Conducted by Peter van Doorn

Illustrations (unless otherwise stated) by Chris Chatfield

PHYS/E001: Western France, c1900


We saw it descend, branch by branch, and then down the trunk.

This remarkable manifestation of a phenomenal, but apparently ‘intelligent’ visitant was first described by the observer, M. Wander, in a letter to the Association Française.  

The object, essentially a sphére luminuese, or ball of light, was considered to be an example of la foudre globulaire – globular or ball lightning – but, based on the recorded details, it was in fact a perfect example of a GLO in the Roller/Navigator Combination Mode.     

“A violent storm had descended upon the commune of Le Beugnon (Deux-Sèvres). I happened to be passing through a farm, in which were two children of about 12 or 13 years. These children were taking refuge from the rain under the porch over the doorway of a stable, in which were 25 oxen. In front of them extended an open yard, sloping downwards towards a large hollow filled with mud and slime, about 25 metres away, beside which grew a poplar tree. 

Suddenly, at or close to the apex of the poplar, there appeared a globe of fire, of the size of an apple. We saw it descend, branch by branch, and then down the trunk until it reached the ground. 

It rolled over the surface of the yard very slowly, seeming almost to pick its way between the pools of water, and came up to the door where stood the children. One of them was bold enough to touch it with his foot. Immediately a terrible crash shook the entire farm to its foundations, the two children were thrown to the ground uninjured, but 11 of the animals in the stable were killed on the spot”

Source: Flammarion, Les Phénomènes de la Foudre, p18

Consider the inexplicable sequence of events that led to the deaths of the unfortunate cattle in the stable: A ball of light, apparently about 7 cm in diameter, became visible to human eyes close to the top of a poplar; it methodically descended the tree, seemingly aware of each branch it encountered, before moving onto the ‘mainline’ of the trunk. On reaching the ground the globe did not go to earth and vanish, as would a stroke of lightning, instead it moved “very slowly” over the courtyard towards the stable. 

The globe, which was clearly on, or only just above the surface of the ground, actually appeared to navigate its way between puddles of water. 

As to the violent climax of the event, it is not easy to concur with Wander’s comment that the ignorant brat who placed his filthy foot upon the ‘fireball’ was bold - he was in fact, downright stupid! Possibly he feared the globe would set the straw within the stable on fire, but it is far more likely that he was endowed with that perverse, and all too common flaw in human beings that instinctively causes them to attempt to destroy any strange creature they encounter. 

There can be no doubt as to the consequence of this suicidal act of folly: the death of 11 valuable oxen. That the valiant airhead and his companion survived, clearly indicates the existence and high integrity of a protective envelope or shell around the curious object. It appears probable that the ‘shell’ was only perforated on the side facing the stable entrance, and that through this rupture escaped a lethal energetic discharge that shot into the group of animals. 

No actual blast damage is mentioned in the narrative, despite the “terrible crash” that occurred when the object burst open, and although all the buildings on the farm were violently shaken, both the children escaped physical injury and 14 of the oxen survived.    

With a subject as contentious as the GLO, the serious researcher encounters a number of illogical preconceptions as to the physical effects of the phenomenon; most are simply irritating, while a few are positively dangerous. One, perhaps the most worrying of all, is the belief that the mysterious globes, though uncaring, or even inimical with regard to domestic animals, merely demonstrate curiosity towards human beings, and will actually take care to avoid injuring the latter. This fallacious belief arose simply because there have been incidents where property was damaged and animals injured or killed, while humans in the vicinity were unharmed, as above, however, it would be a gross error to assume that these were anything more than fortuitous escapes. In fact it can be stated quite categorically that anyone encountering these frequently energy-saturated, and often highly unstable ‘balls of fire,’ should make every effort to avoid physical contact. Also, as there is a general misconception that the phenomenon is an exceptional form of lightning discharge, it is surely quite unreasonable for anyone to assume that the globes possess the capacity to consider humans as having any greater significance than say a cabbage or a fence post. 

Obviously if 25 humans had been standing in the barn instead of the cattle there can be little doubt that a large number of them would have been killed in the same manner as the poor beasts. Consider the following ‘massacre’ which was undoubtedly produced by the explosive rupture of a large GLO in the Navigator mode:     

PHYS/E002: French Pyrenees, c1878


At a meeting of the Science Club (London), on August 17, 1881, Mr Maxwell Lyte, President of the Society of Public Analysts, gave an account of a remarkable thunderstorm he had experienced “a few years before” in the Pyrenees. During the storm, which was quite violent, a GLO with a diameter of about 2 metres appeared and exceptionally destructive ground effects occurred. An article describing the event was written by a Mr R. J. Lecky and sent to the Royal Meteorological Society: 

He and several English friends were staying at the village of Bagniéres de Bigorre, where they fitted up an old barn as a church, there being a clergyman in the party; this was on the side of a mountain looking down a valley of some miles: 

“One Sunday a storm came on while the service was proceeding; soon the noise of the thunder and hail was so great that they had to stop, and he went about to secure the roof &c. 

As he was looking out of the window he saw a ball of fire coming up the valley at a comparatively leisurely rate, say 10 or 12 miles an hour; he first saw it at 3 or 4 miles distance, and it came directly towards him. It appeared about 6 feet in diameter, and as it approached the church he threw himself on the ground, knowing what might happen; the ball, however went over the house and struck a plum tree in the garden behind, which was shattered to atoms. 

The explosion was something terrific; and on going out they found the garden in a state of utter confusion – peas, beans, potatoes and the earth all stirred up together in one great mess, and everything completely destroyed, the ground being covered with some inches of large hailstones. 

No person was hurt there, but a short distance up the mountain nine shepherds had taken shelter in a cabin, which was struck and set on fire: four of the men were killed, three died soon after from the effects of the stroke, and the remaining two were maimed for life.”                       

In this appalling incident it is reasonable to assume that the unfortunate shepherds were the victims of a lethal outpouring of energy from a GLO as in the case of the 11 oxen of Le Beugnon, and not ‘ordinary’ or ‘linear’  lightning. 

On this occasion the GLO collided with a tree and its envelope was ruptured, though the tree was destroyed and the ground beneath torn up, the greater part of the discharge was directed up the mountain at an angle to strike the men’s shelter with tragic results.      

Source: Royal Meteorological Society, Quarterly Journal v13, pp306-7, Oct. 1887 
The destruction that occurred in the above incidents was in both cases presumably ‘accidental,’ that cannot be said of the next event: a prime example of the potentially lethal nature of even the most ‘sophisticated’ manifestations of the GLO phenomenon - especially when encountered at very close quarters.

PHYS/E003: Inishowen Peninsula, Co. Donegal, NW Ireland, 24.08.1895 


This strange and violent intrusion that disturbed the everyday life of a peaceful village on the Irish coast was briefly described in at least one London daily newspaper, and is mentioned in a popular US science journal, but the definitive account, was written by George M. Minchin and published by the editor of Nature under the heading: “Personal Injury from a Fireball.” So fascinating is the content of Minchin’s letter that the greater part of his narrative is reproduced below:

“In compliance with a wish expressed by several scientific friends, I place on record an instance of damage done by a fireball or globular lightning. About five weeks ago, when I was in Londonderry, the circumstances were related to me by James Harvey of that city. 

Mr Harvey was staying during the month of August at Culdaff, on the north coast of Donegal; and on the 24th of that month, at about 4 pm, a little boy named Robert Alcorn, whose parents occupied a house near Mr Harvey’s, was desired by his father to go into the yard and drive away some fowls from the door. 

On going out of the house, the boy saw a large bright object in the sky, about the size of the table in his bedroom, or apparently about 6 square feet in area. The object came towards his house from the west, or NW; and when it came close, it partly burst with a report like that of a gun. He put his hands over his face to shield himself from ‘the spark,’ and after the explosion the bulk of the ball appeared to continue its course towards the east, low down. 

When it burst, however, it struck him, shattering the thumb and the first and second fingers of the left hand, cutting, scratching, and blackening the right hand and left cheek, and shattering into fragments several bone buttons on his coat. Very soon afterwards, Dr. R. Young, of Culdaff, and Dr. Newell, of Moville, attended the boy and amputated the fingers and a portion of the thumb. . . .

Mr Harvey soon afterwards examined the place, and could find no further trace of the fireball, except that a piece of bark had been knocked off a small tree within a few feet of the place where the boy was struck. The local police made exhaustive inquiry as regards the possibility of anyone having fired a gun at the boy, or of his having had any explosive in his possession; but nothing of the kind transpired.    

It is well to add that at Redcastle one of the residents saw, on the same day, a bright object in the sky, which object he took to be a fireball. The day was stormy with heavy showers, but no thunder.”

Source: Nature v53, pp5-6, 07.11.1895

It would appear that no one else near the house saw the GLO or its ‘weapon,’ but the boy’s parents and several other persons heard the explosion. Robert’s father rushed outside immediately and actually caught his son as he collapsed. 

Minchin’s coda to his account of this extraordinary event is of vital importance to this examination i.e. the GLO observed in the sky at Redcastle - about 5 km distant from Culdaff – sans a thunderstorm. 

The victim would seem to have been struck by an energetic projectile shot from the GLO towards his face. Like a ricocheting metallic bullet, the ‘projectile,’ undoubtedly a smaller version of the large object, but in a Rocket Fireball mode, glanced off the boy’s hand and struck the tree tearing off a piece of bark. The ‘projectile’ may, unseen by the victim, have entered the ground via the tree, or even have reunited with the object that discharged it. It is probable that shielding the face was effective in preventing more serious or even fatal injuries.

If this event had occurred a hundred years later, in the Irish Republic of 1995, the innocuous (?) object seen at high elevation (which may in fact have been the same intruder as that which injured the child) would almost certainly have been regarded as a UFO, or explained away as a meteor, or an artificial object such as a meteorological balloon etc. What, however, would contemporary opinion make of the clearly hostile ‘fireball’ and its apparent weapon system?

In 1895, according to the article, local officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary made an “exhaustive inquiry” as to the possibility of the boy having suffered gunshot wounds, or injuries from a man-made explosive device. The Guarda, the Republic’s police force, would without doubt have investigated an incident of a precisely similar nature, in 1995, as a probable accidental discharge of an IRA firearm or bomb. A careful forensic examination of the victim and his injuries would effectively have ruled out that explanation, but not before the all too credible terrorist angle had been accepted by the press and public.

Conventional ‘solutions’ to inexplicable events have always been available for the use of those determined to dispose of any indication that the world we inhabit is subject to visitations from unknown realms. Such ‘explanations,’ whether contrived or fortuitous, and no matter how unreasonable or absurd, invariably produce the same effect: the impact of the occurrence is removed, its momentum halted, and, coupled with the ever decreasing attention span of the human consciousness, a significant and revealing phenomenal event is rapidly consigned to oblivion.

In the case of poor Robert Alcorn, no device produced by the hand of man was responsible for his mutilation, a fact confirmed by a thorough police investigation, and the incident remains reliable and documented evidence of physical injuries inflicted by the phenomenon erroneously termed “ball lightning.” Of course the apparently hostile intruder could not actually have been any form of lightning as, apart from all the other factors involved, it manifested in the absence of an electrical storm. 

The “Fireball” & its “Spark” illustrated by Chris Chatfield

PHYS/E004: SE England, 15.10.1891


This remarkable drama, unfolded at the ‘The Grange,’ Grange Road, Ealing, Middlesex, a private estate belonging to a Mr Yates Neil, whose sons, Delancey  and Vertie, along with his gardener, a Mr Parker, were the witnesses, and victims, of the phenomenon. The article is sub-headed: “Narrow Escape of Two Gentlemen,” the deliverance of the gardener, obviously no ‘gentleman,’ of course, was not considered worthy of mention! 

(In order that the unusual names bestowed on the two ‘gentlemen’ should not distract the reader from the important facts in the case, these have reduced to ‘D’ and ‘V’ in this examination of the event.)    

During the night of the 14/15 October, which was stormy with heavy rain and strong winds, a very large branch had come down from one of a number of massive chestnut trees in the grounds. In the morning, though the autumn sun occasionally relieved the gloom, the weather remained disturbed, with the passage of “black murky clouds” that showered down heavy bursts of rain or hail. 

Despite the unpleasant conditions outdoors, there was some activity on the Neil estate, where the gardener was engaged in sawing the fallen bough apart - while D and V (being gentlemen) were engaged in doing nothing more than smoking cigars and watching poor old Parker do all the work.  

At about 11:30, there was a sudden and exceptionally violent “peal of thunder” and a flash of “vivid lightning.” 

About 30 minutes later, close to noon, D observed a “ball of fire” descending at an oblique angle into the estate where it struck the storm-damaged tree. The object then fell to the ground, about 2.50 metres from where the men were standing. It rebounded on contact and exploded with a sound as if dynamite had been detonated. 

None experienced any electrical effects, but all were left in a state of shock and remained dazed for some time. An energetic emission from the rupture appears to have been directed at V, who was actually thrown to the ground and rolled over 2 or 3 times. His brother, who was the first to regain his senses, went to his aid and found him lying quite helpless. After being carried into the house, V, who was otherwise unharmed, soon recovered. The only other physical effect on the men appears to have been that they all suffered severe headaches, which lasted for some hours afterwards. The trunk of the unfortunate tree that had been struck by the ‘fireball’ was burned in a zigzag manner, for a length of 6-9 metres.

This was a borderline event, as the single “lightning” discharge and massive aerial explosion could well have been the product of the bursting of a high altitude GLO. 

However, regardless of whether or not a very short thunderstorm was involved, there are some really exceptional features to be considered in this case: apart from the quite incredible coincidence of a tree being seriously damaged by a gale then struck by a ‘fireball’ about 12 hours later! 

Firstly, the zigzag burning of the trunk suggests the release of a powerful electrical discharge before the object’s explosive climax. 

Secondly, the observed rebounding of the globe, from both tree and ground, is conclusive evidence of a protective ‘shell,’ or energy field that maintained the integrity of the object until its rupture. 

Consider also that the ‘detonation’ should have produced a blast of heat energy and highly-electrified plasma gas yet, despite being so close to the intruder, none of the victims suffered burns or any other serious injuries.  

Source: Middlesex County Times (Ealing), 17.10.1891, p6

The Ealing incident demonstrates that these mysterious ‘balls of fire’ contain large amounts of energy and possess a definite envelope and field of force energy with which to enclose it - perhaps even a material shell. The remarkable integrity of the GLO’s skin is clearly evidenced by an equally remarkable event, also involving a tree, as described by Wilfrid de Fonvielle (Éclairs et Tonnerre, p58, Paris 1867): 

M. Colon, vice-president of the Geological Society of Paris, observed a ball of light descend slowly from the sky and land on the summit of a poplar tree. It then proceeded to travel extremely slowly down the bark of the trunk to its base, taking 5 or 6 long minutes to do so: as if the globe had to overcome the resistance of the air. On contact with the ground it immediately shot back into the air, with the speed of lightning, and dispersed with no explosion.”

Qui la redait si solide?” (What rendered it so solid?) The answer to the question posed by M. de Fonvielle over 140 years ago, I have not the slightest doubt, is that though the ball was highly energetic, and largely composed of electrified gases, it also possessed a spherical ‘shell’ sustained by a field of electromagnetic force energy, generated by a power source within the nucleus of the object. The phenomenal duration of the event, “5 or 6 long minutes,” dictates that whatever the “ball” was composed of, it cannot have been “lightning.” PHYS/E005   

Just how ‘hard’ the outer envelope of a GLO can be, is graphically demonstrated in the following case. 

PHYS/E006: Kentucky, USA, 16.07.1905


The narrative of Mrs. A. E. Russell, a resident of Paducah:

“My niece and I were sitting in my front hall, when suddenly without warning, what seemed to be a big ball of fire passed between our heads. My niece’s head was not distant more than 6 inches from our telephone box. She experienced no shock, while I was blinded by it for [30 seconds].

The front and back doors were screened, but they showed no sign of any lightning having touched them. A tree in the backyard, about 10 yards from the back hall door, had a round hole made in the bark, with a dent in the wood just as if a cannonball had been shot against it. The three horses standing near the tree were knocked down; the horse standing in a straight line between the tree and the house, seemed dead for a long while.
My niece says that there had been a low rumbling noise of thunder just previous to the [event], but I did not hear it. A neighbour who had left my house two minutes before, and was on the road, says she heard no thunder and saw no lightning, until suddenly a terrific explosion seemed to occur just over her head; she was blinded and saw nothing more.”

It is quite evident that this GLO Navigator manifested sans an electric storm, however there is adequate evidence that it was more than highly energetic: its light emission alone was blinding.

The event appears to have begun when a GLO Fireball ruptured with a powerful explosion, and blinding burst of light, above the head of Mrs Russell’s neighbour. The nucleus of the GLO then probably entered the earth to reappear as a Navigator inside her house. Whether it emerged from the telephone apparatus, or passed through the front door and its wire screen is unclear, but it does appear to exited through the back door without perforating it, or causing any visible damage. Something clearly went wrong with its navigation as it crossed the yard for it collided with a tree leaving a bowl-shaped depression in the wood. Its field of force energy, its integrity sufficient to penetrate the tree, then failed, and the ball broke open releasing a discharge that struck the horses, though, mercifully, not with fatal consequences. The horse that suffered a paralysis, “for a long while,” may also have come in contact with the GLO before it struck the tree. 

Source: Monthly Weather Review

A True Horror Story

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November 17, 1886

Messrs. Editors,
The Scientific American’                                                                                                                            

Dear Sirs,

The following brief account of a recent strange meteorological occurrence may be of interest to your readers as an addition to the list of electrical eccentricities:

During the night of the 24th of October last, which was rainy and tempestuous, a family of nine persons, sleeping in a hut a few leagues from Maracaibo, were awakened by a loud humming noise and a vivid, dazzling light, which brilliantly illuminated the interior of the house.

The occupants, completely terror stricken, and believing, as they relate, that the end of the world had come, threw themselves on their knees and commenced to pray, but their devotions were almost immediately interrupted by violent vomiting, and extensive swellings commenced to appear in the upper part of their bodies, this being particularly noticeable about the face and lips.

It is to be noted that the brilliant light was not accompanied by a sensation of heat, although there was a smoky appearance and a peculiar smell.

The next morning the swellings had subsided, leaving upon the face and body large black blotches. No special pain was felt until the ninth day, when the skin peeled off, and these blotches were transformed into virulent raw sores. 

The hair of the head fell off upon the side which happened to be underneath when the phenomenon occurred, the same side of the body being, in all nine cases, the more seriously injured.
The remarkable part of the occurrence is that the house was uninjured, all doors and windows being closed at the time.

No trace of lightning could afterward be observed in any part of the building, and all the sufferers unite in saying that there was no detonation, but only the loud humming already mentioned. 

Another curious attendant circumstance is that the trees around the house showed no signs of injury until the ninth day, when they suddenly withered, almost simultaneously with the development of the sores upon the bodies of the occupants of the house.

This is perhaps a mere coincidence, but it is remarkable that the same susceptibility to electrical effects, with the same lapse of time, should be observed in both animal and vegetable organisms.

I have visited the sufferers, who are now in one of the hospitals of this city; and although their appearance is truly horrible, yet it is hoped that in no case will the injuries prove fatal.

Warner Cowgill 

Office of the U. S. Consulate, Maracaibo, 

Republic of Venezuela

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In the annals of unexplained physical phenomena there are a number of recorded events with such a degree of strangeness that even when described by competent writers, and published in respected journals, total acceptance and full comprehension is still somewhat difficult to achieve: the factual, yet seemingly incredible narrative of Warner Cowgill, is a clear and graphic example of an ESF (Extreme Strangeness Factor) in an anomalous incident. 

PHYS/E007: Venezuela, South America, 24/25.10.1886 


Definite and inexplicable physical evidence of a phenomenal event determines that what is reported to have occurred does, at least in part, have an objective reality. The ground effects produced by the manifestation of the mysterious “light” described in Cowgill’s letter were not merely enigmatic, and undeniable, they also revealed the ‘dark’ and potentially deadly nature of this visibly undemonstrative invader, which was most probably a GLO in the ‘Stationary Apparition’ mode.  

This case, without doubt one of the most remarkable and truly terrifying on record, raises a number of vital questions, of which some, even in the 1880s, could in part have been answered had a team of scientific investigators been despatched to the scene to obtain samples of blood, skin tissue, vegetable matter and soil. For example, a careful examination of the site by competent persons could have established any similarities to ground effects caused by ‘normal’ atmospheric electrical discharges. Unfortunately, and especially so since the latter part of the 19th century, those best qualified to carry out serious research into events of this nature seem to have an unwritten but strictly adhered-to agreement that anything challenging established scientific knowledge, to a degree that might demand a major revision of existing precepts, should be avoided like the plague.

The most disturbing aspect of this event is the apparent emission of electromagnetic radiation of very high frequency, invisible to human eyes, and destructive to animal and plant tissue: powerful X-rays or gamma radiation! The symptoms that Cowgill describes, and the rapidity with which they emerged, suggest that the victims were exposed to a flood of ionizing radiation impossible to ascribe, within the boundaries of recognised physics, to a source that could make its appearance in the circumstances related.

Back in 1886, although there were many scientists researching in the fields of electrical and radiant energy, it is unlikely that presented with the evidence, they would have recognised the actual significance of the physical effects. 

One must consider, for instance, that the discovery of the existence of X-rays, by the Bavarian physicist Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen (1845-1923), was not made until 1895. Also, had human and vegetable tissue been preserved and examined, it is probable that the damage would have been considered no more bizarre than certain anomalous lightning-produced injuries: even though on this occasion there was no definite evidence of a connection with atmospheric electricity. 

The possibility remains, nevertheless, that a paper describing injuries quite consistent with exposure to extremely high frequency ionizing electromagnetic radiation could have been written over 58 years before the first atomic bomb detonation at ‘Point Zero,’ near Alamogordo, New Mexico, on the morning of July 16, 1945, and the subsequent nuclear attacks on the Imperial Japanese Empire each of which killed tens of thousands in an instant and left hundreds of thousands of victims with terrible injuries of a nature that, it was believed,  were new to human experience. Look again at the description of the inexplicable damage to the bodies of the unfortunate Venezuelans and remember it was inflicted almost six decades before Hiroshima.
The incident, examined according to recorded phenomena, could be explained in part as a combination of (A) electrical, (B) visible electro-magnetic and (C) high frequency EM (ultraviolet light, X-rays, and gamma rays) effects:

A. The loud humming sound, smoke and odour are indications of the presence of a powerful electric field.

B. The emission of a very brilliant light, sans detectable heat, from an object in extremely close proximity to the room’s occupants, indicates the presence of a non-incandescent source of visible radiation. Although concentrated, the actual light appears to have been innocuous as no reference is made to any serious ocular damage. 

(With regard to the reported lack of thermal effects, it should be noted that the Maracaibo Lowlands are noted for having the hottest and most humid climate in tropical South America, and a sudden increase in the ambient temperature of a crowded and poorly ventilated compartment such as that described, would have been very obvious.) 

It is desirable at this point to give a general description of a typical dwelling at that location in the 1880s: The structure would have been raised on stilts, and probably consisted of a long single room, with timber walls and floor, a crudely thatched roof, some form of wooden door at each end, and a few windows consisting of simple unglazed apertures covered by wooden shutters.

That no heat emission from the curious ‘light’ was registered by the victims, at least while they were conscious, suggests that the phenomenon had an internal temperature similar to that of the room. Another possibility is that any thermal radiation, from the object’s reacting core or nucleus, was contained within an insulating envelope or force field that operated at a frequency allowing the transmission of light, but preventing the escape of heat. Such an effect would demand that the field be subject to extreme modulation, which in turn would require the presence of sentient control. 

C. The severe tissue damage and hair loss, call to mind the injuries sustained by those exposed to ionizing radiation from artificial nuclear detonations, particularly those in 1945 over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The similarities, however, are superficial and somewhat misleading. 

In 1886 the radiation penetrated, and passed right through each victim’s body, a fact evidenced by the severest damage to hair and tissue being sustained on that side in contact with bedding, and ‘hidden’ from the source of emission. Though the damage was severe, the radiation was emitted in a subtle manner quite unlike the violent and uncontrolled emissions from the detonation of a nuclear weapon. 

What is quite inexplicable is that the effect on the Venezuelan victims seems to be so precisely similar to that produced by gamma rays! How could γ radiation, emitted by the nuclei of decaying radioactive elements, appear in the circumstances described? Only one explanation seems worthy of consideration: the nucleus, or more probably the shell of the object was unstable and contained a non-terrestrial substance with a nature analogous to that of antimatter. Such a substance, containing particles with an electrical charge contra to terrestrial matter, would suffer immediate annihilation on exposure to our atmosphere, and be transformed almost entirely into gamma radiation. 

The GLO is a phenomenon that remains inexplicable to our science: it possesses features, and demonstrates abilities, far beyond the limits of orthodox reasoning, therefore the possibility that it may contain component parts that are not compatible with the atmosphere of this earth cannot be ignored.

The physical effects, as described in the narrative, are without doubt the most reliable and important evidence, and need to be examined closely:

(1) Violent vomiting: may have been induced by the toxic gas ozone (oxygen with 3 atoms to the molecule), which is created when stable oxygen (2 atoms to the molecule) is disrupted by ultraviolet radiation, or the passage of a powerful electrical discharge through the atmosphere (lightning etc). The sensible odour, and visible air contamination point to the production of ozone in a room with poor ventilation - a potentially lethal environment, where a concentration of this gas, which is bluish in colour, and has a pungent odour similar to that of geraniums or pelagoniums, at a level great enough to induce extreme nausea would also have severely, if not fatally, affected respiration. 

The GLO’s powerful electric field may also have polluted the air with nitrogen oxides, or other unidentifiable but poisonous gases as occurred in the vicarage at Steeple Ashton (E000). 

The symptoms described are also consistent with the effects of exposure to a dangerous level of X-rays or gamma radiation: but actual nausea would certainly not have occurred immediately.

(2) Rapid onset of swelling in facial and upper body regions, followed by appearance of “large black blotches”; there are 3 possible causes worth considering: 

A. Extreme exposure to ultraviolet light radiation creating severe ‘sunburn,’ which is always accompanied by swelling of the subcutaneous tissue. The “blotches” were either concentrations of the natural skin protective pigment, melanin, or products of ozone contamination. A problem with this theory is that such damage would normally be terribly painful; also the swellings should have developed and subsided with much less rapidity. 

B. X-rays/ γ radiation may have been responsible, but the feasibility of this suggestion is subject to the same damning factors as that affecting the UV solution. 

C. An alternative source from elsewhere in the electromagnetic spectrum is perhaps more credible: microwaves. These occur in the ‘border region’ where radio waves reach their highest frequencies, and extend up into the ‘marches’ of the infrared. The “light” may have emitted intense microwave radiation that partially ‘cooked’ subcutaneous tissue in selected areas of the victims’ bodies.

3. Suspension of effects until the ninth day: With regard to the human victims, the lack of severe pain can only be attributed to the neuron cells being damaged and unable to transmit their information: the regeneration process taking a period of over 8 days. 

The effect on the trees around the building might suggest exposure to a lethal dose of radiation that left the cells damaged and dying. The trees’ actual demise, having all received the same level of exposure, only became manifest on the 9th day after the incident. Perhaps a more satisfactory solution is that the most immediate damage was subterranean, being confined to the root system of each tree. Intense microwave radiation could have destroyed, or fatally injured the roots, but left the growth above the ground apparently untouched. The trees, although doomed, with a considerable store of water and nutrients in their trunks would have appeared normal until the capillaries ran dry. However, trees affected in this manner would appear to die from the top down, and progressively, not suddenly. The fact that the “withering” of the trees was abrupt, and simultaneous, is quite difficult to rationalize. 

One possibility is that the “trees,” the species of which is not mentioned in the narrative, were not actually trees at all but bananas or plantains, which are in fact very large herbaceous plants. The sudden demise of these would be much more feasible than that of actual arboreal growths. Also, if undisturbed, a large and luxuriant herb could, perhaps, remain upright and apparently healthy for over 8 days, even with much of its root system reduced to carbon. 

However, it is extremely difficult to believe, no matter what the circumstances, that all the vegetable organisms should die suddenly and simultaneously. 

There is another possibility, stranger, and perhaps more disturbing than anything yet considered: after the event, an indefinable ‘something’ that emanated from the light-emitting phenomenon, stayed within the human and vegetable victims with the effect of suspending certain of the physical effects produced. On the ninth day the mysterious presence departed, and the actual damage to human and vegetable tissue became manifest. In the case of the plants they immediately withered, while the wounds on the human victims erupted into inflamed, purulent ulcerations.

Having examined this inexplicable incident in detail, what can be concluded as to the actual nature of the invader? The lack of any evidence that atmospheric lightning was involved is sufficient to remove that unlikely possibility from consideration. A nuclear or antimatter element, though seemingly evidenced, cannot be considered as being more than an extremely remote possibility. 

The most credible solution, based on what has already been offered as evidence in this examination, is that the “light” was a manifestation of the mysterious phenomenon usually (but inaccurately) described as “Ball Lightning,” and had an outer envelope temperature similar to that of the room. The actual object emitting the light was probably quite small prior to entry and might have entered the building without visibly affecting the fabric: the crude roofing materials (dried leaves), wooden walls and floors would have presented no obstacle, and no doubt there were access points in and around the door or shutters. 

Alternatively the GLO may have manifested within the room in the same spontaneous manner as the Steeple Ashton Apparition. This entity or device then commenced to ‘examine’ the compartment and its contents by directing a complex probing system that operated at a frequency too low to be detected by the retina of the human eye. 

The system consisted of electrical impulses and electromagnetic signals, the transmissions being carried on narrow microwave beams. Penetrating into and through the victims’ bodies, the microwaves agitated water molecules, producing thermal effects in subcutaneous tissue that resulted in burns of 4th degree intensity. The carrier beams passed through the floor of the wooden building and penetrated the ground and, radiating outwards they made contact with the roots of all the plantains around the hut, and destroyed them. The injuries described, to both human and vegetable life, were probably unintentional, occurring as an accidental, but inevitable by-product of the electromagnetic probing system.

I have attempted, without success so far, to track down more data on this incident, especially with regard to the fate of the human victims, who may have eventually succumbed to the effects of physical trauma or severe damage to their internal organs. It is somewhat frustrating that despite the obvious significance of the event, the only documentary evidence known to be extant is a solitary communication to a science journal, in which it was published without comment. If Cowgill’s letter generated any response from the journal’s subscribers, nothing seems to have appeared in print.

The importance of the Venezuelan event must be obvious, even to the most casual researcher, for who could not be disturbed by the details of the horrible effects on its victims. Its greatest significance, however, is the extreme strangeness of the actual nature of the phenomenon. It suggests that there are intrusions into our existence by agencies from realms beyond our wildest imagination, and perhaps more terrible than the most appalling creation born from the nightmare matrix of darkest fear. 

The GLO is a physical reality and, whether by ruthless intent, through cold indifference, even, perhaps, because it is frequently ‘unaware’ of its surroundings and simply blunders blindly into our world, its manifestations may result in disastrous contacts with terrestrial life forms.

Camille Flammarion (Thunder & Lightning) describes a ‘lightning’ injury that seems remarkably similar to those of the Venezuelan victims: 

“A woman who was struck had her leg so horribly burnt that, on removing the stocking, some particles of flesh adhered to it. From the knee to end of the foot the skin was black as though carbonized, and the whole surface was covered with a species of blister full of a sero-purulent liquid. The burns were very serious but not mortal, and were localized in the leg.” PHYS/E008

This was not, I suggest, an effect of a ‘lightning’ strike, but rather the product of contact with an energetic emission from a GLO   

According to Flammarion, in April 1869, something (presumably a GLO Fireball) exploded over a building containing 80 sheep. Fifty of the poor creatures were “entirely carbonized,” the 30 that survived found “cowering together” in terror. All those left alive were “half asphyxiated” and “covered with sores, on the head, in the eyes, and on the back.” PHYS/E009   

Staying with our dear friend Camille, he (all too briefly) refers to the strange case of Dr Gaultier de Claubry who was struck by a ‘ball of fire’ that completely removed his beard, inclusive of the roots. (No mention is made in the English version of his book as to whether the hair on the top of the cranium or elsewhere on the body was affected.)   

The permanent loss of ‘face fungus’ was not the only consequence of this close encounter: his cranium began to swell and expanded until it was about one metre in circumference. The normal measurement would have been around 60 cm, so this indicates an expansion in the region of 70%! The victim became so ill that he was regarded as close to death but eventually recovered. (The doctor certainly had a close shave!) PHYS/E010

ESSAY © Peter van Doorn (Posted May 20, 2011)

PHYS/E011: Dunstable, England, 07.07.1896 
Letter, published in Nature (v54, p271, 23.07.1896), written by regular correspondent Worthington G. Smith:-


On Tuesday, July 7, a violent storm passed over this district, and three balls of fire have been reported. Two trees were splintered, and two sheep were struck by lightning on the downs.

One sheep was not seriously injured, but the other was killed; on being struck, both sheep turned over on their backs. The  one fatally injured was struck on the top of the head, the lightning passing down the animal’s right jaw on to its breast; here it divided into three, and passed down both fore-legs and under the stomach. The course of the lightning on the wool was like the track of a red-hot poker. After death the aft part and belly of the sheep were greatly distended, as if with air. The blood appeared to have rushed from the head to the rear of the animal at the moment of death, for, on skinning the sheep, the neck part was found to be destitute of blood, whilst a considerable amount of blood was under the skin of the back, as if blood had escaped to that position. The sheep’s mouth was distorted by being drawn aside. 

Close to the sheep’s fore-feet a hole was made in the ground by the lightning, about the size of a quart jug. 


In the following incident there can be no doubt that the victim lost his life as a direct consequence of contact with the GLO phenomenon.

PHYS/E012: Canton Appenzell Ausserrhoden, NE Switzerland, 05.07.1832


    His right eye was open and bright; it seemed to me as though a ray of intelligence beamed from it . . .

The summit of Mont Säntis rises 2504 metres above sea level, and lies about 25 km southwest of Rorscach on the shores of the Boden See (Lake Constance). It was here, on July 4, 1832, that a Swiss engineer named Buchwalder and his companion, on a geodesic expedition, pitched their tent. In the evening there was a rapid deterioration in the weather with heavy rain and a notable drop in temperature. At 04:00 the following day dense clouds from the west covered the mountain and two hours later a violent wind struck the peak. Distant thunder became audible and a storm of hail began which soon covered the mountain with “a sheet of ice.”
The men took refuge in their shelter and carefully closed every opening against the cold and wind. Buchwalder states in his account of the event: “For a few moments the storm seemed to abate, but it was only an interval of silence, a respite, during which a terrible crisis was in preparation.”    

At 08:15 thunder was again heard, but this time much closer to the mountain and more violent. Discharges from the electric storm were incessant, and grew louder as it continued to advance towards them.

At 10:00 the engineer, unable to stand the confinements of the tent any longer, went outside to examine the sky and measure the depth of the fallen hail:


    Scarcely had I taken a few steps in the open air, ere the thunder burst over my head with such fury that I deemed it prudent to regain the shelter of my tent, and my aide followed my example. In order to diminish the danger of being struck by lightning, we lay down side by side upon some planks. At this moment a cloud as dense and black as night, enveloped Säntis. The rain and hail fell in torrents; the wind blew with fury, and the flashes of lightning succeeded each other incessantly, crossing and re-crossing in every direction, and surrounding us with a lurid light like the reflection of a fire. 


The two men were literally inside a thundercloud: the world suddenly seemed to be ablaze and the atmosphere saturated with the sounds of a titanic artillery battle, each terrible explosion repeated as the waves rebounded off the mountainside. Buchwalder described the sound of each discharge as “a sharp, rending noise, a quivering crash as though the heavens had fallen in, and a dull prolonged roar, all in one.” His companion, almost overcome by the horror of their predicament, asked if they were about to die:


    I endeavoured to reassure him by mentioning the fact that Arago and Biot, during their observations in Spain, were surprised by a similar tempest. The lightning had struck their tent, but had glanced off from the cloth without hurting them. 

Hardly had I told him this, ere I heard a cry of distress, and at the same instant saw a ball of fire flash from the feet to the head of my companion, and felt a violent shock in my left leg. Our tent, also, was torn asunder in the middle with a terrific detonation. I turned toward my companion: In the light yielded by the tearing open of the tent, I saw the left side of his face dotted with red and brown spots caused by the electric fluid. His hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows were singed and burnt; his lips and nostrils were a livid blue; his breast heaved for a moment, and then the sound of breathing ceased. His right eye, which was wide open, brilliant and full of intelligent meaning, seemed turned upon me to implore my assistance, but the left eye remained closed, and, on parting the lids I saw that it was dull and leaden. 

Three times I tried to close that right eye, which was still gazing fixedly at me, and three times it opened again, with the look of life. I then placed my hand over his heart: it no longer beat.

My own left leg was paralysed, and I felt an acutely painful shivering in it, accompanied by an extraordinary agitation or boiling of the blood. A convulsive tremor ran through my whole body; a general stifling sensation half choked me, and my heart beat in the most tumultuously irregular manner.       


The engineer was able to withstand the assault of the energetic demon that had already killed his aide, and he somehow found the strength to descend the mountain and make his way to the village of Alt St Johann.

He later returned to the mountain top and discovered that all the metallic geodetic instruments had been damaged by the GLO: “The points, edges, and most delicate parts were softened and melted.” 

The most disturbing aspect of this grim incident is that the bodies of both victims were invaded by emissions from the GLO: the left side of the aide’s body died almost immediately while part of the right lingered until anoxia took effect – even then the right eye, and therefore part of the brain was preserved for a short time. Poor Buchwalder had to fight to stay alive: the energy demon battled to destroy him, producing the ghastly effect of the blood seemingly “boiling” in the veins and arteries of his left leg, and coming close to killing him through anoxia and heart failure. 


1. Arago’s companion Jean-Baptiste Biot (1774-1862) was a noted French physicist. 

English language versions of this incident can be found in Zürcher & Margollé, Meteors, Aerolites, Storms, & Atmospheric Phenomena pp109-112, New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1870, and Anon, Harpers New Monthly Magazine v9, pp511-513, September 1854

PHYS/E013: Warburton, Victoria, SE Australia, 00:15; 13.01.1898

Extract of a letter sent to the editor of The Argus (Melbourne) describing an almost apocalyptic event in the valley of the River Yarra:


Perhaps the account of a most singular occurrence which happened last night, or rather this morning, may be of interest to you. I have been spending the Christmas holidays at Warburton. 

Last night (Wednesday) the bush fires up here were very bad, and I accompanied my brother-in-law, Mr. J. T. Robinson, a. resident of this place, to see if the boys were safe, some distance up the Yarra River. 

We found them all right, and were proceeding home through the smoke on horseback, when suddenly a. terrible light appeared. It was quite blinding. It looked as though the whole heaven was one ball of electric light. Next there came deafening thunder, travelling along through the sky, and we were enveloped in a fearful darkness, which seemed like heavy black columns forcing us downwards. Almost immediately over our heads there then appeared to be two immense red balls, one close upon the other, and they seemed to sink in the earth about a, quarter of a mile from where we were. I received the strongest shock: me and my horse were thrown from one side of the road to the other, and I found myself prostrated in the drain, with my horse lying close beside me. Mr. Robinson’s horse crouched nearly down to the ground, and he saw the same things which I have described. He was quite dazed. 

I found out afterwards at the nearest house, about 400 yards distant, two of the inmates were thrown to the floor and dazed. In fact nearly all in the house were thrown about in their beds. We conjecture that it was a thunderbolt. 

I really cannot describe the terrible feeling produced, first by the vivid light and then by the extreme darkness. On going to bed I could feel during the rest of the night something like electric shocks going through my arms and fingers - pricking sensations. Strange enough the fall did not hurt me, and the only ill effect I feel is a peculiar sensation in my back. I should much like to know what the disturbance was. It took place about a quarter-past 12 on Thursday morning. 

Today both the horses seem extremely lazy, and it takes an effort to get them along.

Stuart P. Croom


The Argus (Melbourne), 17 Jan 1898 p6 

Report copied and sent to NEXUS by Kay Darnell Massingill

Posted 02.06.2012


PHYS/E014: Anderson County, East Texas, 1876

A woman out riding a horse, near the city of Palestine was seen to be struck and killed by a ‘ball of fire’ that fell from a ‘clear sky.’ 

The GLO Fireball struck the victim’s breast and set her clothing alight: the horse appears to have escaped without injury.

Reported in Elkhart Weekly Review, Elkhart (Indiana),16.03.1876

PHYS/E015: Hardin County, Central Iowa, USA, November 1880

John Eller of Alden encountered a similar GLO to the one that killed the woman in Texas: He was also on horseback when he observed ‘a ball of fire, apparently about the size of a flour barrel,’ descend from the sky towards him.

The shock of the object’s sudden appearance left him ‘paralysed with fear,’ and he could only watch as the sinister fireball struck his horse’s head, and then lost consciousness.

On recovering his senses he found to his horror that the horse was dead: the head of the poor animal was ‘seared’ as if ‘a red-hot iron’ had been applied.

Reported in The Repository, Canton (Ohio), 17.11.1880

PHYS/E016: Devil’s Lake, NE North Dakota, USA, 07.06.1901

A brief report in the Church’s Ferry Sun describes the narrow escape from a preternatural death of Ross Weimer, aged 12 while walking across his father’s farm.

The boy suddenly saw a fireball descending from out of ‘a clear sky’ and falling directly upon him.

The GLO landed upon his wrist and ruptured, the explosion ‘filling the air with a sulphurous gas.’ 

Somehow Ross survived, but the wrist and hand in actual contact with the GLO were badly burned, leaving the flesh blackened as though ‘charred by a red-hot iron,’ although no bones were broken.

The boy’s hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes were also burned. 

The ‘sulphurous’ gas released by the GLO’s rupture permeated his clothing for the smell was still evident ‘long after’ his return to the farmhouse

Much of the town of Church’s Ferry, along probably with the Ross farm has now disappeared with the expansion of the waters of Devil’s Lake. 

Reprinted in the Grand Forks Herald, Grand Forks, ND, 15.06.1901

PHYS/E014-016 newspaper reports located and sent to the NEXUS Project by Kay Darnell Massingill

Posted 10.06.2012