New York family witnesses ball lightning
A Tioga County family says they had an incredible and mysterious encounter with a rare form of lightning in a recent thunderstorm.

"I saw light whiz past my head and my grandmother looked up and saw this giant ball just explode over the fan blades," said 11-year-old Alannah Reeves, who experienced the ball lightning first hand.

"Something comes past us and goes up to the ceiling fan and I look up and there's this ball of yellow lightning," said Jane Wright, Alannah's grandmother who also witnessed the phenomena.

They say they saw lightning that looked like a yellow, soccer ball sized orb called Ball Lightning.

Seen here in a 2012 video from a thunderstorm in Louisiana where the ball can be seen slowly wafting across the sky before blinking out of existence.

This event usually happens outdoors, but can find its way inside through closed windows and that's exactly what the family in Tioga Center says happened.

They tell 12 News the yellow ball entered through the closed window, moved toward the living room ceiling fan, and exploded without making a sound.

"Almost as soon as after it exploded I grabbed my ear in pain," said Reeves.

The pain is likely attributed to a high intensity electromagnetic field of high frequency, according to an expert on Ball Lightning at the University of Missouri, Graham Hubler.

We wanted to know more about this phenomena, so we go a hold of Dr. Hubler over the phone.

"It's really a ball, a round ball that floats slowly, generally slowly along, the land, it can come down from the sky, it can float several meters off the ground," said Graham Hubler, Director of the Sidney Kimmel Institute for Nuclear Renaissance at the University of Missouri.

There are several theories swirling about what causes the phenomenon.

Some say it has electromagnetic properties, thus giving this ball of light the ability to pass through solid objects, like windows.

Hubler says it usually lasts about 10 seconds total during a thunderstorm which means you'll probably never see it.

"If two out of a hundred people ever even see it in their lifetime then it's pretty rare because you see thunderstorms all the time," said Hubler. "Just a thunderstorm will not produce it, there's some other conditions that makes it happen."

But Alannah still worries about another scare.

"I'm still scared electricity will come through the window and hit me," said Reeves.

On Wednesday, Alannah says her ear is doing better, and Doctor Hubler says this phenomena is still a mystery to scientists with no proven cause.