâ€; as a consequence of transcranial magnetic stimulation?
Well, not hardly. If you do research on atmospheric plasma phenomena, including ball lightning (see, for example, http://bit.ly/aF0OKo), you’ll find many cases where still photos, film, and video has captured it on magnetic or photographic media, not as a result of hallucinatory mental processes, although I’d guess TMS accounts for some visual cortex induced hallucinations of a similar appearance.
I’ve seen actual ball lightning twice, once rapidly floating between clouds during a thunderstorm with lots of cloud elevation sheet lightning, and once after nearly being struck (4 or 5 feet away) by a tributory lightning bolt (the balls actually looked like briefly apparent floating crescents).
My father, a career US Air Force NCO flight engineer, once observed a small sphere of light (about 3 to 5 inches in diameter) float slightly bouncing down the aisle of his EC-121 Lockheed Constellation, and reached out to touch it before being restrained by another airman, who said it might burn or electrocute him. It disappeared out the back of the aircraft with a loud pop. After landing, the airplane was inspected, and found to have a perfectly round 1 to 2 inch hole burned through the aluminum skin of the plane, near the tail.
So, while there may theoretically be some cases of what appears to otherwise be â€œball lightningâ€ in some cases involving direct TMS, which you would think requires laboratory conditions to induce, the reality is that most if not all ball lightning incidents are based on a real natural atmospheric plasma phenomena. Thereâ€™s lots of research and theoretical and evidence-based peer-reviewed scientific literature extant for decades on this actual, genuine anomalous phenomena, particularly from Europe, Japan, and Russia.
The physics and actual nature of the phenomena is uncertain, and varies, but there is no doubt most such observations involve external, real atmospheric or tectonic (fault zones, piezo-electric, etc.) phenomena.
These “balls of light” are also called “earth lights” or spook lights, such as appear in an area near Marfa, Texas. Read some literature by Dr. Michael Persinger, ref. his TMS Koren or “god” helmet and the contrasting perspectives and analyses by Paul Devereux (see wiki for both). That’s a beginning point.
Then there was the time in late July of 1972, during a camping trip in NorCal in a remote national forest, where I observed, during perfectly clear warm weather, a meteor-like streak across the sky of a yellowish/goldish, slightly orangey object silently zip across my plane of vision. Three or four minutes later, it zipped back to streak across the sky much lower and brighter in nearly the opposite direction. It moved so fast I could not see an object, per seâ€”only a very fast moving streak of light, similar to the color of metal heated in a blacksmithâ€™s kiln, with a denser orangey color on the periphery with a lighter color in the middle.
After that, my brother glimpsed it approach at tree-top level, then it suddenly backed up and down out of my brother’s line of peripheral vision, and then, in another 3 or 4 minutes, it appeared directly overhead, from the _opposite_ side of the small clearing we were camping in to cross to the other side of the clearing, about 50 to 60 feet above us, moving slowly in a kind of “)” or curved “C” movement directly over the clearing we had camped, and which appeared much less bright, somewhat like a flourescent bulb, spherical, with a defined circular edge, silent, and about 18 to 22 feet in diameter, before passing out of our line of sight over the tree line.
Now, I always assumed that this was probably some very rare natural phenomena, such as ball lightning or some kind of long-lasting atmospheric plasma, but subsequent extensive research and a conversation in 1982 with Jacques Vallee indicated that, since ball lightning does not normally last that long, have that much variation in speed of movement (from extraordinarily fast at elevation to relatively slow at nearest point of approach), variable brightness related to speed or proximity, extreme back and forth directionality or “falling leaf” pattern, nor apparent or coincidental reactivity to being initially perceived by my brother, where the object moved back and away after he turned his head to look at it, that this phenomena would seem to fall into some other category altogether and is the very definition of an unidentified flying object of some type, or â€œUFO.â€ Note I said â€œunidentified,â€ not the stereotypical â€œalien spacecraftâ€â€”I donâ€™t know the origin or nature of what my brother and I observed.
There were a relatively large number of sightings, often from forest lookout towers, in this general area and timeframe, including a series of observations at Happy Camp, CA, and Yakima Indian Reservation further north in Washington state, and these sightings included both metallic archetypal disk shapes and luminous balls of light. This has been thoroughly documented. See
http://www.vogelstudy.org/archives.htm and http://bit.ly/ckwxff (pages 3 through 7, MUFON Journal, June 2003) for reference, among a wide variety of other internet sources. Donâ€™t take my word for itâ€”do the googley research for yourself.
Make of that what you will, but I know what I saw.
I doubt very much my â€œtranscranialâ€ frontal lobes or visual cortex were being magnetically stimulated during the incident described above, nor was I on any intoxicants. It actually happened. 8^}
P.S.–Rob B., I’m somewhat surprised at your seeming acceptance of the TMS theory for ball lightning, considering the extensive literature on it. Especially in consideration of your posts from Vallee hypothesizing secret silent floating military platforms using microwaves or masers to create crop circles, given that Vallee has yet to respond in comments or follow-up crop circle posts to the numerous comments that if such was being used, how come a downward pointing radiation or energy beam source only seems to affect the near-bottom of the crop stalks, rather than frying or bending from the top down the entire crop stalks, a serious question IMHO. Ground heating or surface attenuated beam bounce? The more complex circles are man-made by board and rope stomping hoaxers in the vast majority of cases, but then there are the simpler circles that very oddly display interwoven and other unique anomalies of crop interleaving. What would account for that? Perhaps forms of ground-emergent tectonic or plasma-based phenomena? In any case, I do appreciate your inclusion of these more esoteric posts on boingboing. Keep it up, regardless of the yahoo pseudo-skeptic sniping. If they only knew how strange and complex reality is, they wouldnâ€™t resort to ad hominem ridicule and assumption.
P.P.S.â€”And hey, wasnâ€™t there more boing text to this post previously? Why was the post abbreviated to a single sentence? Must be the TMS affecting my memory now….heh! Maybe not…
During summer thunderstorms in Las Cruces, NM on the NMSU campus married student housing, there was a tree down the street that would generate ball lightning. My brother an I saw it at least 3 or 4 times. We’d stand at the screen door and watch glowing balls about a foot or two across drift down from the tree, changing colors, until they would pop with a sound like a firecracker. In fact, it was the popping that would alert us a show was going on.
I’d read about ball lightning, so knew to keep a distance.
I’ve seen ball lightning a few times growing up in the country. It can run precisely along uneven surfaces like the top of a zigzag split cedar fence. I think transcranial magnetic stimulation may merely approximate a ball lightning like effect.
Ulp! Rob B.–regarding my P.S., above, “…in consideration of your posts from Vallee…” and “…appreciate your inclusion of these more esoteric posts…”–sorry, my mistake–it was David Pescovitz** I meant who has brought Vallee to boingboing, which I also think is great, although I question some of his prior posts’ speculations about military/intelligence crop circle sources–m a y b e, but where’s the beef?
**(Musta been some kinda dyslexic synesthesia over the mutual “z’s” in each of your names…mea culpa!)
Now, about those interwoven crop circles…8^}
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.”
…………………………—Roy Batty / Replicant / Blade Runner
Having seen ball lightning a couple of times in the Southwest, I find it hard to believe it was all in my head, especially since other people saw it, including our dog who we had fortunately just untied from a tree that got hit a moment later.
But, I can attest to the weirdness of TMS & electrical effects on the brain. I have a couple of small personal-sized units, one which uses magnetic stimulation and one (now illegal for sale, I think) which sends electrical current directly through the brain.
Both produce really weird effects, including bizarre feelings of disorientation and a strobing effect in everything you look at. The magnetic one especially creates little balls of light in the periphery of the vision, so perhaps an industrial-strength unit could lead to some more intense light phenomena.
Seeing how ball lightning has traveled down chimneys and chased families around in their living rooms, flown through open doors and windows, and changed direction in midair while scores of people looked on, even striking some people and burning them severely, you can add my name to the list of those who are unconvinced this phenomenon is merely conjectural.
Man, hearing that description makes it sound more conjectural. I have no trouble believing in something that just sort of zaps and floats around.
i was touched by ball lightning it was the most beautiful feelig in my world it was aaaaaahhhhhhh never been the same since see auras and cant die.
It’s like 1994. I’m about 12 years old. I don’t personally recall what the weather was like, but my friend remembers a thunder storm outside. He and I are standing across from each other in his kitchen, enjoying a beverage.
Suddenly we are both staring slack-jawed at a glowing ball of light floating between us, coming straight from the microwave and headed out in the direction of the kitchen window. It passes right between us, getting as close as a couple feet from me. Both our wide-eyed gazes follow it as it floats across the room.
…then both of us bursting into gasping, frantic, confused laughter. A good memory :)
As I recall, I perceived the glowing ball actually coming from inside the microwave and going out through the window. I think my friend remembers it dissipating before it got that far. Our memories also differ (and are pretty vague) concerning the raw visual appearance of the ball. Glowing softly yellow, or crackling with indigo static discharges? Size of a fist or size of a melon? Maybe it grew big and then shrunk to nothing? It’s hard to agree on such things, especially now.
We eventually labelled it “ball lightning” because of how other people seemed to use the term. I think what people refer to as ball lightning is probably a number of different phenomena, so there’s definitely room for different explanations to co-exist.
That being said, I find this particular theory pretty damn satisfying as an explanation for this memory I share with my old friend. Thanks for posting it, Rob :)
From the article:
“That’s an interesting idea: that a large class of well-reported phenomenon may be the result of hallucinations induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation.”
This sounds a lot more like theory than fact, IMHO.
also check the Sci-fi film nSpace,
from the Dovin Melhee story:
The idea is to place a human in a rapidly changing magnetic field that is powerful enough to induce currents in neurons in the brain. Then sit back and see what happens.
…with a nice cold beer.
So rare enough that I’ve experienced it twice?
Yeah I’m calling BS on the idea that ball lighting is simply a magnetically induced hallucination.
(I won’t say that magnetic fields can’t create visual/sensory hallucinations. Just not something as specific as ball lighting.)
It’s been photographed and videotaped, which is a neat trick for something that exists only in people’s minds.
Ball lightning has been created in labs before (using electrical arcs). Its basically gas that’s been heated to the point of becoming plasma. Its hard to study since its short lived but its thought that the strong magnetic and electrostatic field holds the plasma together and separate from the atmosphere that surrounds it until it cools and reverts back to gas.
I don’t see the word “only” in my post, gentlemen.
> Don’t see the word “only”
I see the word “all,” don’t you?
“Ball lightning is…” of course refers to all ball lightning everywhere, or ball lightning in general. There’s quite a difference between the phrases “Crows are black” versus “Some crows are black.”
I don’t see the word “some” in your post.
I can see the light! finally an explanation, flew Tijuana to Oaxaca, plane with pigs&chickens in cabin!-light streamed in,front windows first, surprised, everyone else asleep, face pressed to window, giant flaming ball rolls past!-no-one else seemed to notice-was it me hallucinating!?! only months after was explained as ball lightning!