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No. 85: Jan-Feb 1993

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Ball Lightning Punches Circular Hole In Window

Window glass with hole created by ball lightening
Window glass with a 7-centimeter hole fitting glass circle believed to have been created by ball lightening.
In the Autumn 1992 issue of the Journal of Scientific Exploration, A.I. Grigor'ev et al collected 43 eyewitness accounts of ball lightning penetrating into closed rooms. Most of the reports came from the former USSR and are new to Western scientists.

The majority of these balls entered through closed glass windows. Sometimes the balls penetrated the windows without damaging the glass at all, but in a few cases neat circular holes were somehow melted or punched through the glass. The accompanying photograph illustrates an incident in which lightning (supposed to be ball lightning) surgically excised a coin-like piece of glass.

(Girgor'ev, A.I. et al; "Ball Lightning Penetration into Closed Rooms: 43 Eyewitness Accounts," Journal of Scientific Exploration, 6:261, 1992. Journal address: ERL 306, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-4055.)

Reference. An entire chapter of our catalog Lightning, Auroras is devoted to ball lightning. Ordering information here.

From Science Frontiers #85, JAN-FEB 1993. 1993-2000 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