Earthlights / Earth Lights

Sharon Hill

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#1
There seems to be no thread devoted to earthlights (or "earth lights") of the terrestrial kind, popularized by Paul Devereux in FT. I contacted Paul and the last he wrote anything about the topic was 2010. There are some various mentions on here about will o' the wisp, UFO-related lights, some spook lights, earthquake lights, etc. It's my thing right now so I am looking for some discussion.

Earthlights are anomalous luminous phenomena that originate from the ground or very close to it, as opposed to lights above tree level that seem to come from the sky. They are sometimes said to behave intelligently and clearly overlap with UFOs in description as well as ghost lights in haunted places. In fact, I see reference to balls of light that would fall into the earthlight category within many paranormal accounts.

I am collecting all the pertinent books; there are not many. But in particular, I'm looking for Greg Long's Examining the Earthlight Theory: The Yakima UFO Microcosm. This was published by Center for U F O Studies (CUFOS) in 1990 and is long out of print and super expensive (for a rather small page count). Does anyone know how I can get a copy? I may be missing some available copy online, I hope.

There really are not good websites or current information. I've been saving the old stuff I could find. However, individual locations known for earthlights are fairly popular.

Anyone have access to some good sources? Or interesting thoughts on the topic?
 

INT21

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#2
Look into the Berwyn mystery.

And any YUFOS notes you can find from the 1980s. There was a case close to Malham.

Maybe back issues of Northern UFO News.

Contact Jayceedove.
 

hunck

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#5
Balls of light or bols have been seen & videoed occasionally around crop circles in the UK. They appear to move a few feet above the ground. There's a couple of examples on youtube.

Whether they fit the category earthlights I don't know.
 

EnolaGaia

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#6
Sharon:

Two questions:

(1) The biggest problem is figuring out what counts as an 'earthlight' versus some other category. Are you confident the description you gave above is definitive enough to circumscribe the category?

(2) Do you want earth light stories copied here so as to consolidate them in one place? For example, I have a pretty good one I posted long ago in the Will O' the Wisp thread:

https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/will-o-the-wisp-misc.5504/post-1062766
 

Sharon Hill

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#8
Sharon:

Two questions:

(1) The biggest problem is figuring out what counts as an 'earthlight' versus some other category. Are you confident the description you gave above is definitive enough to circumscribe the category?

(2) Do you want earth light stories copied here so as to consolidate them in one place? For example, I have a pretty good one I posted long ago in the Will O' the Wisp thread:

https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/will-o-the-wisp-misc.5504/post-1062766
Agreed re: definition. Maybe that is why it gets lost, subsumed within other things. It could be that the cause will be part of the definition - some energy release from the earth that causes them. Clearly, there are many causes for reports of them. I think will o the wisp is its own thing, just like earthquake lights will be their own thing (or more than one thing). Nature doesn't slip neatly into our categories.
 

Frideswide

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#9
Do you have a list yet of all the ways they have been described? as search terms I mean.
 

EnolaGaia

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#10
Well, there is the Hessdalen Lights.
... And the Marfa Lights. ... And the Brown Mountain Lights. ... And so on.

Some of these location-bound light phenomena become associated with one or another paranormal category (UFO's, ghosts, etc.), and some manage to remain standalone topics.

Another problem with defining an earth lights category concerns causality. In recent decades earthquake lights have been validated as a 'real thing' associated with geo-based / geological causation. Should geo-causation (or relative confidence in geo-causation) be a criterion for inclusion in the earth lights category?

Similar questions arise with respect to form and behavior.
 

Sharon Hill

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#11
... And the Marfa Lights. ... And the Brown Mountain Lights. ... And so on.

In recent decades earthquake lights have been validated as a 'real thing' associated with geo-based / geological causation. Should geo-causation (or relative confidence in geo-causation) be a criterion for inclusion in the earth lights category?
No they have not been validated. Persinger's work is not good and was never even close to verified. Earthquake lights are not taken seriously, completely disregarded, even, by most seismologists. But the stressed rock idea has merit. I just submitted a feature piece to FT on this topic. Earth lights as a topic is really tough to pin down. It's more like one way of framing anomalous luminous phenomenon. There are several others.
 

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#14
I'd be interested to see if there are different stories - say about marsh gas versus earth lights.
 

EnolaGaia

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#17
... Earth lights as a topic is really tough to pin down. It's more like one way of framing anomalous luminous phenomenon. There are several others.
Agreed ... That's why I asked how the set was supposed to be defined, or at least circumscribed.

If we can agree on a set of features or characteristics it would help focus the discussion and aid in recommending examples.

For example, here are some features I tend to invoke in categorizing something as an 'earth light' (by default or to the exclusion of other similar labels):

- They are peculiar to a given locale or site.

- They are not permanent features of that location's appearance, but they may be recurrently viewed on a regular basis, subject to particular viewing conditions or times.

- They are not - or do not appear to be - fixed to the ground, though their appearance may be reliably linked to a particular spot or clearly circumscribed small area or plot.

- They typically appear to be elevated above ground level, if only by a short distance.

- Their maximum elevation relative to an observer is at or slightly above the visible horizon OR at or slightly above visible landscape features (as opposed to overhead at a distance in the sky).

- They exhibit a coherent, if fuzzily-defined, form - most typically a discrete light (as opposed to ephemeral shapes or constantly mutating forms).

- They may change color during a given observation episode.

- They may change their apparent size(s) during a given observation episode.

- They may move during a given observation episode.

- They may wink in and out of view during a given observation episode.
 

EnolaGaia

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#18
Marsh gas does exist. It can also self-ignite.
My parents witnessed it when they visited an old friend.
I've witnessed ephemeral flame-like luminescence in forested areas on multiple occasions. In all these instances the phantom 'flame(s)' hovered above a stagnant marsh, pond, or marshy area where the soil was full of litter / decaying organic detritus. In one location the phenomenon hovered over a peat bog area with no water standing on the surface.

Essentially by default I've attributed these to 'marsh gas' or something akin to whatever 'marsh gas' is supposed to denote.
 

Mythopoeika

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#19
I've witnessed ephemeral flame-like luminescence in forested areas on multiple occasions. In all these instances the phantom 'flame(s)' hovered above a stagnant marsh, pond, or marshy area where the soil was full of litter / decaying organic detritus. In one location the phenomenon hovered over a peat bog area with no water standing on the surface.

Essentially by default I've attributed these to 'marsh gas' or something akin to whatever 'marsh gas' is supposed to denote.
It doesn't even have to occur on a marsh or wooded area. My parents saw it happen in their friend's back garden on the lawn. The house was built on land that was once a rubbish dump, so it was probably methane percolating to the surface. The phenomenon that they saw was close to the ground in the grass, and it was like a layer of flame flickering about for a very short time, moving about the surface. It would light for such a brief time that it left no charring. I wish I'd seen it.
 

Sharon Hill

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#20
Agreed ... That's why I asked how the set was supposed to be defined, or at least circumscribed.

If we can agree on a set of features or characteristics it would help focus the discussion and aid in recommending examples.

For example, here are some features I tend to invoke in categorizing something as an 'earth light' (by default or to the exclusion of other similar labels):

- They are peculiar to a given locale or site.

- They are not permanent features of that location's appearance, but they may be recurrently viewed on a regular basis, subject to particular viewing conditions or times.

- They are not - or do not appear to be - fixed to the ground, though their appearance may be reliably linked to a particular spot or clearly circumscribed small area or plot.

- They typically appear to be elevated above ground level, if only by a short distance.

- Their maximum elevation relative to an observer is at or slightly above the visible horizon OR at or slightly above visible landscape features (as opposed to overhead at a distance in the sky).

- They exhibit a coherent, if fuzzily-defined, form - most typically a discrete light (as opposed to ephemeral shapes or constantly mutating forms).

- They may change color during a given observation episode.

- They may change their apparent size(s) during a given observation episode.

- They may move during a given observation episode.

- They may wink in and out of view during a given observation episode.
I'd have a number of disagreements with this list.

If we include earthquake lights, they are not associated with a given site or recurrent. They may be at ground level (a glow at the ground/air interface). All of the "mays" above make this problematic. If earth lights exists - as a form of energy discharge from the earth (which may be the better definition) - they can take various forms. So defining by form is not the best route.
 

Sharon Hill

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#21
Marsh gas does exist. It can also self-ignite.
My parents witnessed it when they visited an old friend.
I would like a source on the self-ignite other than anecdotes. Wouldn't this cause visible effects such as smoke? The will o the wisp's so-called cool burning is still not scientifically explained. It is still speculation.
 
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#23
I would like a source on the self-ignite other than anecdotes. Wouldn't this cause visible effects such as smoke? The will o the wisp's so-called cool burning is still not scientifically explained. It is still speculation.
If it's methane as commonly supposed, it wouldn't spontaneously ignite at much below 600C, so "What ignites it?" is a fair question.
 

EnolaGaia

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#24
If it's methane as commonly supposed, it wouldn't spontaneously ignite at much below 600C, so "What ignites it?" is a fair question.
I'm not sure ignition / combustion is a key issue. The more ephemeral will o' the wisp style lights I've seen were wispy in form (similar to flames) but didn't otherwise exhibit anything suggestive of fire / combustion. They looked more like a pale glowing vapor mass, insinuating something more akin to luminescence or phosphorescence than incandescence.
 
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#25
I'm not sure ignition / combustion is a key issue. The more ephemeral will o' the wisp style lights I've seen were wispy in form (similar to flames) but didn't otherwise exhibit anything suggestive of fire / combustion. They looked more like a pale glowing vapor mass, insinuating something more akin to luminescence or phosphorescence than incandescence.
Seems more likely. I've always been faintly troubled by the notion of spontaneous combustion of methane.
 

Mythopoeika

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#26
I would like a source on the self-ignite other than anecdotes. Wouldn't this cause visible effects such as smoke? The will o the wisp's so-called cool burning is still not scientifically explained. It is still speculation.
I have no idea about what caused it. I only know that they experienced something strange.
As for 'spontaneous combustion'... it's possible that a blade of grass had maintained enough of a glow to re-ignite it. If, indeed, ignition is what they witnessed and not some other effect.
 

skinny

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#27
The Min Min Lights are well-known in Oz. I've never seen them. My father and uncle (both retired reverends) told of a pair of their parishioners who were drunk on a road in outback Queensland. The lights followed their vehicle and then hovered above it. They crawled under the car in fear and swore off alcohol right there. I've often seen distant vehicle headlights reflecting off of cloud at night in the outback. It can be quite impressive depending on what you may be smoking at the time.

2003 UofQ academic perspective
Recent news article
 

Sharon Hill

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#30
There are so many weird new things in the sky! It seems presumptuous to ever suggest they are alien craft, paranormal, or a rare natural phenomenon.
 
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