- Celestial Fireworks in the Ancient Sky By David Talbott
- (Above: Plasma scientists are now comparing electrical
discharge formations in the laboratory to rock art images around the world.
Results in 2005 should confirm that immense and terrifying plasma configurations
were seen in the sky of our ancestors.)
- For over three decades Anthony Peratt, a leading authority
on plasma phenomena, concentrated his laboratory research on the unstable
formations that develop in high-energy electrical discharge. He recorded
the evolution of these configurations through dozens of phases. Some of
the most elaborate discharge forms are now called 'Peratt Instabilities'
because he was the first to document them.
- But Peratt's most recent work has taken him in a new
direction, and the results offer a remarkable link between plasma science
and things once seen in the heavens. In September 2000, I had the opportunity
to convey to Dr. Peratt a series of rock art images I had come to believe
were ancient recordings of plasma discharge formations in the sky. This
communication had a life-changing impact on Peratt, who immediately began
an extensive field survey to document rock art images, GPS locations, and
orientations. Suddenly he was seeing, carved on stone by the tens of thousands,
the very forms he had observed in the laboratory. The correlation was so
precise- -- down to the finest details -- that it could not be accidental.
The artists were recording heaven-spanning discharge formations above them.
- In his investigation of rock art themes, Peratt concentrated
his fieldwork in the American Southwest and Northwest, but he also gathered
data internationally. For his on-site study he used GPS longitude and latitude
positions, always noting the orientation and field of view. A team of about
30 volunteers, including specialists from several fields, assisted Peratt
in the investigation, and he has since gathered more than 25,000 rock art
- The illustrations of one interesting formation -- the
'squatter man' shown above -- are taken from Peratt's recent paper in "Transactions
on Plasma Science" of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers, in December 2003. Peratt states his conclusion forthrightly:
The recurring petroglyph patterns "are reproductions of plasma phenomena
- Peratt's findings are particularly significant in their
contrast to traditional explanations of rock art. The majority of rock
art authorities, particularly those with primary interest in Native American
sources, argue that only images of the sun, moon, and stars reflect actual
celestial phenomena. Apart from such associations, most authorities claim
that global patterns do not exist. Rather, they tell us, the ancient artists
projected onto stone the subjective content of shamanistic trances. Peratt's
investigations say the opposite, and they confirm dozens of patterns of
rock art that occur globally. Through massive labors, some apparently taking
whole lifetimes according to Peratt, the artists recorded immense discharge
phenomena in the heavens.
- The 'squatter man' configuration depicted above occurs
when a disk or donut-like torus around a linear discharge column is bent
by magnetic fields induced by intense current flow. From the viewpoint
of the observer, the edges of the upper disk may appear to point up (forming
"arms") and those of the lower torus may appear to point down
(forming "legs"). The underlying 'hourglass' pattern, with many
subtle variations, occurs around the world.
- To appreciate the evolution of this discharge configuration
it is essential that one visualize it three dimensionally, as illustrated
by the idealization above. The graphic image on the upper left utilizes
a tonal gradient to indicate the structure of a translucent plasma discharge,
where this structure would not be self evident in a rendition carved on
rock. The key here is to recognize that rotating the configuration on
its axis would not change the basic form or appearance to the observer.
This fact will not be evident, however, in a simple carving on rock. To
make the point, the accompanying image converts the illustration into black
and white, which represents the way the configuration would likely appear
in a stone carving.
- Our idealization shows slight variations between the
upward-pointing and downward-pointing components, consistent with common
variations in the laboratory and in rock art. The upper 'champagne glass'
form results from a distortion of a disk as the edges curve upward. In
the warping of the disk below, the downward curvature is interrupted at
the extremity, which bends outward to create a 'squashed bell' appearance.
The rock art images shown above include other variations as well. Sometimes,
the 'arms' and 'legs' of the 'squatter man' are horizontal, while at other
times they are more squared than in our graphic representation, but both
variations are characteristic of intense plasma discharge.
- Our idealization of the hourglass discharge form accents
the visual relationship of the two symmetrical dots or circles to a transparent
doughnut-like torus, viewed edge on. But many other nuances of such discharge
configurations must be taken into account. The warping of the upward and
downward extremities of the hourglass form can occur in almost limitless
variations. To illustrate the extent of the variations anciently recorded,
we offer two interesting examples in the upper right frame of the montage
above. The first, closely tied to the more elementary 'squatter man' formation,
includes the two dots to the right and left of the torso. The incongruous
additional pair of 'legs' also accord with observed patterns in the evolution
of Peratt instabilities, which typically send out stacks of 'arms' or
'legs' in the very fashion depicted. Even more bizarre is the accompanying
squatter man whose head is replaced by the body of a duck. But this pattern
too, particularly widespread in the Americas, is no accident according
- If Peratt's conclusions are correct, then only a few
thousand years ago the terrestrial sky was ablaze with electrical activity.
The ramifications of this possibility will directly affect our understanding
of cultural roots. What was the impact of the recorded events on the first
civilizations? What was the relationship to the origins of world mythology,
to the birth of the early religions, or to monumental construction in ancient
- There is reason to believe that rock art will illuminate
a critical turn in human history. There is also a provable connection
to the evolution of mythical archetypes. Archaic rock art depictions came
first, but were followed by an outpouring of conceptual elaborations,
as ancient artists gave imaginative expression to the celestial forms
and events that inspired the myth-making epoch. Both the rock artists
and the myth-makers had true perils on their minds. The rock artists
recorded and the myth-makers interpreted electrical events in the sky,
as plasma discharge sequences moved through discrete phases, some of
celestial beauty, others intensely violent and terrifying.
- Author's Note: The story of Dr. Peratt's plasma research
and rock art investigation is told in Chapter One of Thunderbolts of the
Gods. Link: http://www.thunderbolts.info/tb-book.htm
- See the related series of TPODS, Mystery of the Cosmic
- Part 1-7, beginning with