BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): A report questioning whether the yearly “Bung Fai Phaya Nak” (Naga fireballs) in Nong Khai was a natural phenomenon or a man-made one went viral on social media on Saturday (Oct 23).
The administrator of the Facebook page “PhisucnBangfiPhyanakh” (Proving Naga fireball) posted images of flare guns being fired in the air in Bueng Kan’s Muang district on Thursday and in Nong Khai’s Rattana Wapee district on Friday.
The page administrator, Somphob Khasawat, said he has been observing the event for a decade now and believes the fireballs are actually flare gun shots from the Lao side of the Mekong River.
He submitted evidence, including the list of 10 Laotian villages located opposite Nong Khai and Bueng Kan districts, photos and video clips, to the Laos Embassy for further investigation.
Somphob, however, said he did not want to destroy the legend of the mythical Naga, which is worshipped by people living along the banks of the Mekong River.
As for people living in the riverside Ban Tha Muang village in Nong Khai’s Rattana Wapee district, the Naga fireballs are the real thing.
Lamduan Senanikorn, 50, said she has been watching these pink and red fireballs rise from the Mekong River every year since she was a child. However, she admitted that the number of fireballs has dropped recently.
She also said those investigating the phenomenon should only make comments once they have accurate results.
Villagers Kularb Intharaksa, 65, and Pud Thongdaeng, 58, said the images of so-called fireballs posted on the Facebook page are nothing like the ones they have seen before.
They said people claiming that the Naga fireballs were caused by tracer rounds shot in the air did not have first-hand experience of the phenomenon.
Naga fireballs, also known as Bung Fai Phaya Nak or "Mekong lights" and even "ghost lights" are a phenomenon seen annually on the Mekong River during the end of Buddhist lent day in late October.
Glowing balls, some the size of a basketball, apparently rise from the water high into the air. The number of fireballs reported varies between tens and thousands per night.