Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 12:18AM

Another lightning 'video ghost' fools the world

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Quite possibly the biggest and most widespread misidentification of 'video ghosting' of a lightning strike is in progress on every TV network across the USA right now, including CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS and others. Under tags of 'pink lightning just misses kids', 'lightning barely misses kids' and 'lightning streamer just misses kids', this video is currently the most popular on news web sites and TV networks across the country. I've already written an extensive article/abstract on this video ghosting phenomenon, located here, so I won't go into the specifics about it in this post.

This new video shows two kids running down a street in the middle of a thunderstorm, when a lightning strike hits very close - judging from the thunder, maybe a couple hundred feet away. A house and tree partially blocks the view of the 'true' lightning channel, which apparently consisted of only one return stroke - as there are no visible lightning channels on the frame following the ghost channel (see the article).

As this video is copyrighted, I can't post images of it here. However, if you look closely at the small 'ghost' channel on the video, its length is exactly the length of the gap between the top of the video frame and the roof of the house in the background. There is even a break in the channel from where a tree branch partially blocks its view. As described in the afrementioned article, if you open the frame in a graphics editor, you can use a selection tool to drag the lightning channel up so that the top of the channel is at the top of the frame. This will be its true position, where it really was in real life.

Also, notice the thunder from the strike comes a split second after the flash. If the lightning/streamer were indeed that close, there would have been an instantaneous sound. A streamer does produce thunder, although nowhere near as loud as the main channel.

Here's a classic example of a video ghost artifact. This is a video frame of me shooting lightning photos during a storm in Ohio in 2003. A 'ghost' channel is visible here, making it look like I just got hit on the side of my head. Of course, this is not what really happened. The 'bolt' on my head is just a video ghost. Wait a minute - maybe I should keep that a secret and send this video to all the networks. I'd be famous for being the guy that survived a lightning strike to the left ear - and got it all on tape!

Classic lightning video ghosting

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