I find ball lightning explanation to be incredibly hard to swallow, as if it would occur that frequently. Hmm
By Tim Clodfelter Winston-Salem Journal
It has been 10 years since I tried — and failed — to find the Brown Mountain Lights, mysterious lights reportedly seen for decades or even centuries in that region.
But now, two researchers from Appalachian State University have succeeded in finding … something.
A few years ago, Daniel Caton, a physics and astronomy professor, and Lee Hawkins, an observatory engineer, installed a camera to take photos of the mountain all night long, and last winter they added a second camera. On the night of July 16-17, they caught what Caton describes as “an anomalous light” in the sky.
“It appeared high over the ridge and background town lights, four times over about 20 minutes,” Caton wrote in a column that ran in the Raleigh News & Observer. They were able to determine that it wasn’t anything celestial — i.e., not a star or planet — and that it did not appear to be a light from an airplane based on how long it stayed in the same place in the time-lapse video, but exactly what it was remains a mystery.
In a recent telephone interview, Caton said “the only (theory) I really have is it’s possibly ball lightning,” he said, referring to a little-understood meteorological phenomenon often associated with thunderstorms. But even that notion doesn’t explain why it’s so commonly reported in that area.
“Suppose it is ball lightning, what is it about the Linville Gorge area that produces it?” he asked. “We don’t know what triggers it ... and that correlation may not actually be real.”
When a Journal photographer and I traveled to Brown Mountain 10 years ago, we heard ball lightning as one of the theories floated about the lights. We also heard many other theories including an “energy discharge” generated by quartz or lithium; the fire under moonshine stills; fireflies; UFOs; and “wormholes” into another dimension.
Caton had been intrigued by the lights about 10 years ago himself, after a student asked him about them, and went on dozens of viewing runs with no results, which gradually made him skeptical about the lights even existing. After he discussed the Brown Mountain Lights in an article for The Associated Press, he heard from witnesses, some of whom described what he thought sounded a lot like ball lightning. That led him to continue his research.
“It’s just an area (of science) that we don’t understand very much,” he said. “I’ve always taken the Carl Sagan approach, that science has a responsibility for investigating claims of things. You can’t just pooh-pooh it.”
Caton and Hawkins set up their cameras, “operating at the generosity of a homeowner’s weekend retreat home on Jonas Ridge,” Caton said, where they placed the cameras and are using the house’s internet bandwidth to transmit the pictures. He was about ready to give up on the project, but now that they’ve seen evidence there may be something to the reports of the lights, the project will continue.
As of last week, Caton said they had still not seen a repeat of those anomalous lights, but he plans to continue their research with the permission of the homeowner, whose identity he is keeping anonymous to protect their privacy.
“We’re going to for another year and see where we are, as long as it’s OK with the homeowner,” he said. “We’re running totally at their pleasure.”
I hope that their observations can give us some answers, my thoughts are UFO's ....