E. H. Lewis

P. O. Box 2013, Champaign, IL 61825


[A version of this article was published in Proceedings of 10th International Conference of Cold Fusion --(c) World Scientific. The conference was held in Cambridge, MA in August 2003]

There is evidence of microscopic ball lightning in the most common kinds of cold fusion and transmutation experiments. Photographs of microscopic ball lightning effects from four researchers who worked independently are shown in this article. Common characteristics and effects of ball lightning are described to help experimenters recognize the phenomena. The research evidence shows that the microscopic ball lightning causes transmutation.

1        Introduction

Ball lightning (BL) that is large enough to see is a rare natural phenomena. There is evidence that some natural ball lightning have been radioactive[1] or have left behind deposits that suggest that the BL transmuted elements. As described in this article, there is evidence of microscopic BL. There is no reason to suppose a size limit for BL. At least four groups of researchers have reported that there is evidence that microscopic objects are associated with the transmutation and energy effects now studied by cold fusion researchers. Matsumoto and Lewis describe the objects as BL. Savvatimova wrote about finding evidence of markings like Matsumoto's BL markings. And Shoulders calls the objects he researches EVs. EVs behave like BL and are a kind of microscopic BL[2].

Photographs from these four researchers are shown in this article. The report of ball lightning activity, the discussion of ball lightning characteristics and effects, and the ideas and hypotheses presented here may help researchers recognize and utilize the ball lightning effects.

2        Photographs From Four Groups

There is evidence of microscopic ball lightning in cold fusion experiments. Here are photographs from four groups of cold fusion and transmutation researchers who worked independently. The photographs provide evidence of BL phenomena in the experiments.

2.1       Lewis


In 1996, I examined the pieces of the nickel-on-plastic microsphere electrolysis cell called Ni/plastic Run #8 in the Fusion Studies Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The cell contained little plastic beads that were coated with about 650 angstroms of nickel by a patented electrode-sputtering technique. This cell and the anomalous appearance of a wide range of elements have been described by Prof. George Miley[3]. The electrolysis was performed in his laboratory at UIUC. The pictures were taken by using a digital camera attached to a high-quality optical microscope. After the experiment was over, I examined the used microspheres, the Lexan plastic casings for the microspheres, and both sides of the Ti anode and cathode for evidence of BL marks. I also examined one or two other similar cells from similar experiments in the lab.

In Miley's ICCF10 lecture, he said that Run #8 exhibited by far the most excess heat of the various experiments he conducted with the microsphere cell configuration. This cell also exhibited more ring markings, pits, microscopic grooves and tracks, and other evidence of BL than other cells I examined. Run #8 involved two different Lexan casings. These seven photographs are at a magnification of 200x or 400x and are of markings on component pieces of Run #8: the two Lexan casings, two microspheres, and the Ti anode and cathode.

Figures 1 and 2 are of the post-run microspheres; and Figures 3 and 4 are photographs of the titanium plate cathode and the titanium plate anode of the cell. These plates enclosed the microspheres in the Lexan plastic casings. Figures 5, 6, and 7 show ring marks in the casings. Some of these markings are faint in these photographs, but appear more clearly in the original electronic and paper copies.



Figure 1. Rings on Metal Layer on Bead from Ni/Plastic Run #8. Two ring marks on the thin layer of Ni metal that remained on the plastic microsphere after electrolysis was performed. This area of the surface of the microsphere also had a few other rings and many pits, grooves, and chain marks. Most of the metal was gone on this part of the bead. This photograph is Figure 19 from Ref. 4.

Figure 2. Ring on Plastic Substrate of Bead from Ni/Plastic Run #8. The ring mark is just above the dark black arrow. It is very faint. It is oval shaped, which suggests that a round ring of tiny objects hit the surface of the microsphere at an angle or that an oval or elliptical ring of objects hit the surface. Other marks are also visible. Figure 22 from Ref. 4.

Figure 3. Ring Mark on Titanium Plate Cathode of Ni/Plastic Run #8. Magnification 400x. The black line points out the mark. It is about 18 micrometers wide and seems to show that a ring of discreet plasmoids landed on the surface and draped over the texture of the electrode. Two or more faint rings of about the same size seem to be connected to it at its bottom left-hand corner. There also seem to be other rings scattered around. Fig. 5 from Ref. 5.

Figure 4. Ring Mark on Titanium Plate Anode of Ni/Plastic Run #8. Magnification 400x. The dark ring mark is on the bottom of a pit on the side of the anode facing away from the microspheres. Many other micrometer-sized pits are on this side, and there are relatively few on the side that faced the microspheres. The pit itself is about 200 micrometers wide at the surface of the anode, but narrowed down to the white area that is about 100 micrometers in diameter. The ring mark is about 20 or 30 micrometers wide, which is the regular size of BL marks in electrolysis cells reported by Matsumoto. The groove or ditch marks may be due to BL, and are also like grooves left by tornadoes[6]. The grooves are about 10 or 20 micrometers wide. At lower magnifications, the pit looks like a dark spot. Fig. 17 from Ref. 4.


Figure 5. Lexan Plastic Casing #1 of Ni/Plastic Run #8. Magnification 400x or 200x. Shows two rings. The top ring was computer processed to define edges. Fig. 8 from Ref. 5.

Figure 6. Lexan Plastic Casing #2 of Ni/Plastic Run #8. Magnification 200x. Shows a group of small rings to the left of the microsphere indentation. The markings are seen with the optical microscope positioned outside of an intact casing. The picture shows the convex impression left by a microsphere that was in contact with the inside of the casing. The bead developed both ridges and ditch markings. To the left of the bead impression are the faint marks of rings that are about 20 micrometers wide.
Perhaps one BL hopped around, or a group of similarly-sized BL was emitted. These markings look like Figure 8 below, which was taken by Matsumoto. Fig. 2 from Ref. 5.

Figure 7. Lexan Plastic Casing #2 of Ni/Plastic Run #8. Magnification 200x. Shows a ring mark to the right of the bead impression. The picture shows the convex impression left by a microsphere that was in contact with the inside of the casing. The bead developed both ridges and ditch markings. A BL may have left a trail mark in the plastic or bored through. The ring mark is about 25 micrometers in diameter. Fig. 4 from Ref. 5.

The photographs shown here were taken by E. Lewis of various components of Ni-Plastic Run #8 in the Laboratory of Professor G. H. Miley at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996. His cooperation in allowing this work is gratefully acknowledged.

2.2       Markings from Matsumoto, Shoulders, and Savvatimova

Photographs taken by Matsumoto, Shoulders, and Savvatimova are reproduced here. Their permission in allowing me to reproduce these photographs is gratefully acknowledged.

The photograph in Fig. 8 was taken by Matsumoto of markings on thin sheets of Acrylite plastic set up as targets outside the 1-mm-thick Acrylite plastic bottom of a glass container. This picture is of a mark that was found on the front side of the second sheet of a series. This suggests that the object may have traveled through both the bottom of the container and the first sheet of Acrylite or through the glass and between the plastic sheets. This is clearly reminiscent of BL behavior[6]. The hopping characteristic is like that of BL and whirlwind behavior[6]. In Ref. 6, I tried to explain that ball lightning and whirlwinds are similar and are the same class of phenomena. Over the past decade and a half, Matsumoto has published many pictures like these.

The photograph in Fig. 9 were taken by Savvatimova of markings that were both inside and outside her discharge device. She reported discovering many markings that are like those reported by Matsumoto on X-ray films around her apparatus and that there was a correlation between number of markings and isotopic and chemical changes. The scale shown here is 10 millimeters, so these markings are bigger than the micrometer sized markings discovered by Matsumoto, Shoulders, and me. But they do suggest that a microscopic ball lightning touched the surface of the X-ray film, because these markings look like markings that BL or whirlwinds would leave.


Figure 8. Markings on Acrylite Sheets Set Outside of Discharge Device. From Fig. 5 of Ref. 7.

Figure 9. X-ray Film Outside (A, B) and Inside the Vacuum Chamber after Deuteron Irradiation in Glow Discharge. Fig. 3 from Ref. 8.

The objects in Shoulders' experiments that he calls EVs behave in ways similar to BL. They are a type of BL.


Figs. 10, 11, & 12.

Figure 10. Ring Mark in Witness Plate. This is a typical type of microscopic BL ring marking. Fig. 1 from Ref. 9.

Figure 11. Strike Marks on Lead Glass. EVs struck lead glass. These marks show the heatless motion of atoms. Though Shoulders tried to determine whether the apparent sloshing and relocation of the glass atoms was due to melting caused by heating from the objects that struck the glass, he reports that he found no evidence of heating of the glass. The atoms were repositioned in the anomalous manner described by B. Franklin. Fig. 7 from Ref. 9.

Figure 12. Impact Site of EV. Shoulders reports that x-ray analysis of this spot recorded many transmuted elements, mainly magnesium, calcium and silicon. The pit is about 7 or 8 micrometers across. Fig. 12 from Ref. 10.

2.3       Conclusion

Over the years, Matsumoto, Shoulders, Savvatimova and I published similar looking pictures of markings on targets, plastic sheets, and X-ray film set around or inside electrolysis and discharge devices. Additionally, Matsumoto and K. Shoulders have analyzed sites of BL and EV impact or contact and found that they contain elements that they think are due to transmutation. Ni/Plastic Run #8 exhibited both the most markings and the most excess heat of the two or three cells I studied from the lab. Savvatimova(8) wrote that there was a correlation between the number of markings on X-ray film that were placed both inside and outside the apparatus and the isotopic and elemental change in her experiments. Taken together, the four researchers working independently produced evidence that microscopic objects like BL are involved in low-energy transmutation effects.

3        Discussion

This research is based on the premise that ball lightning is related to cold fusion. The evidence of microscopic BL and their unusual characteristics suggest that the main hypotheses of physics may be defined in a new way. This is because it is known that some BL convert entirely to electricity.

Evidence for the anomalous behavior of atoms is the fluid-like heatless flow of material associated with moving ball lightning, i.e., Fig. 11. In his recent manuscript articles[9,10], Ken Shoulders wrote that he found no evidence of heat in "sloshing" markings such as Fig. 11, though materials with high melting points clearly moved like that. In the mid 1700s, Benjamin Franklin researched an effect he also called "cold fusion." By this term he meant the strange heatless melting or fusing of metal objects struck by lightning or exposed to electrical discharge. He wrote that coins held in a pocket that was struck by lightning were found merged together without scorching the pocket and that a sword melted without scorching the scabbard that held it. Under certain circumstances, lightning, electricity or BL may cause atoms to act like this, and this anomalous behavior points to the anomalous properties of atoms in CF reactions.

4        Characteristic and Effects of Ball Lightning

Ball lightnings exhibit a variety of characteristics and effects. Ball lightnings occur in various kinds and sizes. People most often report seeing BL that range in size from about 10 centimeters to 1 meter in diameter. The markings most often seen by Matsumoto and Shoulders range in size from 1 to 100 micrometers in diameters. They also exhibit a variety of colors, luminosity, and behaviors. Sometimes, they are reported to be whirlwinds or carry along materials like sand, sticks or leaves. Sometimes they have odor or give off gasses. They sometimes exhibit electrical discharges. Some explode, bore tunnels, or dig ditches in materials or in the ground. Sometimes they pass through glass and plastic without visible effects on the materials. Some exhibit gravity-like and magnetic effects. As was shown in this article, they leave ring marks, tracks, pits, grooves, and regions of unusual motion of atoms.

For people interested in reading the literature on this subject, there are BL books such as references 11, 12, and 13, as well as ball lightning conference reports. The fields of cold fusion and ball lightning are merging. CF researchers will find information on CF related to BL in recent BL conference proceedings. In Russia, there may be a greater interest in BL as a topic of research, and the recent CF conferences have been jointly sponsored by the Russian CF and BL research committees. Articles and books that focus on the anomalous energy content of BL, material deposits or radioactivity such as Ref. 11 and 14 would be of the most interest to CF researchers.

5        Conclusion

In conclusion, it was shown that the experiments of four cold fusion groups that were reported to be associated with excess energy or transmutation also produced microscopic markings that suggest the production of microscopic ball lightnings. The research results of Shoulders and Matsumoto show that ball lightning contact is directly involved with transmutation in their experiments. They report that sites of ball lightning impact contain transmuted species. Evidently, there is a causal relationship between the two phenomena. Characteristics common to natural ball lightning and microscopic ball lightning were described in this article to help researchers recognize them.


1. G. Dijkhuis and J. Pijpelink, "Performance of a High-Voltage Test Facility Designed for Investigation of Ball Lightning." Proc. of the First International Symposium on Ball Lightning (Fire Ball), Tokyo, Japan, July 4-6, 1988, World Scientific Company, Singapore.

2. E. Lewis, "A Description of Phenomena According to My Theory and Experiments to Test It," manuscript article, 1992.

3. G. H. Miley et al., "Quantitative Observation of Transmutation Products Occurring in Thin-Film Coated Microspheres During Electrolysis," Proceedings of the ICCF-6, Hokkaido, Japan, October 14-17, 1996.

4. E. Lewis, "Additional Plasmoid Marks on Electrolysis Cells," 1997 web article on

5. E. Lewis, "Photographs of Some Components of an Electrolysis Cell," 1997 web article on

6. E. Lewis, "Tornadoes, Ball Lightning, and Tiny Plasmoids in Devices," Journal of Frontier Sciences, 6, no. 2, 79 (1997).

7. T. Matsumoto, "Observation of Tiny Ball Lightning During Electrical Discharge in Water," manuscript article, 1994.

8. I. Savvatimova, "Reproducibility of Experiments in Glow Discharge and Processes Accompanying Deuterium Ions Bombardment," ICCF-8, Lerici, Italy, May 21-26, 2000.

9. K. Shoulders, "Permittivity Transitions," manuscript article, 2000.

10. K. Shoulders, "Charged Clusters in Action," manuscript article, 1999.

11. G. Egely, Hungarian Ball Lighting Observations, Center. Res. Inst. Physics. Hung. Academy of Sciences, 1987.

12. J. Barry, Ball Lightning and Bead Lightning - Extreme Forms of Atmospheric Electricity, Plenum Press, New York, 1980.

13. S. Singer, The Nature of Ball Lightning, Plenum Press, New York, 1971.

14. G. Egely, Physical Problems and Physical Properties of Ball Lightning, Proc. of the First International Symposium on Ball Lightning (Fire Ball), Tokyo, Japan, July 4-6, 1988, World Scientific Company, Singapore.