What Is the Secret of the Brocken Ghost: Is It Physics Only?

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The Brocken Ghost Phenomenon: A Little Bit of Mystics

The mysterious phenomenon called the Brocken Ghost was first described by villagers near Brocken Mountain in Germany. Its height is 1742 meters above sea level. For a long time, there were legends about this mountain, as about the place of gathering of witches and shelter of evil forces. The local population often performed rituals at the foot of the mountain but did not dare to climb up, because ghosts lived there. There is also an opinion that the ghost from Goethe’s famous “Faust” was inspired precisely by the phenomenon that the poet observed while taking walks in the vicinity of this mysterious mountain.

The Secret of the Ghost Is Revealed

The Broken ghost is a very interesting and mysterious atmospheric phenomenon, which is observed mainly in the mountains. If someone is on a peak or ridge, and the sun is shining on him at this time, then the person’s shadow can be cast on the clouds or fog on the side opposite to the sun. The shadow always seems incredibly large and is often surrounded by a multi-colored circle – the so-called Gloria.

The silhouette can move, and not only because of the movement of the individual, but also because of fluctuations in the density of water in the air and the movement of cloud layers. The human shadow passes through the fog, taking angular and bizarre outlines caused by perspective. There may be many kilometers between a person and the clouds, so the shadow is of enormous size, and its proportions often change, for example, arms or legs become longer.

Getting on the water droplets scattered through the air, the shadow can acquire a volumetric appearance, and give rise to real mystical fear. A similar phenomenon was described by the English writer Mine Reed in his famous novel The Headless Horseman.

In addition to the ghosts of people, the Broken phenomenon can come in the form of an airplane that its passengers see. If the aircraft is between the sun and clouds, then its shadow, framed by Gloria, can be clearly seen below. The similar phenomenon to the Broken ghost can be seen if you turn on the headlights of a car in a foggy night and stand in front of them. In the fog, a large and voluminous human shadow will clearly emerge.

And No Mystery at All?

Any expert will confirm to you that Broken ghosts are real, and will explain the phenomenon from the point of view of physics and optics. But is this phenomenon really limited to the banal play of shadows and the dispersion of light? In the summer of 2004, Italian tourist Andres Marchetti visited Brocken and reported on strange surveillance. According to the traveler, he climbed alone on the peaked top of the mountain and saw from there not one, but two human figures in the fog. The Italian considered that his shadow had somehow split in a haze, and began to make various movements in order to test his conjecture: to jump, to raise up his hands.

However, the second shadow surprisingly did not move, although it was located very close to the first as if someone else was standing next to Marchetti. The traveler was still looking for an unknown person in this area for a long time, but the search was unsuccessful.


Tags: Brocken, ghost, physics, fog, shadow, mountains, optics, glory, light, water


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Pictures used in post taken from: Unsplash, Pexels



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