1. Ball Lightning
This bizarre electrical phenomenon usually occurs during thunderstorms and lasts for up to thirty seconds. Balls of lightening are said to behave in strange ways, hovering, rolling, hissing and sometimes passing through walls, in a way that seems completely unnatural. As a result, ball lightening has long been associated with aliens and ghosts, and the kind of pseudo-psychic head-cases who believe they can communicate with the other side. Thousands of people throughout history have reported seeing ball lightening, including Benjamin Franklin and my grandmother, but until recently their claims were largely ignored. However, with an increasing amount of photographic and video evidence available, scientists have now begun to take ball lightening seriously and are now attempting to recreate this entirely natural phenomenon within the confines of a laboratory.
Described by scientists as a plasma phenomenon, St Elmo’s fire is caused by ionization in the atmosphere. Named for the patron saint of sailors, the phenomenon was historically witnessed emanating from the lightning conductors atop tall ships, however it can occur almost anywhere, particularly during thunderstorms. Whilst the phenomenon may appear to be flame-like when a lightening rod is it’s source, it has been more accurately described as a blue-green glow.
3. The Goat Suckers
Goat suckers, or Chupacabras, are the hypothetical creatures blamed for a recent series of cattle mutilations in South America. In the past decade hundreds of cattle have been found mutilated across Brazil alone. Often the cattle are found to have had huge amounts of blood drained from their bodies but other signs include the removal of the jaw, tongue or anus in startling similarity to cattle mutilations in the US.
The goat sucker myth began in Puerto Rico where a series of sightings during the 1970s first made headlines. At first it seemed that goats and sheep were the only item on the menu but this soon changed when the creatures were reported in Mexico two decades later and began attacking cattle. There are a number of theories explaining the sudden appearance of this critter in South America. Perhaps the most logical explanation is that their species is native to the Amazon and that deforestation has forced them to leave the rain-forest for the first time in search of food. Another popular, if somewhat unlikely explanation is that the goatsuckers are of extraterrestrial origin, owing to the fact that goat sucker attacks often coincide with UFO sightings.
Descriptions of goat suckers vary hugely and whether they actually exist is a matter of huge debate. Many say that predatory animals could be behind the rise of livestock mutilations or blame covert government experimentation, but the truth remains a mystery.
This phenomenon is extremely rare and no plausible, scientific theory has yet been offered to explain how a person can suddenly burst into flames, but it would appear that some few unfortunate people have done exactly that.
Most deaths thought to be caused by spontaneous human combustion can be attributed to the “wick effect”, whereby a person’s body fat acts like candle wax, causing a person to burn in an intensely hot but extremely well contained fireball. Strangely, all that is left in most cases is the lower part of the victims legs, which contain little fat, and their feet, which are usually found to be still wearing slippers. This would seem to explain how homes are sometimes left undamaged after a victim’s body has been burned to cinders along with their favorite armchair. However, whilst the “wick effect” explains the way in which a human body might burn it offers no explanation for the cause of the fire.
Whilst UFO sightings vary so widely in description that would seem to defy logic entirely, the amazing commonality between individual alien abduction stories would seem to suggest that more is at work here than a few over active imaginations. Psychologists have linked abduction stories to a deep routed fear of pregnancy in both men and women, explaining why so many self-proclaimed abductees claim to have been implanted with alien fetuses. Another well established theory behind alien abduction is that strong electromagnetic fields, perhaps occurring naturally, could cause a person to suffer an epileptic fit whilst simultaneously causing nearby electrical equipment (such as car radios) to malfunction. The person would subsequently see flashing lights before blacking out. Waking up from such an experience, the word “aliens”, would surely be the first on your lips.
It would seem rattling filing cabinets, burst gas pipelines and a five-star performance from Charlton Heston and Lorne Green are not the only signs that your home has been hit by an earthquake. Survivors of epic earthquakes have often reported strange flashing lights and even upward streaking bolts of lightening in the area around the epicenter of the quake. The earliest recorded example of this phenomenon was in ancient China and even a recent mini-quake in Lincolnshire, England has people talking about strange lights and the appearance of ball lightening. Scientists have theorized that these lights are the result of geo-luminescence, a phenomenon in which rocks actually produce light when exposed to extreme pressure, and that the lightening is the result of geological friction.
Between July 25 and September 23, 2001, it was reported that unusually discolored rain was falling in the southern Indian state of Kerala. The blood-red rain fell sporadically throughout the region and scientists rushed to the scene to analyze its composition. Upon further inspection it was discovered that microscopic particles present in the water, similar in appearance to human blood cells, were responsible for the discoloration.
Several explanations for the blood-rain were circulated, including the theory that a meteorite, which had struck the atmosphere shortly before the monsoon began, had collided with a flock of bats and sprayed their blood into the atmosphere. Perhaps the most ambitious theory was that of scientists Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar of the Muhatma Gandhi University in Karela. They speculated that the contaminating cells were extraterrestrial in origin and that they had been carried to Earth by a meteorite, confirming panspermia theory. The currently accepted, however, is that the contaminating particles are a type of marine algae but Louis and Kumar maintain that the cells have “unusual properties”.
The town of Taos, New Mexico, is the site of much scientific pondering. Residents in the town have long been perplexed by a distant hum, similar to that of a distantly idling diesel engine, the source of which has never been found. Strangely the sound has only ever been heard by around half of the people in the town and visiting scientists have failed to detect the sound with even the most sophisticated audio equipment. A similar hum in Hawaii has led some to speculate that it may be indicative of volcanic activity.
Before the flying saucer craze of the 1950s another strange phenomenon was the subject of huge debate for the US air force pilots of WWII. Strange balls of light were spotted flying over German airspace and the Pacific Ocean at high speed, causing frustration for both Allied and Axis pilots. Both became convinced that these “fire balls” were a type of experimental enemy aircraft. The US air force became increasingly concerned at how easily the foo fighters could outmaneuver their own aircraft. Despite never engaging in combat with aircraft the foo fighters were seen as a nuisance for the way they would ‘dance’ around and fly in close formation with US aircraft. Many pilots felt that the foo fighters were teasing them in some way. The name foo fighter came from the belief that the Japanese were responsible for this high speed taunting, although sightings continued after the conflict had ended. Cylindrical and disc shaped craft were also reported in the skies over Europe.
Ancient artifacts from as early as 10,000 BC have been found to show images of strange men wearing what would appear to be space suits. Sometimes alien, sometimes human, these figures are always depicted as wearing transparent helmets and can sometimes be seen to hold strange artifacts, perhaps guns or tools. Whoever these people were, are or will be, they seem to have woven their way into the cultures of ancient people across the world, appearing in cave drawings, Egyptian hieroglyphs and religious idles. Images of flying saucers, airplanes and helicopters have also been spotted on Egyptian artifacts, causing much head scratching amongst archaeologists. Was this prophecy, alien contact or will we one day develop the ability to travel through time?