.. the genitalia of the Gods!
Plasma is the fourth state of matter. We're all familiar with the solid, liquid, and gaseous forms. One way to think of plasma is as a mixture of two gases, one consisting of ions and the other of electrons. Essentially, enough energy has been applied to matter to cause the atoms to break down into a nucleus (positively charged ion) and free electrons (negatively charged particle). The attraction between the differently charged particles (ions & electrons) is overcome by the added energy. In the lab, plasmas may be created by applying large quantities of heat or electricity. The mystery surrounding ball lightning is the natural source of sufficient energy to trigger the creation of the plasma.
I have actually seen ball lightning. It was in February 1983 during a massive snow storm which actually produced thunder.
That night, my brother and I (we lived in upper NW DC) heard a "zzzzz" noise and looked up into a tree.
We saw two glowing electric balls, about the size of a basketball. One was pink and the other purple.
They were stationary for about 30 seconds and then darted around the tree stopping again.
About two minutes later they shot up into the sky and disappeared. My brother and I had no idea what they were.
I finally found out what they were when I took a meteorology class in college.
They were quite amazing.
Had exited my car after returning to Andrews AFB from NW DC and was standing in my front yard watching a storm approach when I focused on what appeared to be a dull silver-colored ball about the size of a bowling ball or basketball. It came straight towards me from the direction of the AAFB main gate and went directly over my head. I turned to follow it's progress as it headed ESE from approx Morningside, MD to across the southern part of the air field and continued out of my sight. This happened, I believe, during the late spring - early summer of 1991. The particulars were that the ball was spinning from top to bottom as it traveled in a straight line from approx WNW to ESE; it went over my head at about a height of only 50 feet or so; I heard very little, if any, sound that I can remember; it was moving quickly but not really fast - about 15 to 20 seconds between the time I first saw it and then lost sight of it. I had worked for the NWS as an observer for a couple of years in the past and knew about ball lightening but I never thought I would see it. I'm pretty sure it was ball lightening that I saw that day. It was a fascinating sight and experience, to say the least.