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Could Some Ball Lightning Observations be Optical Hallucinations Caused by Epileptic Seizures?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity.
2008 (English)In: The Open Atmospheric Science Journal, ISSN 1874-2823, Vol. 2, 101-105 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The great difficulty of encompassing all observed features of ball lightning into a single theory makes it highly probable that many observations and experiences which have no connection to ball lightning are also categorized as ball lightning experiences. In this note we compare the eyewitness reports of ball lightning and the symptoms of epileptic seizures of the occipital lobe as described in the medical literature and show that a person experiencing such a seizure for the first time may believe that he has witnessed a ball lightning event. Since many of the ball lightning reports are associated with nearby lightning strikes, the possibility that the rapidly changing magnetic field of a close lightning strike could trigger an epileptic seizure is analyzed. The results show that the time derivative of the magnetic field in the vicinity of an intense lightning flash is strong enough to stimulate neurons in the brain. This strengthens the possibility of inducing seizures in the occipital lobe of a person located in the vicinity of lightning strikes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 2, 101-105 p.
Keyword [en]
Ball lightning, lightning, return stroke, magnetic field, epilepsy, occipital lobe, hallucinations
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-113194ISBN: ISSN: 1874-2823OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-113194DiVA: diva2:290117
Available from: 2010-01-26 Created: 2010-01-26 Last updated: 2016-04-12Bibliographically approved

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