Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Mysterious lights spotted in Lincolnshire could have been a warning of the earthquake which sent tremors across Britain.

Several sightings of strange lights appearing in the sky were reported in the days leading up to the quake, which happened early on February 27.

And some believe that these could be "earthquake lights" - caused by changes in the electrical properties of the ground before a quake occurs.

There have been many similar reports of "earthquake lights" throughout history.

The best-known case was in Lincoln's twin town, Tangshan in China in 1976, before a massive quake that killed 240,000 people across the nation.

The first photographic evidence was captured in Japan during a number of earthquakes between 1965 and 1967.

Husband and wife Jamie and Emily Goddard, of Alexandra Terrace, off West Parade, Lincoln, captured the lights on a mobile phone camera just as they appeared above Drury Lane around 8.30pm on February 22.

Eight members of staff from Lincoln College witnessed the phenomenon after a ghost walk around Lincoln's Cathedral quarter on the same night.

Staff member Nyla Khan (25) said: "It looked like a plane but there was too much light and then it just disappeared. We saw about six or seven lights."

Schoolteacher Lois Pittman (48), of Cambridge Avenue, Yarborough Road, Lincoln, saw the lights as she was outside putting some rubbish away.

She said: "I've not heard of earthquake lights before. I'm going to look more often at the sky now. If I see lights I'll expect an earthquake. If it's a warning we should explore it a little bit deeper."

Five days later - at the moment the earthquake happened - Elvira Witney (83), of Westgate, Louth, saw a grapefruit-sized glowing sphere of light in her bedroom. She said: "I heard a very loud bang and a lot of rumbling, and then I was aware that in the direction of the window there was a glowing sphere about five feet in the air.

"It came towards me for a second or two and then it dropped to the ground and travelled along a bit more by the side of the bed.

"Then it just went out like a light. I was terrified. At first I thought it was gas and it was going to set on fire. But it caused no damage at all."

Not all scientists are convinced.

Dr Ian Sutton, from the geology department at the University of Nottingham, said: "I would be very surprised if there was a link.

"I feel it is a coincidence."


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