posted on Feb, 19 2004 @ 04:12 PM
Hi IC/ GRX!!
Kathi Kerr & Irv Dardick
Kathi came across a brief note on this phenomenon: "Tonight, the campfire might develop an eerie glow. Is it a sign or an evil omen? It could be,
but it is likely foxfire. Decaying wood can contain a luminescent glow-in-the-dark fungus. When it burns, the fire has a special shine called
This mystical effect, also referred to as "will-o’-the-wisp" or "faerie fire" is due to the fire-wood being extensively infiltrated by mats of the
thread-like body or mycelium of certain fungi (the spore-bearing or fruiting part is the mushroom). In this instance, uniquely, such fungi are
bioluminescent. The commonest fungus with this property is the honey mushroom (Armillaria mellea); it is quite widespread.
Could foxfire happen on Eagle Lake? Irv recalls making rounds one pitch-black night at RKY Camp many, many years ago. "Walking along one of the paths
without a flashlight from the dining hall to the senior section, I passed a decaying tree stump. An eerie pale bluish-green glow came from patches of
the rotting wood and bark. It was arresting and I stood looking at this strange phenomenon for some minutes. I never understood the cause until Kathi
brought this piece to my attention and the recollection came flooding back. The explanation was foxfire!"
A bit of research quickly established this is another example of plants and animals with natural bioluminescence. The firefly of our woods is perhaps
the best known example, in this case a beetle, producing light through a reaction based on the chemical luciferin as part of the mating ritual. The
flying males flash there yellowish light for half a second about every seven seconds. Did you know that the females are flighless and respond to these
flashes from the ground or vegetation? "
Hope that helps?