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St. Elmo's Fire


Ever since I was young, I was always told stories of the "Santelmo" or St. Elmo's fire. Often described as a ball of bluish or white flame, curiously, it is not hot in anyway. Some say it is the spirits of men who have died near a body of water or during heavy rains, others say it's the souls of children who were not baptized, leading those who follow it to their doom. I didn't really heed these stories, not until one night while I was on campus anyway.

It was the middle of July, I just finished my assignments and was packing up to go home, all was normal. I've walked home before, memorized each street like it was the back of my hand, but when I reached the old bus stop near my school... I saw it, a ball of flame, just floating. I was dumbstruck, I mean, I've heard the stories, the legends, but that doesn't prepare you when you see it in person. I was like in a trance, like I had the sudden urge to follow it, but I remembered what my Lolo and Lola always told me.

"Pag may makita ka na bola ng apoy Iho, baliktarin mo ang mga damit mo." "Para lumayas yong masamang elemento" (If you ever see a ball of fire Iho, turn your clothes inside out) (So the bad element leaves) I quickly turned my clothes inside out, even my underwear, when I looked back at the ball, it was gone...

Just vanished right before my eyes, I quickly ran home, not caring about the darkness, I just wanted to get back home safe. When I got home, I quickly called my Mom and Dad, screaming in the middle of the night.

They came running down the stairs, asking what the hell happened, and why my clothes are inside out. I quickly explained all that I saw, the ball of flame, and how I remembered my Grandparent's warnings. They hugged me tightly, my Mom said I was "lucky" while my Dad ran for the neighborhood "Albularyo" (Medicine Man) and had me checked if I had any lingering bad spirits. All was fine, I was home...

Though when I lay in bed at night, I sometimes see light shining through my windows, sometimes it's just cars passing by, but I always cover myself with my sheets. Never knowing if the Santelmo would come back for me...

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Sokol, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Spockie (8 stories) (203 posts)
4 years ago (2019-12-10)
St. Elmo's Fire is an electrical charge that builds up on a fence post, a pole, the horns of a cow, etc. It is attached to that particular item. What you saw was a Will o' the Wisp or Ignus Fatuus which is sometimes caused by vegetation decaying in a marshy area, or by internal pressure and friction underground (often seen before earthquakes occur), but sometimes they are the mischievous spirit orbs you describe, that lead travelers astray and cause all kinds of mischief.
Sokol (1 stories) (2 posts)
5 years ago (2019-08-18)
Hello Everybody, haven't been really online much since School is as busy as the gosh darn military nowadays, but I'll try to answer the questions I've found.

1) Thank you for expanding my knowledge on the Santelmo or Saint Elms fire, and for pointing out they only happen during Thunderstorms and or Volcanic eruptions etc. But come to think of it, there was a Telephone/Electricity Pole thing a few feet away of me, it could've been that. I guess.

2) The weather, well it was around July so rain was a rarity obviously and when in the Philippines, even more so. So it was a clear but windy night.

3) Mr.Spockie, that Will o' the Wisp idea/Spook light was very interesting. Thank you for pointing out ball lightning also, lastly the Marsh thing, I don't really know since I wasn't familiar with the area, and left a couple months later, sorry I can't answer your question

4) Yes, I really did turn all my clothes inside out, and mooned the entire night area. Fortunately or Unfortunately, I was the only one around seeing as it was the middle of the night.

Thank you for all the comments, this was really an eye opener to me. If there are any "plot holes" sorry, I don't have the best of memories and to top it off it I ran home, clothes inside out, butt clenched so hard it was practically gone. Anyways. Thank you again for reading and have a Good Night.
RSAChick (115 posts)
5 years ago (2019-06-04)
Hmmm...looking for a diplomatic way to ask people to be more diplomatic...
So think a bit outside of your box and frame of reference.

Here you might find another explanation of St Elmo's Fire:

Not traditional but something, someone may hold true
Spockie (8 stories) (203 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-29)
What you saw was not St. Elmo's Fire. St. Elmo's fire generally occurs during thunderstorms and forms around a fixed item such as a fence post, an antenna, even the horns of a cow. What you saw was a spook light and a very unusual one at that. It more closely follows the description of a Will o' the Wisp. Are there by any chance marshy areas nearby? Could also have been ball lightning, a mysterious phenomenon that can occur even without a thunderstorm. Or... It could have actually been something from the spirit world. At any rate, you had a very interesting experience.
Cuddlebear (4 stories) (173 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-29)
As a sailor I have seen St. Elmo's fire on several occasions - Whatever you saw I don't believe it was St. Elmo's fire. St. Elmo's fire occurs normally in either thunderstorms of volcanic eruptions. It is caused by static electricity in the atmosphere, and it needs an "antenna" to appear. Some tall thin structure, like the mast of a ship, lightning rod, or radio tower.

In days of yore sailors saw in masts of their tall ships. It is normally blue of violet (I've never seen white, nor heard of it being white). Sailors believed it to be a good omen in a bad storms as it indicated the presence of St. Elmo, the patron saint of sailors.

That what you saw was white and stuck close to the ground would lead me to believe it was something else entirely.
freakedoutfreddy (1 stories) (77 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-28)
No freaking way brotha! Did you really took off your clothes in a public place? If you're afraid of them fires why don't you always dress with your clothes inside out? Would it work? 😁 😁
Haven (20 stories) (307 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-28)
Hi, Sokol

Were you the only person out that night? Was there any other witnesses? Do you remember what the reasoning behind turning your clothes inside out is?
lady-glow (16 stories) (3158 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-27)
Huh... How was the weather like that night?

"St. Elmo's Fire is a weather phenomenon involving a gap in electrical charge."


It's hard to tell what would had been more shocking for any bystander, if the sight of the phenomenon or you undressing, turning your clothes inside out, and then getting dressed again after mooning them.

It's hard to say what you saw but, perhaps, what you believe to be a Santelmo is not what you think.

Thanks for sharing.

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