Ball lightning is as mysterious as Big Foot and as controversial as UFO’s. No scientist has ever been able to conclusively prove its existence while at the same time no scientist has been able to prove it doesn’t exist either. All we have are a lot of sketches and eyewitness accounts which hold no weight in the scientific community. Especially when the event only lasts a few seconds, the whiteness was not prepared for what they were about to see and the subject is usually startled at the perceived event. So where does that leave us? Is ball lightning real or is it just a myth?
That may be a difficult question to answer. We do have a lot of theories that claim it could exist, but none have been able to recreate the elusive phenomenon in a scientifically controlled environment. As previously mentioned, there are lots of sketches and eyewitness testimony, but that’s the case with Big Foot, the Lockness Monster, aliens, and Elvis sightings. So what do people think ball lightning is? Is it really lightning? Is it some subterranean energy that is created by enormous stresses in rocks? Is it a super heated plasma? Is it an after image or a sort of optical illusion? It would seem it’s all of these things and more.
Some mistake welding slag, Saint Elmo’s Fire, arcing electricity and rapid oxidation as ball lightning. It’s tough to say what ball lightning isn’t when we don’t know what it could be. But, if these things are ball lighting then they have been witnessed for years and it wouldn’t be that phenomenal to observe such an event. That being said, those who claim to have seen ball lighting describe it as having some extraordinary capabilities. It hovers or floats slowly in mid air and either rapidly disappears or sometimes explodes with a loud bang. Some even claim it has passed through solid objects only to reappear on the other side. This hardly sounds like a case of mistaken identity. However, if ball lightning does exist, it could very well redefine some of the fundamental properties of electricity and magnetism.
However, until a scientific paper is written on the reproduction of ball lightning, which has been verified by other independent scientists, most will continue to hold a sort of agnostic opinion on the subject.