This author's father recounted a story from his childhood. As the
family sat in the kitchen on a rainy day, lightning hit near the
chimney. Moments later a plasma fire ball emerged from an open
plate on the cook stove. This fireball floated across the
floor, out the open kitchen door, and vanished in the garden.
The Plasma ball was about as bright as a 100 watt light bulb.
This story is consistent with many other ball lightning accounts.
These accounts tell us something about the nature of ball lightning.
From these accounts we can glean the following information:
1. The fact that it sinks in the atmosphere reveals that it
is denser than air.
2.That fact it does not move with projectile motion and drifts along
in the atmosphere reveals that it is not much denser than air.
3.Its luminosity (about a bright as a 100 watt light bulb) reveals
that it is a "cool" (less than 5,000 degrees C) plasma.
4. Its "long" few second life reveals that its energy is somehow being
The famous Russian ball lightning researcher P.L. Kapista calculated
that the thermal energy stored within a small plasma fireball
could maintain its luminosity for no more than .01 seconds.
Kapista suggested that a natural radio wave is the external source
energy required to account for the unexpectedly long lifetime of ball
lightning. Kapista gave no explanation of how the radio waves are maintained
in free space without a metal waveguide.1
This author believes that ball
lightning extracts zero point energy from free space.
Many experiments were designed to produce a ball of lightning and measure
The experiments conducted fall into three general
categories. These categories are:
Low pressure arc experiments were conducted by
Frank Znidarsic in the late 1980's. These experiments were
designed to produce a high density plasma or ball of lightning
A vacuum jar was obtained from Frey Scientific. The base
of the jar was modified to bring in high voltage cables. A high
voltage power supply was used to charge a bank of capacitors
to a potential of 5,000 volts. This bank of capacitors, containing
100 joules of energy was then discharged into the low pressure
containment. Large blooming, diffuse arcs were formed. Various
gasses and different electrode configurations were tried. The color
of the arc varied depending on the gas that was placed into the jar.
In one embodiment the entire device was powered by batteries and charged to a
potential of to 100,000 volts with a large Van-de-Graff
generator. Disappointingly, the high voltage had little effect on
the arc. The result of these experiments was negative. Ball
lighting did not tend to form at low pressures. In fact, the result
of these experiments indicated that the dense plasma associated
with ball lighting will more readily form at high pressure.
Equipment was not available to explore arcs at high pressure.
In lieu of performing the actual experiments, inquires were made to
many underwater welding firms. Fire balls were indeed observed
by divers welding at high current (900 amps) at great depths
(600 feet).2 Deep diver,
Jack Couch, swatted at one of these
balls. He then discovered a bit of slag in his glove. Jack believes
that these fire balls are not balls of lightning but rather bits of molten
slag trapped in an air bubble.
In 1992, Harold E. Puthoff, the director
of the Institute for Advanced Study in Austin, Texas, was
also conducting low pressure arc experiments. Puthoff
experiments followed up on the early energy experiments of Kenneth
Puthoff's drove an arc with a sharply pulsing electrical
current. He used electrodes made of
a heavy metal. Dr. Puthoff has had some success and
produced tiny amounts of excess energy. He has not, however,
been able to scale up the process.
Historic picture. Pick the icon to view Puthoff's early ball lightning experiments.
Micro-plasma balls were produced in the vacuum chamber at which Puthoff
Puthoff's measured tiny amounts of anomalous energy.
Currently Ken Shoulders and his work are being continued with the support of
High current experiments were conducted by Frank
Znidarsic and Frank Stenger in the late 1980's and early 1990's.
These experiments discharged a large (1/10 farad) bank of
capacitors through a potential of 1,000 volts. Various electrode
arrangements and magnetic field configurations were tried. A
video camera and an oscilloscope were used to monitor the action.
The oscilloscope showed that the bank of capacitors discharged
through the arc in about one milli-second. The arc current was
calculated from the oscilloscope trace. Currents of over 250,000
amps were produced. The video showed the arc explosion in
1/30 of a second frames. The slow motion replay showed many
fire balls spewing from the arc. Inspection of the video and of the
experimental device revealed that these fireballs were hot vaporized
burning fragments of electrode metal (aluminum and copper). No
balls of lightning were observed.
You will hear Frank Stenger announcing the test, followed by the
sound of the tripping mechanism, then the blast.
Pick the left icon to view Frank Stenger's high current ball
Pick the right icon to view a movie of Frank Stenger's ball
Pick the icon left to view a schematic of Stenger's machine.
Pick the icon right to view the plasma ball the formed at the base
of Peter Graneau's high current water arc experiment. This plasma ball
persisted for a few video frames after the main arc extinguished.
Stenger's Tokatron high current ball lightning device.
97,000 micro farads were discharged through 1,050 volts.
The plan was for the lighting ball to exit the top of the device
into the catcher plate above.
Pick the icon right to view the an example of the types of equipment that have
been making arcs and sparks for over one hunderd years.
Microwave experiments were conducted by Frank
Znidarsic and Frank Stenger in the early 1990's. These experiments
were of three types. These types are:
1. Experiments that produced an arc discharge within a
2. Experiments that produced a plasma by placing a high
potential needle point in a microwave cavity.
3. Experiments employing a cage around the microwave
Pick the icon to view types of microwave experiments.
Microwaves were generated with a 900 watt microwave
oven. Arcs were produced in the oven by remotely drawing
two electrodes apart. These electrodes were fed by a 50
kilowatt compound opposed generator. Various materials
were tried as electrodes. When both electrodes were made
of metal they tended to stick together. The remote control
mechanism was not able to draw the stuck electrodes apart.
This problem was resolved by using one graphite electrode.
A capacitor was installed between the high voltage electrode
and ground at the point at which the high voltage electrode
entered into the microwave cavity. This capacitor was
constructed from a glass tube inserted between two cylindrical
pipes. The capacitor was designed to limit microwave leakage
to 10 milliwatts per cm2. Ferrite toroids, obtained from Palamor
Electronics Company, were also used to limit the microwave
leakage. The toroids were placed around the electrode at the
point at where it entered the cavity. The experiments were monitored
with a video camera. Several flashes and floating fireballs were
observed. It is believed that these fireballs were produced by
burning carbon that was given off by the graphite electrode.
No balls of lightning were observed.
Pick the icon to view a movie of an arc microwave
experiment. The machine running in the background is a
A needle shaped electrode was inserted into the microwave
cavity. A high voltage direct current electrical potential was
placed on the electrode. Microwave leakage was again controlled
with ferrite toroids and capacitors. It proved difficult to construct a
leakage capacitor that could withstand the high voltages and the
microwave energies. Special high temperature Pyrex glass had
to be used in the construction of the capacitor. Electrical potentials
were tried of up to 100,000 volts. At potentials greater than 30
kilovolts an arc would jump from the electrode to the wall of the
microwave cavity. This arc would shunt the desired high voltage to
ground. The potential on the electrode was therefore limited to
about 30,000 volts. Various materials were tried at the needle
point of the electrode. Both positive , negative, and pulsed D.C.
potentials were tried. The microwave oven was modified by
removing the microwave stirrer, rerouting the air flow, and
modifying the magnetron's power supply. The potential to
the magnetron's anode is supplied, in commercial microwave
ovens, by a half wave voltage doubling 4,000 volt power
supply. This supply was replaced with a full wave supply.
This increased the power output of the magnetron tube to
approximately 900 watts.
These experiments did result in the production of a few
Pick the icon to view the plasma ball that was produced
in a microwave chamber.
The plasmoids lasted for about .5 seconds. In one case the
microwave's power was switched off at the moment the plasmoid
formed. The plasmoid immediately extinguished. The fact the
plasmoid did not persist indicates that the plasmoid's energy was
supplied by the microwave field. The formation of freely floating
plasmoid was a rare event under "identical" conditions. The
mechanism that resulted in the rare event has not been determined.
The process seemed to work better at high microwave energies,
with a heavy metal needle, and with a pulsed positive D.C. potential
on the electrode.
Helium was tried because its nucleus contains an even number of nucleons.
A nucleus with an even number of nucleons is a Boson.
The helium was obtained from a local welding supply house in a small "D" sized cylinder.
This helium was emitted into the microwave cavity. Upon the admission of the helium,
the arc changed from a bright white (arc type discharge) to a dull blue (glow type discharge).
The helium tended to arrest the arc and did not produce the desired effect.
Experiments were conducted by Y.H Ohtsuke and
H. Ofuruton at the University of Okubo in Japan. These
experiments were run at 5 kilowatts of microwave energy.
On several occasions the plasmoid were produced that
persisted for several seconds after the magnetron was turned
off. Excess energy appears to have been produced. Ofuruton
"We can find no reasonable explanation for the fire
balls lasting for such a long time after the magnetron was turned
Ofuruton has since appeared on network television in Japan.
During one of these appearances he generated a ball of lightning.
He added methane gas to get the ball going. As it turns out
Ofuruton is quite a show man. This author is beginning to question
the accuracy of his reports.
James and Kenneth Corum of Corum & Associates in
Windsor, Ohi, are producing balls of lighting with two
synchronously pulsed high power oscillators. Their device is
modeled after a machine built by Nikola Tesla in 1897. They
claim that their device has produced balls of lightning.
author does not understand the principles behind the mixing of
two radio frequency waves. The Corums have moved from
Windsor. This author is currently trying to locate the two brothers.
Pick the icon to view a schematic of the Corum machine.
During the "Guppy Reconversion Program" in 1945,
tests were performed on the electrical gear of the submarine
the U.S.S. Cutlass. During these tests a fully charged bank
of batteries was accidentally connected across a non-spinning
generator. The reverse current circuit breaker opened and
interrupted the resulting short circuit.
Historic video. Pick the icon to view a movie taken in the breaker room in
a 1940's Cutlass class submarine. The lever was pulled closing the
batteries in around a dead generator. This resulted in
a fault. The high fault current tripped the field circuit breaker.
The background sound is demolition in progress. The image left,
from the Pacific Submarine Command, was reproduced with permission.
A green fireball floated
out of the circuit breaker into the engine room. The life of
this fireball was about one second. Paul A. Silberg of the
Raytheon Company investigated this (and other similar)
incident in 1962.4
Silberg concluded that "Some
configurational energy must be present" in the plasma balls.
Silberg offered an explanation to account for the excess energy.
He said that the energy of the plasma ball was contained within a
loop of current. This current loop exists within the plasma. The
stable existence of such a loop of current requires a "force free
field configuration". Since Silberg's investigation it has been
proven that such "force free field" configurations cannot exist.
This proof is know as the Viral theorem. It is interesting to note
that the short circuit in the submarine generated a current of about
150,000 amps. Stenger's experiments exceeded this current
threshold and did not produce ball lightning.
Pick the icon to view a drawing of the reverse current breaker aboard the
Cutlass that produced the ball of lightning.
The "Plasma Mantle Kernel" device or "PLASMAK" TM, is the
invention of Paul M. Koloc of College Park, MD.
5 This device uses
an ultra-violet flash lamp and mirrors to produce an "image". An
electrical voltage is then applied across the ionized path of the
"image". The resulting arc follows the helical path of the "image".
Electrical forces compress the helical arc into what Koloc calls a
"Magnetoplasmoid." These "Magnetoplasmoids" or balls of
lightning have lifetimes of about 30 milli-seconds.
Pick the icon to view a schematic of the Plasmak.
Much of Koloc's work is held as a trade secret. Frank Stenger,
who this author trusts as an expert in the field, has stated that
Koloc's work is sound.
Radio Frequency Plasma Balls
In November 28, 1988 'Sofia BTA in English' 1426 GMT 18 reported:
"Bulgarian engineer Kiril Chukanov has completed his work on a
new physics theory: "Quantum Limits of the World". It is a scientific
the essence, behavior and the emission of great quantities of
energy from ball lightning which cannot be explained with the
known physical laws. According to the 'Orbita Weekly' the phenomenon
Chukanov and especially its practical application
is so significant that it could cause a revolution in world energetics
with all the consequences ensuing from it."
Mark Goldies and his company Magnetic Power Inc.
brought Chukanov to Sebastopol California in the early 1980's.
Chukanov was never able to demonstrate his technology
at Magnetic Power. Currenlty Chukanov is continuing his work at his own company.
Experiments involving silica nano-particles seem to have produced ball lightning. It is not known if the energy of the ball comes from the oxidation of silicon metal or from some other exotic source. This author's work, as explained in the upcoming chapters, involves the thermal stimulation of 50nm particles. Hopefully we will soon learn more about the ball lightning process.
An indication of the density of the plasmoid is the
direction of travel. All of the plasmoids
produced to date rose.
This fact demonstrates that the plasmoids were lighter than air.
Natural ball lightning sinks in the atmosphere indicating that its
density is greater than that of air.6
It is believed that if the density
of the plasma could be increased to the point at which the
plasmoid sinks in the atmosphere, it would begin to absorb
zero point energy from free space.
The plasma's electron density would have to have to be
denser greater than 1027 electrons/m3. The plasma at
this density can be considered to be a condensation. A
strong force is required to hold such a plasma
condensation together. Puthoff has shown that the
may be able to momentarily hold a
plasma condensation together. In practice, plasmas of this
density have not yet been produced. This author has completed his
work at microwave energies below 1000 watts. Higher energies
may be needed to produce plasma balls of sufficient density to
extract the zero point energy of matter.