- LUCKNOW (IANS) - Balls of
lightning and not any mysterious flying object left claw marks on the faces
of villagers in Uttar Pradesh during the past month, a scientist has said
after studying the phenomenon.
- Such balls of lightning, as distinct from the bolts of
lightning that strike during the monsoons, often fall to earth during prolonged
dry spells, professor Ravindra Arora of the Indian Institute of Technology,
Kanpur, said. The balls are as bright as a 100-watt bulb.
- Large parts of Uttar Pradesh are currently facing a drought.
- "Dry spells increase soil resistance while decreasing
its conductivity and attract lightning balls that emit different colours,
mostly blue, green, yellow or red," Arora, a specialist in high voltage
electricity, told IANS.
- "I have sufficient reason to believe that the burn
injuries on the faces of victims were caused by these lighting balls, which
range in size from a tennis ball to a football."
- They cause burn injuries if they come into contact with
human skin but otherwise fall harmlessly to the ground, he contended.
- Arora came to the conclusion after viewing an image of
the object that had been copied on to a CD and sent to him for examination.
- The phenomenon had created panic in many parts of Uttar
Pradesh as scores of people reported they were attacked by a strange and
brightly lit flying object that left scratch marks on their faces.
- For lack of a better word to describe it, the unidentified
flying object was referred to as 'muhnochwa', or something that claws the
- Reports of encounters at night with the 'muhnochwa' first
came in from rural areas, but incidents had occurred in towns and cities
too, including the state capital Lucknow.
- Initially the authorities dismissed the reports as products
of wild imagination. Later, they were worried enough to double power supply
to the worst hit districts so villagers wouldn't spend long hours in the
- "The injury marks on the faces of victims were nothing
but burns caused by these lighting balls," Arora held.
- According to him, "the phenomena of lightning balls
is older than life on earth. There is evidence of these balls over the
ages. Reports about these have been received from different parts of Europe
and the U.S. The highest frequency has been reported from New Zealand.
- "In all cases, people can see a ball-like object
travelling sideways in the air and emitting red, blue, yellow or green
- Arora attributed much of the panic to superstition and
the belief in myths that is prevalent among the vast rural population in
Uttar Pradesh. At the same time, he was confident that the phenomenon would
disappear once the monsoon set in.
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