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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Saint Elmo's fire Named after Saint Erasmus (a corruption of the name), patron saint of Mediterranean sailors, this is a natural high-voltage effect sometimes seen on the mast and spars of a sailing ship during calms, considered to be a benevolent warning of an impending storm. Blue halos in the form of flamelike discharges are seen at the tips of the rigging and are due to charges between the earth (water) and the atmosphere leaking off into the surrounding air.
      See also Kirlian photography.

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