Monday, 17 November 2014

Haunting flashes

HighlightsLooking out of a window one night recently, I was puzzled by some mysterious small circular flashing lights in a bush in the street. There were three or four of them and I could see no obvious explanation. At first, anyway. As I watched, fascinated, it became apparent that the effect was a reflection, by wet leaves, of the light from a street lamp opposite. The lights were flashing on and off because the wind was blowing the leaves around so that they only reflected in my direction part of the time. Had it not been wet, windy and dark, the effect would not have occurred.

It reminded me that I've heard of flashes reported many times in dark ghost vigils. Oddly, though, flashes do not feature anything like as frequently in original witness reports of hauntings. I think there's a good reason for the difference. I suspect people who actually live in haunted houses don't sit around in the dark waiting for strange things to happen, unlike in many ghost vigils.

So are the flashes reported in ghost vigils really part of the haunting phenomenon? It's difficult to say without doing some kind of formal study. The flashes reported in vigils that I've be on appeared to have xenonormal explanations. Mostly they came from outside the building being investigated. They were caused by things like passing car headlights or even fireworks. The flashes were seen inside the building because curtains were not completely drawn. Flashes were also generated inside the building by various bits of electrical equipment, including stuff owned by investigators.

As the lights in the bush show, mysterious flashes can be caused by quite unusual coincidences. I'm not convinced, from the evidence that I've seen so far, that flashes should be necessarily be regarded as a feature of haunting activity. But if there is evidence out there that shows otherwise, let's hope it emerges.

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