Being a professional meteorologist of some repute for more than 30 years, I confess to having always been skeptical of the phenomenon until I did observe a case. The incident was hardly as dramatic as some accounts, however, I did observe a rather large sphere of what appeared to be glowing lightning descend from a thunderhead that was across a lake from my location.
I personally speculate that the structure of the phenomenon is more likely to be associated with an ignited gas bubble of some kind rather than a strictly electrical phenomenon, however, not having ever seen any analytical reports on the actual objects, its just a personal theory. The main oddity that I recall was the rather ballistic trajectory of the ball, which I would normally have expected to be more congruent with thunderhead downdraft trajectories. There are a lot of basic physics questions associated with that latter observation, however, perhaps the intense magnetic or electro-static fields in play would account for the trajectory. In any event, it is clear that gravity was the dominating force in this case, which in my mind raises a question about how "intense" the magnetic field actually are. Certainly much less than 9.8m/sec*2, or the trajectory would not be ballistic, either that, or the ball was not electrical in nature.
As to the intense magnetic fields disturbing my brain to the extent that I imagined the incident, I can not credit that theory. My point of observation was some 4 miles from the thunderhead, or perhaps more, with a significant body of water between myself and the thunderhead.
While it is certainly true that the current discharge through the core of a thunderhead predicts a short lived but intense magnetic field associated with the motion of the electrons along the path of the lightning strike, I am not aware of any reports of strong magnetic phenomena associated with lightning. By strong magnetic phenomena I mean bicycles flying through the air, pots of soup jumping off the stove, or even metal cutlery leaving plates. Electromagnetic interference with radio communications is limited to the duration of the strikes themselves, while reports of ball lightning, and indeed the case I observed, have and had durations of many seconds.
Let's not forget that the existence of Neutercanes, a small severe ocean storm now thought to be the cause of many lost vessels in the "Bermuda Triangle" area, was unknown until satellite observations became available in the 1960s. Notwithstanding the research of the Austrians, the ball lightning phenomenon has been widely and consistently reported for centuries, and although not yet digitally documented, ascribing it to a psychic cause does not ring true to me.