Thursday, October 1, 2009

BOLs: curious, mean, or just brainless?

The Balls-of-Light reports in UFOlogy constitute what is almost certainly a mixed bag of several things. Despite greatly disliking the debunkers who keep shouting "ball- lightning" every minute or so, we really DO have a bunch of ball-lightning cases in the files. [I would guess that the percentage of these things is way down around 1% or so, though.] What is equally certain is that there is some kind of natural "scientific" phenomenon out there, too. Something [that is rare and unpredictable enough so that science has missed it all these years, or was afraid to pursue it because it sounded too much like spooky forbidden subject matter and therefore dangerous to one's "scientific" reputation] is belched up by the planet or some rare atmospheric oddity and meanders about the landscape like a big, long-lasting, low-temperature plasma beachball [or even larger]. This thing [or things; there may be more than one kind of these eruptions] are nothing like ball-lightning nor swamp gas/will-o-the-wisp nor St. Elmo's fire nor any of that. They are BIG; they usually are round; they may follow things like streams, rails, fencelines, slavishly, and in the end just un-ostentatiously "go off". All that has a little fascination for me, but the real game in town are the "intentional" lights. These things seem to act as if they themselves were intelligent, or are the productions [technology or otherwise] of an intelligent agency. Whether what's behind them is spirit, fairy, or alien [or zitezurg from the 11th dimension], well, that's for the future to know, not I. But I can at least tell you a few stories.

November 1955: over Desert Hot Springs, California. Two witnesses were returning to their home in Banning, California by small plane. One was the airport manager; the other a local doctor. Off to their right there was a globe of white light traveling their way. At about 6 miles the pilot blinked his landing lights twice as a warning that they were there. The globe went off and on twice in return. There was no indication that anything else was there, including no red and green position lights. The thing continued to fly at them. At 1 mile, the pilot, now a little disturbed, blinked his landing lights three times at the globe. The globe "happily" replied with three off/on sequences. Both men could see that this was no aircraft, whatever it was. As soon as they remarked that to one another, the globe "backed up in mid-air" and shot out across the mountains and right to the peak of Mt. San Georgio where it disappeared. As they flew away, looking behind they saw the globe skirting up and down the mountain ridges [having fun?].

 May 1956: Kwekwe, Zimbabwe. A couple were driving down to Durban late at night. Suddenly everything got bright. It was a brilliant beautiful blue color. They noticed that the object was only 50 meters high and just to the side of the road. It went along pacing their car. When the husband changed speeds, the blue globe did likewise. The husband an ex-Air Force officer, tested whether this thing was really pacing them deliberately by altering speeds radically; it stayed right there. Finally, he put on the brakes and rapidly stopped. The globe overshot them a little. Then, the real oddity: the globe just blinked and was right beside their car. This had appeared to be an instant spatial transference. The ex-airman, who was now outside the car staring at the globe [it was about 2 meters in diameter] , was utterly unafraid of it [his wife probably thought he was nuts] and shouted at it "Take me to your Leader!!". The light just blitzed away lighting up the countryside as it flew. All this took place without the globe making a sound.

October 1957: Oka, Quebec. A young woman [25] was bicycling home at 10:30 in the evening when she noticed a fuzzy ball of light suspended in the air. [The girl said "disk" but also a fuzzy "circle", so who knows whether this was strictly a BOL]. The thing was 4 feet in diameter and bobbed up and down, from 6 to 12 feet off the ground. This was frightening to her, and she decided to bike rapidly for home. The BOL moved close [6 feet away to the side] and paralleled her , continuing bobbing up and down. She stopped in desperation, hoping it would just go on, but it stopped right with her. She turned and back-tracked but the light continued its stalk. She found a woman, who said that she could see the BOL and it was frightening. Finally a group of young people wandered in and the BOL distanced itself a bit, turned into a ribbon of light, began a waving motion, and flashed away at tremendous speed.

Summer 1960: Walkerton, Ontario. Responding to a tip by the local police, a reporter and his brother drove out at 2am in search of a mystery light. About an hour later they located it. The object was a globe about three feet in diameter and continuously changing colors through the entire spectrum. Even more fascinating was that it was "inspecting" a tree. Both observers swore that the only behavior that they could relate to what the BOL was doing was a close examination of every branch and aspect of the tree, slowly and apparently carefully "looking" at everything in turn. The reporters tried to get close to take a picture, but the BOL "noticed" their approach and noiselessly accelerated away.

The British have had a "tradition" of areas where BOLs have appeared to walkers and evinced various seeming intelligent behaviors. They call these objects "fairy lightballs" and you know what the old-time folk beliefs are about their nature. In 1965 there were two nearly identical encounters that occurred, one at Deerplay Moor and one at Haslingden. In both cases married couples were walking at night and were approached by a ball of light from behind. In one case the BOL [beachball-sized] flew directly overhead and stayed there while the couple tried to run. This stalking went on for about 5 minutes, when the thing just vanished. In the second case the couple tried to hide behind a stone wall, but the light moved right up to the wall and then moved along it directly to them. Both BOLs were dazzling bright so much so that they hurt the eyes.

Finally, just so we don't miss the message that these are not just friendly little things, was the experience in 1976, in Rochester, New South Wales. Here two people were out on a deserted highway motorbiking. One girlfriend was ahead and the other some way behind in a van. They saw a light coming towards them but figured it was another bike. Then the driver of the van saw the other swerve. The BOL had forced her off the road. From her she learned that the thing came alongside and crowded her, and then "zap" she was headed for the ditch. The BOL came right up to the van door and just blinked out of existence. Not very sociable behavior for a Tinkerbell fairy.

As usual we don't know what's going on with these things. They behave as if they are "conscious" in some way, perhaps some very sophisticated way. But many of their encounters remind one more of mischief than communication; more "play" than seriousness. Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote this in a poem: -------------------"Look at the stars! Look, look up at the skies! O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air! The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!" -------------------It was a poem favored by two people that you may have heard of: Betty and Barney Hill.

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