Weirdness in Waccabuc

Was it lightning, a buzzard, an act of God, or a brain tumor? See what our listeners think! Read their insightful letters below.

You can hear the dubious details right here.


It is likely that she had encountered a stray electromagnetic field. There could have been a crack in the wiring above her and the fact that she had her car phone charger plugged in may have facilitated a sudden grounding of the EM in the vicinity of her car. I saw this on "60 Minutes."

- Andy




I believe I know what happened. On Sunday, July 4, 2004, I was awakened at 6:30 A.M. to such a loud buzz I thought my house had been struck by lightning. I found that the power was out and a high power line was down about 1/2 a block away. I spoke with the repair man and he explained that the line had broken from age and discharged on the ground, making that noise.

- Jeffrey



She was hit by a random lightning bolt.

- Curt




I'm a pilot. Occasionally, when atmospheric conditions are right, we get a thing called precipitation static building up on the windshield. When it eventually discharges it can create quite a bright flash or sometimes "dancing lights" called St. Elmo's Fire and sometimes almost appears like a lightning strike.

- Anonymous



Maybe it was the result of a sparking transformer or a buzzard cooking on the line. The light may have been reflected sunlight that happened to hit her windshield at the same time.

- Charles




She just happened to go under a high voltage power pole when the lines arced. It is not uncommon for birds with large wingspans, foil balloons or such to cause an arc between phases or wires of a high voltage line. The arc would have been bright enough to appear as though it had happened in her car.

- Art



She isn't crazy, but had a relatively unusual opportunity to observe a phenomenon called "ball lightning."

- Richard




An electrical fault occurred. The flash, as bright as a big firework, was the plasma arc of the fault and the noise was the sound of the arc.

- Mike



The flash of light was a co-incidental reflection of sunlight off a chrome component inside the car at the same time she was going underneath the power line and experienced the static "zap" coming from the radio.

- Curt




I'm a pediatrician so I may be going out on a limb suggesting diagnosis in adults, but I wonder if this experience could be symptoms of a brain disorder i.e., brain tumor or seizure or even an aura of migraine although she didn't mention a headache. She probably should see a doctor

- Andrew



Did anyone consider that she might have had a slight stroke? It's called a TIA and this might explain things as there was nothing wrong with the car. Maybe she should go to the doctor.





I am a neuron-psychologist, and the caller's symptoms could well be explained by what we call an "aura," which is a sensory illusion marking the prodrome of a seizure or migraine headache.

- Anonymous



What appears to be a flash of light can be a symptom of a serious retinal (eye) problem and you should call her and urge her to see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

- Peter




What about this scenario: Some of these phone chargers have a metal tip sticking out from the end. Is it possible that this tip touched a piece of metal directly attached to the frame of the vehicle? This could have caused a short, which could result in both a "zap" sound and a flash of light.

- Scott



I think the woman probably have surround speakers and she did hear static charge from the wire on her radio, which is why it "enveloped" the car. I think simultaneously and coincidentally at the same time, the sun came in the window and reflected off her cell-phone charger, rather like it was a mirror.

- Cecelia




Sally had a seizure. Nobody likes a seizure so let's label this one ball lightning and file it away under solved!

- Phil



I'd like to know if there was a storm anywhere within about 100km; what was the cloud cover like? Also, did anyone in the area experience power surges that day? On close inspection, is there any visible damage to the paintwork? All will become apparent.

- Rob




A small animal, most likely a squirrel, walked into a hot spot across lines overhead and was electrocuted.

- Mike



A circuit breaker on the top of the pole that tripped as she went under it.

- Joe




The lady from New York who experienced noise and flash of light going underwires may have been a victim of a "laser pointer" aimed at her from outside the car.

- Jack



I pass the location on the Waccabuc/ Westchester county line regularly. I cannot believe she never got the radio interference at that spot. There are big time power lines over the road there and everyone's radio goes berserk for a few tenths of a mile.

However, the bright flash doesn't happen to all of us.

- Greg




Waccabuc is also rich in Indian history, and many traces of the latter are still to be seen. In the center of one lake is the little island of Juan Fernandez, with its curious Indian ovens. Some people claim that they've seen Indian spirits lighting the ovens, especially at night. Most of those who claim to have seen the lights have viewed them from their cars.

- Anonymous



The flash seen could easily have been related to the cigarette lighter and cell -phone charger. Some chargers have logic circuitry and switching devices that can go haywire when subjected to strong RF interference. This MAY have induced a fault within the cell charger.

- Jim




I believe what she experienced is a stray voltage. In Iowa, we have had farm animals killed from this stuff.

- Vicki



It's obvious, and I'm stunned that you were not aware that she had been scanned by the MOTHERSHIP and more than likely transported to the MOTHERSHIP examined and returned in a flash of light. Get with it boys.

- Brad




Folks in the area often speak of the crazy people & events prevalent to the Greater Danbury, CT & Westchester County, NY areas, i.e., stories of aliens, freakish weather, inbreeding, legends of large creatures with red eyes, etc. Maybe there's something in the water.

- Noel



She had her camera balanced on the center console - somehow it slid across the console and the 'take a photo' button was pressed. The flash went off and the film advance motor made the buzzing sound.

- Anonymous




You don't need Rod Serling, you need Nikoli Tesla. Sally experienced what is called "Ball Lightning. The bright flash and crackle are typical. It's a harmless but often terrifying ionization of air caused by a large static charge. She said it was a bright day. It was probably also cold with almost no humidity. Her tires built up static on the dry pavement. She passed under the power lines at exactly the right moment, and the field she passed through triggered the ionization, just like the trigger capacitor and transformer trigger a camera flash tube.

- Bill



It sounds to me like Sally experienced a Coronal Discharge from the power line. I don't know, I'm just a shipyard electrician.

You didn't ask if she had to change her shorts though.

- Anonymous




After interviewing Sally's husband it has been learned that Sally has a great love (to the point of obsession) of Boston Baked Beans. The "buzzing" that Sally spoke of didn't just start seconds before the event. Sally was unknowingly driving a bomb looking for a fuse. Sally's wool coat was perfect for creating a static charge igniting the methane fuel. With this beaning revealed it's no wonder Sally blamed the power lines.

- Jack



I only hope and pray that your disbelief in the caller's story, and the mocking response you nailed her with, does not result in an intergalactic diplomatic mess. Guys, we don't need the trouble.

- Anonymous