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No. 54: Nov-Dec 1987

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Ball Lightning In Bavaria

August 2, 1921, Hohenschaftlern, Ba varia. 9:00 AM.

"The witness who reported the event was nine years of age at the time of the observation, and was indoors with her uncle on the first floor of a building during a severe morning thunderstorm with heavy rainfall. There was a lull in the storm and the ball lightning appeared on the left side of the window sill about 4-5 m from the observers. The window had been left open because there was a balcony above it which prevented the rain from entering the room.

"The ball fell to the floor where it jumped up and down once or twice. It then started to roll slowly towards the observers across the floor, at about the speed of a dropped ball of wool. Its diameter was about 20 cm, it was translucent, and the rapidly changing colours showed spots of light green, crimson, light blue and pale yellow. It was bright enough to be clearly visible in daylight, and it was uniformly bright over its entire surface. It had protrusions 'like the Andromeda nebula.'

"When it came near the table, where my uncle and I were sitting, I tried to get up to have a closer look. My uncle (fortunately) held me back. It then rolled towards the tiled stove on the right side of the room, crept up the iron parts of the stove leaving (in its path) a deep groove about the width and depth of a thumb, then it exploded in the (airvent) higher up, the sound was like that of a blown up paper bag when (burst) leaving a smell of ozone. The path of the ball was about 5-6 m in length, and it left no marks on the wooden floor."

(Stenhoff, Mark; "Torro Ball Lightning Division Report: April 1987," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 12:200, 1987.)

From Science Frontiers #54, NOV-DEC 1987. 1987-2000 William R. Corliss