Hessdalen Lights: Natural Phenomenon or Extraterrestrial Signals?

What’s happening in the skies about the tiny village of Hessdalen in central Norway? Mystery lights that can’t be easily explained have reportedly been appearing since the nineteenth century, but what are they? Natural phenomena or something altogether more otherworldly? Read on to find out about the illuminating tale of the Hessdalen lights.

18 September 2023

The night skies have been a canvas of wonder for thousands of years. But few celestial phenomena have garnered as much intrigue and speculation as the Hessdalen lights of Norway. Alien lights? Aeroplanes or car headlights? Electrical charges in local rocks? Evidence of miniature black holes or even portals to another dimension?

These unexplained illuminations, first believed to have been documented in the nineteenth century in the Hessdalen Valley, have sparked a myriad of theories, ranging from natural geological processes to evidence of extraterrestrial communications. With an appearance frequency that once peaked at twenty times a week, these enigmatic lights have puzzled both locals and scientists alike, becoming one of the most consistent and enduring unidentified aerial phenomena in recent history.

Every new encounter with the Hessdalen phenomena adds another layer of mystery to this remarkable story. But what are the Hessdalen lights? Could the Hessdalen Valley be a beacon for extraterrestrial entities, a natural hotspot of cosmic significance, or simply the Earth showcasing one of its lesser-known wonders?

Let’s attempt to shed some light on one of the world’s most intriguing and fascinating mysteries.

High Above Hessdalen

Surrounded by a fifteen-kilometre valley, the tiny village of Hessdalen in central Norway is home to a few hundred people. The former mining town is largely unknown outside its locality, save for a mystery which has baffled scientists since the early 1980s.

The Hessdalen lights are a series of illuminations that are said to appear in the skies over the valley both at night and during the day. They’re reported to take a number of forms, including floating orbs which remain in place for up to two hours, fast-moving lights across the sky, coloured lights which appear to separate and reform, blue and white flashes, and daytime sightings that resemble metallic objects.

The Hessdalen lights are a series of illuminations that are said to appear in the skies over the valley both at night and during the day.

There are unverified claims of written accounts of the Hessdalen phenomena dating back to the nineteenth century, and verbal accounts of these interesting illuminations have been passed down through families since the 1930s. However the Hessdalen lights didn’t draw national and international attention until the early 1980s, largely because word didn’t leave the small, tight-knit community until then.

It was around this time – somewhere between Christmas 1981 and the summer of 1984 – that very high activity was recorded. Around fifteen to twenty sightings a week were witnessed, and this attracted both overnight tourists hoping for a glimpse of the mysterious lights, and the scientific community hoping to explain the remarkable phenomenon.

Since around 2010, it’s believed the sightings have dwindled to somewhere between ten and twenty a year.

Project Hessdalen

Project Hessdalen was initiated as a response to the intense surge of reported sightings of the Hessdalen lights in the early 1980s. The purpose of the project was to gather and document data on the phenomenon in a systematic manner. While many locals had been reporting the lights for decades, the frequency and intensity of these observations in the early 1980s made the phenomenon an enticing subject of study.

Initiated by UFO-Norge and UFO-Sverige, two Nordic UFO research organisations, the main goal was to document the Hessdalen lights using scientific instrumentation to determine if there was any discernible pattern or cause to the lights.

In the 1980s, researchers would stay in the village to gather as much evidence as possible. The project documented numerous occurrences of the lights and the data gathered showed that they were not easily attributable to any one specific cause. The colours, duration, and behaviour of the lights varied significantly and over the following decade, other researchers and institutions took an interest, including the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Project Hessdalen’s investigations were significant not only in gathering data but also in drawing attention to the phenomenon from the broader scientific community. While the exact nature and cause of the Hessdalen phenomena remain elusive, the data from these early investigations provides a foundation for ongoing research and hypotheses.

Hessdalen AMS

Day turns to night in Hessdalen, Norway. (Credit: Mariusz Nowak / 500px via Getty Images)

As well as Project Hessdalen, the Hessdalen Automatic Measurement Station was set up in 1998 to provide continuous monitoring and data collection. Given the unpredictable nature of the appearances, a permanent, automated station was deemed essential to capture as much data as possible and ensure no significant event went unnoticed.

Operating around the clock, the AMS is equipped with a range of instruments including optical cameras for visual recording, radio receivers for detecting electromagnetic disturbances, magnetometers to measure magnetic field changes, and other sensors to capture environmental parameters like temperature and humidity.

Live streams are available for both professional and amateur researchers and this continuous data allows scientists to study the lights in detail, looking for patterns, correlations, or any clues that might hint at their origin or nature.

Yet it seems the scientific community is no closer to determining what’s happening in the skies above this sleepy village in Norway. Mystery lights are always going to attract attention, but what’s causing them?

Let There Be Light…

The Hessdalen lights have been the subject of intrigue for decades and they have been extensively studied, but their exact origin remains elusive. Over the years, several theories have been proposed to explain them.

Ionised Dust

One theory suggests that the lights are caused by ionised dust. In this scenario, the valley could produce ionised dust that lights up due to specific atmospheric conditions.

Piezoelectricity from Quartz

The rocks in the Hessdalen region are rich in quartz. Some scientists suggest that the stress on the quartz crystals, caused by the weight of the rocks, could produce electric charges. This phenomenon, called piezoelectricity, could then lead to atmospheric light phenomena.

Combustible Gas

Another hypothesis is that the lights are produced by gases. As hydrogen, oxygen, and sodium react, they might produce combustion, leading to the appearance of lights. The source of these gases could be the decaying vegetation or the river running through the valley.

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Atmospheric Plasma

The Hessdalen lights could be caused by a form of atmospheric plasma, where charged particles in the Earth’s atmosphere are responsible for creating luminous balls of light.

Geomagnetic Activity

Some theories link the lights to variations and anomalies in the Earth’s geomagnetism. The area might have specific geomagnetic properties that interact with the atmosphere, producing the lights.

Radon Decay

The valley of Hessdalen is believed to have deposits of uranium and thorium. The radioactive decay of these elements leads to the production of radon gas. As radon decays, it emits ionising radiation. This process can lead to the creation of charged particles in the atmosphere. When these charged particles recombine, they can release energy in the form of light. This radon decay theory is particularly interesting because it combines elements from several other theories, such as the ionised dust and combustible aerial gases hypotheses. It implies that the unique geology of the Hessdalen region, with its specific mineral and elemental composition, plays a crucial role in the formation of the lights.

Extraterrestrial Activity

Some of the more unusual theories surrounding the origin of the Hessdalen phenomena, especially due to the lights’ mysteriously unpredictable behaviour, is that they are signals or evidence of extraterrestrial activity. Though this theory is popular among UFO enthusiasts, it lacks evidence.

While these theories of the origins of the Hessdalen lights offer potential explanations, it’s important to note that no single theory has been accepted as the definitive cause of the lights in Norway. Alien lights are among the most attention grabbing ideas, but while the phenomenon is complex, it’s possible that multiple factors interact to produce the lights. Continued research, with the aid of technological advancements and data from Project Hessdalen and the AMS, will likely provide more insights into this enigmatic phenomenon in the future.

Beyond the Horizon: The Enigma of the Hessdalen Lights

The ethereal glow and unpredictable dance of the Hessdalen lights across the Norwegian skies remains one of nature’s most captivating mysteries. Whether shimmering silently for hours or flashing momentarily in the dark, they serve as a mesmerising reminder of the many mysteries our world holds.

While scientific explorations have offered intriguing theories, from the radioactive decay of radon to atmospheric plasmas, a definitive explanation remains tantalisingly out of reach.

Whatever the source of the Hessdalen phenomena may be – terrestrial, atmospheric, or otherworldly – it bridges the gap between the known and the unknown. Until an answer can shed definitive light on this mystery, the Hessdalen lights will continue to inspire wonder, debate, and an enduring curiosity about just what may be out there.


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