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Some 'ball lightning' reports may be hallucinations

Magnetic fields generated by real bolts could trigger visual effects in the brain

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12:55pm, May 20, 2010

Talk about a flash of insight. Lightning strokes could stimulate people’s brains and cause them to hallucinate bright blobs of light the same way a medical procedure that applies magnetic fields to the brain does, two physicists propose. The findings could help explain some reports of “ball lightning,” mysterious floating orbs that have been reported for centuries but are poorly understood. A paper describing the idea will appear in Physics Letters A.

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