Posts Tagged ‘legends’

Glowing Orbs of the Mekong River

April 15th, 2010

What attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators, every October, to Nong Kai Province? The Naga Fireballs of Southeast Asia have attracted crowds for many years, and these strange glowing orbs have been seen emerging from the Mekong River for centuries.

What causes these lights? Is it the gravitational pull of the moon on methane gas? Are the legends true about the eggs of the giant snake? Could Laotin monks be playing hoaxes? Scientific explanations appear to fall flat, for at least one scientist strongly opposes any natural cause such as methane; it seems to unbelievable to imagine gas bubbles that start burning in the water and then continue to burn in the form of a balls as they emerge and float up above the river. Yet any attempt at a human explanation evaporates like the lights themselves: Lights slowing emerging from the water–that seems impossible for monks to create every year for centuries.

Perhaps the ancient legends may have some truth to them, for a living organism, not yet classified in Western science (albeit bioluminescent rather than mystical) appears to be the best explanation for the Naga Fireballs of the Mekong River. We know that some insects glow and some insects emerge from rivers to fly away. This may be a large bioluminescent insect.

There appears to be no direct relationship to the nocturnal glowing kor of Papua New Guinea.