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Earth-Lights, Ghost-Lights Marfa Texas, Brown Mountain Lights, and Others

Updated on March 24, 2012

Ghost Lights of Brown Mountain North Carolina

These ghost lights are seen nightly at Brown Mountain. They have been rumored to be the spirits of local Native American women who are scouring the hillside for their fallen braves bodies from a war long ago.
These ghost lights are seen nightly at Brown Mountain. They have been rumored to be the spirits of local Native American women who are scouring the hillside for their fallen braves bodies from a war long ago.

Joshua P. Warrens National Geographic Night Vision Video of the Brown Mountain Lights


Reported for centuries and share much of the same qualities as the earth light phenomenon.
Reported for centuries and share much of the same qualities as the earth light phenomenon.

St. Elmo's Fire

Electrical discharges on the masts of ships in thunderstorms.
Electrical discharges on the masts of ships in thunderstorms.

Earth Light Dynamics

This is a diagram of geo-electrical stresses that create a static discharge which is then formed into a hyper-spherical plasma ball above the actual source. This is a phenomena like St. Elmo's Fire.
This is a diagram of geo-electrical stresses that create a static discharge which is then formed into a hyper-spherical plasma ball above the actual source. This is a phenomena like St. Elmo's Fire.

St. Elmo's Fire

Electro-Static Plasma floating freely as it is flouresing in ionized gas.
Electro-Static Plasma floating freely as it is flouresing in ionized gas.

Hypersphere Dynamics

Electrical energy is stored and then released as it ionizes atmospheric gas.
Electrical energy is stored and then released as it ionizes atmospheric gas.

Earth Lights, Ghost Lights, and Spook Lights Where They Are and What Could They Be?

They have been seen by millions of people that have come from around the world to view them and they never fail to cause a witness to gasp in awe at their appearance. These strange actors of the paranormal kind are the earth-lights or spook-lights as they are also known.

Spook-lights have been witnessed and reported on in the United States since the late 1800's. The first printed article featuring spook-lights was printed in the Charlotte Observer in 1913, later on a John Harden a local radio personality aired a show about it in the 1940s called Tales of Tar Heelia.

Per Yahoonews:("They not only have attracted the attention of the people of this state, but have aroused the curiosity of a nation as well." There was also a folk song, recorded by The Kingston Trio and others that posited the lights came from a slave wandering the hills with a lantern in search of his master.")

A History (Will-O`-The Wisp) and St. Elmo's Fire:

The Will-O-the-Wisp is a phenomena that has been reported in legend around the world for centuries. Many legends speak about this phenomena. In the Welsh legend it has been called "fairy fire"; the legend being that a small goblin like fairy (the púca) leads lone travelers at night off the beaten path to get them lost. In Scandinavia it has been said that these lights mark sights that are supposed to contain treasure. In central Europe they are regarded as the lost souls of still born children.

One legend linked to the phenomena is the Halloween legend of Jack-O-Lantern, the story of a man named Jack who was not good enough to make it to heaven after is death and not evil enough to get into hell. The Devil gave Jack a burning lump of coal from the pit of hell to help light his way around as he walked the earth with nowhere for his soul to find peace. Jack returned to the earth and carved out a turnip in which he placed the lump of coal inside.

The scientific explanation for Wil-O-the-Wisp is when oxidized phosphine gas and methane mix as a by-product of organic decay. These two compounds when mixed ignite and give off photon emissions. Phosphine ignites as it comes into contact with oxygen and even a small amount would ignite the more abundant methane in the air. This has been called swamp gas since it is usually observed in areas of high decomposition.

St. Elmo's Fire is a phenomena that is named after St. Eramus of Formiae the patron saint of sailors. This phenomenon was first reported by early sailors as it would appear on the masts of ships at sea during thunderstorms. The sailors thought it to be an act of god for they saw a glowing ball of light which is how it got its name. The electricity would mess up their compass readings and it was considered bad luck by sailors.

The actual phenomena is created when luminous plasma is created by a coronal discharge from a grounded object in an electrical field. This is much like the way volcanic lightening rages during an eruption.

Earth-Light and Spook-Light Locations in the U.S. and Canada:

There is a handful of places where these lights can be seen in Canada and the United States. The Brown Mountain Lights of North Carolina which also hosts the Maco Station Light. The Hornet Spook-light of Missouri or the Hornet Spook-light Booklet, The Yakima Washington Lights, The Anson Light of Texas which like North Carolina is host to two of these phenomena with the famous Marfa Lights of Marfa Texas being the second. Then there is the Hebron Maryland Light and The St. Louis Light Saskatchewan Canada. But the U.S. and Canada are by no means the only places on earth that these strange phenomena are witnessed and yes are always unexplainable.

International Earth-Light Locations:

Thailand is host to the Naga fireballs, they are up every October from the Mekong River in Thailand and as many as 200 to 800 of these fireballs are said to be witnessed when they occur. The local population's legends say the fireballs are from the nak, a serpent from Buddhist lore. Then there is Australia's Min Min Lights, the Min Min Lights are located in Queensland, Australia. They are so named for the Min Min Holtel from where they were first witnessed by western observers. The Aborigines called the area Min but the meaning has been lost to time. The government has given the place official recognition by opening up the Min Min Encounter Center with a cost of $2M ASD to open. The original hotel which burned down in 1918 has been recreated within the Center complete with figures looking out in the direction of the lights. It has been said that heat from the landscape causes the Min Min Lights to rise in vertical heat rising lensing effects which refract light from below the earths line of sight horizon. But the lights have been reported for over 70 years which was long before any cars or other lights were ever in the area for 300 miles in all directions. The Hessdalsphenomena of Norway is another well studied location as is the Boi-tatá of Brazil.

So What Are They?

These strange lights have been associated with other scientific and unexplainable phenomenon such as Ball Lightening, Plasma Electro-Static-Genisis (energetic electromagnetic vortex or hypersphere), electromagnetic quantum field imprinting of haunted sites and places (linked through non-local quantum effects and particle electron fluctuations), UFO hot spots or subspace dimensional cross-overs where two universes converge in a phase cycle pattern and the two can glimpse each other before the rift drifts apart, Geo Magnetically and Electromagnetically Sensitive Areas, and Ancestral Spiritually Sacred locations where dis-incarnate intelligent energies still interacting with their post earthly physical environment.

All these theories are nothing more than speculation and science is still nowhere near to finding out what they are over a hundred years after the first sightings of these lights were reported. Perhaps we will never know why these lights appear or what causes them but some mysteries are just exciting to behold.


Map of North American Earth Light Locations

North American Earth Light Locations

A List of the Spook-Light and Ghost-Light Locations:

  • The Marfa Texas Spook-Light
  • The Maco Station Ghost-Light
  • The Hornet Spook-Light (Booklet)
  • The Yakima Spook-Light
  • The Hebron Ghost-Light
  • The St. Louis Earth-Light
  • The Brown Mountain Earth-Lights


The Marfa Texas Ghost LIghts

Marfa Lights Sign

Marfa Texas Ghost Light

The Marfa Ghost Lights have been spoken about all the way back to the 19th century. The Indians believed that the lights were stars coming down to earth. Reports say that glowing balls of plasma like energy float over the ground and will at times rise into the night air. The colors of the lights change from white, yellow, orange, and red.

The lights appear in groups and will often divide into pairs or melt back together and then vanish from sight. The activity of the lights are unpredictable but happen between 10 and 20 times a year. If you are looking for the Marfa Texas Ghost Lights then they are south of U.S. Route 90 and East of U.S. Route 67 about 15 miles Southeast of Marfa.

The lights have appeared in all weather conditions so they do not seem to be effected by the local climate and they may appear at any time after dark. The exact location of the lights is on private property and you must get permission from the land owners to try to investigate the lights close up. The Town of Marfa has so embraced this mysterious light phenomena and even have a weekend celebration in honor of the lights and they have built a viewing platform for visitors to sit and look for the lights.

The Michigan Paulding Spook Light

The Paulding Light

The Paulding Light

The Paulding LIght was first reported in 1966 when a group ok kids told a sheriff about the light. Ever since people have reported seeing the mysterious light which still appears every night to mystify onlookers. The legend behind the light says that there was once a railroad track at the location of the light and that the light is the lantern of a phantom brakeman who was killed while trying to stop an oncoming train from colliding with stalled rail cards on the tracks ahead. Another story says the light is the ghost of a murdered mailman and still another says it is the ghost of a dancing on the power lines.

Headlights? Michigan State Students set up a powerful amateur telescope and connected it to a video camera and were able to see many miles away vehicles on U.S. Highway 45 and were able to reproduce the effect by driving a vehicle on the stretch of road. This does not explain all of the reports that have to do with the Paulding Spook Light, the Syfy Channel's Fact or Faked also did an investigation using multiple techniques but were unable to reproduce the light. They also drove to the location that the Michigan State students did their experiment but did not capture evidence that the phenomena was caused by car headlights.


My Conclusion

I happen to think that this phenomenon is more than likely created by natural forces and has nothing to do with UFOs or ghosts. The fact that there are so many historical stories that seem to be of similar kind of phenomenon and that these lights are seen around the world lend to the theory that these balls of light are nothing more than a rare but strange events.

By: Cow Flipper


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    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 6 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Great hub. I agree that these kinds of phenomena are probably NOT UFOs, just rare natural events. You have really collected a lot of useful information about them in one place, thanks!

    • Cow Flipper profile image

      Sean Jankowski 6 years ago from Southern Oregon

      tammyswallow - thanks for the feedback. I have been researching the subject for a few days now and decided it was time to write an article about it.

      Alastar - NC seems pretty freaking cool. With all those phenomena going on in your backyard it must be pretty awesome to have so much material to draw from.

      I had not heard that about lamp details. That would be very eery for sure. Thanks for checking the article out.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      CF I live near the Brown Mt Lights and they go way back. The Amerindians have legends on them and a German botanist reported on them in 1771. Don't believe they're UFOs or ghosts either but if natural you'd think an explanation would have been forthcoming by now. The other NC one on the map is the Maco lights and my friend that one is or was definitely not natural. A president saw it too. If you got near it before it took off down the tracks or blinked out you could actually make out the lamps metal work.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I am glad someone wrote a hub about this. I have seen these lights in NC. The day I saw them there was a solar flare storm too. Really interesting!


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