Disaster Fact Checks

FACT CHECK: 2022 video of ‘upward lightning’ misrepresented as occurring in Germany


This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

FACT CHECK: 2022 video of ‘upward lightning’ misrepresented as occurring in Germany
A YouTube video suggests that the rare meteorological phenomenon is a sign that the world would soon end

Claim: People in Germany reported multiple unexplainable explosions in the sky accompanied by “frightening” sounds last September 13.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a YouTube video that has gained 64,950 views, 1,600 likes, and 118 comments as of writing. The uploader, Sa Iyong Araw, has 300,000 subscribers. 

The video’s thumbnail displays the text, “Takot sa Germany” (Fear in Germany). The video shows footage of lightning striking upwards at the 1:13 to 1:30 mark, and at 3:42, a narrator says that this was a sign of Christ’s impending return and the end of the world.

Taken in Kansas: A reverse image search on Google shows that the featured clip was originally uploaded by Taylor Vonfeldt on Storyful. The video was taken last March 29, 2022, when a thunderbolt was seen striking upwards in Wichita, Kansas. This meteorological phenomenon is called an “upward lightning.”

Vonfeldt’s video was also used by The Guardian and Fox29 in their report regarding upward lightning in Kansas.

The Deutscher Wetterdienst or the German Weather Service also did not report any unexplained meteorological phenomenon that took place in the country last September 13.

Upward lightning: Also called Ground-to-Cloud (GC) lightning, upward lightning is a type of lightning strike that moves from the ground up toward clouds. 

According to the Royal Meteorological Society, these lightning strikes are common on tall buildings. It typically happens when there is a buildup of electric charge near a tall object.

Doomsday fears: The video containing the false claim ends with a Bible verse from Matthew 24:27, implying that the lightning storms shown in the spliced clips are an indicator that the world would soon end: 

Sapagkat darating ang Anak ng Tao na parang kidlat na gumuguhit mula sa silangan hanggang sa kanluran.” (For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.)

The YouTube channel that uploaded the video has a history of spreading religious propaganda and false claims misrepresenting real-world events. Rappler has debunked several false claims:

Tisa Nacional/Rappler.com
Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com.

You may also report dubious claims to #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!