will-o'-the-wisp

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will-o'-the-wisp,

phenomenon known also as ignis fatuus and jack-o'-lantern. It is seen at night as a pale, flickering light over marshland. There is no generally accepted explanation for it; it may result from the spontaneous ignition of gases (e.g., methane) produced by the disintegration of dead plant or animal matter, or it may be a form of phosphorescence. The eerie lights have given rise to many superstitions.
References in periodicals archive ?
Phantom funerals and corpse candles are also prominent in Welsh folklore and mythology, and the sea-monster of Pembroke Dock was seen by several witnesses.
Once strongly believed in in Wales were Corpse Candles (Cannwyllau Corff), supernatural lights said to appear in the homes of the dying or be seen floating down country lanes at night, making their way to the parish burial ground along the same route subsequently taken by a funeral.
This refers to the traditional belief that for some unknown reason in the 1600s,five maid servants were found dead in the Blue Room at Aberglasne following the apparent appearance of five corpse candles.