Norway’s Hessdalen Lights

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For nearly one hundred years, strange “phantom lights” have been observed in the skies above Norway. The phenomena is called the Hessdalen Lights and, to this day, researchers are still unable to fully explain what they actually are and why they exist.


Background and characteristics of the Hessdalen Lights

The lights were first seen in the Hessdalen Valley in 1930. They are described as bright red, yellow or white balls in the sky which appear during the day and also at night. The lights are often spotted near the horizon and last anywhere from a few seconds to an hour or more.

Witnesses of the phenomena say the lights would sometimes hover, with little to no movement. Other times, they would blaze through the atmosphere at alarming speeds or even sway back and forth in an unnatural fashion.

In the book Project Hessdalen 1984: Final Technical Report Part One, author E. Strand described how the lights would take on various shapes:

“The lights appeared to have different specific forms. This showed up [in] photos. It could have a form of a bullet, with the sharp end down. It could be round as a football. It could be as a ‘Christmas-tree’ upside down.”


During a three-year period between 1981 and 1984, around 3,000 reports were filed related to the Hessdalen Lights. Due to growing interest, a scientific research program called “Project Hessdalen” was formed to study the bizarre events.

According to the project’s website, the lights’ appearance can be divided up into four separate categories:

1. White or blue-white flashing light. They are usually high up in the air, close to the top of mountains or even higher. Their living time is usually short, typically [a few] seconds. Sometimes they have been seen for a minute, but seldom any longer.

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Time-exposure photo of a blue flashing light that was seen in the Hessdalen Valley. (Image Credit)

2. A yellow light with a red top. The red portion can be flashing and it is possible the yellow light is not constant in intensity.

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Another time-exposure photograph of a strange light observed in the night sky above Norway. (Image Credit)

3. A yellow or white light. This is the most common description of the Hessdalen phenomena. This light can stand still for more than an hour. It can move around slowly down in the valley, stop sometimes for minutes and then start moving again. The shape is often round as a ball. Sometimes there are other shapes.

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A small yellowish-white ball of light captured on film. (Image Credit)

4. A black “object” with a light on. This has been reported several times in Hessdalen.

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This picture was taken by Leif Havik in 1982. There are three visible lights on the black “object.” (Image Credit)


Possible theories explaining the cause of the Hessdalen Lights

Some believe the lights are being generated by either supernatural or extraterrestrial forces.

Elisabeth Stensrud, a resident of the nearby city of Trondheim, thinks E.T.s or even advanced beings from the “Hollow Earth” are causing the extraordinary lights to appear:

“My friends and I have taken a great interest in the lights ever since we were children. It is probably because they appear close by and the fact we have seen them in the valley with our own eyes.”

“Norway is made up of many impassable glaciers, mountains and fjords. In those desolate locations, it is said there exists secret hidden entrances that lead deep inside the Earth, much like in Antarctica. This both fascinates and scares me at the same time; who really knows what lurks down there, beneath us. If there are intelligent beings other than ourselves, they could have been around for eons and possess advanced technologies. Causing random lights in the sky would be easy for them.”

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A map that allegedly shows a number of entrances to the Hollow Earth. (Image Credit)


Others think there is a more natural, yet deadly, explanation.

In a 2014 article, Gizmodo author Esther Inglis-Arkell talked about the Coulomb Crystal Theory:

“They could be what’s known as ‘coulomb crystals.’ These crystals form in plasma. Scientists have mostly created them from calcium particles. They change shape depending on their impurities. One of the shapes they form is a helix.”

“Scientists exploring a site near where a large light was seen found an increased level of radiation coming from the rocks. They believe that radon gets into the atmosphere by adhering to dust particles. Radon decays, sending out alpha particles. Alpha particles are two protons and two neutrons – a helium nucleus. Alpha particles aren’t dangerous when they’re ejected by a source outside the body. Inside the body they can do damage, causing cancer in the linings of the lungs and the digestive tract. If radon is on atmospheric dust, there’s a chance people are inhaling it.”

Norwegian Scientist Christian Opdal Eid has studied the phenomena extensively and published a paper in June of 2016 which stated he believed cosmic radiation was causing the peculiar lights to appear:

“The location of the phenomena in the valley supports the theory. Hessdalen exhibits special properties associated with the low-frequency magnetic field. This is most likely due to the influence of conductive minerals in the valley formation and the river Hesja that runs through the valley. The change of the Earth’s magnetic field will cause the electromagnetic waves coming into it to behave differently than in the normal case (e.g. the direction of the cosmic radiation coming from above). Hence, it could cause the radiation to change direction and ‘collide’ before it hits the ground. And when waves collide in a certain way, it creates new waves (i.e. superposition of waves). The resulting waves can be stronger, weaker and they can change their frequency (i.e. how fast they move). If the right waves collide in a certain way it can also be changed to waves within the visible spectrum (i.e. visible light).”


Skeptics, such as authors R. Henke and J.S. Krogh, believe there are rational explanations for most of the lights seen above Norway’s Hessdalen Valley. Matteo Leone’s A rebuttal of the EMBLA 2002 report on the optical survey in Hessdalen shares their sentiments:

“…Several sightings were explained as misperceptions of astronomical bodies and planes. Others turned out to be due to temperature variations in air levels causing the refractions of distant light sources.”

Still, the ultimate question remains: Are the Hessdalen Lights merely caused by natural events or is there a more… unusual explanation?

Main Image Credit: Project Hessdalen


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One thought on “Norway’s Hessdalen Lights”

  1. Hessdalen says:

    A New book – the first one in English – about Hessdalen is available. It covers the history, the research that has been done – and IS being done, the authors personal experience after living in Hessdalen for one year, – in addition to interviews with hessdalen residents etc: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07P9D4KW4

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