Connect with us

Paranormal

Naga Fireballs: Swamp Gas or Divine Breath?

When science and spirituality battle it out, sometimes there’s no clear winner.  In the case of most Fortean or paranormal subjects, the scientific establishment simply labels their opponents with the blanket term ‘pseudo-science’, and the counter argument is usually that critics are closed minded.  It’s not always the case, but often these two pillars of popular culture mix like oil and water, or perhaps…gas and water.

Sometimes the debate goes beyond polite discourse too, and in such cases believers in whatever phenomena can get outright nasty.  Such was the case in 2002, following the airing of a Thailand TV show titled Code Crackers, wherein a team was sent by the Thai TV network iTV to investigate the famed Naga Fireballs.

A little background first.  The Naga Fireballs are much as their name suggests.  They are the focal point of a phenomenon that occurs in late October every year, on the Mekong River in Southeast Asia.  They are little fireballs that silently rise up out of the river, burning red in colour.  They shoot up from the river’s surface quickly, to about a hundred meters, where they silently burn out and disappear.  They can occur in the thousands, though some years have recorded as few as 30.

The fireballs are widely known in Asia and are revered in Thailand as a part of the observance of the Buddhist (Thai/Laos) Lenten season.  Specifically Wan Ok Phansa, which is the final day of the celebration.  In modern day Thailand, the celebration involves huge gatherings of people on the bank of the river, all to watch the fireballs rise and disappear in the heavens.  The celebration commemorates the return of Buddha in Naga form, and it is widely believed by Buddhists and others that the Naga Fireballs are actually the breath of a giant sea serpent, a Naga or Phaya Naga, that lives in the riverbed and awakes every year at this time to honour the conclusion of vassa (The three month long season of Rain Retreat or Buddhist Lent).

The Naga, as history buffs and perhaps gamers will find familiar, is the name of a mythical creature, said to be a giant sea serpent or snake (or sometimes a dragon).  They have some political significance, as Laotian culture considers them to be protectors of Vientaine (the capital of Laos) and by extension, Laos State, but they are revered by most in the Makong river area of Thailand as powerful magical beasts.  Most in the skeptical camp believe that a species of oarfish is responsible for this myth.

17 Foot Long Oarfish

Oarfish

This spiritual significance is what, ultimately, led to the unrest among revelers in 2002.  The show, Code Crackers, offered a not so traditional view of the Naga Fireballs.  Their expose suggested that the fireballs are not the breath of the great Naga, but are in fact tracer rounds being fired into the sky by Laos guards on the opposite shore of the nearly half-mile-wide river.  This offended the spiritual beliefs of some several hundreds of thousands of believers, and protests and lawsuits ensued.  The TV show was followed by a feature length movie titled Mekhong Full Moon Party, which portrayed the phenomenon and the celebration in a less than flattering light as well.

The notion that the fireballs are not what the devout believe they are isn’t, as you may imagine, without its merits, however.

Scientists, according to many who’ve blogged on this topic, readily attribute the phenomenon to that old stand-by explanation for all things weird and unexplained – Swamp Gas.  Though, in this case, they may be right.

To anyone unfamiliar with UFO phenomenon and its culture, the swamp gas explanation says that in marshy areas, organic material decomposes underground producing deposits of methane.  Said methane eventually finds its way to the surface, and upon coming into contact with oxygen, it spontaneously ignites providing a brief little light show for anyone who happens to be nearby.  Fairly simple chemistry actually.

Naga fireballs

According to Brian Dunning of Skeptoid, one Dr. Manos Kanoksilp, a pediatrician, theorises that the Naga Fireball phenomenon requires a precise alignment of the sun, moon and Earth, and that the Makong River provides a perfect storm of conditions, regarding methane and oxygen levels combined with ambient temperature, to bring about the fireballs every year at the same time.[1]  The Thai Science Ministry apparently concurs, citing an experiment headed by the ministry’s Deputy Secretary, Saksit Tridech.  Tridech and his team used equipment to measure conditions during the celebration and apparently determined that the fireballs were the result of built up phosphine gas.[2] Phosphine is manufactured for industrial purposes through a defined chemical process, and it’s not clear how it is generated in nature.  Though most believe, similar to methane, it is the product of bacterial reduction of phosphate in decomposing organic material.

Brian Dunning disagrees with the swamp gas theory, however.  The swamp gas process described above, based on methane gas, requires highly specific conditions.  The right concentrations of methane and oxygen and certain environmental conditions are necessary for spontaneous combustion.  Dunning believes it’s unlikely that those conditions can be found consistently on the same date at the same place, year after year.  It may come as no surprise that he favours the Laotian guards firing into the sky theory, and suggests that they may be paid to do so by local officials.

Phosphine however, is a touch more volatile than methane, and could account for the Naga Fireball phenomenon, but it too would require special circumstances to be consistent over time.

So we’re left with three apparent possibilities: a giant magical serpent breathing tiny bubbles of fire, swamp gas, or a sort of unintentional hoax (or perhaps intentional).

One of the problems with the above theorising, is that there isn’t a lot known about the fireball phenomenon’s history.  Locals claim that it’s been going on for centuries, but there is no record of it.  There are whisperings of the Mekong Lights (as they’re sometimes called) being mentioned in sacred writings at the Wat Luang Buddhist temple in Phon Phasai, Wat Pho Luang Phra Sai, and of written accounts of the lights from British forces in the 1960’s but there’s nothing solid to cite.  The festival itself is eons old, but it’s not clear if the fireballs have always been associated with it.  As such it’s not certain if the Naga Fireballs really do happen every year at the same time. Today, and as a result of a huge boom in Naga Fireball related tourism in the area, the festival is overrun by fireworks, which completely negates anyone actually seeing the fireballs in person, unless one happens to erupt right in front of them.

Nonetheless, there are many videos of the fireballs on YouTube, like the one below – so ultimately, you can make up your own mind.

[1] Brian Dunning. The Naga Fireballs: What is the source of the glowing balls that rise from the Mekong river each October? December 2009 Skeptoid.com http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4183

[2] Napanisa Kaewmorakot. Science Ministry Solves Naga Fireballs Mystery.The Nation (Nong Khai) http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/Science-Ministry-solves-Naga-fireballs-mystery-87105.html

SOURCE:

The Daily Grail

Comments

Paranormal

A photographer took a picture of an old house, but did not know that a woman lived there. No wonder – you can only see it in the photo

A Scottish resident took a photo of an abandoned building, and then could not believe his eyes when he looked at the finished photograph. From there the woman’s face was looking at him, but the man is sure: there was no one in the ruins of the house. Finding an explanation for what he saw was not easy.

A photographer from Scotland, who wished to remain anonymous, decided to arrange an unusual photo session, Unilad writes.

His choice fell on several abandoned buildings that are located in one of the parks in the North Ayrshire region. After taking a couple of pictures, he went to the studio to print them, and then looked at the finished result.

(Untitled)

The negative of one of the photographs of the photographer

Mysticism often happens in abandoned buildings , and the case with a man was no exception. In one photo, the Scotsman saw the ghostly silhouette of a woman looking at him from a window. However, the man assures that there was no one in the building, and he was alone in the ruins.

During the shooting, I did not feel anything unusual or anything otherworldly.

Despite the fact that the woman’s face looks intimidating, he is glad that he managed to capture it. Moreover, the hero of the story shared the frame with all friends who adore mysticism and riddles.

(Untitled)

Pay attention to the left window

I’m happy that I was able to capture something that looks like a ghost. I am even proud to be able to show photos to people who love riddles.

Many people, according to the photographer, are inclined to believe that this is a ghost, who love to talk to children so much, although the author of the picture himself is in no hurry to draw conclusions. He even looked at the frame under a microscope, but never came to the truth.

You can, of course, speculate, but the human brain makes us see familiar traits everywhere, especially if we look at them long enough.

(Untitled)

Moreover, the photographer, according to him, does not really believe in ghosts and other mystical phenomena.

I don’t like the term paranormal. As for ghosts, I don’t know if they exist. I don’t even know how to define them. What is it? Energy?

Continue Reading

Paranormal

Camera recorded an extraneous movement in Massachusetts. And this sight is not for the faint-hearted

A Redditt user with the nickname grandslammer0891 from Mansfield, Massachusetts, posted a video from security cameras at a friend’s house, which scared him and left users in disbelief.

The author of the video explained that his friend left home by the end of August, leaving four huskies in the care of a friend. He usually visited them during the daytime.

One day the owner of the apartment received a notification in the middle of the night that the camera recorded some kind of extraneous movement. At that time there were only dogs in the house.

The video captured the kitchen and part of the living room. A dog is lying on the sofa in the right corner, and you can trace the turns of the head by its ears. When her ears turn to the left, then in the dark you can see the transparent figure of a moving person.

The video puzzled users and caused a mixed reaction from them. Some could not find an explanation for what they saw and panicked slightly. The dog’s head turns towards the ghost, which suggests that it also noticed the apparition.

“What is it, I saw it … with my own eyes. Does anyone else see this? Because it seems to me that I definitely saw something wrong. No no”.

Others decided that a man had walked past the window on the right, and his shadow flashed on the left in the headlights. Some users even believe that a live person got into the frame.

“I hope your buddy has a gun. There was a real intruder. “

Some readers agreed that the ghost video is quite plausible, since Massachusetts is full of ghosts.

Continue Reading

Paranormal

Paranormal researcher warns that Ouija boards can summon dangerous demons

Paranormal researcher Paul Marsters criticized British retailer Poundland for selling Ouija boards as part of Halloween decor. He warned that only professional mediums should use the boards, and ordinary people can summon deadly demons. 

Paul, who is a member of True Paranormal Events UK, was stunned when he saw a £ 1 ($ 1.29) Ouija board in a local budget store.

 “Ouija boards are definitely not toys and should not be available to children to buy in stores on Halloween, let alone adults who are not trained in how to use them. It doesn’t matter if they are plastic or wooden ”, – quotes the words of the ghost hunter Hull Live. 

Paul Marsters explained that people can accidentally summon dangerous spirits that will torment their victim in the future and may even lead to suicide. 

“On Halloween night, the veil on the spirit world is very thin, and people only buy these boards for Ouija sessions on Halloween, so I’m afraid to imagine what will happen when these boards are in the wrong hands,” the expert said. 

Poundland noted that Ouija boards can only be purchased by persons over 18 years of age. This item sold out quickly before Halloween due to its popularity.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

DO NOT MISS

Trending