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Science & Technology

Ball lightning is all in the mind, say physicists

By T.K. Randall
May 20, 2010 · Comment icon 21 comments



Image Credit: sxc.hu
Austrian physicists have claimed that ball lightning doesn't actually exist and that it is simply a trick of the mind.
The claim is based on the idea that powerful magnetic fields created during a thunderstorm affect the human brain and cause people to see things that aren't there.
According to Josef Peer and Alexander Kendl of the University of Innsbruck, there is in fact no such thing as ball lightning in reality. Rather, powerful magnetic fields created by ordinary lightning affect the brains of humans nearby so that they see things which aren't there.


Source: The Register | Comments (21)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by Larving 13 years ago
Thats what skeptics athiests and egotistic scientists say when they can't explain something. Your imagining it. When "egotistic scientists" actually bring scientific backing to support their claims, it's worth listening to. What I would like to know is "What God ever gave these little scientists the authority to make any official claims as to what is real and what is not?". Having actually studied withing a specific field of science generally does give you some authority to talk about it. With good reason. Besides, saying these scientists are making claims as of "what is real and what is not" ... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by character 13 years ago
Thats what skeptics athiests and egotistic scientists say when they can't explain something. Your imagining it. As opposed to what religious and uneducated people say - "its magic" ? (yes magic includes god). What I would like to know is "What God ever gave these little scientists the authority to make any official claims as to what is real and what is not?". Has it ever occurred to many of you that these 'scientists' are just kids. 90%+ of them are still in the midst of schooling that is be paid for by rich parents or "Government" grants. RARELY will you ever find one that is even beyond his ... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by Drj312 13 years ago
As opposed to what religious and uneducated people say - "its magic" ? (yes magic includes god). Wow, i can only assume your some 50+ year old person that has a complex about young people being smarter than you. Since for one, a person in his/her 30s or even 20s isnt a kid by most definitions, secondly a 22 year old that finished university will 99% of the time be a bigger authority on any scientific subject then any "non-kid" that isnt an expert on the subject(a real expert, not some self proclaimed know-it-all). And lastly, a person living an active life and/or reading the right things will ... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by Ignus Fatuus 13 years ago
Those comments by so called scientists just show you how ignorant humanity is when it comes to certain things. "All in the mind"??? How about opening your minds!!! Closed minds and unexperience go hand in hand with science nowadays. "All in the mind"??? This must have come from some blissful people ... all great scientific discoveries come from those who think outside the box. Well I do apologize!!! Some of us are lucky enough to have the experience neccesary to call these so called scientists idiots. Which is exactly what they are!!! I have the know and I would send my soul to hell to the utt... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Brakzar Break 13 years ago
Google ball lightning and you will find many photos and videos of it. One lab even posted a video of having reproduced ball lightning in a lab, although with that one I have to say, if they don't understand what causes it, how can they know they specifically recreated what people have been seeing/recording? Anyways, given the recorded evidence, I don't believe this study. I don't even see where they reproduced this phenomenon in a lab. Can environmental factors cause hallucinations? Yes! Does it explain this away? Not in my opinion given what I've seen recorded on still- and video-cameras. Got... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by Brakzar Break 13 years ago
Those comments by so called scientists just show you how ignorant humanity is when it comes to certain things. "All in the mind"??? How about opening your minds!!! Closed minds and unexperience go hand in hand with science nowadays. "All in the mind"??? This must have come from some blissful people ... all great scientific discoveries come from those who think outside the box. Well I do apologize!!! Some of us are lucky enough to have the experience neccesary to call these so called scientists idiots. Which is exactly what they are!!! I have the know and I would send my soul to hell to the utt... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by theQ 13 years ago
IMAGINE THAT.....i know for a fact that ball lightning exist because i have seen very rare photographs showing ball lightining in 3 dimensions..yes...nature does have the ability to form isolated cohesive circular magnetic fields...and it also go's to show you to state as a fact that no such thing exist for as wonderous as nature is is the talk of a idiot more less a scientist.
Comment icon #19 Posted by psyche101 13 years ago
Thats what skeptics athiests and egotistic scientists say when they can't explain something. Your imagining it. I am a pretty hard core skeptic, I doubt many here would argue that. I too have a great deal of trouble accepting this as an absolute answer. We have photo's, are the camera's hallucinating? Tesla did experiments with ball lightning-like phenomena for audiences. He is depicted to have held a similar phenomena in his hand, I believe measured at 1,000 volts. Maybe it explains some instances, from what information has been released I feel it awful premature to claim "all" I would like t... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by Paracelse 13 years ago
As opposed to what religious and uneducated people say - "its magic" ? (yes magic includes god). Wow, i can only assume your some 50+ year old person that has a complex about young people being smarter than you. Since for one, a person in his/her 30s or even 20s isnt a kid by most definitions, secondly a 22 year old that finished university will 99% of the time be a bigger authority on any scientific subject then any "non-kid" that isnt an expert on the subject(a real expert, not some self proclaimed know-it-all). And lastly, a person living an active life and/or reading the right things will ... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by amodedoma 13 years ago
I saw ball lightning myself, and it sure as hell wasn't an electromagnetically induced hallucination. Bally PA, summer of 1968, it was a partly cloudy day and I was walking along a rural road alone. Ahead of me I noticed a flash, and saw a light descending towards the power lines in front of me. It was making a hissing and sputtering sound that got louder as it approached. It went right past me at the height of the power lines and stopped a few poles down where it poised itself right on top of the pole. I walked back towards it an when I was about to reach it it made a popping noise and dissap... [More]


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