Contrary to belief that the illuminated 'flying monster' was either an insect or a remote-controlled device, Professor Ravindra Arora discovered that it was nothing other than balls of lighting that often fall on earth during dry spells. Large parts of the state are currently facing a draught.
After a few people were 'clawed' by the 'UFO', the state administration entrusted the task of unravelling the mystery to IIT. Meanwhile, locals coined their own word -- muhnochwa, which literally means something that claws the face -- to describe the strange object.
According to Prof Arora, a specialist in high-voltage electricity, "dry spells increase the soil resistance while decreasing it conductivity, and in the process attract lightning balls that emit different colour lights -- mostly blue, green, yellow or red."
He told rediff.com, "I have sufficient reason to believe that the burn injuries on the faces of victims were caused by nothing other than these lighting balls, which range from the size of a tennis ball to a football."
"The phenomena of lightning balls is older than the life on earth and there was constant evidence of these balls over the ages... while reports on it were received from different parts of USA and Europe, the highest frequency was reported from New Zealand."
"Some [scientists] say it is the plasma state of gas, while others attribute it to a slowly burning gas... radiation from long-lived meta stable state of air particles or a sphere of heated air at atmospheric pressure... an air vortex (like smoke rings) that contain luminous gases."
"But in all cases people can see a ball-like object travelling sideways in the air that can produce up to 100 watts of current and emit red, blue, yellow or green lights," he said.
Arora said, "The ball causes burn injuries when it comes in contact with the human skin, while it extinguishes on falling over non-living things."
The scientist proposed to talk to the only man who had shot the phenomena and copied it into a CD that was sent to IIT three days back. "The man is coming from Mirzapur either today or tomorrow. So I can get a first hand account of what he saw and how everything happened."
He attributed much of the panic to superstitious beliefs that often dominate the minds of the vast rural population in this part of the country. At the same time, he was confident that the menace would end with the onset of monsoon.
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