Sunday, August 4, 2013

Min Min Lights and other ghostly orbs


We have all heard about the paranormal phenomena of inexplicable balls of light, right? They are often known as light orbs or paranormal orbs.

As with most things, this phenomena has been witnessed all over the world with remarkable regularity, particularly since the invention of the camera, whereby many of the orbs have been captured on film.

Characterized as a body of light with no apparent source of illumination, light orbs appear to move of their own volition.

Naturally, science offers plenty of explanations as to what they may be. Explanations ranging from optical illusions, to luminescent dust, to fata morgana -  an unusual and complex form superior mirage that is seen in a narrow band right above the horizon.

However I am more interested in the myths that surround this unusual phenomena, so allow me to enlighten you to the mystical lights and mythological mayhem than surrounds them!

In Australia this phenomena is referred to as Min Min lights, usually spotted around the East Coast of Australia, and have been depicted for centuries by native Aboriginal people (painting by Chernee Sutton). The Min Min are witnessed most often at night (occasionally in the day) and move with either a slow almost cautious manner or wildly, rapidly chasing cars. It is said that if a person chases and captures the Min Min, they will in fact disappear - to where, I can only imagine...

[Image curtesy: )

In both Hindu and Buddhist traditions the phenomena of light orbs, is called "Deva". The lights are considered to hail from the astral realm, and be the embodiment of a mystical being that has no other form visible to the human eye. Additionally, they have also been described as "open vortexes of cosmic consciousness" (Hobbs, 2008, Phantastic Fairies), or embodiments of the forces of nature, thus being responsible for the fires, rains etc.
Like the Australian Min Min, the Deva are capable of moving great distances at high speed. In this mythology it is also suggested that humans once had the same abilities as the Deva, but over time our desire to eat food corrupted our astral bodies and the powers eventually vanished.

In Thailand, the phenomena is known as the Naga Fireball,which are similar to the Deva and Min Min. The Naga Fireballs are seen up through Thailand as far as Laos, and sometimes called the Mekong Lights. These particular lights can number in their thousands and appear to rise from the river to a hundred or so metres in the air before disappearing. Local legend states they are caused by the enormous Naga that lives beneath the surface of the river.

Pamphlet from 1957
In America, you will find a light orb called The Hornet Spook light. Most commonly described as a single orange ball of light, it generally travels east to west along a four mile section of road (locally known as the Devil's promenade) in Oklahoma. It is also known as the Tristate Spook light, and the Joplin Light.

The oldest myth about this light is that of a  Qwapaw Indian girl who fell in love with a young warrior. She was not allowed to marry him unfortunately as he did not have enough dowry for her. Thus the young couple eloped, and were chased. The two star crossed lovers leaped to their deaths above a river. Soon after the light appeared in the sky and was then attributed to the spirits of these star crossed lovers.

There is also a European version, known as the Will-o-the-wisp, a fairy light that guides the unsuspecting into trouble. This fairy light, was made popular in the recent children's movie "Brave" where the main character follows a Will-o-the-wisp, when she was needing assistance.

The Indian version of the myth is centered around the Bay of Bengal  and is called the Aleya or Marsh lights that hover over the water in that region.  These lights were believed by locals to be the ghost lights of drowned fishermen. It is said that these ghost lights can trick you, or aid you if you are in danger.

In South America the phenomena is refered to as the Boi-tata. The glowing red orbs are said to be the devilish eyes of a great serpent that will consume anyone who comes close...

Irrespective of their true origins, I find the myths that evolve from difficult to explain phenomena fascinating - especially the differences in mythical explanation from one country to another!

And on that note, have a lovely week!

Naga Fireballs on the Mekong River

Min Min Lights

Tristate Spook Lights


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