Dark Lightning

« Glossary IndexLast Updated: Nov 21, 2019 @ 4:46 pm

Dark Lightning is what Flight 828 encountered on April 7, 2013 which may have been responsible for sending it into the future 5 1/2 years.

Episode References

Roger Mencin explains to Ben and Captain Daly that  dark lightning is “a high-energy atmospheric discharge, and it releases lots of ionizing radiation. For years, no one even knew it existed because you have to be very close to detect it.” (111.8)

Daly and Ben learn that dark lightning may be the source of what happened to flight 828 (111.10).

When Ben tells Fiona about dark lightning and how it could have affected the plane, Fiona says that whatever did happen was “a step in our evolution” (111.12)

Ben realizes that Captain Daly is looking at the day’s forecast and navigational charts looking for dark lightning (111.14).

Captain Daly wants Fiona to tell him how to make the dark lightning happen, but she tells him she doesn’t know how (111.20).


Sometimes fact (truth) can be just as strange as fiction. As many fans of Manifest were watching the character Roger Mencin, a meteorologist, explain dark lightning in Episode 11 “Contrails”, a science article, “Thunderstorms contain ‘dark lightning,’ invisible pulses of powerful radiation” by Ivan Amato published in the Washington Post, was circulating on Twitter and other social media. The article describes how “People struck by dark lightning, most likely while flying, do not get hurt, but…they might receive a high dose of dangerous radiation.” The article goes on to say, “The radiation in these invisible blasts can carry a million times as much energy as the radiation in visible lightning.” Scientist Joseph Dwyer is the one that coined the phrase and discovered the phenomena.

In the Manifest universe, a flash of light sent the plane and its 191 passengers (plus one stowaway) 5 1/2 years into the future. For those left behind, the day after focused on Flight 828’s disappearance and according to Daly the beginning of the government cover-up. Kudos to the writers. We not only get a major question answered about what happened on April 7, 2013, we get an easter egg, i.e. the Washington Post article and the incident report have the same date: April 8, 2013.

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