The XYZ Files — Part Two
A Load of BOLs
Stories about spooklights used to give me the chills, and Brad Steiger could hand them out better than anybody when I was young and curious. The Marfa lights were always in the paranormal news, as were the Brown Mountain lights, the Chapel Hill lights, the Silver Cliffs Cemetery Lights and of course, the most famous of all, the Joplin Spooklight. In the days before the internet, Frank Edwards gave the best description of this latter, arguably the most famous of them all and with a newsman’s panache and wit that has little place in our modern world. But I did recently find an article by Cathy Karlin Zahner in the Kansas City Star sourcing a Keith L. Partain who says, in part: “Most of the time, spook light watchers are seeing nothing more than car headlights refracted up from Interstate 44 by water vapors from the nearby Spring River . . . But about every 10 years, the real spook light appears in the form of ball lightning . . .” Ball lightning?
We live in a strange time. Many scientists, even atmospheric scientists, will flatly state that there simply is no such thing as ball lightning and relegate the matter to folklore. At this same time, other scientists (even atmospheric scientists) have succeeded in making it under laboratory conditions while the more enterprising hobbyists have succeeded in making something very much like it happen in their kitchens with the help of their microwave ovens. I find that a lot of science is like that and Alvin Toffler and I both suspect it will keep getting worse until so many scientific discoveries are happening at such a startling rate that no one will know what anyone else has discovered. I will say, for the purposes of my over-arching argument, that ball lightning exists and so do a number of other odd atmospheric affects which may share many characteristics of it. Since we need a word for this entire class of phenomena, I will call them electroforms, a term favored by Albert Budden. Examples of electroforms may include (but not be limited to): ball lightning, cigar- or chimney-shaped vortexes, daylight disks and spheres, earthlights, spooklights, mountain lights, earthquake lights, BOLs (balls of light) and the like.
Their manners of production are various and all entirely theoretical, but the leading theories have to do with earth-generated electromagnetic fields (EMF) that arise either from the piezoelectric effect or some other unknown mechanism along fault lines. I don’t believe it is currently in dispute that tectonic activity creates waveforms in the EM, RF and even visible light portions of the spectrum, as there are now numerous instrument and eye witnesses to same. A good example of a visible light eruption from an earthquake fault can be see at this youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6q9K54KYM8. Nearby subject searches reveal more. One would therefor think that the preponderance of spooklight activity must occur at or near fault lines and this seems mostly (but not exclusively) the case. Certainly, the Joplin Spooklight is near the most active fault in the midwest, the Missouri system of faults which produces a series of unfelt earthquakes every week and a noticeable one every ten or twenty. Too, a study has been done in a nearby region by Michael Persinger (we’ll hear more about him later) that shows a seasonal increase and decrease of lights-in-the-sky-type UFO reports timed to the loading and unloading of the Mississippi valley due to spring flooding (and the region is underlaid with quartz, adding weight to the piezoelectric theory). Of the Joplin light, Keith Partain says: “. . . that the appearance of ball lightning is linked to low sunspot activity, nighttime and periods surrounding the fall and spring equinoxes. The three factors combine, he believes, to weaken the earth’s ionosphere to allow radiation from outside the solar system to fall on the Joplin area and create ball lightning . . . ” I think some of us magickal types might have our ears pricked up a bit by the observation re: the equinoxes, as many traditions describe ebbs and flows of force around these times.
As for my own adventure with these things, I went to school for a year at Eastern New Mexico University at Portales, NM. That’s on Hwy 70 about 20 miles south of Clovis and 90 Miles north-east of the now famous town of Roswell. One night, I was at a friend’s house and was looking East across the fields. I remarked that she had picked a house pretty close to the radio towers–how’s the reception? She said to look again and pointed to the radio towers I was thinking of–in a southerly direction. “Then what are those?” I asked, and as soon as I had, I noticed that these winking red lights were only momentarily lined up in the middle distance and were even then swirling and rising like sparks from a fire or a short-tailed bottle-rocket–swaying a bit side to side. They were red and orange and disappeared moments after I first noticed them. She told me they were there often and that the old-timers called them “ghost lights” and thought they were spirits of dead Indians, etc. I didn’t see another for a long time, but talked to many who confessed to seeing them a great deal, usually in the desert east and northeast of town.
A few years later, I returned to the area and was driving to Clovis and had just passed Greyhound Stadium and Blackwater Draw Museum. I was in the back seat while the driver and my roommate were in front. Looking out between the seats at the road, I noticed a bright star dead ahead in the northeast, fairly low. As we tooled along a few seconds more, I came to the conclusion that it was in fact a whole lot closer than a star, for we appeared to pass under it, else it flew over us. Not terribly odd, as Canon AFB is just north and it could easily be some hot dog pilot (it’s a training base) buzzing the road. I had to discount that theory immediately, because of the lack of sound or vibration. I became aware that the others were also taken aback by it, for we pulled over onto the median that ran between the two sets of lanes. We all got out and walked back the way we had come to within 75 feet of the thing, which had stationed itself about 30 feet above the road.
It’s size was that of a basketball and seemed partly red and partly green as if two hemispheres were stuck together vertically. This made me think of a navigation light on the belly of something, but I could clearly make out the detail of the starry sky around it and behind it, so concluded that we weren’t looking at an aircraft. This, aside from the fact that if we were that close to a conventional hovering aircraft, we would have certainly heard/felt/seen a whole lot more than the quiet and still desert around us. It was glowing, rather than shining, hence the amount of distanced detail I could make out around it. I kept trying to put this together some other way in my head, but we’d bloody well triangulated the thing by driving under it, turning back and aside of it, then walked right up to it. I am certain we were not looking at an object that was a some great distance.
We watched it for about 30 seconds, talking hushedly. Without a sound, it appeared to take off at a high rate of speed as though it had no real need to accelerate, just picked up instantly from a standing stop to a few hundred MPH and flew out of sight, clear to the visible horizon in about one second flat. I had enough presence of mind to notice that the event was utterly silent and had to wonder, for any physical object would surely have made some noise due to the sudden displacement of air. It has since occurred to me that it did not have to traverse this apparent distance at all, but merely could have moved a few yards to the right while collapsing rapidly in size before vanishing. I asked non-leading questions of my companions in an effort to get their versions of the story without the interference of my own observations. I’m satisfied that we all saw the same things happen in the same way. We quickly got back in the car and continued on our trip in a sort of stunned silence.
There are many other regions where spooklights seem to gather in earnest, too. Hessdalen Norway, Col de Vence France and that very place in the cascades where Kenneth Arnold made the sighting that spun out into the flying saucer industry today. In fact, it seems a dead certainty to me that what he witnessed in 1947 was in fact a small brigade of electroforms flying along the faultline that lies beneath the mountain chain. I personally know of two scientific research projects that have made inquiries into the phenomena, one being an ongoing study at Hessdalen and another on Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, now defunct due to the withdrawal of tribal permissions to operate the study there. Neither study was able to come to anything resembling a conclusion, but the data that has been gathered is sufficient to make some very, very general observations: They can be any color, plus black, gray or white, altho’ red and orange predominate. They may or may not cause a return on radar. Radar, MASER, common flashlights and other kinds of coherent energy have been observed to have an effect on their movement, but not in every single case. They may or may not even be emitting visible light, as one was observed to leave the spectrum of the human eye while still remaining detectable to other equipment. They tend to arrange themselves in patterns of straight lines, triangles and hexagons but they don’t exactly eschew kite-shapes and squares, either. It is not an easy animal to describe, as it is probably not a single phenomenon but rather a collection of related phenomena.
For the most part, BOLs are small, relatively stable, short-term phenomenon of relatively low energy, but reports seem to suggest that these things can reach enormous sizes, endure for hours and develop enough energy to knock out a power station. I am indebted to Albert Budden for providing this illustration in his book, UFOs–Psychic Close Encounters where he notes it as Figure 6 The structure of ball lightning. (after David Turner, New Scientist, 20 March 1993). As I stated above BOLs and ball lightning are, if not the same thing, probably very closely related things. Below is a theoretical picture of how such a beastie might maintain itself.
It is supposed that the hot plasma core emits both light and energy in various parts of the spectrum while the layer of water vapor attracted to it can provide ballast against the natural buoyancy caused by the heat of the reaction within. Note also that at night, such an object would shine, glow or pulsate (or even be invisible) while in the day it might appear as a silvery ball with a dimpled surface somewhat like a golf ball . . . or else jet black. It has been suggested that the white/black color orientation could be the result of some cathode/anode-like relationship. It may depend upon the direction from which one is viewing it (and there are a number of observations in the report literature that indicate that it is sometimes only possible to be seen from one narrow angle). Observations have shown other interesting characteristics, such as a rapid spinning motion within the form, which results in changes of shape, size and other behaviors which include the presentation of a silvery disk-like form. It is easy to see how such a thing might be mistaken for the classic flying saucer shape, and indeed I think that is just what has happened in a significant number of cases.
I actually think that the fault-zones of the entire planet are reactive in the EM spectrum from time to time, and when conditions are right these “geo-belches” erupt all along the line, kicking out electroforms where conditions permit. Conditions seem better than usual in the two years leading up to Solar Max and that is exactly the period in which we find ourselves today. Testing this notion, I went to the NUFORC (National Unidentified Flying Object Report Center) website and compared the LITS-type (“Lights in the Sky”-type) sightings in various areas I suspected to be geomagnetic hotspots (the so-called “window areas” of paranormal phenomenon) as well as a few others for control purposes. I found the results I predicted, not just at known hot spots but even in my own neighborhood. Five years ago, my home town was seeing a 0-3 UFO reports in a given month, while today we stand at better than 400, more during August.
This article can’t encompass all that is known (and that is not much) and all that is speculated about such things, but it will give us something to work with as I proceed to outline my argument in greater and greater detail. That being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t give you a very important warning: stay away from these things! They are often very, very bad for you. I do not believe I suffered any ill effects from my close encounter in Portales, but the report literature is littered with casualties in the form of long-term illnesses, acquired epilepsy, and even death.
Here’s a report culled from the NUFORC website that piqued my interest and showed some of the potential danger in a graphic way:
NORTHBROOK, ILLINOIS, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 04, 2008, 21:20 HRS. (LOCAL)
A young woman was driving at 40-45 mph along Lake Cook Road, when her car suddenly lurched to the right for no reason that was apparent to her. There were no cars within sight on the road, and she had not seen any pedestrian or animal near the car. She stopped her car immediately, got out, and apparently was flabbergasted by the appearance of the left side of her automobile.
The investigating police officer could not provide an adequate explanation for the damage. He noted that there was no damaged paint, and no animal hair, feathers, or blood, evident on the damaged area of the car. NUFORC has passed the case along to Mr. Sam Maranto, Illinois State Director for the Mutual UFO Network (“MUFON”), for follow-up investigation.
We have no reason to believe that the incident was UFO-related, but we have no explanation for how the extensive damage to the car could have occurred. If any of the visitors to our site have ever witnessed this type of damage to a car, we would welcome comments or suggestions.
The statement of the victim:
“The entire left side of my car appears to be scorched but no paint was removed.
I was driving 40-45 miles per hour heading north toward I-94 East towards Chicago on Lake Cook Road. While I was in the middle lane, I felt a nudge on the left of my car which made my car shift to the right. I did not swerve out of the lane and gained control back quickly.
I slowed down and as I got my bearings, I realized that my left side mirror was knocked off and so I turned right onto Revere Drive and put on my hazard lights.
I got out of the car and saw that I had several dents on the side of my car. There were two that were deeper and larger than the others; one was located in front of the rear wheel and the other was in the center of the driver door.
I called 911 to file a police report and the officer said that I was side swiped by another car but, there were not any cars around me before or after the hit and also there were no paint scratches from other cars on my car.”
I was unable to obtain permissions for the images of this car, but I was given permission to share the link where they can be found: http://www.nuforc.org/CBIndex.html.
This is a unique pattern of damage, to say the least, but I have seen it in one other place–the Hutchison Effect. I plan to discuss Hutchison in another article, but suffice it to say that he has produced under laboratory conditions, using simple EM devices, a number of incomprehensible effects which not only include nearly every weird thing associated with a “typical” poltergeist case but also demonstrate a superheating of metal in such a way that the surface is heated to 1000s of degrees, while the rest of the object remains near room temperature. These pictures show the effect of a withering heat on this metal which seemed to have an unexpected effect on the plastic parts of the side mirror and none on the driver. I immediately suspected a plasma discharge or EM effect, but who can tell? More importantly, who will ever investigate this gold mine of data?
A glance at the list of symptoms of exposure to BOLs is nearly identical to the symptoms associated with a close-up UFO encounter–close enough that it dawned on Albert Budden that we might be looking at the same thing and calling it by different names. This brought him pretty much into alignment with the thinking of Dr. Michael Persinger, at least as far as the natural staging of electromagnetic brain events goes. Budden distinguishes his argument from Persinger in that Budden believes that man-made energies combined with geomagnetic energies are a more likely culprit.
The 3 most common symptoms of close encounter exposure? In order: 1st degree skin burn, conjunctivitis and nosebleed. To this list you can add non-ionized and ionized plasma burns, change of allergy profile and even metanoia (shift in world view). To Budden this looked like a “close encounter delivery system” and allowed him to make a collections of predictions about these sorts of encounters that seem to repeat themselves throughout the literature. Consider a typical encounter to look something like this:
- What’s that funny ball of light over there?
- It almost seems to be moving intelligently . . it’s coming this way!’
- I can’t move . . . nor want to . . . Aaack! That pink beam got me square in the head!
- Where am I, how come I’m burned and bloody and 3 hours have elapsed?
- I have a special message for all Mankind . . .
Next time we’re going to discuss the work of Dr. Michael Persinger in greater detail, and see if we can’t take a deeper look into what happens in our psyches when we expose our grey matter to our neighborhood’s ever-shifting energies.
- Budden, Albert UFOs–Psychic Close Encounters (Blandford Press, 1995)
- Devereux, Paul Earth Lights Revelation: UFOs and Mystery Lightform Phenomena: the Earth’s Secret Energy Force (Blandford Press, 1989)
- NUFORC can be found at www.nuforc.com.