Mother Nature is kind of a bitch.
Hurricanes, floods and tsunamis are all her little ways of letting us know that, deep down, she hates us. Possibly for all those times we razed a forest to build a CostCo.
But sometimes mother nature is passive aggressive, throwing a horrifying curve ball out of the clear blue sky. Something that you could never see coming. Something that you probably didn't even know was possible. For instance ...
So there you are, minding your own business on a nice, clear day when you suddenly get totally killed by a big damn chunk of ice falling out of the sky.
This isn't wimpy hailstone bullshit, either. Megacryometers (the scientific name for "big damn chunk of ice falling out of the sky") are known to weigh up to 450 pounds or more. And this isn't something you see in the arctic, either. The largest stone on record was in Brazil (a country known for its vast quantities of things that aren't ice) and weighed in at a whopping 484 pounds. That will crush your house. Or at least fuck it up pretty good.
They're also known to leave huge craters and are commonly mistaken for meteors. Which they might as well be, if you're the guy who just got his skull pulverized by one.
Science doesn't exactly know how such a deadly projectile can form naturally. For a while, they were thought to be ejections from airplane bathrooms, but the discharge from those airborn chemical toilets is always blue due to disinfectants they add. These monster hail stones, on the other hand, are white and can fall pretty much anywhere with no real pattern.
Scientists didn't start seriously studying them until 2000 when Spain had a 10-day hailstorm with stones up to six and a half pounds ... without so much as a cloud in the freaking sky. They seem to be most common in the middle of winter. And the middle of the summer. Figure that out.
So what we're saying is it's pretty much like God is throwing darts at the Earth, except instead of darts, He uses chunks of ice that could kill an elephant.
Chances of it Happening to YOU:
These things happen in every part of the world with little rhyme or reason, except that whole thing about being more common in mid summer and mid winter, which obviously does nothing to help you. The sky could pretty much fall right on top of you at any moment, any time of the year.
This one in the picture above fell in some dude's living room while he was watching The Exorcist. Seriously.
There's not even some kind of warning, like high winds or sudden temperature change, just a quick whooshing sound before impact. You'll have just enough time to look up before the giant hailstone wipes the surprised look off your face, or more accurately wipes your surprised face off of you.
So you're just sitting alone, minding your own business. Maybe it's during a thunderstorm, maybe not. But then, suddenly, you see a bright glowing ball of light pass through a wall without leaving a mark. Or maybe it destroys the whole damn wall.
Welcome to the completely baffling phenomenon known as ball lightning, which, thankfully, is not simply the name for regular lightning that happens to strike your balls (sadly, there is no name for that).
This is just a glowing ball of energy, floating through the air like Satan's fastball. Or imagine Tinkerbell, only without the 6 inch tall stripper in the middle of the glowy ball and possibly burning everything in its path. That's ball lightning.
Above: Ball lightning...maybe.
Ball lightning is so strange, for the longest time scientists just thought people were making shit up. Witnesses who reported it had the same credibility as UFO abductees.
And while they're at least trying to study it now, we still have no clue how it works. Some people think it's a special kind of static electricity. Some think it's electrified silicon. Some think it's a big ball of What The Fuck that has somehow adopted physical form.
Another theory that's actually taken seriously, despite it being batshit insane, is that ball lightning is caused by singularities, which is something really massive that doesn't actually take up any space, if you can wrap your head around that. That was the theory after some ball lightning left a wake of destruction in Ireland.
Chances of it Happening to YOU:
It's estimated that 1 in 20 Americans have seen ball lightning, meaning that there's probably thousands, of people reading this who have seen it. Granted, you probably mistook it for a UFO, or a Hadouken...
...but you saw it. If you see it again, try to catch it in a jar or something. Scientists want to study that shit.