Will-o'-the wisp,  Morion



Will-o'-the wisp

An "exact" translation from the Swedish name "Lyktgubbe" is "Lamp-old-man", which means "old man with a lamp", (kind of).

During dark nights you can sometimes see Will-o'-the wisp at an old moss, the shores of rivers and lakes or where it used to be an old road or path. The light from his lamp can be wide or small, it can move very quickly then suddenly stop for a while before it starts to move again, very slowly. Usually you only see the light from his lamp, but maybe you happen to see the little "man" himself. He is a short little figure with gray or green clothing. If you see Will-o'-the wisp - keep away from him - if you get too close, you can become ill, or get lost.

Out of sheer devilry Will-o'-the wisp can mislead people in the woods. But the little man can be nice as well. If you realize that you are lost in the forest in the middle of the night you can ask nicely for his help. Will-o'-the wisp can show you the way home. If he helps you, you must be very kind and polite - don't forget to say "Thank you". If you forget that, he'll give you a box on the ear. Or he can totally confuse you so you don't find the way to your own door, even if you are standing right in front of it!

In old times one explanation was that the lights came from a dead surveyor who had measured wrongly when he was alive. Now, when he was dead, he wanted to correct his mistakes and draw new boundaries.

Today we know that there are some natural explanations to the mysterious lights of Will-o'-the wisp. A swamp is full of fallen trees, old leaves and mushrooms. All these material rotten and when that happens metangas is created. If there is phosphor in the ground, the light phenomena can occur when the gas meets the oxygen in the air. The other reason is slow electrical discharges between the ground and strongly charged clouds, close to the ground.


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