- Hundreds of people are visiting a new
Website in the hope of spotting mysterious lights over the so-called haunted
valley of Derbyshire's Peak District.
- Roger Harrabin has his eye on the Peaks.
Some are looking for UFOs. But many others are looking for evidence of
what they believe may be a new scientific phenomenon - lights generated
by pressure on the rocks in the Earth.
- The site's video camera looks out over
a bend in the road known as Devil's Elbow in the valley of Longdendale
and is set up in the Glossop home of internet consultant Debbie Fair.
- Eye witness
- Once a month, Debbie hooks up the video
camera to the computer and then onto the Internet, allowing people all
over the world a chance to glimpse the Longdendale lights. "They
are like ephemeral flames that sometimes light up the whole valley,"
- "One report said that a woman was
driving when little balls of light began to dance on her dashboard and
move over the car. They danced round on the back of her car, and then disappeared.
She has never been able to explain that."
- So far, the Website has offered little
more exotic than cloud, rain and Peak District mist. Nonetheless, plenty
of other people claim to have seen mysterious lights.
- In fact, the Peak District mountain rescue
team has been called out many times by visitors reporting lights on the
moors in the mistaken assumption that walkers are lost in the night.
- At Sheffield University, the journalist
Dr David Clarke gained a PhD by collating reports of strange lights in
- "There is quite a long tradition
of people seeing lights in that particular valley, only through the ages
they are given different names," says Dr Clarke.
- "If you look at accounts in the
19th century or before that you will hear them described as 'devil's lights'
or 'devil's bonfires'. As you move into this century they become ghosts
and flying saucers - it is all down to the culture of the time."
- No mystery
- In many cases, there is a perfectly rational
explanation for the visions. Some people do not realise that they have
been looking at the planet Venus. Some are fooled by the flash lights of
game keepers hunting foxes on the moors at night.
- Outsiders are also easily confused by
the light from planes on the flight path to Manchester. The mountain mist
kills the sound of the engines but refracts the light, so they appear to
be dancing across the ground.
- Flash lights on foxes is one theory.
But some scientists believe though that a few of the lights may be genuinely
mysterious physical phenomena, possibly generated by movements within the
- "In Derbyshire there are numerous
geological faults, mineral deposits, reservoirs and the weight of water
on underground cracks like geological faults can cause movement of the
Earth which could generate the sort of electrical magnetic forces that
could produce the lights," says Paul Devereaux, author of two books
on the lights.
- This will sound unlikely to some, but
people who have witnessed major earthquakes also report visions of lights
in the sky.
- The sightings were dismissed as delusions
under stress until Japanese researchers captured them on film.
- Dr Roger Musson, a seismologist with
the British Geological Survey, says scientists are trying to solve the
puzzle of the Earth lights through laboratory experiments.
- "Some people have found that if
you take rock samples and submit them to certain stresses and temperatures
then you can get them to emit light, but none of the observations have
never talked about the ground glowing, it is always lights in the sky,"
- "So I really think there is some
new sort of mechanism that needs to be determined, but what it is is anybody's
guess at the moment."