Smoke on the water – The Nation

Every year, on the last night of the Buddhist retreat, something extraordinary takes place in the remote countryside of Nong Khai province in Thailand’s northeast. The Mekong River, usually noted for its murky water and large fish, starts throwing glowing balls of light high into the sky.

The local folks will tell you that the serpents – or naga in Thai – are shooting a series of pike balls from the bed of Mekong, marking and celebrating Lord Buddha’s return from his retreat in heaven. The scientists, of course, don\’t agree with the \”Naga Theory\”, pointing their knowledgeable fingers to gas combustion to explain the fireballs, which is less romantic but still hard to understand.

So what is it out there? A paranormal moment, a natural phenomenon or perhaps even a hoax?

Or doesn\’t it really matter? After all, what\’s important surely is that the mysterious naga fireballs make their return to the skies over the Mekong this Saturday.

The place to go is Phon Phisai – a district on the outskirts of Nong Khai – where more than 100 fireballs shoot skywards every year.

The phenomenon is as enigmatic as it is beautiful. Thousands of pink and red bursts of light rise from the Mekong. The glowing spheres, the size of chicken eggs, hang in the air for a few minutes before disappearing, leaving in their wake astonishment, mystification and many, many questions.

via Smoke on the water – The Nation.

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