Ball Lightning Italian Database
by Paolo Toselli

In recent years several members of the CISU have expressed growing interest in so-called ‘ball lightning”, a phenomenon science itself has failed to fully explain as yet (and indeed has often disdained). There are numerous phenomenological similarities between ball lightning and in some cases UFOs, but there are also many differences. A specific project was set up in 1999 to examine the subjet in greater detail, the primary aim of it being a database (BLITA) of certain or probable Italian sightings of ball lightnings ad similar phenomena, both contemporary and ancient ones.

Cases have been searched from scientific literature, expecially the numerous papers published by Ignazio Galli between 1907 and 1919 (recently recovered thanks to bibliographic research by some CISU members), as well as from non-scientific literature, the archives of individual researchers, newspaper clippings and field investigations, to a great extent already in CISU archives. The regional catalogues of UFO sightings compiled by CISU representatives have been used as a further source of phenomena comparable to ball lightning, according to phenomenological standards adopted by BL literature.

A total of approx. 200 Italian sightings of ball lightnings have been filed and the first Italian catalogue of BL reports was published in 2001.

Beside the regular updating of the BLITA, the internal consistency of various observational parameters is planned to be verified by correlating two different parts of the same database, e.g. cases reported by Galli in the early 1900’s vs. those coming from contemporary UFO files. Another planned analysys will be the comparison with other national catalogues of ball lightning observations. A comparison of observational parameters with Italian UFO/IFO sightings catalogued by the CISU, with over 15,000 cases from the last 60 years, will also be made, in order to highlight possible differences and/or similarities. Participation of all those interested in the subject is invited.

Project coordinator: Paolo Toselli

Produced documentation
– Toselli, Paolo and Fedele, Renato: “Project for a Database of Ball Lightning Observations in Italy”, in Geert C. Dijkhuis editor, Proceedings 6th International Symposium on Ball Lightning (ISBL99), 23-25 August 1999, University of Antwerp, Belgium, pp. 27-33.
– Toselli, Paolo: “Fulmini globulari e UFO”, in UFO – Rivista di Informazione Ufologica, Torino, CISU, No. 22, December 1999, pp. 4-5.
– Toselli, Paolo e Fedele, Renato: “Progetto di catalogazione delle osservazioni italiane di fulmini globulari (BLITA)”
– Toselli, Paolo: “Questionario per le segnalazioni di presunti fulmini globulari”, [BL sighting questionnaire form], CISU 2001
– Toselli, Paolo “BLITA, Italian Ball Lightning Database: Catalogo italiano delle osservazioni di fulmini globulari”, Edizioni UPIAR, Torino, 2001 (108 pages)
– Toselli, Paolo, “Ufologi, scienza e fulmini globulari”, in UFO – Rivista di Informazione Ufologica, Torino, CISU, No. 26, December 2002, pp. 47-48