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No. 104: Mar-Apr 1996

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Ball Lightning Materializes In A Sitting Room

July 24, 1994. Oxfordshire, England. It was a hot, humid day that produced strong thunderstorms. Some 14 kilometers west of Oxford, Mr. and Mrs. Langer were in their sitting room when the following sequence ensued:

"The storm was almost overhead and I knew the next one would be a cracker, but almost five minutes went by in perfect silence. The window is very big, almost one wall in glass, and was wide open. My husband and I sat in recliner chairs side by side with our backs to the window. Suddenly a shaft of brilliant light came over our heads into the middle of the room and seemed to form itself into a white ball as big as a car tyre. It bounced gently upwards and about five feet from the ground it exploded with a terrible noise.

"No rain was falling at the time of observation. The ball was in view for two or three seconds and emitted no noticeable heat or odour. It was opaque in appearance and its colour changed from reddish gold to white before it blew up, at which point it was about one metre away from the room's occupants. No traces were left by the ball other than 'some slight brown marks on the carpet', which were all but removed by cleaning."

(James, Adrian; "Ball Lightning in Oxfordshire, July 1994," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 20:309, 1995. Journal address: 54 Frome Road, Bradford-onAvon, Wiltshire, ENGLAND BA15 1LD.)

Reference. Other instances of ball lightning materializing inside enclosures are cataloged in GLB10 in our catalog: Lightning, Auroras. To order, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #104, MAR-APR 1996. 1996-2000 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