Spirits in the Sky: Strange Ghostly Image Is Actually a Natural Phenomenon

by Shelby Scott
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Imagine conquering a mountain peak and stumbling upon a large, rainbow-colored spirit in the sky. Overall, the phenomenon might sound ludicrous. However, it’s actually a totally natural occurrence and happens with an interaction between clouds, sunlight, and elevation. And one UK hiker was lucky enough to witness it.

According to the New York Post, Manchester’s Thomas Swallow (39) thought he had seen a “ghost” when he saw a strange, dark figure while scaling a mountain. Soon enough though, the outlet reports he realized it was a “rare, natural phenomenon.”

“I was taken aback a little bit,” the mountain hiker admitted. Swallow experienced the “weird, surreal, and…really beautiful moment” in mid-November while on a 40-mile hike with friends. Swallow stated he had topped the near-3,000-foot peak, located at the Great End in the Lake District. He arrived ahead of his buddies when he noticed the spiritual-like shadow.

In summitting the peak, he said he saw what looked like a “figure floating into the sky.”

Images capture a unique, once-in-a-lifetime view, with the dark figure’s head encircled by halos of rainbow-colored light.

However, while mystical, Encyclopedia Brittanica reports the image boasts the name Brocken spectre, or anticorona. According to the outlet, the spirit image, truthfully an optical illusion, appears when the observer’s shadow reflects onto clouds or mist below their vantage point. In order to witness this kind of event, the day must be overcast and the sun low.

Swallow said, “It was a cloudy day so the clouds were moving in and out of the summit. I could see moisture particles in the air when I looked up and saw my shadow in the middle of a rainbow.”

Killed ‘Spirit’ Moose Sparks Outrage

Swallow’s spiritual experience sparked wonder, awe, and inspiration. Meanwhile, a “spirit” being residing within the Western hemisphere has garnered the love and attention of locals for generations.

Over in Northern Ontario, Timmins residents have a sort of “ghost” story of their own. Although, their experiences stem from a much more realistic and physical being.

Hunters and outdoorsmen across the U.S. possess their own beliefs about entirely white bucks, and deer overall. However, residents within the Canadian city share stories of the rare “spirit” moose. The animal is said to occupy the more heavily wooded areas of the land. Often, they can be described as a white blur simply blending into the tree lines.

The Guardian states that while the “spirit” moose are not albinos, their ghostly coloring comes from a recessive gene. Indigenous people within the region believe the “spirit” moose, alongside white bison, raven, and grizzly bears, are sacred and should be left unharmed.

However, last year saw locals seething as poachers killed and beheaded two female moose alongside one white cow, their dismantled remains left on the side of the road.

Overall, the act not only completely disrespected locals, their beliefs, and their wildlife, but killing a moose whose coloring is more than 50% white is illegal in Canada.

Outsider.com