Can Science Really Explain The Aleya Ghost Lights?

Can Science Really Explain The Aleya Ghost Lights?

The Aleya Ghost Lights are officially a global phenomenon…well, almost. These strange lights were known to suddenly appear to travelers passing through marshy wetlands and just float around on air.

However, it’s a bit interesting how no one was ever able to walk up to them since they always evaded any human approach.

The most amazing thing is the fact that they star in “folklore galore” across the globe…wait, can I say that?

Okay, maybe not…but the point is, they can win a spot in the Guinness Book of World-Records for “The most widespread folklore mystery that never was!”

All eyewitness accounts recorded throughout history say that the ghostly lights appear as orbs and sometimes as tongues of candle flames…and the funny part is that their sightings are mostly reported near marshes, bogs, and swamps.

The name “Aleya” originated from the marshlands of West Bengal where the lights were interpreted differently by the locals.

While both sides agreed on the lights representing the spirits of fishermen who met their death fishing in the murky waters, the groups were torn between whether the lights were evil spirits that led people to destruction or good spirits that helped fishermen get out of trouble.

But is that all about the ghostly lights and the controversy behind them?

Far from it…

As mentioned earlier, these lights are not unique to a single place…, or continent for that matter; as we are going see shortly.

Different Cultures, Different Folklores, Same Ghost Lights…

This where it gets even more interesting…

The legend of the floating ghostly lights or “foolish fire” as the Latins called it…is shared by different cultures all over the world and called by different names;

  • From Australia down under (Min min lights) to
  • Europe (Will-o’-the- Wisp or Jack-o’-lantern);
  • From North America (ghostly orbs or spook-lights) to
  • South America (luz mala);
  • And other parts of Asia like Japan (Hi no Tama) and the Indo-Pakistani areas near the border (Chir batti).

In Europe, folklores connecting to the strange swamp lights differ from region to region.

The Swedes myth says that the lights were unbaptized souls looking for redemption while in Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark, Finland and Latvia, the lights represented the secret location of buried treasure.

In Britain, we can see the same lights appearing differently in the Scottish and Welsh folklores. However, one thing is clear, the lights were considered evil in Scotland and Wales because they tricked travelers off their path.


The North American version says that the lights represented souls of dead railroad workers while their neighbors in the South, Uruguay, and Argentina, believed that the lights were evil and somewhat connected to witchcraft…

…a much feared subject but widespread belief among rural dwellers where these lights mostly appear.

The list goes on…but is there a logical answer to this seemingly paranormal occurrence?

Is it possible to have spontaneous combustion in thin air?

Let’s take a look at the science side of things…

Has Science Cracked The Mystery?

Of course, you didn’t expect science to just sit back and watch you have all the fun with your “not-so-credible” metaphysics BS, did you?

So the year is 1776, and Alessandro Volta has just discovered the gas methane. He tries to explain the marshland bursts of fireballs as the reaction between marsh gasses (which include methane of course…) and natural sources of electricity like lightning.

Although he had support from fellow scientists, Pierre Bertholon de Saint-Lazare and Joseph Priestley, his ideas were kicked to the curb by the public.


He could not answer why the lights always seemed to run away from people…stop when you stopped, and then followed you when you turned back to walk away?

Fast forward to 1832 and Volta gets another supporter by the name of Louis Blesson who comes up with the answer…Air displacement!

As we move, we push the air in front of us and the ripple effect of that is what kept pushing these lights away because they are gasses and very light…make any sense?

Hold that thought… science gets even weirder!

Two geologists, Professors Derr and his counterpart Persinger believe that the lights are caused by tectonic strains.

According to these two distinguished scholars, electricity is generated when the movement causes silicon or arsenic naturally found in subterranean rocks.

And yet, a third geologist, a Brit known as Allan Mills seems to support the earlier methane theory; calling it a hydrocarbon “pre-combustion” process.

So there you go…all you need to know about the Aleya ghost lights.

What do you think?

Is science right?

Can the mysterious lights be a result of the supernatural?

Who really has the answer?

Many other critics who don’t believe in the scientific explanation or the folklores tend to think that these are mere fireflies and other bioluminescent creatures playing tricks on people who want to believe in the extraordinary…

Could this be the case?

6 comments on “Can Science Really Explain The Aleya Ghost Lights?

  1. I have never heard of this type of phenomenon until just now but it is certainly interesting! The scientists who came up with a possible theory to explain the aleya lights sound like they have very valid points. Either way, it’s cool to read about the history of one of many unexplained mysteries and to see that its still something that is debated to this day. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Aubrey – in mississippi – these lights we always called swamp gas lights. they will only make you hurt yourself if you are not careful. as a young boy we have seen them in swamps – also fox fire – found in swamps – wood that is about rotted glows in dark.

    1. Hi Aubrey,

      So you have encountered similar lights as a youngster? Care to elaborate on them making people hurt themselves – also about the wood you mention? Thanks for taking the time to leave this comment!

  3. In Missouri we have the Joplin Spook Light. It goes by several names, including the Hornet Lights, where it really originates. I have never witnessed it, but it is a popular phenomenon here. I live about 3 hours from the site, so an overnight adventure would be a little tough to manage. The witnesses say it does exactly what these lights do, but the ground isn’t marshy there. In Missouri, in the summer time, we have a dry season and it still appears. We do have a very humid climate, even when the ground has dried out, but the light is a regular event. I have heard several similar stories of these lights, but JSL is the one that pops up the most. I have seen St. Elmo’s Fire, a ball lightning, that almost follows the description of these lights. However, that is a quick event, and JSL can go on for far longer than a minute or two. SEF is also present with other lightning, usually in a storm. When I saw it, it terrified me as a young girl of maybe 11. The ball appeared, floated along for a minute, went through a car windshield and disappeared right at that point. It was at sunup, but not quite light yet. Static buildup almost seems to explain matters, but what would cause the static in such massive quantities? I know most of the lights around the world have much longer spells than a minute. And it is regular. A seemingly endless supply of static discharge, if that’s the theory to subscribe to. That theory sort of fits into your tectonic plate theory. We do have a lot of minor earthquakes in that area. It is very close to several fault plates. Years ago, schoolchildren practised earthquake drills in preparation for a specific incident predicted (but never happened) and I want to say it was the New Madrid fault line, but I may be wrong about the name. It was 20 years ago. The Spook Light may fall into that situation, but government testing and private testing has proven no cause yet.

    1. Hey cheers for this Gina – a great piece of information to add to our article! (and also very interesting). Thanks for taking the time to share this with us! 🙂

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