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  Columnist: Unexplained Mysteries

Image credit: Massimo Teodorani

Interview: Massimo Teodorani

Posted on Tuesday, 8 February, 2011 | 1 comment
Columnist: Unexplained Mysteries

[!gad]The Hassdalen Lights are an unexplained phenomenon involving mysterious light anomalies observed over the valley of Hassdalen in Norway, sightings have occured since the 1940s and while several potential hypotheses exist to explain them ( including a connection of the UFO phenomenon ) and despite a long-running research effort named 'Project Hessdalen' the case still remains something of a mystery. In his investigations of the phenomenon recently UM member 'The L' spoke to astrophysicst and university physics lecturer Dr. Massimo Teodorani and provided the following interview on the topic of the lights.

L:…Skeptics told me that the Hessdalen phenomenon is just some new exotic plasma.

Massimo Teodorani: OK, I start to answer to your questions from here. It is very important that research on Hessdalen-like phenomena is not affected by disinformation, fantasies, exploitations (in favor of a theory or another, in particular the ETH one), bad digestion and so on. I frankly do not belong to the category of “believers” in something; I only try my best with the intent of exploring what is not yet clear in the facts of the Nature that surrounds us. I am only interested in the objectivity of facts and I am confident in the capability of physics to describe these facts using numbers and reasoning.

L: Also I must say I respect your work very very much. In good hope that you will answer my questions I will be free to ask you:

Massimo Teodorani: Thank you. I will try to be complete and pertinent in my answers. If I answered to your questions with excessive “certainty” I would not be sincere and/or objective towards the facts. There are still several gaps in our knowledge concerning the physics of the problem represented by Hessdalen-like phenomena.

L: 1. Is it proven that 95% of Hessdalen phenomena are plasma? Or are we still talking about UFOs? I read that conclusion of the research was that "...its behavior most often unpredictable." And unknown origin.

Massimo Teodorani: The behavior that emerged from our measurements during several years shows to us a phenomenon that is substantially plasma that anyway shows unusual characteristics. I have explained in my JSE paper the reasons of this. The question of “ufo” is vague and irrelevant to the phenomenology encountered there. Although only a part of Hessdalen phenomenology is explained, I would like to concentrate more on what we are sure it happens effectively and that has been ascertained by objective observations.

Of course this research would have never been possible without the pioneering work carried out by Østfold College professors Erling Strand and Bjørn Gitle Hauge, who, in addition to installing a permanent measuring station in Hessdalen since 15 years and to promoting an important initiative for the scientific education of students who need to understand strong and clear how the investigative methodology works in this field, were able to catalyze and focalize the interest of several scientists everywhere in the world. Such an approach of course deserves a great appreciation, as well as similar approaches by serious scholars of several branches elsewhere in the world such as physicist Dr. Harley Rutledge in Piedmont, Missouri (USA), NASA aerospace engineer James Bunnell in Marfa, Texas (USA), geophysicist Marsha Adams of the International Earthlight Alliance (IEA, USA), anthropologist Dr. Diego Escolar in Argentina, and several others. Initiatives carried out by the NARCAP organization in USA, the UAP Observations Reporting Scheme in Europe, the GEIPAN in France, and the CIPH in Italy deserve a special mention, together with individual scientists of the “ball lightning” phenomenon from several countries in the world. All of these persons and groups, although being often different from each other, are united by the common methodologies of rigorous and open minded approach and by the same goal that is constituted by innovation in science, in particular fundamental physics.

L: 2. Is it possible that we see one more documentary about Hessdalen phenomena?

Massimo Teodorani: I might advice to see this relatively recent (2007) and brief movie of light phenomena taken by Prof. Bjørn Gitle Hauge and his students:

I do not feel like to show you long documentaries on Hessdalen, as in my opinion, too much speculation on “ufos” is almost always present there (even if mixed up with something scientific), and this may manipulate the critical thinking of people. I do not think that such documentaries are really useful to promote scientific research in this field. Moreover, I think that the mixture of popular “UFO” stories (even a tiny bit of them) with science discredits the second. Anyway, you’ll see very many of them on Youtube and elsewhere, your choice.

L: 3. How would you explain that suspected self regulating mechanism for temperature? Is it possible that plasma have that mechanism?

Massimo Teodorani: Our work (at least mine) consisted not in wildly theorizing but mostly in trying to describe technically what our instruments were seeing and how the derived physical parameters were correlated together. This is a standard operation in Astronomy: describing quantitatively what Nature shows. Astrophysics then attempts to apply the law of physics to what is accurately coded by observational results in order to interpret this quantitative description. Doing hard physics is very difficult and probably still premature in the Hessdalen case, so far. Anyway, yes, a few quite solid work-hypotheses have been formulated, but still a long time of work will be necessary in order to build up a perfectly coherent picture of what happens there and at least in other 50 similar locations in the world. All this, will much depend much on the available funding for research, and the one available right now is extremely low, if not nothing.

Concerning a purely technical description of light phenomena and according to my analysis of the past years (see my JSE paper, mostly), after taking some spectra and after looking how luminosity varies, I noticed that such light phenomena tend to maintain a constant temperature while their luminosity varies. Normally plasma tends to expand, so that this would cause a quite quick cooling of the plasma itself: consequently a ball of light (caused by that plasma) should turn off very quickly due to sudden temperature’s drop out. This doesn’t happen in the Hessdalen phenomena that I studied some years ago. I also would expect that as soon as the light ball expands the cooling process should produce a reddening of the color. This does not happen. Therefore, trying to interpret what the technical description shows (we have the duty to let Nature speak for itself before theorizing), what came out is that the increase of luminosity is not due to a volumetric expansion of the plasma sphere but rather to the sudden apparition of many secondary spheres around a common barycentre: this, which is not due to a cooling process driven by adiabatic inflation, increases the dimensions of the radiating surface and consequently increases luminosity as the square of the surface radius, being temperature maintained constant. This situation occurs all the time by showing “on” and “off” states on a rate of few seconds or less, which determine Hessdalen lights’ semi-regular pulsations, namely: luminosity variations. In nature, we didn’t see anything such before. But we have the duty to record what we see and then try to interpret this. Of course observations should be repeated many times by different observers using the same instruments. We know for sure that the same mechanism of light variation occurs also in phenomena that are reported in other parts of the world, where this very particular behavior has been documented by video using zoom and also by visual sightings: in all cases it is possible to see “a cluster of lights very close together” that changes all the time, sometimes reaching very high luminosity peaks.

In some cases the visual phenomenology can be explained as car headlights (when seen from far away) whose light is subject to a diffraction phenomenon due to close trees (respect to the observer), or whose light is distorted by particularly reflecting and concave terrains, or whose light is subject to several refraction effects such as mirage and Fata Morgana. For instance, the investigation that was carried out a few years ago in this specific direction by Prof. John Pettigrew with the Australian Min-min lights is truly sound. In other cases this prosaic explanation doesn’t hold water at all but is just a pure invention or a trick (I would like to call it: “anti-hoax”) to stop research on this field by attempting to close it using very ordinary, simplistic, superficial, lazy, thoughtless, inappropriate and sometimes dishonest explanations.

L: 4. I learnt that white plasma and red plasma can’t coexist but in the Hessdalen case they coexist. How?

Massimo Teodorani: According to an hypothesis, the color of the lights is not due to temperature but to the effect of mold spores coming from the ground and suspended in the air, which act differently as “quantum dots” on the (normally white) plasma balls that suddenly occur. We have seen white, red and sometimes blue light balls of the same dimensions coexisting together. If the reason of the redder color were due to cooling of the ball we would see much bigger diameters and a quick disappearance but so it doesn’t happen. All the balls show to have approximately the same dimensions.

L: Is that proof that we don’t talk about plasma?

Massimo Teodorani: No. We think it is plasma indeed, but rather a plasma form having very specific and peculiar behavior whose main characteristics is the ability to self-regulate just like a sort of thermodynamic natural machine. How does this happen? Well, in the Hessdalen case, most probably high humidity and aerosols have an important role in confining the plasma ball itself into a sharply spherical shape. This occurs due to inward forces of electrochemical nature (induced by water vapor; see my JSE paper) starting from the external surface that prevent the sphere from expanding and cooling: this makes so that light balls last quite a long time sometimes, without substantial heat loss. The occurrence of many spheres together in sort of clusters of spheres as well as secondary ball ejections are probably driven by electrostatic mechanisms, surface tension effects and energy minimization that requires the formation of new spheres in order to maintain a thermodynamic balance (a sort of “energy sharing” split in several components). This is still a work hypothesis, not yet the definitive theory. We need more observations and much more work to ascertain this interpretation. But we think this is the most probable one considering, in particular, the geophysical and meteorological conditions that are ongoing in Hessdalen. Of course copper and other metal abundances underground play an important role there in conducing electricity, which is in its turn most probably produced by piezoelectricity from underground: we think that piezoelectricity itself is the starting trigger of the formation of plasma balls. As once Prof. Hauge was suggesting to me, it is possible that piezoelectricity, as a main trigger mechanism to produce plasma balls, is induced by the compression of rocks underground in a very peculiar and unusual way. This compression is suspected to be induced not by seismicity in the specific Hessdalen case but rather by river water that after penetrating into the many holes present there freezes and then compresses the rocks together.

The hypothesis concerning the confining mechanism of Hessdalen light balls is but one hypothesis, not the definitive theory. But we arrived at this interpretation also thanks to the skills and experience of physical chemists of the value of Dr. David Turner, who is also an expert of ball lightning. I think that ball lightning is just a sort of “relative” of Hessdalen balls, which is scaled down in dimensions and lifetime. The electrochemical confining mechanism doesn’t exclude at all different physical interpretations concerning ball lightning and Hessdalen lights, but I think that it is the most pertinent one to the specific Hessdalen case. Several other models concerning the way in which a light ball works have been proposed. For instance, nuclear physicist Dr. David Fryberger elaborated a very sophisticated theoretical model (including its predicted observable parameters) which assumes that the nucleus of the light balls is produced by magnetic monopoles arranged in a particular configuration called “vorton”, others think of mini-black holes as a confining mechanism and central physical force, others think of “plasma vortex” models of several kinds, and finally others think of a particular manifestation of energy extraction from the so called “zero point field” of quantum mechanics. They are all very brilliant theories, but their predictions, in my opinion, are not sufficiently able to match realistically the observations in the specific Hessdalen case. But they might explain similar light phenomena that occur in other parts of the world, as I believe that a “unifying physical mechanism” for such plasma phenomena doesn’t exist. According to the specific geological, geophysical and meteorological conditions (including a possible contribution by cosmic rays and solar activity) of a given territory we might have a physical mechanism in favor of another and/or mechanisms that are a mixture of several processes. In fact, from the geological point of view, the places in the world where anomalous light phenomena show themselves in a (apparently) very similar way are most often very different from each other.

What we know for sure and in spite of the differences in the possible plasma confining mechanisms, after interpreting our technically coded observations, is that all of such “light balls”, including the much smaller and shorter lasting ball lightning, exist in that shape because two main forces are acting together just like in a balance: one outward pressure force and one inward central force (a star, for instance, substantially works exactly in this way), probably accompanied with possible rotating plasma vortexes and, in some cases, magnetic field amplification. We also know, due to the law of conservation of magnetic flux, that if a plasma collapses towards the center the local magnetic field may be highly amplified: this should explain strong readings acquired using a magnetometer that have been recorded in the past in several places of the world while such light phenomena were appearing.

Anyway this is still an open field of investigation. We’ll be totally sure of our interpretations only when we’ll be able to reproduce them in a laboratory. Some shy but brilliant attempts in this very sense have already been done by other researchers, such as Dr. Gerson Paiva in Brazil for instance, and others elsewhere in the world. But much more work has to be done yet. At the present time we are pretty sure of what the observations show when they are submitted to a technical representation and measurements. A definitive theory (more theories, probably) for the specific cases in which anomalous light phenomena occur in the world, has still to come.

L: 5. What about that 5% Hessdalen unsolved case? Is in that percentage just “solid objects” or also plasma with sharp geometric shapes? Do you think that it is another phenomenon? How can plasma have sharp geometric shape?

Massimo Teodorani: This is still an unsolved problem. At present we can only take note of it but we have not yet a rigorous physical theory able to explain it. And of course we do not know how these very particular shapes can match the much more standard spherical one within the same physical mechanism. What we know is that some of these geometric shapes have been surrounded sometimes by smaller spheres in the same clustering mode reported before. We suspect that this is a part of the same phenomenon, but we cannot explain it yet and so far, not even using work hypotheses. I like to think, anyway, that as snow is composed of very geometric snowflakes, maybe also plasmas in particular conditions can form a similar geometric structure: after all, like physicist David Bohm noticed once, plasmas are extremely “cooperative” structures, meaning that electrons and ions do not behave independently but rather collectively within an intrinsic order dictated by electrical forces inside. This happens without any need to think that snowflakes or plasmas are intelligent or that they represent “portals from somewhere”. These are also possibilities, of course, but they are still too exotic to be considered seriously as true scientific work hypotheses. Anyway, the still very exotic question of “intelligence within a plasma formation”, as a possible consequence of “plasma life forms”, has been recently examined by me, within the framework of researches that have been published by other researchers, which show that in particular conditions plasmas may behave like a life form. I will discuss this delicate issue at the end of this interview.

L: 6. Ejecting mini balls to even 100 meters. Is plasma able to that? What is reason for that behavior?

Massimo Teodorani: In addition to the possible causes that I discussed in a previous answer to a question of yours, it may be well due to electrostatic forces. In some cases electric charge may cause suddenly separated structures within a plasma concentration. We think that the ejected balls are a part of a previously formed cluster. According to the charge positivity or negativity also the opposite process may occur.

L: 7. Also that balls in some cases join together in triangular shape. If plasma why is doing this? Is there any case before Hessdalen that plasma join in triangular shape?

Massimo Teodorani: It may be a pure coincidence in most cases. I think that this has nothing to do with “triangular UFOs” that are seen quite often in the world, and which, I am very sure, probably represent the product of a new technology coming from us (not from “them”). That’s another reason why since a decade I have been cataloguing practically all of human aerospace technology (see: ), including UAV and UCAV drones that have spherical, disc and rhomboidal shapes. These flying machines do exist and many of them are operational, and the ones that I know so far do not fly using “electrogravitics”. If I wanted to maintain a certain project secret I would fly and test such drones just over areas where strange lights are seen most often: everyone would think that they come from aliens, but we, expert in aeronautics too, do not fall into this trap. This does not mean that we totally exclude the possibility of alien visitations: science imposes us to be open minded but also that we have to describe rigorously what we see and not let our fantasy make Pindaric flights. If this is the case, well, then it will be Science to tell the last word.

L: 8. How is it possible that we capture phenomena on the radar yet it was invisible to our eyes? The light phenomenon often shows strong radar tracks, including when it is optically faint or almost invisible. In some cases in which it is visible, it shows no radar track. Is plasma able to do that? Seems to me that phenomenon have some switch "off" and "on”.

Massimo Teodorani: We can radar-track a plasma structure also when it is not visible. The plasma might occasionally emit in the infrared, we are sure of that, as we noticed some lights that disappeared to the sight but were still perfectly visible when using a night vision system. This may suggest to us that a “plasma bubble” may be strong and dense in the infrared state at certain phases, while at other phases it may brighten in the optical range due to several occasional energy-exciting factors (one of which might be piezoelectricity).

The reason of disappearance of the radar track while the phenomenon is visible can be explained by the fact that the light phenomenon, although extremely luminous, at that time is not in the range of the used radar. It might be very far away from the radar detection system. In some cases it may be visible at a distance of more than 50 Km while the range of the used radar there can be often less. It may be explained also by transient and drastic changes of the radar cross-section of the phenomenon, possibly due to an occasional decrease of plasma density.

Of course I know: UFO hunters like to think that this is “shape-shifting” of alien airships or alike and that Hessdalen is just a “portal”. But we have NO proof that this is what happens really. Of course we cannot exclude totally this possibility; otherwise we would go against the explorative and impartial investigative approach of science. But we cannot consider it so far, at least until we’ll accumulate enough measurable and recordable observations in the same way in which we did when we monitored more standard phenomena in Hessdalen and elsewhere. Yes, I can confirm that, apart from the strange geometries of plasmas that occasionally are seen there, something else sometimes overlaps. But we have no sufficient data in this sense in order to even venture a work hypothesis. We cannot exclude the possible action of military UAV or UCAV drones in those areas, but we cannot prove it as well so far. This is still an open problem. Exceptional claims need exceptional proofs, and in this part of the research we do not have those proofs yet, but rather mostly witnesses from people, who in most cases may (innocently) mix what they see with their fantasy and their lack of knowledge of unusual natural phenomena and new aerospace experimental projects: of course they are totally justified, and their sincerity in what they reported is, wholly, out of question.

L: 9. Is it possible that plasma can land on the ground?

Massimo Teodorani: Well, the ground is a basic triggering factor in this kind of phenomenon. In fact we call it “earthlight”; a term coined by US geophysicist Marsha Adams of International Earthlight Alliance. Differently from ball lightning whose origin is mostly triggered by atmospheric weather, earthlights such as Hessdalen ones are just born from the ground, mostly due to piezoelectricity or triboluminescence. In many cases seismic shocks can amplify this phenomenon, and “earthlights” become “seismic lights”. In other cases, such as in Hessdalen, possible piezoelectric mechanisms are triggered and amplified by other causes. One hypothesis, such as the one proposed a few years ago by investigators of the Brown Mountain light phenomena in USA, might be that mountains that are particularly rich with quartz and hematite (just two examples of rocks) can cause piezoelectricity during the night due to the very simple fact that, especially in summertime, at daytime the stones tend to expand while at nighttime they tend to contract due to the daily temperature gradient: this can cause piezoelectricity or similar phenomena. I think I have been repeatedly a witness of the possible consequences of such a phenomenon, when looking in summer at Pietra di Bismantova (a famous big rock located in the Northern Apennine, Italy) after 21:00 some flickers or flashes of light were punctually appearing just over the top of that little mountain. Together with a colleague of mine, I saw identical effects looking at other mountains too in our Apennine, in summer and always after sunset. The strong suspicion here is that those flickers and flashes might occasionally act as the “seeds” for the formation of much bigger and long-lasting plasma balls (as it sometimes happens there), exactly like the ones reported in Hessdalen.

So here the definition is not: “plasma balls landing on the ground”, but rather “plasma balls that are created by the ground” due to purely geophysical mechanisms and subsequent interactions with the local atmosphere. In fact most of these lights are seen, everywhere in the world (such as also in Marfa, Texas, very well investigated cases by aerospace engineer James Bunnell), very close to the ground and only sometimes in full sky. Unfortunately the fact that these light phenomena mostly occur at very low height, inevitably creates a lot of confusion with car headlights, cottage lights, streetlights, flashlights, fires, mirages, etc. Experts who know very well those territories are obviously able to distinguish the signal from the noise, non-experts – deluded individuals on one side and alleged “skepticals” with zero experience on the opposite side – are not able to make any distinction, thus creating some disturb to this research and inducing “controversies” that do not exist at all in reality. Scientists go ahead in exploration.

As I have seen from your Forum that some of you also posted some links that are pertinent to the above mentioned “artificial controversies”, I think I should complete them with these two updated papers, hoping you enjoy even more: (also published in German as: Teodorani, M. (2007). Hessdalen-Lichtphänomene und die Inkonsistenzen der Autoscheinwerfer-Deutung. Zeitschrift für Anomalistik. Fortgesetzte Diskussionen. Band 7 (2007), Nr. 3, pp. 286-299.) (from a third party who was present in 2002 during our observations in Hessdalen)

L: 10. What about that preceded by very short-lasting flashes? Did you include that when you made conclusions? I read that there was reports of flashes even 5 meters from observers before they seen phenomenon.

Massimo Teodorani: Yes, it happened sometimes. It seems that those flashes are sort of “seeds”, which precede the real phenomenon. But only a few are able to make a true ball of light. As I discussed in my previous answer, such a “flickering phenomenology” is seen in many other places too.

L: 11. Is it true that light phenomenon is able to release spherical iron particles onto the ground?

Massimo Teodorani: I found indeed such particles, and this resulted from a comparison with control samples around and underground. Anyway this might have been a pure coincidence. In fact, in order to give more power to this finding we should have had the luck to find at least 10 more other similar findings, so that statistics should have enforced the possibility that under some circumstances plasma phenomena may release such particles (similar findings have been also found after some researchers a few years ago carried out laboratory experiments on cold fusion, and where a plasma ball was transiently formed inside the reactor). So, far we cannot reach any conclusive inference on this specific issue, except for taking a note of it (which is a duty every scientist should have, in spite of hiding uncomfortable data). Moreover we cannot even exclude that what we found is simple meteoric powder that by chance fell onto the big stone from where we collected samples at the exact point on which a witness told us that a light ball was over it.

L: 12. What about that Doppler VLF noise? I heard that others type of plasma can make that sound. Like sprites.

Massimo Teodorani: I do not know if sprites and elves are related in some way with Hessdalen-like phenomena. I think that a statistics on the number of both phenomena might suggest something in this way, but, at the best of my knowledge, so far this possible correlation has not been searched yet.

Concerning VLF data, we didn’t record just noise but rather unexplained electromagnetic signals in that specific range, which manifested a clear Doppler effect showing semi-periodic inversions from low to high frequency and vice versa. Another problem here was that at that specific time we almost never had light phenomena in sight. Nevertheless, after comparing the shape of those strange signals with well known much more typical ionospheric and manmade signals, I still have not been able to find a match between such prosaic signals and the anomalous ones found sometimes in Hessdalen. I strongly suspect that those specific VLF signals that we recorded are indeed unusual and that their behavior might be interpreted as a spinning plasma sphere having a very specific mechanism, which was not anyway visible to us, possibly because such phenomena live most of their time in the infrared.

L: 13. After researchers done laser test they felt like in boat. Did you ever measure low-frequency EM-field?

Massimo Teodorani: Yes, since at least 5 years I am carrying out VLF-ELF measurements practically every year, mostly in my nation (but I have done them in Ontario, Canada too, one year ago), in places where anomalous light phenomena are often seen, such as in the Sibillini Mountains in Central Italy and also 50 Km south of where I live in the southern part of Northern Italy (locations from west to east: Solignano, Pietra di Bismantova / Castelnovo nè Monti, Casalbono), North Apennines. My VLF-receiver is able to record on the field (normally during a time period of 5 hours, considering computer battery); it is much more sensible than a simple Inspire receiver but uses a simple dipole wire-antenna. I have a quite large databank of well known ionospheric, manmade and receiver-generated signals, which I can quickly compare with unidentified signals that sometimes (very rarely) appear in my recordings. And of course I always and constantly consult prominent specialists in the VLF-ELF field such as for instance Renato Romero of .

The problem here is that, so far, considering also the long-lasting VLF-ELF monitoring activity carried out in Hessdalen in the past years – using a very sophisticated antenna projected by Eng. Stelio Montebugnoli and his collaborators of INAF – I have never been so lucky to record at the same time anomalous light phenomena in sight and well defined anomalous VLF-ELF signals: unfortunately I just recorded them separately so far. Therefore my strategy in screening and selecting anomalous signals of this kind is based on their simultaneity with possible light phenomena in sight. Of course, in this way we are immediately able to time-correlate such VLF-ELF signals to the light anomaly itself. On the contrary I can only take note of strange VLF-ELF signals and record them in my archive, considering as a work hypothesis the (still undemonstrated) possibility that they are created by momentarily invisible plasma balls or by the geophysical effects due to the territory itself: these ones are anyway important data to be collected, and which might reveal to be of great importance in a further phase as a “comparison template” as soon as we are so lucky to record VLF-ELF signals at the same time in which visual light phenomena appear. Anyway some VLF signals seem to “speak alone” in terms of possible spinning plasma balls: as soon as we’ll record them visually too then we’ll have a smoking gun of concrete scientific relevance. And then more questions will be raised… This research is like a play of “treasure hunting”: you find a slip of paper with indications, which in its turn addresses one to the next slip of paper and so on. I do not think anyway it will be a never ending story.

The VLF-ELF part of this research is extremely important also due to other reasons: such kind of electromagnetic emission, according to lab experiments carried out by Dr. Michael Persinger in Canada in the past years, is able to induce not only physiological effects such as sensations of “faintness” (like to be in a boat), but also hallucinations. It may also be that many of the alleged sightings of light phenomena and/or “UFO” somewhere in the world are just hallucination effects induced by VLF-ELF emission from particular areas of geophysical interest, or that light phenomena themselves that are effectively in sight are able to produce this kind of electromagnetic field. In such a way the witness would report a reality that may be (respectively) totally or partially altered by hallucination effects.

This is a very important investigation, anyway. Another important piece of a puzzle that must be studied extremely carefully.

Some epistemological considerations here. We do not know yet how the model concerning light balls described in a previous answer can match VLF and magnetic data, but we are obliged to take everything into account and then attempt to improve the current model on light balls or even change it drastically: of course science never speaks of “absolute truths” but only of “provisional truths” that can be improved by a procedure based on subsequent approximations and on an extremely careful attention to any possible new detail that reality shows to us. Science, as you see, is a dialectic process, not tales or religion. Of course as soon as we see a manifestation of nature from the data of our observations, once we are able to eliminate any source of (internal and external) noise, our duty is to build up work hypotheses: this is the dynamic process of scientific inquire. These work hypotheses are the only means able to drive our next steps. If we do not do this, all instrumental data are totally sterile and useless. We use instruments only with the goal in mind of constructing physics from what observations show. We are ready to improve and or change the picture, and, in case, to verify if and how some gaps are present inside our knowledge of “standard physics”. This doesn’t mean at all that our physics is wrong: not at all. Our generally accepted standard physics is indeed correct, as we can verify this extremely well. But this doesn’t exclude that it may be incomplete. We have to try to fill that gap, and anomalies have been always our best chance to do this. If we do not do this, then we’ll leave this gap in the hands of “pseudoscience”, “new age”, “esotericism”, “alienology” or even “religious fanaticism”, which may be extremely dangerous because they can make people lose their capability of critical thinking and consequently their freedom. Of course, whatever may come out from this research, as a prerequisite, is necessarily submitted to rationality, internal coherence and logic. I am perfectly sure that even the strangest fact of Nature must obey logical rules, even if, in case, they may expand and/or revolutionize our knowledge. At the present time we are simply trying to search for some anomalous manifestations of Nature and use them as pieces of a much bigger puzzle, whose overall picture we are trying to build up. And of course we have really no convenience in making a fun of ourselves or of others.

L: 14. Did you ever discuss sighting reports of other people inside Science community? Did you discuss any of these sightings?

“1.Bjorn Holden saw egg shape light moving toward his house. When egg shape light was above his house it illuminated room through the roof.
2.Bjorn and Bjarne Lillevold saw big black vertical “stick” with green lights above automatic station.
3.Anders, Birgitta and Linn Berglund saw white cigar shape object with black lines across the body.
4.Anonymus saw oval object same colors as a fire and big as tree.
5. Hallfrid Lillevold saw two lights merged and became one light.
6.Randi Aspas Moe and Terje Hasvoldseter saw big light which split in four parts. All four parts were oblong up and down. Later these four lights became one big yellow light with green, red and blue balls around it.”

Massimo Teodorani: Yes, I have read many of these reports, which are quite constantly posted on the Project Hessdalen website, and sometimes interviewed myself some of the persons living in the Hessdalen valley and in similar places in the world, including Center-North Italy. Nevertheless, they are just witness cases having no sufficient elements to allow a serious consideration by the scientific community, but they might of some importance for serious ufologists, who in their turn might help scientists in their investigations.

I personally think that such witnesses are mostly sincere (in Hessdalen I have known three quite reserved persons who were looking sincere indeed). But I also think that, in total good faith, they just describe the “plasma phenomenon” that often occurs in Hessdalen and in several other similar locations in the world, which can show itself sometimes in very large dimensions and also close to houses. Having an electrostatic charge the phenomenon may be “attracted” by houses where several electromagnetic devices (radio, TV, antennas, household appliances, etc…) are normally working.

I think that in almost all the reported cases people tend to “fantasize” what they see in good faith: it is a psychological effect that is often triggered and can happen to everyone. I also think that the electromagnetic field the phenomenon produces, especially if it is emitted in low frequency, may induce hallucination states in the mind of people, so that possibly what effectively happened around them may be altered by a neurological factor. These are hypotheses that do not lessen the sincerity of witnesses in telling these facts. Unfortunately these witnesses add very little to scientific investigation but certainly do increase statistics of the area. But, at least in the Hessdalen case, I believe that these witnesses have been chosen sufficiently well thanks to the long-dated expertise of Erling Strand.

L: 15. How far did SETV project gone in Hessdalen? Is there any new momentum in that direction (possible exogenous probes)?

Massimo Teodorani: I don’t go to Hessdalen since 2002; my engineer and technician ex-collaborators do go there almost every year for a few days in order to fix monitoring instruments. I have changed my monitored areas elsewhere (in Italy and abroad). SETV? Of course that is but one hypothesis among others, if we assume that “something else” may overlap with a more general plasma phenomenon. Apart from strangely geometric shaped plasma seen sometimes in the valley, something “structured” have been also seen. We also did see two or three of that kind there, even if the sightings were so unexpected and fast that there was not enough time to activate instruments. Lack of funding for this research prevents us to make appropriate monitoring using very sophisticated instruments. The problem is obviously open and leaves space to future investigations if researchers will be put in a condition to dedicate much more of their time in carrying out monitoring actions directly on the field using apparatuses that are much more advanced and completely equipped than the ones that are commonly used by the Norwegian Automatic Measurement Station (which are good in themselves, but not enough complete due to lack of funding, I guess). Of course I have ready projects concerning the SETV aspect too. Ten years ago I just wanted to fix the methodology, such as for instance in this paper:

The idea is still up-to-date in itself, of course.

L: 16. Can you tell us something new about phenomenan? Any news? Or can you tell us something interesting. Some new sightings. New theory.

Massimo Teodorani: Please, see later my answer to your last question.

L: 17. From your papers I conclude that science still don’t say for sure that Hessdalen phenomena are plasma because:

“1-Hessdalen phenomenon in both a photometric and spectroscopic sense does not have the characteristics typical of a classic plasma of free electrons and ions.

2-If it can explain successfully the observed luminosity profiles, cannot be considered to explain Hessdalen-like phenomena or earth lights in general; it cannot explain the external electric cause that generates these light balls.

3-If the illuminated matter were a classical thermal plasma, two main after-effects would be predicted: 

1) gradual cooling due to adiabatic expansion (no energy exchange with the surroundings during expansion) or explosion after a very short time (as in the case of some ball-lightning reports), or 

2) colorimetric decay with a fast transition from blue or white to red and final disappearance (Fryberger, 1997).

These effects are not seen at all in the Hessdalen phenomenon.

4-The light balls show apparently ‘‘non-thermodynamic’’ characteristics.

5-The observed behavior of these light balls suggests a self-regulating mechanism that keeps the temperature, and hence radiant power, constant in spite of changes in size.

6-The geometric shape found in a minority of light phenomena cannot be explained by any available plasma/ball-lightning theory.

7-The lights turn on and off at a particular point and then sometimes turn on at another point very far away (up to 1 Km or so).

8-If the ball is assumed to be a plasma that expands adiabatically, then the temperature should drop when the volume of the ball increases. The observed behavior of the light balls is different from this prediction. They radiate more power as they increase in size.

9-White balls (very hot,if a plasma) can coexist with red ones (very cool, if a plasma) of the same size,again violating the predicted behavior of a conventional plasma... 

10- The standard nature of the plasma,which is predicted to be produced by nuclear fusion inside the spinning lightball, simply cannot explain the observed optical features.

11.Some very-low-brightness objects, often with translucent characteristics and of constant brightness, appear suddenly low in the sky or very close to the trees showing intrinsically geometric shapes, mostly triangular or ellipsoidal.

-Rectangular shapes have been recorded as Well. The reason for these shapes is totally unknown.

12.Ejection of mini light balls. This mechanism is unknown origin. The empirical evidence is that the small balls which can be ejected to a large distance (of the order of 50–100 m) from the large white colored nucleus tend to be green colored, while the small balls which appear to be very close (distance of the order of 2–5 m) to a cluster nucleus tend to be white (high intensity) or red (high intensity) and blue (low intensity) colored. Again the reason for the different colors, which are apparently related to distance from the nuclear region, remains unknown.

Is that outdated? Is that true?

Massimo Teodorani: I am not quite sure of where you took those phrases, possibly from an older paper of mine. They do not seem to be taken from the conclusive part of my 2004 JSE paper, which is still updated today. I think that, so far, the most updated ideas are still presented in my JSE paper published here:

Coming now to your questions, as I explained before, these anomalies can reenter into the plasma interpretation anyway, even if the plasma behaves in strange ways.

You can find a (possibly useful) more recent and complete quite dense resume in the first part of this paper of last year:

And here you can find “the point of the situation” (dated 2009) which I wanted to show out, in which I discuss where and how we can improve our investigations in this specific field:

(if you look in the references therein, and also in the previous two papers, you can see all the new published papers on this subject)

Hessdalen and several other similar places in the world offer several geophysical conditions where strange phenomena like that may occur in that way. Anyway, not all of the cited points can be explained as a natural phenomenon. In fact I do not exclude some overlap from something else, as well as some other colleagues of mine think. The problem is that we have no concrete proof of this so far. I tried to discuss this aspect in this peer-reviewed paper published by Springer in 2006:

And, I have many doubts that I would ever speak of this with the general public, not even if we demonstrated in case this possibility scientifically. The public tends to alter and exploit this kind of information (there is a strong dangerous emotional component here), and this is very disturbing to the serene continuation of our research. Therefore I decided, so far, that “certain hypotheses” are not discussed publicly any more. They will be discussed only technically whenever and if we’ll obtain data in this sense. The public, in case, will see only cryptic and cold articles. At the same time a good dose of healthy skepticism is absolutely necessary on this side of the question. In fact I recently discussed this concept in this conceptual paper of mine:

Concerning the more general “UFO” research, one year ago I published this long technical paper:

where I wanted to test if, how and how much “UFO databases” are really effective in addressing us to the “ultimate interpretation”. The results of these calculations and reasoning, though leaving an opened door, as you will see, are wholly quite skeptical.

If that specific interpretation was true, the first authorities that I would advise would be the military (duty of a citizen), then some of my colleagues, but not the public.

Last summer I participated to an “Interrogation on UFOs” at the Euro Parliament in Strasbourg. The initiative was due to Parliamentary Mario Borghezio of the Lega Nord party. I operated as a scientific advisor for Borghezio’s initiative, and possibly new joint actions might be undertaken during the current year. Of course I study the “UFO problem” too since 20 years. If some of you is interested you can then hear the joint press conference and my conference there:

As well as my role as a NARCAP research associate, you will quickly notice that my approach is substantially skeptical and mostly devoted to the study of anomalous aerial phenomena of natural origin. But you will also notice that I consider the “SETV hypothesis” too. Methodologically SETV is a strict relative of SETI, and they are both born from astronomy, not from ufology.

Moreover, you can’t imagine how many hoaxes and fakes I have discovered so far: this has shown very clearly to me how some “popular ufology” (except for serious true ufologists, who are not lacking in the human arena, but have nothing to do with ordinary “ufology”) is totally unreliable when we want to attempt to make science on certain subjects. For instance, Youtube is totally full of fakes, lies, and inventions on the UFO issue: this confuses people on a side, on another side this manipulates people who do not use critical thinking enough; fake and hoaxes can reveal themselves to be extremely dangerous in this sense. In fact, as a CSI (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) supporter I am trying to invite people to a more rational approach in the study of this problem. This doesn’t exclude at all that Earth may have been visited: an open mind is absolutely necessary in Science, in general: on the contrary we explore nothing and science becomes sterile. But in this specific field the “noise” is so huge compared to any possible “signal” that the only way to extract, in case, the signal is necessarily to use a total skepticism and also zero declarations to the public regarding this specific issue.

L: 18. What do you say about this? Possible plasma life form?

“Plasma Life Forms in Space 
An international scientific team has discovered that under the right conditions, particles of inorganic dust can become organized into helical structures which can interact with each other in ways that are usually associated with organic life. Using a computer model of molecular dynamics, V N Tsytovich and his colleagues of the Russian Academy of Science showed that particles in plasma can undergo self-organization as electric charges become separated and the plasma becomes polarized. 

Plasma Life Forms in the Laboratory 
In 2003 physicists; Erzilia Lozneanu and Mircea Sanduloviciu of Cuza University, Romania, described in their research paper how they created plasma spheres in the laboratory that can grow, replicate and communicate - fulfilling most of the traditional requirements for biological cells. “

Massimo Teodorani: Yes. You caught the big point, here. Since three years, after the publication of this prominent physics paper by German and Russian scientists (Tsytovich et al.):

I started to consider quite seriously the possibility that some behavior of Hessdalen-like lights might be explained as “plasma life forms”: and this is another work hypothesis that I have decided to ponder and evaluate in depth. I have identified several concrete elements in the Hessdalen-like phenomenology that might match quite well with this possibility. Concerning this I remind you that yet in my 2004 JSE paper (page 233) I mentioned some observations that I did in which some kind of secondary ball ejections mimic very well the cellular multiplication process. In addition to a divulging science article of mine in Italian, I discussed quite extensively this hypothesis also in the last chapter of my 2008 book “Sfere di Luce” (Macro Edizioni). More or less at the same time, after studying some additional hypotheses based on “quantum entanglement” and on brain studies, together with a colleague of mine I prepared a research project in this specific sense. You can find it here as a poster that we presented 3 years ago at the Naturwissenshaften in Salzburg (Austria) during the Quantum Mind 2007 Congress:
( Teodorani M. & Nobili G. (2007). “Anomalous Light Phenomena vs. Brain Electric Activity”. Abstract at: )

Of course we do know quite well (even if published almost nothing technical yet in long papers on this specific issue) that very many witness exist in the world who report a kind of “interaction” with this kind of phenomena. This happened also to some scientists (not me and my colleagues, anyway). In the light of what has been published in recent papers concerning the “plasma life hypothesis”, and also supporting ourselves with some recent findings in some applications of quantum theory in mesoscopic situations (such as microtubules in the brain) and the electrically cooperative nature of plamas, we decided to prepare some feasibility study all aimed at a specific goal that may be synthesized in this question: is it possible to demonstrate scientifically that some plasmas are “life forms” and that they are occasionally able to interact with us? We think that this is demonstrable and/or disprovable scientifically if only the experiment we proposed will ever be attempted with the necessary completeness and rigor (we did only a little part of it so far, in particular studying the EEG “theta state” of a witness who was with us somewhere in the Apennines just in concomitance with some sightings we all had). Of course this hypothesis can be also disproved by the fact that it might be the light phenomenon itself (without being “intelligent” at all) to induce hallucinations due to the electromagnetic field that it produces (such as in Persinger’s theory in neurophysiology) in people. We hope to conduct this experiment soon: not easy to carry out, but possible. You’ll see details of this research project in our Austrian 2007 poster.

Of course if really a “plasma life form” exists, after looking how it imitates the DNA replication and evolution, we cannot exclude that such kind of “life” may evolve into a form of “intelligence” here and everywhere in the Universe. This possibility needs to be studied using both experimental rigor and quantitative approach and a healthy open mind, such as Science should require always. If this hypothesis were proved, then we would have a dramatic revolution both in physics and in what we think we know of two processes named Life and Intelligence.

L: I really hope that you will find some time to answer these questions. Take your time. Thanks in advance.

Massimo Teodorani: Thank you for your questions and for your interest.


Dr. Massimo Teodorani, Ph.D.
Astrophysicist - University Physics Lecturer


Article Copyright© Unexplained Mysteries - reproduced with permission.

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