Business Traveller (India) - - UPFRONT -

LO­CALS SWEAR THEY’VE seen ghosts at the Banni grass­lands sit­u­ated to the south of the Rann of Kutch, Gu­jarat. e roundish balls of light are about three me­tres in height and can be quite un­set­tling to spot on a dark night. ese “ghosts” — or chir batti as the lo­cals call them — in white, blue, red and yel­low colours are spot­ted only a er sun­set, oat­ing some ten feet above the ground.

ey’re said to be vis­i­ble for sev­eral min­utes be­fore van­ish­ing into thin air. If you walk past them, they fol­low you, but if you try to fol­low them, they oat away.

Our friendly ghosts are ac­tu­ally a re­sult of a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion — or so it has been spec­u­lated by re­searchers. e pol­luted In­dus river that ows through this re­gion has been de­posit­ing it­self on the banks here since years. Be­lieved to be car­ry­ing chem­i­cals such as phos­phine, meth­ane and diphos­phate, on their con­tact with oxy­gen, the gasses ig­nite. eir move­ment is a re­sult of air dis­place­ment and sight­ing them is pos­si­ble only in the dark as their glow is not strong enough to “out-glow” bright city lights.

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