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On 15 August 1663 in the Robozero district of Russia, parishioners at a midday church service were startled by a resounding crash. Rushing outside and looking up into the sky they saw to their utter amazement a great ball of fire about 4.5 meters wide, with two fiery beams projecting in front. As they watched the phenomenon, it moved across the church towards a nearby lake.

When it was above the lake, the fireball suddenly disappeared from sight. But an hour later it reappeared in the same spot and moved to within 500 meters of the church group before vanishing. A report written by Ivachko Rjevskoi, included in Historical Files compiled in 1842 by the Archaeological Commission in St Petersburg, is based on the testimony of one of the witnesses, Levka Fedorov. The report revealed that the fireball returned one more time, filling all who saw it with dread. It stayed over the area one and half hours. Fishermen in a boat on the lake about 1500 meters away were burnt by the fire. The lake water was lit up to its full depth of 9 meters, and the fish fled to the banks.

Attempts have been made to explain this strange occurrence as either a meteor or ball lightning, but both arguments seem unconvincing. In reality, nobody knows what the Robozero phenomenon was.

 


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