Global Ball Lightning Accounts

There are many thousands of BL accounts however these are some of special interest that have been forwarded and ones I've found on the web, in books and elsewhere.

Also, for over 400 world wide accounts of Ball Lightning go to : The Weird Science Page Database .

Brecon, United Kingdom, Ball Lightning - 26 April 2004.

See UK WeatherWorld Forum thread :


Hertford, United Kingdom, Ball Lightning - 5 May 2004.

Fireball Theory of Hertford 'Explosion' - Mercury, Herts & Essex Newspapers.


'The Myths and Mysteries of 'Ball Lightning'. By Peter van Doorn, Director of BL Division, TORRO.

Ball Lightning caught on video tape (?) - 21 Aug 2003, Indiana, USA.

'Great Balls o'fire - Weather watcher catches rare sight'. South Bend Tribune, Indiana, USA. 4 Sep 2003.

- No pictures are known to be available on the web as yet. Please let me know if you see stills or video of this event somewhere.

Ball Lightning travels down hallway of a lodge apparently after striking a man outside, 16 August 2003, Maine, USA.

'Man Struck By Lightning'. Boothbay Register, Maine, USA. 21 Aug 2003.

'A man was struck by lightning while picnicking outside of the Sprucewold Lodge during the brief but violent thunderstorms that passed through the region on Saturday, August 16.

Fire Chief Glenn Townsend says the dispatch center received a 911 call at 5:26 p.m. requesting an ambulance for a man who had been struck by lightning. Shortly thereafter, a call came in requesting assistance with a fire. Witnesses told the Boothbay Harbor Fire Department that the man struck, Tom Hughes, was outside of the covered picnic area when the lightning hit the back of his left shoulder.

He was conscious and alert when an ambulance arrived, and was taken to St. Andrews Hospital for treatment. He is recovering there. Chief Townsend says he radioed the Boothbay and Southport fire stations for backup immediately after he heard the ambulance call, in case the two-story wooden lodge was on fire.

Minutes later, he received a call to the fire department reporting smoke at the lodge. The smoke, it turned out, came from a fire extinguisher used on a smoldering electrical box.
The lodge was evacuated, and the fire departments checked for other hot spots in the electrical system, and found just one. Townsend says damage was limited to the building's fire alarm system, and was relatively minor.

Guests at the Sprucewold Lodge who were sitting in the building's lounge when the lightning struck report seeing a ball of lightning travel down the lodge's hallway.

Townsend says the fire department was unable to determine exactly where the lightning first touched ground. Lightning from the same storm also hit an electrical transformer outside of the Newagen Seaside Inn on Southport. The inn was without electricity for about four hours while CMP crews repaired the damage'.

Source :

Ball Lightning 'attacks' in India and Nepal, Aug. 2002

Ananova - India attacks 'are coloured lightning balls'. 15 Aug 2002.

Reuters - 'Face-Clawing Monster' Terrifies Indian State. 19 Aug 2002. (enter headline in search field)

Sydney Morning Herald - Scientists explain Indian 'monster'. 21 Aug 2002. - Ball Lightning blamed but no evidence of previously reported fatalities, only face scratching injuries.

New York Times - 'Panic and Death After Monster Reports' 20 Aug 2002

'Reports of a flashing space creature, or maybe a mutant bug that glows at both ends, have created panic in the country's most populous state, setting off riots and lynchings that have killed more than a dozen people. Victims report being scratched by something flashing blue, red or green that strikes only at faces and only at night. Some police officers declared that the "face-clawing monster" is an extraterrestrial being. Terrified villagers have killed people suspected of being one, and one person died on Sunday when the police fired on a crowd storming their post 40 miles from the state capitol, Lucknow. A scientist investigating the incidents said he believed that the most likely explanation in the drought-stricken state was lightning balls, common during prolonged dry spells'

Herald-Sun, Melb., Australia - 'Old flame comes a-callin' 14 Aug 2002

'Residents of south-western Nepal are living in fear after claiming they saw a fireball swoop from the sky to attack a woman two nights in a row. Residents of the south-western city of Nepalgunj said the UFO aimed at people sleeping on their terraces and roofs to escape the summer heat. "Sahim Khan, 55, was sleeping peacefully on the terrace of her house when the fire-ball like object flew towards her, ready to attack her," a local said. "When we rushed towards Khan's house after seeing the object, it disappeared instantly". Residents said the same ball of fire persued Mrs. Khan the night before. Deputy superintendent of police Gokarna Bahadur Pal said he had seen a red object in the sky but did not know what it was'.

'Girl Struck In Face By Ball Lightning' - UK, July 2002

Leicester Mercury, 31 July 2002

'The lightning struck at the Wigston home of Jade's grandmother during the height of Monday's storms at 6.30pm. "Suddenly this red ball , with what looked like sparks coming from it, came in and went through the house. The charger for my electric wheelchair came on, a battery operated electrical game came on, and a bouncy ball with a flashing spark inside started lighting up. It was gone within a couple of seconds and there was this almighty bang. Afterwards, there was a slight burning smell and we saw Jade was left with a red mark on her head '.

Full text :

Lake Michigan, U.S.A. June 2002

'About 6 weeks ago (June 02) a thunderstorm rolled in off Lake Michigan early in the a.m. I have always been a met. buff and was amazed at the amount of lightning with not much thunder. As I was looking up and to the s.w. I saw a bright glowing ball and first thought what foolish pilot would fly in this storm. As I peered my heart began to pound because my next thought was that the top of a distant tree was on fire and i was going to call 911. I continued to watch because the fireball was or seemed to be floating back and forth. I've seen many extraordinary things over Lake Michigan especially during storms but this was the best. I'm certain this was some form of lightning ball floating or whatever. I've talked to a few locals who report all kinds of lights or floating objects in the sky during storms rolling in off the lake. Could be something to do with the lake, sand dunes terrain etc. many of the sightings during thunderstorms have been explained as UFOs. By the way, this event seemed to last for about 2 minutes tops and the sphere looked to be in the upper half and just forward of the sphere or storm cloud.

It was or seemed to be no larger than about half the size of a full moon and it was in the clouds about half a mile or so and the color was bright white in the centre with a reddish-orange encirclement'.

PBJ Mack

Moscow. June 2001

Pravda, 21 June 2001 (text as written by Pravda)

'A rare phenomenon has been recorded in Moscow - ball lightning. Heavy thunderstorms are to be observed recently. As a result of such a thunderstorm ball lightning has appeared in Golovanov Street. According to witnesses, a powerful storm discharge foreran ball lightning. After it, a fire ball appeared in the sky, which went down very fast and almost reached the earth. It flew along the street about 10 metres and blew up in a yard. Fortunately, nobody suffered.

There are many legends connected with ball lightning. For example, ball lightning is supposed to appear near to electricity transmission lines and follows every moving object, therefore to save himself one must stop moving at once. Some tales describe ball lightning drifting through windows into flats, where then fires appear. Sometimes it even penetrates houses without breaking pane. Scientists are still discussing ball lightning's nature, though any serious investigations have not been carried off because of rareness of the phenomenon. On the whole, there are only evidences, and any proofs cannot be found, just small charry spots. Though some historical documents contain descriptions of ball lightning'.


Beijing, China. 11 Dec. 1999

SAPA - AP. 2 Jan. 2000

.....Poor farmers in Beiling barren hills saw it : an object swathed in coloured light that some say must have been a UFO. They're not alone. People in twelve other Chinese cities reported possible UFO sightings last month....

In Pusalu, a patch of struggling corn and bean farms 48km from Beijing, villagers believe cosmic forces were at play on December 11. As they tell it, an object the size of a person shimmering with golden light moved slowly up into the sky from the surrounding arid mountains. "Some say it was caused by an earthquake", said Chen Jianwen, village secretary for the officially atheistic Communist Party.

"It was so beautiful, sort of yellow," villager Wang cunqiao said. "It was like someone flying up to heaven." State media ignored religous interpretations and labelled the celestial events in Pusalu, Beijing, Shangai and ten other Chinese cities in December as possible UFO's....

Source: IOL

Seismic activity at that time :

14 Jan. 2000 Earthquake Mag. 5.9 Yunnan, China.

13 Feb 2000 Earthquake Mag. 6.0 NE Russia-Chinese border region.

(Source: Geoscience Australia.)

Limanowa, Poland, 1979.

I've been lucky enough to see ball lightning. It was in southern Poland back in July 1979 and I was only a teenager then. The day started very hot and sunny. By around 4pm there was an amazing thunderstorm which I will never forget - balls of lighting bouncing around the sky. Can't remember how many but the display must have lasted half an hour or so. It was many years later that I put 2 and 2 together and that this must have been ball lightning. It was definitely not a new weapon of the former Warsaw Pact !

I can't remember much else really except the image of these glowing balls suddenly appearing from nowhere and then moving around the sky. They had an orange tinge to them. The location was the town of Limanowa in the Beskidy mountain range of Southern Poland.

Andrew Kirchner (contacted through

Ball Lightning orbits around a Triple Waterspout

Pacific Ocean, between Midway Island and Guam, August 1972.

FTGSN Randy Holley, U.S. Navy, aboard U.S.S. Floyd B. Parks, DD884.

More here - 'BL and Triple Waterspout' page

"........As suddenly as the lightning had become intense, it just as suddenly tapered off. Then a brillliant ball of blue-white light appeared at the base of the main cloud. It seemed to orbit the waterspouts in two and a half oval-shaped orbits. Then, the ball descended swiftly down toward the surface. When it reached the surface, we could hear a sizzling sound and could see steam rising off the water in the wake of the ball. It zoomed away from the funnels roughly to the North, shooting past our bow at a distance of maybe a mile. It slowed as it sped along the water, as though friction was putting on the brakes. It began to shrink. As it shrank, it slowed even more. Finally, the ball exploded with a thunderclap that seemed much quieter than normal ".

Ball Lightning in the Tropics - Indonesia, 1967

1967 - Jalan Timor, Menteng, Jakarta, Indonesia. Ken & Anne Laughlin (now residing in Australia)

'Late afternoon, during thunderstorm with heavy rain. A fireball appeared in the backyard of the house which was enclosed by a brick wall about 10 feet high. We did not see where it came from. The fireball was about the size of a soccer ball, white in color with perhaps a slight reddish tinge. It appeared solid and did not give off sparks. Its movements were erratic and it drifted at varying speeds across the yard, but never very fast. It stayed about a metre from the ground.

It came close to the back wall of the house which was glass with flywire screens, then veered across to a bamboo pole about 30 feet high beside the wall of the yard. The pole was capped at the top with a beer can and a copper aerial wire led from the top to a connection for a radio inside the house. The fireball made contact with the pole close to the ground then shot up the pole very fast to the top where it disappeared with a very loud explosion.

The pole was split in several sections for about 10 feet from the top. The beer can was never found. Where the aerial wire came through the ceiling, the plaster was blown out of the wall leaving a hole of 3 to 4 foot diameter. The wire inside the house was intact with a blob of copper on the end, but the wire from the house to the pole appeared to have been vapourised '.

Massive Fireball storm in Ireland, c1963

This account was written and forwarded by Paul Boyle 4/5/02 ( Now resident in Melbourne.

'This is my account of my own experience which occured one Saturday when I was about thirteen in Derryash about 8 miles from Lurgan, county, Armagh, Ireland. On this day I was helping my two friends and their father to repair a damaged pump in the back paddock when suddenly we were confronted by the worst thunderstorm I've seen in my life (incidently I am now 52).

The storm became increasingly severe with heavy rain. So we began running to the house which was very difficult in wet clothes and soggy ground. The lightning was flashing every few seconds and the these orangy / red balls of fire started falling around us making strange sounds as they hurtled down leaving smoking black craters in the ground where they fell. These fireballs varied in size from a tennisball to a bowlingball and set everything on fire that they hit, like the trees in the orchard which were left blackened and severely damaged.

Soon however we were inside the house watching them 'dancing' up and down the road every time the lightning struck. When the storm finally abated I went home on my bike and my father explained that what we saw was ball lightning. Next week at school the teachers were so curious about our strange experience they made us write an essay of the event and paint pictures of it because it is so rare and some people do not believe that it exists '.

" Every time their was a lightning strike these balls came down in dozens. There must have been hundreds that fell ", Paul Boyle.

Blue Ball Lightning observed regularly inside a Valley Forge house, U.S.A.

'Growing up in Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA. Our house was located on top of a hill, 3 miles from Valley Forge, PA, where Washington's soldiers are supposedly camped out. The weather there seemed to be heightened for some reason. If it snowed, it was a blizzard. If it got windy trees fell. We often saw blue balls of lightning fly across the hardwood living room floor and proceed to the bedroom where it disappeared out the window. It did not leave any burn marks. They were always about the size of a golf ball. I do not recall any associated odor. I have tried to tell people about this for years but no one believed me, especially when I told them it did not burn anything. This morning I caught the very end of some news report on a cable station, saying something about "ball lightning". I was fascinated and decided to look it up on the internet, which I hadn't thought to do before. That's where I found you! Just thought I would share my story and let you know that to me this was a very natural occurence and not disputed until after leaving the 'Hill' when I was 9 years old and we moved to Florida because my mother could no longer take the severe winter weather, a widow with 3 children alone in the country. Of course, we were then hounded by hurricanes, sea weed storms and funnel clouds '.


Loggers encounter with several BL's U.S.A. early 1950's.

My father worked as a logger in Northern California in the early 1950s. Once while working during a thunder storm, he and a few other guys saw several balls of fire floating through the air like balloons. Their presence caused the hair of everyone present to stand on end, though not the usual "I was so scared all my hair stood on end". It literally stood straight out. They had hung a logging chain through the crotch of an old oak tree. One of the balls floated straight to it and exploded the moment the two touched. The rest floated away in the wind. On inspection, the links of the chain had welded themselves together to form a single piece of inflexible iron. When they returned the next day, the tree was dead and all the leaves had fallen off. matt moore Fresno, CA USA - (posted at Tuesday, July 23, 2002.

Ball Lightning / Fireball outbreak - England, 1783.

The strange summer of 1783 saw an almost unprecedented number of fireballs and lightning strikes throughout England. In London alone, more than 16 people were killed and many houses destroyed. In the same period, a curious low-flying meteor exploded over south-eastern England.

A contemporary illustration of the great fireball.

 On the night of 18 August 1783, between nine and ten o ’clock, an enormous ball of fire was seen in the sky above London. Witnesses – some from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich – watched it fly over the city, seeming to crash into the Sydenham hills to the southwest. At first it was assumed to be ball lightning, though no-one could remember having seen one of such size before: one estimate put it at 2,800 ft (850m) in diameter...

The summer of 1783 was disturbingly hot throughout Europe. The Gentleman's Magazine calmly reported on the “thick hot fog” that had settled from London to Madrid during June and July, making both sun and moon appear a dull red. The storms which broke early in August were some of the fiercest ever known and notable for the violence of the lightning which accompanied them.

At Walnsford, in Huntingdonshire, lightning struck the schoolhouse, killing three children. “One of them was sitting in a chimney corner and remained in this posture so long after the accident that he was hardly believed, for some time, to be dead. The two others were singled out from many more who sat next to the wall; neither were they seated close by each other, but at some interval, with others in between them,” the GM reported. Similarly, a curious selectivity killed four out of five horses pulling a coach in Ledbury...

What made this summer even more unusual were the numerous reports of destructive “fireballs” which damaged or destroyed homes and buildings. The house of the unfortunate Alderman Masters in Warly Common, near Hatfield, was struck by three fireballs at once...In Fen-Stanton, Cambridgeshire...a fireball blew apart a barn and the resulting fire destroyed six houses. Witnesses in Derby claimed that the thunder was so fierce that it rolled “without intermission for half an hour.”...At Iddelsleigh Mills, near Exeter, a strange fireball struck the mill, shattering the giant millstones and throwing the fragments some distance, although “the iron in the centre remained untouched.”...From Witney and Whitchurch to Wall-broke-Moor near Liverpool, everywhere had stories of fireballs that destroyed, selectively killed, or merely temporarily paralysed their unfortunate victims...

[On August 18] reports of a fiery object of considerable size, moving from northeast to southwest, arrived from Edinburgh, Leeds, York and Hull. Even in the excesses of that summer, no lightning, ball or otherwise, had flown the length of the country... Further west, a report from Lurgan in County Down also emphasised its low flight, saying “it was so near [us ],that our car[t ]men were afraid of it setting fire to their car[t ]s.” The meteor seemed to change not only its height but speed too...It began to sound less and less like a meteor. The fact that so many observers claimed to have seen it rise and fall near them suggests it was very low-flying indeed. More puzzling still was the fact that so many saw it burst, yet no sign was ever found of debris or damage...

The most astonishing revelation by far, however, did not appear in print until the following month. The September 1783 issue of GM carried part of a letter which had been received from one of the Greenwich observers. They too spoke of “a sudden and uncommon light,” followed by the appearance of the phenomenon, “coming from the NNW, perfectly horizontal, and without any vibration ”which “continued its course to the SSE,” passing right over the Royal Observatory. This time the meteor was observed moving more slowly, allowing witnesses to make a close study of it – and what they saw was quite astonishing...Two bright balls, parallel to each other, led the way [..] and were followed by eight others, not elliptical, but seeming to mutate...

(forwarded - source unknown)