Some science behind the scenes

Ball lightning

Wikipedia says that

Ball lightning is an unexplained and potentially dangerous atmospheric electrical phenomenon. The term refers to reports of luminous, spherical objects that vary from pea-sized to several meters in diameter. Though usually associated with thunderstorms, the phenomenon lasts considerably longer than the split-second flash of a lightning bolt. Two reports from the nineteenth century claim that the ball eventually explodes, leaving behind an odor of sulfur.  Until the 1960s, most scientists treated reports of ball lightning skeptically, despite numerous accounts from around the world.

So bewildered is ‘science’ by these phenomena that many scientists have either denied "ball lightning" or have considered it very doubtful. But, a Dr. Sestier provided a list of one hundred and fifty instances, which he considered authentic.

A huge light ball can knock out electrical equipment and is impossible to look at, as the brightness is so great - and I know this because we had one massive ball at 2am in our valley.

Charles Fort appears to have got the closest to the truth, but not the whole truth, when he said

I think, myself, that thousands of objects have been seen to fall from aloft, and have exploded luminously, and have been called "ball lightning."

Except that not all ball lightning explodes.  Ours didn't, it woke us up as the light pierced the curtains enough to make us think it was midday, and then it eventually went away, but there was no explosion.

"As to what ball lightning is, we have not yet begun to make intelligent guesses." (Monthly Weather Review, 34-17.)

In the Monthly Weather Review, 33-409, there is an account of "ball lightning" that struck a tree. It made a dent such as a falling object would make.  One of the most astonishing of the phenomena of "ball lightning" is a phenomenon of many meteorites: that when they do explode the violence of the explosion is out of all proportion to their size and velocity.

Thus we have to conclude that the term actually covers a number of phenomena - and suggestions for the phenomena that might be included are quite imaginative - vast Intelligences temporarily visiting earth, the explosion of UFOs, electrical effects in telluric hot spots, ........

According to Capt. C.D. Sweet, of the Dutch bark, J.P.A., upon March 19, 1887, N. 37° 39', W. 57° 00', he encountered a severe storm.  He saw two objects in the air above the ship. One was luminous, but the other was dark. One or both fell into the sea, with a roar and the casting up of billows. --"immediately afterward lumps of ice fell."