Ball Lightning Dancing on the Water

Alana has several amazing experiences with mysterious balls of light she suspects were ball lightning

Twice in my life I have seen something that I believe to be ball lightning. What I saw both times was completely different. Both of these experiences were in the same year. I was 16, so this was 17 years ago. This happened on the Sunshine Coast, in Perwillowen, just outside of Nambour. The valley has been developed now.

Four of us were camping in a valley a few kilometers out of town. We camped beneath a tree by a stream. My friend wanted to go explore the valley by moonlight. He was gone a long time, an hour at least, before the three of us began to worry.

We eventually decided to split up and look for him, but be careful not to get lost ourselves. I followed the stream, walking toward its source against the current. Further up, I saw a golden light bobbing along above the surface of the water. Assuming it was my vanished friend with his torch, I yelled his name. Then, as the light continued to come toward me, I realized there was nothing attached to it. It was a disembodied light. A small, white-golden ball about the size of a torch light. Shimmering light, like a small star.

I was spooked, but enchanted. My voice died in my throat mid call, and I dropped down to a squat to watch the light and see what would happen next.

The light got to about a meter away from me, still hovering, gliding, about two feet above the water (moving in the same direction as the water)... then disappeared. No sound. It just vanished, like how a firefly's phosphorescence dies.

I waited by the stream for a long time collecting myself, wondering if I really did just see what I thought I saw.

I was straight, not tripping or stoned or even drunk.

When I went back to the tree, the other two were waiting. My friend that we'd set out to find came back from the opposite direction of the light. Without a torch. I was convinced for a long time afterward that I had seen an elemental. Perhaps a water sprite.

Having studied more about ball lightening phenomena, I think it's more likely this is what I saw.

My second experience was a few months later. Again, I was straight, same group of friends. We were camped out at Musgrave Park in Brisbane for a Medieval Farye thing in which we were performing the next day. The Viking guys camped next to our encampment had brought their two horses with them. I love horses, and was missing my own.

I was at the pen where the horses were being kept, stroking their manes and saying goodnight. It was late and I was the only one awake, to my knowledge. A small white ball about the size of my fist came whizzing through the air, past my head, about a meter away, narrowly missing the horses. It went fast, then disappeared with a bang. Both the horses spooked. That's how I knew I hadn't imagined it. The horses saw it, too.

I'm not sure if it's relevant, but Musgrave Park is all sacred, reclaimed land to Australia's indigenous people.

I wondered at the time if perhaps I'd witnessed a spirit of some kind, given the juju of the place. Once again, I'm almost certain, in retrospect, that it was ball lightning. Interesting that both experiences were completely different. The first time, the light was soft, golden, slow and silent. The second time, brilliant, white, fast and accompanied by a whizzing sound and a bang as it vanished. Apparently, both observations fit the description of ball lightning phenomena.

As a footnote, I will mention this: This same year, a girlfriend of mine was lying in her bed with her lover and they both witnessed tiny golden lights float through her window into the room. This happened in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, about a half hour drive from the valley where I saw the golden light. She said it was beautiful, but terrifying.

She said the lights floated and followed one another for a few seconds and disappeared.

It sounds like ball lightning... still I have never read a case of multiple lights. Especially lights that seemed conscious of one another... enough to dance together. I wonder... all this activity within a hundred kilometers of each respective place, within months of each respective sighting. Perhaps South East Queensland had some kind of electrical phenomena going on that year.

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