Subject: UFO Sighting submitted by telephoneinterview
Witness: MIKE XXXXX, 23-yrs old (Name andnumber on file, but reserved from publication) Resident of Milford, Ohio(513-576-XXXX)
Date: SATURDAY NIGHT, June 14, 1997
Time: 10:30 p.m.
Event Location: Stonelick-Williams CornerRoad (between 131 & 50) Just north of the 'covered bridge' by severalhundred feet.
Description: Two witnesses, Mike and Shannon XXXXX.Mike had just picked up his brother, Shannon, from a grocery store at Eastgate.The two were headed home. As they just crossed the old covered bridge,coming from Route 50 and heading north, they reported seeing an orangish-redlight the size of a softball. The light travelled at a height comparableto that of the hood of their car. The object approached from the front,went straight at them, and went around the car on the drivers side. Thedriver, Mike XXXXX, hit the brakes and jumped out of car, and Shannon objectedto his brother getting out. Both witnesses were excited. Object was perfectlysilent, and visible for just a few seconds (3 to 5). It departed from viewas it continued on travelling the opposite direction along the highway,still at the same elevation.
Weather Conditions: Moon visible, clear sky, temperaturewarm. At 10:30 p.m. the moon would have been at 210 (SW),42
Other: No electrical trouble, strange animal reactionor other anomalous happenings reported.
Comment: The witness sounded cognizant, honestand sincere, and when I asked if 'that's all to the story,' he replied,"I guess that's about it." Given my impression of the witness credibility,I am inclined to suspect that there may be no immediate explanation availablefor the glowing softball-sized object which reportedly 'weaved' aroundhis automobile.
August 21, 1997
The witness, interviewed by researchers RonSchaffner, Kenny Young and Greg Deye on Sunday, September 1, 1997, he posedfor photographs to motion in the direction where he claims the small glowingobject first appeared before circling evasively around his car. The objectwas said to be a 'red ball of light.'
During this investigation, Ron Schaffner located charred wood fragments,indicating a fire which had been ignited previously in the immediate vicinityof the event. The charred remnants could indicate flaming fragments whichmay have been flung into the air or else directly at the motorist by nearbypranksters.
Schaffner also states: "The covered bridgearea has produced some local and urban legends over the years, such asdevil worshippers and mysterious, unexplained deaths. According to my sources,there are no devil worshippers there. I used to go up there a lot in the70's and 80's. (Good fishing there.) The devil-worshipper angle is alsoan urban legend."
Correspondence and possible explanations...
by Mike Frizzell, The Enigma Project
In some respects, this interesting report hasa nostalgic ring. Given its small size, low altitude, and confrontationaldemeanor, it reminds me of some of the "ghostlight" cases we investigatedyears ago. It would be interesting to determine if that particular roador region has had similar occurrences over the years (a characteristicof these strange nocturnal lights is to "haunt" the same locale repeatedlyover a long period of time).
Regarding weather conditions, it seems that inthe vast majority of cases on record, storm activity seemed to be a prerequisitefor ball lightning activity.
In many cases ball lightning has been silent orhas produced a static crackle or hum. However, while it is relatively quietin its travels, it tends to extinguish itself with an explosive report.Another point to consider here is that ball lightning is an extremely short-livedphenomenon, generally having a "lifespan" ranging from a few seconds toa minute or two at most.
Witnesses have often described ball lightningas exhibiting a "behaviour" in that it displays inquisitiveness, playfulness,and is most deliberate in its actions. These qualities have been long speculatedupon as nothing more than wildly fluctuating electrostatic charges inducingthe plasma to perform a variety of unusual movements depending on whatlike and unlike charges it encounters during its brief lifetime. Who knows...?
One of the best sources of ball lightning informationand case histories is the Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena by WilliamCorliss. I highly recommend it.
by Terry Endres, T.A.S.K. Director and A.R.C. Commentator
Ball lightning is a plausible explanation to accountfor the CLERMONT COUNTY report. However, upon further exploration, we havea number of good reasons to reject this explanation.
1. Weather conditions, said to be clear with moonvisible. Although some speculate that ball lightning can materialize anywhere,how do we know for certain that the nature and properties of ball lightningwould be such that it could form on a warm, clear night and travel, withpath, low to ground?
2. Apparent lack of sound: It is often said thatball lightning is accompanied by a strong, static-like crackle of soundwhile visible.
3. EVAVISE CONDUCT: alleged glowing light circledcar and resumed initial path above road. This seems to indicate controlledflight
Ball Lightning Analysis
If ball lightning is dependent on static electriccharge, then an apparent storm is not required. If this area is also closeto high voltage power lines, coronal discharge could generate enough energyto produce a "ball lightning" episode (St. Elmo's fire). This might alsobe a case in support of the Earth Light hypothesis, wherein geologic activitymight produce a plasma discharge [earthquake lights].
While there may be a crackling sound associatedwith ball lightning, its volume would probably depend on the actual voltageof the discharge. Also, hearing this "sizzle" depends on witness proximityand if the wind is blowing the right way. Also, witnesses were in a car.If driving with windows up and air conditioning on, the sizzle would notbe heard. If windows down, wind could have masked the sound. Witnessesexited the car after its evasive motion and when it was probably too faraway to be heard.
The evasive conduct reported may be due to polarityof charge being the same as the magnetic field generated by the car's powersystems. As to why the object followed the road, there may be two possibilities:
A. It was not running parallel to the road butparallel to the telephone/electric lines along side the road.
B. If the road has ever been paved of concrete,the rebar [steel reinforcing] might serve to "conduct" the discharge alongthe road.
I vote for "ball lightning."
FURTHER DISCUSSION AND DISAGREEMENT
by Dale Farmer
Terry, I totally disagree with this explanation!
First of all what, geological activity took placein Clermont County? It would have to be a big one to produce ball lightning.Even with that there is really no hard core proof that relates geologicalactivity to ball lightning. Secondly, there was another message relatingthat the ball followed the road either because of transmission lines followingthe road or steel reinforcement under the road. I would like to know whattype of road it is made of . Not all road have steel reinforcements especiallyif it is a back road (county road). I think their has to be a better explanationto this.
More reasons to say NO to ball lightning...
1) Ball lightning is most often associated withthunderstorms. Non-thunderstorm ball-lightning-like phenomena has occurredwith high voltage electrical equipment.
2) Most occurrences of ball lightning are accompaniedwith a simultaneous cloud-to-ground discharge.
3) Occasionally, ball lightning has been reportedto act as though it is guided by intelligence. There have been severalreports of people being chased by it.
4) Ball lightning usually moves very swiftly andhas a lifetime of less than 5 sec. Although there have been exceptions:many reports in which it is stationary; some reports of 1 min. duration.
5) Also, while ball lightning can move downwardand horizontally, it almost never moves upward.
6) Ball lightning has been observed in severaldifferent colors -- most common is a reddish hue.
7) It also is not uncommon for ball lightningto have an odor or sound.
Swamp Gas or "Corpse Candles?"
The phenomenon called St. Elmo's Fire is certainlynot the culprit since it needs a conducting surface and a strong electricfield to produce visible effects. Earthquake lights are an unlikely causesince there is an absence of known tectonic activity in that area. Somethingsimilar to swamp gas may be the culprit behind the 'CLERMONT SCARE.'
The 'swamp gas' term is used rather loosely here,and numerous other names have been suggested to account for similar phenomena:i.e. wil'o-the-wisp, corpse candles, spirit lights, bog lights, etc.
There are numerous reasons for suggesting thisclassic, often used UFO explanation. First, the sighting(s) occurred neara covered bridge. There is a small creek/stream underneath the bridge.Also, the bridge is in the proximity of a cemetery. The presence of bothcorpses and water in this vicinity could indicate that there may be decomposingof organic material happening in this area. So, a presence of methane andhydrogen phosphide may cause a glowing flame. Moreover, there was an apparentlack of sound. Wil'o-the-wisps and bog lights are silent. It is not proven,but it seems to be the most logical explanation.
Urban Legends of The CoveredBridge Area
A couple have parked their car on the darkenedbridge, shutting off the motor and turning out their lights. Shortly aftermidnight, the twosome enjoy a romantic interlude.
Suddenly, the girl thinks she hears strange noisecoming from somewhere within or underneath the bridge. The boyfriend disagrees,and fearlessly announces that he's going out of the car to see what itis, despite her sincere objections.
The girl waits alone while over an hour of horrifiedsilence passes. Then, breaking the terrorizing stillness, a set of headlightsappears in the darkness as another vehicle pulls up behind the car. Thefrightened girl shields her eyes from the blinding headlights as she listensto calm, steady footsteps approaching her car door. A firm male voice tellsher, "Get out of the car and no matter what you do, don't look back!"
As it turns out, the visitor is a deputy sheriff.While walking to the police cruiser, the girl chances a concerned glancearound, despite the stern warning. In doing so, she sees her boyfrienddead... hanging by a rope from inside the same bridge!
ANOTHER 'COVERED BRIDGE' Spook-Light
by Charles Stuart
Witness: Female, name and phone number on fileResident of Owensville, OH, formerly lived near covered bridge area
Date of event: Summer of 1990
Location: Stonelick Williams Corner Road Nearcovered bridge, also near U.S. Route 50
Event: Housewife from Owensville, while drivingher car after sunset, spots an orange red sphere of light was attachedto the back of a roadsign. She felt spooked, and did not stop to observe.She then drove hurriedly to the United Dairy Farmers Store on U.S. Route50 in Perintown where she placed a frantic phone call to her husband, tellinghim of the incident. Years prior in same location (when they lived nearthe covered bridge), their daughter saw an orange-red light pass near andadjacent to their window.
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