New studies surrounding the mysterious phenomenon of "ball lightning" reveal that it may originate in the observer's brain as a hallucination. These hovering orbs of light occur after a lightning strike and last only a few seconds, or minutes, but they can have a lasting impression on those who observe them. 

The electrical charge from a lightning strike, or in a controlled study utilizing a wire coiled around a patient's head, generates a magnetic field that fluctuates causing "neurons to fire in the visual cortex." In the lab the phenomenon is known as transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, which can cause patients to observe "pale ovals, bubbles, lines, or patches." which are all entopic phenomenon generated by the mechanics of the human brain.

According to Josef Peer and Alexander Kendl of Innsbruck University in Austria, a lightning strike typically generates a "return stroke" after it hits the ground, and this single flash generates an average of two to five return strokes. On the occasion these strikes can generate more than 20 return strokes which cause a protracted stream effect producing hallucinations.

Apparently, if an observer is in safe, yet close proximity to the lightning strike, the same effect is generated as with the lab generated TMS.  The fluctuated magnetic field produces the same hallucinations, which are the estimated cause of about half of all ball lightning sightings. Scientists are doubtful that sightings that last longer than a few seconds are caused by TMS since the duration of even repetitive return strokes does not last long.

These findings seem to reveal that the bio-electrical systems of human beings are wired to particular frequencies which lay the foundation for the dominant reality of "everyday life."  We are, however, sensitive to fluctuations in these frequencies, through which our reality can shift and allow us to perceive the unimaginable.

Image: "Ball Lightning 2" by sjoerdphoto on Flickr courtesy of
Creative Commons Licensing.