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No. 135: MAY-JUN 2001

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Don't Stomp on Ball Lightning!

Mid-December 1991. Brixham, Devon.

Two young men aged about 22/23, Mr. Andrew Clark and friend, were inside Mr. Clark's cottage when a storm of lightning and thunder began. Suddenly, an orange fuzzy airborne blob, the size of a football but not perfectly spherical, came through the wall -- so it was said -- and hovered at a low level. His friend lept on to a settee; Andrew Clark jumped on to the lightning ball. This burnt the plastic sole of one of his training shoes and melted a hole some 50 to 70 mm across. The lightning ball was disrupted and "a part of it" went sideways and burnt out the transformer of his C.B. radio (to which was attached a radio mast fixed on the roof outside). The total duration of the event had been about five seconds. Andrew's foot was quite badly burned and he had to go to the doctor for treatment.

(Anonymous; "Ball Lightning at Brixham in 1991," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 26:22, 2001.)

From Science Frontiers #135, MAY-JUN 2001. � 2001 William R. Corliss

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