For several decades scientists are looking for the explanation of Hessdalen lights. Multiple times it has been proved that this spooky light phenomenon is real but there is no satisfactory explanation to it.

Spooky lights

Hessdalen is remote and comparatively desolate, beautiful valley south-east from Trondheim. Valley is some 12 kilometers long and here live approximately 200 people.

Weird lights have been reported here since the 1940s (others mention even more than 100 years old reports). But in December 1981 something unusual started in Hessdalen – some 15 – 20 times per week spooky, big and bright balls of light appeared above the valley. Sometimes these balls were standing still for more than one hour, sometimes they were slowly floating around. There were times when the light moved very fast. At one time radar fixed 8 500 m/s fast movement: 8 – 9 times faster than the fastest airplane in the world.

Weird illuminations of Hessdalen continued nearly every night until summer 1984 and lots of tourists came here to see this marvel. Then the activity decreased and now the lights are observed some 10 – 20 times per year.

For most times Hessdalen light is seen far away. Often it is seen in the valley, closer to the treetops, but sometimes it is high in the air. There is seen one light but sometimes can be several, it happens that one light divides into two.

Light, for the most part, is yellow or white. Sometimes is seen short-lived flashing blue-white light fast floating high in the air. Rarely is observed also yellow light with flashing or constant red light above it.

Hessdalen lights in 1994, Norway
Hessdalen lights in 1994 / Hessdalen Interactive Observatory, screen capture from Youtube video.

Rarely there has been reported also a black, mysterious flying mechanism with lights – no wonder that many consider that the Hessdalen lights are created by UFO’s.

There are no known cases when these lights have interacted with people or done any damage.

Scientific research has shown that rather often the phenomenon is confused with other, more common lights – car headlights, meteors, airplanes, planets, also some specific rare mirages. But, for the most part, the lights cannot be explained by these factors.

Recognition by scientists

Although Hessdalen lights were seen by thousands of people, there was no obvious explanation for this phenomenon. Due to this scientists initially did not make many scientific investigations: it is easy to lose the hard scrabbled scientific reputation after getting into headlines of yellow press next to the stories about ghosts and UFOs.

In 1983 though there was started a research project – "Project Hessdalen" by Dr. Erling Strand and his team. In 1994 there was organized the first scientific congress about Hessdalen phenomenon, which in a way helped to recognize that Hessdalen lights are a real phenomenon requiring further research. By this time there was collected evidence – movies, pictures, sightings on radars which proved that this is not some delusion created by human psychology but real, physical entity.

“Project Hessdalen” nowadays has evolved into an amazing international scientific project involving numerous scientists, state of the art technologies and lots of scientific publications. Leading institutions in this work are Østfold University College in Norway and the Italian National Research Council. Most likely nowhere else in the world unexplained phenomena have been that much researched by recognized, respectable scientists.

Hessdalen lights test the limits of the modern science

Great addition to the scientific research program of Hessdalen lights was Automatic Measurement Station (Hessdalen AMS or "Blue Box") which was installed here in 1998. This is an exciting joint Norwegian – Italian project, implementing several new technologies for the detection of optical and radiomagnetic radiation. Hessdalen AMS takes the lights on movies and pictures (see the results, for example, for the year 1999 here). It fixes also weather conditions, electromagnetic radiation and measures changes in the magnetic field of Earth.

Interesting feature is another device installed in this station – random event generator which at certain moments and places supposedly is not that random. This last device is part of a global network of such generators – Global Consciousness Project.

Nearly every year Hessdalen valley is visited by groups of scientists and students, installing new equipment and making field observations. There was developed EMBLA program which brings together established scientists and students into the research of this unexplained phenomenon.

The research seems to be promising – this unexplained light phenomenon might bring new concepts in physics or maybe – other sciences.

Interesting twist in the research of lights is involvement of astronomers – these scientists have used to work with very unusual physical phenomena like pulsars, neutron stars, and others. The existence of Hessdalen lights for astronomers is just one more unexplained but real manifestation of the endless diversity of Universe.

During the conference of 1994 several world-famous scientists considered that current science can not explain Hessdalen lights and further advance in physics is required to understand it. There is a lot still to be discovered and researched in this world.

EMBLA research shows that there might be several distinct phenomena observed in Hessdalen. Lights are elusive – their physical characteristics change significantly and there is no single "fingerprint". Hessdalen lights may change color, they may (and may not) collect pieces of energy or plasma from the ground while flying by, spectra of optical and radio frequency of these lights are very diverse.

Thus far scientists have proposed multiple hypotheses to explain Hessdalen lights. Some are really exotic: thus, for example, it has been proposed that lights are created by the ignition caused by the presence of scandium – very rare metal. This seems to be far from correct – for example, scandium is found in higher densities elsewhere and in these places, there is not observed such phenomenon.

Hessdalen lights are included in the following list:

10 locations with unusual meteorological phenomena
10 locations with unusual meteorological phenomena


  1. Project Hessdalen, official website. Accessed on October 10, 2010
  2. Bjørn Gitle Hauge, 10 years of scientific research of the Hessdalen phenomena, International Meeting "Le Ricerca Italiana nella Valle di Hessdalen, Norvegia (*)", 2004. Accessed on October 10, 2010

Similar phenomena described by Wondermondo

  • Naga fireballs of Mekong are seen above Mekong on the border between Thailand and Laos. These are red balls of light rising up from the waters of Mekong, especially frequent at full moon in October. There is no convincing explanation of these lights.
  • Chir Batti in India, Gujarat are balls of light floating near the ground level around the plains of Banni grasslands. These lights were noticed here already in ancient times. There is no scientific explanation to this phenomenon.
  • Paasselkä devils in Finland are light balls of unexplained origin. They are observed over the surface of Lake Paasselkä for at least 100 years.
Hessdalen lights on the map
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Location, GPS coordinates:62.8206 N 11.2013 E
Categories:Meteorological phenomena
Values:Unexplained, Meteorology
Rating:3 out of 10 stars
Where is located?Europe, Norway, Sør-Trøndelag, Holtålen municipality, 79 km south-east from Trondheim, Hessdalen valley
Name in Norwegian:Hessdalen lys, Hessdalen lysfenomen

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Video of Hessdalen Lights

Marius Bergstrøm, June 2018

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1 year ago

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:

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