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Dragon fire, swamp gas, earth lights or human hoaxing? The Naga fireballs – mysterious lights that rise from the Mekong river in Thailand in late October each year – remain a hotly debated area of Forteana. Unfortunately, the actual history of the phenomenon remains shrouded in doubt, and the huge festival (and accompanying fireworks) that surrounds the yearly manifestation of the fireballs makes it difficult to study it in any great detail.

Australian ufologist Bill Chalker attended the Naga Fireball festival in 2006, and on his blog he’s recently posted some of his thoughts as well as some videos he took during his visit:

I went to Nong Khai and Phon Phisai where the spectacular Naga light fireball festival was in full swing on the Mekong river looking towards Laos. I was in Phon Phisai on Saturday night October 7 for the anticipated fireball display. The human part of the light show – fireworks, rockets, large fire balloons, fireboats etc – was in great evidence, but when the Naga fireballs started emerging, they were strikingly different to the easily discernible human displays – very straight vertical flights out of river to a great height and then disappearing after a few seconds. Each appearance was greeted with a huge roar from the thousands of people lining the river at every vantage point along the Mekong.

This phenomenon has a tremendous social and human dimension and while it is tempting to try to explain the lights, however correctly or incorrectly- planted “rockets”, “submarine” firings, Naga Dragon speaking – they all seem to fall short of entirely convincing explanations. The UFO researcher in me calls for an explanation, and I have to wonder about the presence of the manned fireboats plying the river prior to the appearance of the Naga lights, but from my observations it seems difficult to see how they do it and what kind of item is utilised, given nothing seemed to be at the localities around the various exit points in the river for some time either side of each Naga light appearance. The emotional response to these lights on site is to inevitably get caught up in the chaotic flow of the evening events. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and loose objectivity. Perhaps thats why they write books like “Mad about the Mekong”. It is a great area full of extraordinary sights and experience, not the least of them being the Naga Light show during the full moon glow over the river.

I saw the lights about 8 times coming out of the river. It was a great day and night.

Visit Bill’s blog The Oz Files to view all of the videos and his thoughts on the phenomenon.

Link: The Mystery and Allure of the Naga Light Festival