BALL LIGHTNING CONTINUED...
But in the case of Ball Lightning, the energy is released not as a bolt of relatively straight lightning, but in the form of a glowing sphere or ball ranging from the size of a baseball to the size of a large beach ball (depending upon the energy of the discharge). Most eyewitness accounts occur during exceptionally violent thunderstorms. They usually recount a bright flash, an enormous thunderclap, and then describe a scene in which one or more reddish-orange glowing spheres dart around in circles at greatly varying speeds. The spheres usually dissipate or disappear into the sky after a few seconds, but some have been reported to linger for over a minute.
In a few well-documented cases, Ball Lightning has been reported to effortlessly float through walls and windows. In one case, a Ball Lightning sphere was reported to have passed harmlessly down the aisle of an airplane's cabin mid-flight! Believe me, Extreme Ghostbusters, that's a scary thought considering the damage Ball Lightning has been known to cause. In a Salinas, Kansas occurrence from 1919, a giant Ball Lightning sphere was reported to have collided with a building and knocked out a section of the second story. It then sent smaller spheres traveling down electrical wires resulting in a blackout of a large portion of the city. Considering these descriptions, it's easy to see why some may mistake these meteorological mysteries as ghoulish encounters.
Long considered "fringe science" by the most researchers, the phenomenon of Ball Lightning has recently gained attention as a result of experiments that have videotaped Ball Lightning-type discharges under laboratory-controlled conditions. Some "kitchen sink" scientists even claim to be able to create tiny Ball Lightning spheres in a microwave with a few simple household items! My attempts have been less than successful (two fires), though Slimer claims he saw Ball Lightning floating above his burrito in the microwave the other day. (He ate the snack anyway).
Dr. Egon Spengler
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