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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