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No. 50: Mar-Apr 1987

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Ball Lightning Burns A Rayed Circle On A Shed Wall

B. Evans sent the following account to the Editor of the Journal of Meteorology:

"Your report of 26th August (1986) about the mysterious five circles which appeared in cornfields near Devil's Punchbowl, near Winchester -- the largest being 42 feet across -- reminded me of an incident during the night shift in 1980 at Shotton steelworks.

"A high wind was followed by a bright light which lit up the whole area. When we looked down on the yard from our vantage point we could see that a great ball of lightning had struck. As it bounced from spot to spot, we had to duck to get out of its way, but as soon as it has passed we ran out and saw it strike the side of a scrap shed. When the sun came up, it picked out the shape of a dartboard on the scrap shed. The pattern was clear, with all the segments in place, and it was about 37 feet across."

(Meaden, G.T.; "Rayed Circle Made by Ball Lightning on the Wall of a Shed," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 11:27l, 1986. Journal address: 54 Frome Road, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 1LD, UNITED KINGDOM.)

Reference. Other examples of ball lightning with rays are cataloged in GLB3 in: Lightning, Auroras. For information on this book, go to: here.

From Science Frontiers #50, MAR-APR 1987. 1987-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987