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First English sighting of ‘ball lightning’: a 12th century monk’s chronicle reveals all


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

On June 7, 1195, a fiery spinning ball emerged from a dark cloud in an erstwhile sunny sky close to the London lodgings of the bishop of Norwich. Witnesses could never have known that the natural phenomenon that they were seeing would defy scientific explanation for more than 800 years. For what they observed has all the hallmarks of ball lightning: an atmospheric effect, the origin of which remains hotly disputed.

An account of this extraordinary moment survives in a monastic chronicle compiled between about 1180 and 1199 by Gervase, a monk of Christ Church Cathedral in Canterbury. It would appear that this is the first credible written record of ball lightning in England, and much more convincing than an earlier European description. Previously the earliest record of a sighting was believed to be from the 17th century.

This extensive work (nearly 600 pages in its modern edition) records historical events in England and further afield, the friends and enemies of the monastic house, and descriptions of noteworthy or unusual natural phenomena. The writing includes descriptions of solar and lunar eclipses, earthquakes and floods.

https://theconversation.com/first-english-sighting-of-ball-lightning-a-12th-century-monks-chronicle-reveals-all-174837

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My parents experienced a sighting of ball lightning when it came through an open window in the room they were in(early 50s) :)

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My grandmother had a ball lightning encounter while at home cleaning with her mom. It was a warm summers day without rain or storms.

It came in through the open front door, directly into the front room, and exited via an open window. 

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I was definitely single digits at the time, but I remember it coming through a window and then circling around to destroy a window AC unit. Like a brightly lit basketball 

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My M-I-L was hit by ball lighting. She was in the kitchen with her hand on an iron skillet on the stove. It came in through the window and hit the skillet where she had her hand on the handle. Her arm was paralyzed for about a year. She described it around the size of a basketball too.

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I had one encounter during the early winter of 1973 I think, while delivering papers in a light falling snow about 5am in Seymour, CT.  I was on a road at the top of a hill saw a flash of light that looked almost like fireworks, it arced up and then down and then a slight thunder clap and quickly disappeared--lasted about 2-3 seconds. It was so cool to see.    

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