Ball lightning in Mannings Heath - eyewitness

county times june 20
county times june 20

A witness has described seeing a ball of white light shooting through Mannings Heath, just before a power cut and major disruption to nearby electronic devices.

The object, which appears to fit descriptions of a rare phenomenon called ‘ball lightning’, was seen in the village on June 7 afternoon.

Roger Spinks told the County Times that he was working at The Village Store, Pound Lane, when he saw it shoot past, heading south-west along the course of Golding Lane and Church Road.

He said it went past very quickly with a strange motion ‘like a bouncing bomb’.

Mr Spinks said it reminded him of the balloon-like entity from cult TV series The Prisoner.

“It was just like a ball of white light,” he said. “It flashed down the road, then there was a terrific bang like a bomb going off, and our lights went out.

“Our card machine went out - I think it took out a lot of the village’s phones, broadband and Sky.

“Our telephone was gone for several days.

“A couple of lads came in, they were window cleaners.

“One of them had been up a ladder cleaning and the shock of it knocked him off the ladder.”

Ball lightning is rarely seen, and its cause and nature are the subject of a number of hypotheses.

These range from it being a form of St Elmo’s Fire - a harmless electrical effect often seen aboard ships - to it being caused by a tiny antimatter meteor reaching ground level.

The phenomenon is extremely difficult to study scientifically because it appears so rarely and so unpredictably,

Since so little is known about it, ‘ball lightning’ has been used as a handy explanation for many reported mysteries, including UFOs, spontaneous human combustion, and the Star of Bethlehem.