Pat Shingleton: "Code Words and Sprites..."
Years ago, I visited with Anne Jones. Their plantation, Blairstown, has been in the family for years, once thriving with row crops and livestock and is still productive today with timber. Our conversation switched from my reason for the call to the use of code words. Today we use codes such as time codes to determine a video scene or the codes used by law enforcement to designate traffic accidents and officer’s locations and destinations. Back then, Ann and her relatives used the words “Pat Shingleton” as a code. When their brother Tom Jones, who performed a great impersonation of the famous singer, reminds them to monitor the weather, they would hear Tom rant for so long that they look at one another, shield their mouths and say “Pat Shingleton!” I would call Ann and leave a message as she was assured it was a prank from one of her friends in the use of the “code word.” In closing, sprites are blobs of light above a thunderstorm and can be 100 miles wide and often extend 60 miles into the ionosphere. Since 1886, scientific literature referenced sprites even though it was impossible to capture a picture of one. During a thunderstorm in Minnesota in July, 1989, two University of Minnesota scientists accidentally captured a sprite while conducting a test for a rocket flight. On July 7, 1993, in the High Plains during a series of thunderstorms, 240 sprites were recorded. Scientists from the University of Alaska captured numerous sprites from a high-flying NASA aircraft. Since then, more than 10,000 sprites have been monitored from Colorado’s Yucca Ridge Field Station from low-light television tests.