The observations in the first section of this paper were sent to John Abrahamson in response to the publication of a recent paper on ball lightning, with the correspondents either reading the original paper, or reports of it in popular science articles. A selection of the cases has been made, including those which showed interesting detail possibly useful in debating ball lightning mechanisms. Any inserted text within parenthesis is the observer's response to follow‐up queries from J.A. The age of the observer (where noted) is that at the time of the observation. Three observations (§§ 1 q‐s) did not show motion independent of their surroundings, but have been included because of their other similarities to ball lightning. It is interesting to note the high proportion (greater than 0.5) of scientifically or technically trained observers in this collection
The data presented in the second section of this paper come from both letters and interviews. Our interview questionnaire consisted of 46 questions and was mostly carried out in quiet conditions. Observations in §§ 2 a, e, h, l, m, q‐t were corrected during several (two or three) interviews. Heading each observation case we note the most unusual property of the object.
Ball lightning appears in Russia and the Ukraine usually in summer (June‐August), and more rarely in spring (March‐May), or autumn (September‐November). It appears usually during the daytime, 13:00‐17:00 h, when most summer thunderstorms take place.
Observers in their descriptions usually use the term ‘morning’ to describe the period from 06:00 to 11:00 h, ‘daytime’ for 12:00‐18:00 h, and ‘evening’ for 19:00‐21:00 h. The term ‘time’ means the local time, and sometimes it is difficult to compare it with the local geographic time due to frequent official state summer‐winter time changes. The decree time in Russia can in general differ from the geographic time by 1‐2h.