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Ghost Lights
Brown Mountain Lights
The Brown Mountain Ridge

Brown Mountain Lights

The Brown Mountain Lights are a series of ghost lights reported near Brown Mountain in North Carolina. The lights can be seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks at mile posts 302 (Brown Mountain Light overlook) and 301 (Green Mountain overlook). Some lights appear in nearby rhododenron thickets.

One early account of the lights dates from September 13, 1913, as reported in the Charlotte Daily Observer. A fisherman claimed to have seen “mysterious lights seen just above the horizon every night”, red in color, with a pronounced circular shape. Soon after this account, a United States Geological Survey employee, D.B. Stewart, studied the area in question and determined the witnesses had mistaken train lights for something more mysterious.

Reports of odd lights continued, and a more formal US Geological Survey study began in 1922, which determined that witnesses had misidentified automobile or train lights, fires, or mundane stationary lights.[1] However, according to a marker on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a massive flood struck the area soon after the completion of the USGS study; all electrical power was lost and trains were inoperative for a period of time thereafter. Several automotive bridges were also washed out. The Brown Mountain lights, however, continued to appear. One of the best vantage points, Wisemans View, is about 4 miles from Linville Falls, NC, and the best time of year to see them is reportedly September through early November.

Popular culture
The lights are the inspiration for the bluegrass song, Scotty Wiseman’s “Brown Mountain Lights”, later performed by the Kingston Trio, and the Country Gentlemen. In this version the light is being carried by "a faithful old slave/come back from the grave" who is searching for his lost master. The song was also recorded by the progressive bluegrass band Acoustic Syndicate and performed by Yonder Mountain String Band. This song was also performed and recorded by Sonny James, Roy Orbison and Tommy Faile. Several other versions of the song can be heard on

The Brown Mountain Lights were the subject of an X-Files episode, called "Field Trip" from season six, which originally aired on May 9, 1999. In 2004, a science fiction novel was published by the author R. Scott Caines under the title The Brown Mountain Lights and The Mesozoic Phoenix. The story centers around a scientific mystery involving the brown mountain lights of North Carolina and the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. [2]


  1. George Rogers Mansfield (1971) Origin of the Brown Mountain Light in North Carolina, US Geological Survey, Circular 646.
  3. Jerome Clark, Unexplained! 347 Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena, Visible Ink Press, 1993.
External links
Brown Mountain Lights
song and actual research video

Brown Mountain Lights song and actual research video
The Paulding Light
Picture of the Paulding Light taken on November 3, 2007. The green spot is actually a star, 
which is more obvious in another photo I have. Date 2007-11-07 

Paulding Light

The Paulding Light (also called the Lights of Paulding or the Dog Meadow Light) is a Ghost Light that appears in a valley containing power lines that lies outside of Paulding, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. The location is near Watersmeet off US Highway 45 on Robins Pond Road.

The legend
Although stories of the light vary, the most popular legend involves the death of a railroad brakeman. The valley once contained railroad tracks and the legend states that the light is the lantern of the brakeman who was killed while attempting to stop an oncoming train from colliding with railway cars stopped on the tracks. According to legend, the first sighting of the light came in 1966 when a group of teenagers reported the light to a local sheriff. Since then, a number of other individuals have reported seeing the mysterious light that is said to appear nearly every night near the alleged accident site.

There are other stories, dating back since the turn of the century, that suggest the light had appeared long before the train accident. One says the light is the ghost of a slain mail courier, another says that it is the ghost of an Indian dancing on the power lines that now run through the valley.

Reports of the light have appeared since the lumber days in Michigan's upper peninsula, with accompanying explanations such as geologic activity (see Earthquake light), swamp gas and refracted car lights from the nearby roads. The light is also the subject of popular folklore connected with hauntings and UFO sightings.

The most prevalent explanation among skeptics is that the lights are an optical illusion caused by car headlights on the north/south stretch of US highway 45, approximately five miles north of the observation area.

In 2010, the Paulding Light was featured on the SyFy television show Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files. The investigators were depicted trying several experiments in an attempt to recreate the light including using car headlights from a nearby road and a flyover by an airplane with a spotlight, saying they could not produce the effect of the light exactly or conclude what was causing the light to appear. Other sequences depicted them conducting an EVP session in the area and testing for methane gas, and abnormal electromagnetic fields – all of which were inconclusive. The episode showed the light being observed by one person from a distance while another two, supposedly standing right under it, couldn't see it – conclusions they felt were consistent with legends and reports that the light seems to vanish when observers get close to it.

Chemists Luigi Garlaschelli and Paolo Boschetti say the oxidation of phosphine and methane, produced by organic decay, can cause glowing light. Garlaschelli and Boschetti replicated "ghost lights" by adding chemicals to gases found in rotting compounds and found that combustion can be sustained at lower temperatures than those found in traditional fires.. Canadian neuro-psychologist Michael Persinger and American geologist John Derr propose that "ghost lights" are piezoelectrically generated under tectonic strains that move faults, heat up rock, and vaporize water contained in it. They also hypothesize that rock or soil containing piezoelectric material such as quartz, silicon or arsenic can produce electricity, be channeled through soil via a column of vaporized water and appear as lights that create an appearance of erratic or intelligent behavior.

The viewing location for the Paulding Light is located at approximately 46°21′08″N 89°10′43.5″W


  1. U.S. Forest Service. "Paulding Light information sign" (JPG). Backwoods Wisconsin
  2. "The Paulding Light: A Backwoods Phenomenon". Backwoods Wisconsin
  3. "The Paulding Light Debunked" article at Odd Universe
  4. Garlaschelli, Luigi; Boschetti, Paolo (October 26, 2009). "On the track of the will-o'-the-wisp" (PDF, download required). Pavia, Italy: Department of Organic Chemistry, University of Pavia
  5. Persinger, M.A. (1993). Perceptual and Motor Skills. "Geophysical variables and behavior: LXXIV. Man-made fluid injections into the crust and reports of luminous phenomena (UFO Reports) - is the strain field an aseismically propagating hydrological pulse?"
  6. Derr, J.S. (1993). Perceptual and Motor Skills. "Seasonal hydrological load and regional luminous phenomena (UFO reports) within river systems: the Mississippi Valley test.".
External links
'UFO' mystery still haunts some (Michigan 1966)

'UFO' mystery still haunts some (Michigan 1966) 

1966 Dexter sightings by residents, officer called swamp gas by U.S. government

Monday, March 20, 2006-BY JO COLLINS MATHIS
News Staff Reporter

Forty years ago today, for a brief but interesting time, Washtenaw County became the flying saucer capital of the Midwest.

It started when a Dexter farmer named Frank Mannor and his 18-year-old son, Ronald, told the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department that a strange flying object appeared and landed in a swampy area at Quigley and Brand roads.

Frank Mannor, 46, told authorities that night that the two went out in search of the object moments after they saw it touch ground. He said it appeared to be brown, with a "quilted'' effect on the surface. It was flat on the bottom and cone-shaped toward the top, with two small lights on the outer edges emitting a glowing blue-green color that intensified and turned red at times. When it became brightly lit, the entire object was light yellow, with the light running horizontally between the two outer running lights.

According to the police report, Mannor said: "We then heard the sound of a whistle - something like a rifle bullet makes when it ricochets off something. Then this object went up in the air, passed directly over us and disappeared.''

Patrolman Robert Hunawill of the Dexter Village Police Department reported then that he saw what appeared to be the same object after he parked his car near the area. He said it suddenly appeared over his patrol car at a height of about 1,000 feet, that it had white and red lights on it that at times had a bluish tinge, and that it hovered over the car before continuing sweeps over the swamp.

Hunawill reported that he watched the object for a few minutes before it was joined by three others that flew in formation, with one set of two flying high above the other two. They then disappeared into the sky.

Professor J. Allen Hynek, a Northwestern University astrophysicist who consulted with the military, came to Dexter to investigate, and then reported his findings at the Detroit Press Club.

"It was like a mob scene,'' said Bill Treml of Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor News reporter who covered the story. "Then (Hynek) said: 'As near as I can tell, what we're seeing is swamp gas.' ''

"I remember (Mannor) saying, 'I was in the Army and we were down in Louisiana and there was swamp gas all the time; this was not swamp gas.' ''

Treml is convinced the Mannors and Hunawill saw something that night.

"Frank Mannor wasn't a nut case,'' he said. "He wasn't a guy who had wishes of grandeur. He was just telling what he saw. I'm sure he didn't dream it up. He died thinking that was some kind of UFO, either Air Force-connected or from another planet or something.''

Treml said he thinks that something was manmade.

"I'm sure the Air Force has secret files about all their experiments with rockets or whatever,'' he said. "Sometimes the high officials are so stupid, they think, 'This will create a panic.' That's their alibi for not saying, 'Hey, we had a rocket ship go round the moon, or something come down.' Each administration continues the charade.''

Douglas Harvey, Washtenaw County sheriff from 1965 to 1972, agrees with Treml that the Mannors clearly saw something.

And he's never believed the government's official stance on what that something was.

"Dr. Hynek was sent in from the U.S. government. He came into my office. We went out to the site where supposedly this object came down on the ground. Dr. Hynek in the car said, 'There is something. We just can't put our finger on it. We've been investigating this for quite a while.' ''

They returned to Harvey's office, where Hynek asked to use the telephone in private.

"He was on the phone for quite a while, which I found very enlightening,'' Harvey said. "He came out and I said, 'Well, Dr. Hynek. What do you think?' He said, 'It's swamp gas.' He tells me one minute he has no idea what it is. And then he makes one phone call to Washington and comes out and gives a statement that it's swamp gas. Very strange.''

"And then the Mannor family really caught a lot of flak, which was very unfortunate.''

He said soon after that, a man who was out running in Brighton reported a sighting.

"And then that was it,'' Harvey said. "It just kind of died away.''

Harvey doesn't know what to think about it.

"They did see something,'' he said. "I'll believe this to the day I die. Somebody has kept something quiet, and nothing more ever materialized. So we don't know if it was the government experimenting, or was it really a UFO. I don't know.''

Harry Willnus of South Lyon, the former state director of the Mutual UFO Network, has investigated the sightings and wrote a feature article about it for UFO (UK edition) magazine two years ago.

Willnus has a copy of the police report from that night, and said there's no way that it was swamp gas.

"For instance, it mentions that the object was observed to rise to an altitude of approximately 500 feet, and then return to the ground,'' he said. "Swamp gas doesn't do that. It only goes off the ground a few feet. It mentioned when it took off, it sounded like a rifle shot in a canyon. Again, swamp gas doesn't do that.''

So what was it?

"We can't be sure,'' he said. "It was, I think, either a craft that came from off the earth, an extraterrestrial, or some kind of one-dimensional device. And I'm starting to use the word multiverse rather than universe ... Some kind of one-dimensional craft, perhaps, that came into our realm and then left.''

Willnus, who is retired from teaching in the Romulus school district, worked for a while as an investigator for Hynek after Hynek started The Center for UFO Studies.

"We haven't solved the mystery,'' Willnus said. "This case is 40 years old. We still don't know the answer, and yet it still continues to occur, with sightings every day around the world.''

Jo Collins Mathis can be reached at or 734-994-6849.

Source and References:

The Spooklight
Image of the Spooklight taken by photographers in the early 1900s.

The Spooklight

The Spooklight, also called the Hornet Spooklight or Devil's Promenade, is a mysterious visual phenomenon allegedly experienced by witnesses in a small area known locally as the "Devil's Promenade" on the border between southwestern Missouri and northeastern Oklahoma west of the small town of Hornet, Missouri.

Despite the fact that it is named after a small, unincorporated community in Missouri from which it is most commonly accessed, the light is most commonly described as being visible from inside the Oklahoma border looking to the west. The Spooklight is commonly described as a single ball of light or a tight grouping of lights that is said to appear in the area regularly, usually at night. Although the description of the light is similar to that of other visual phenomena witnessed throughout the world, the term "Spooklight" when standing alone generally refers to this specific case. Numerous legends exist that attempt to describe the origin of the Spooklight, one of which involves the ghosts of two young Native American lovers looking for each other.

According to most accounts, it has appeared continually since the late 19th Century,[1] although it was generally not well-known to anyone but locals until after World War II. Some date the first encounters with the light back to the Trail of Tears in the 1830s. However, the first documented sighting is generally accepted to have occurred in 1881, although some report sightings as far back as 1866. The earliest published report dates back to 1936 in the Kansas City Star.

In 1946 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supposedly studied the "Hornet Light", but could not find a cause for it. In their words, it was a "mysterious light of unknown origin". Early residents of the area reported seeing lights in the forest, over their land, or even in their yards.

During the 1960s, there was a general store in Hornet that gave out information about the light to sightseers. It included a "Spooklight museum". There have also been various establishments along the Missouri-Oklahoma state line that served a similar function, but they have since closed. During the 1960s and 1970s the roads where the Spooklight usually appears were often packed with parked vehicles and people hoping to get a glimpse of the mysterious light.

Image - Photograph of a ghost light from the 1950's.

Aficionados say the best chances for spotting the light occur after dark when parked on Oklahoma East 50 Road, four miles south of the three state junction of Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma in Ottawa County, Oklahoma and looking to the west. You must sit very silent. The light has been seen in backyards of the area and has been spotted both near to and far away from sightseers. Its color is also not consistent: some eyewitnesses report a greenish glow while others describe it as orange, red, yellow, or even blue. It is almost always said to be in the shape of a ball, although some say it more resembles a camping lantern travelling a couple of feet off the ground.

The light is also very bright even when it appears to be far away from the observer. Some watch the Spooklight through binoculars or even telescopes. Most sightings of the Spooklight occur from some distance away, but there exist many accounts of the light invading the car of a sightseer or of the light giving chase to those looking for it. In these cases the eyewitnesses generally report an intense heat emanating from the light at close range.

Explanations for the lights appearance vary widely from the extraordinary to the mundane. The area of Oklahoma in which the light is seen is very hilly and forested and out to the west of where the light is seen lies Interstate 44. It has been suggested that the headlights of cars seen over the hills explain the light's appearance, which is sometimes said to bob up and down, dance, or even split into multiple globules of light. In William Least Heat-Moon's 2008 book Roads to Quoz, the author suggests that the lights seen at the end of E 50 are explained perfectly by the fact that the road aligns directly with Route 66 across the interstate and the river valley, some three miles distant. He also claims that earlier sightings of the light from E 40 Road, one block to the north, are explained by an earlier alignment of Route 66 to the north of the town of Quapaw, Oklahoma, and also aligned with E 40 Road. The author suggests that there are no reliable sightings of the light in any location but directly west along the road and therefore explainable by the Route 66 connection.

A far-fetched explanation details an old, lost miner, and the spooklight is actually his lantern. This explanation results from the Spooklight being situated in an area with a past of intense lead and zinc mining in Southwest Missouri and Northeast Oklahoma.

However, most people prefer to state that they cannot explain the almost nightly appearance of mysterious lights in the area, and descriptions of the lights date back to an era prior to the highway's construction. Other explanations for the light's appearance includes atmospheric gases being affected by electrical fields. A University of Arkansas professor studied the light in the 1960s and suggested that it was from a fixed object.


  1. Spooklights' source is still unknown , Tulsa World, October 30, 2007
External links
Dancing Lights at the Devil’s Promenade
Dancing Lights at the Devil’s Promenade

Dancing Lights at the Devil’s Promenade
Published by  Megan Borchert at  July 29, 2016

Joplin, Missouri is located in the southwestern corner of the state.  Joplin is the largest city in Jasper County, serving as home to over 50,000 people.  Some people are familiar with Joplin due to the EF5 tornado that touched down in May of 2011.  It destroyed over eight thousand houses, eighteen thousand cars, and over four hundred businesses.  Nearly two hundred people died from tornado related injuries.  The area was even declared a federal disaster area.

Others are familiar with Joplin, Missouri for another reason.  A paranormal enigma called Spook Lights, or to others Hornet Spook Light, Hollis Light, or the Joplin Spook Light is found on the border of southwest Missouri or northeast Oklahoma.  While no one can agree on the name of the phenomenon, one thing everyone can agree on is that there is no explanation for the odd occurrence.

Visible from the inside of the Oklahoma border looking west toward East 50 road, people have noted a single ball of light or an odd grouping of lights.  The reports have been continuous since the 19th century.  The first encounters were as early as the 1830s and the Trail of Tears.  The first documented sighting was in 1881, although stories circulated as early as 1866.  The first published report did not come until 1936.

The balls of light are described as bobbing, dancing, and occasionally splitting off.  Often times they have gotten close enough to witnesses that they felt the heat as the ball passes over them.  Others describe them as moving along the ground as if from a lantern, often growing brighter and dimmer.  Some have said the lights had a greenish glow, although other reports have described them as orange, red, yellow or even blue.  They vary in size from baseballs to basketballs in witness descriptions.

One theory that has been passed along through the years is that the lights are actually an Osage Indian Chief who was decapitated.  They claim the lights are actually the Indian Chief, continuing to spend his eternity searching for his head.  Many have said the light comes from a lantern he holds over his head to guide his way.

Another story is that the lights are from Native American lovers, in the days old Romeo and Juliet tale.  There once was a Quapow Indian maiden who fell in love with a brave warrior.  They approached her family is an effort to marry, but he refused their union as the warrior did not have a dowry.  Refusing to be separated, the pair eloped.  The father was enraged and sent his tribe after them.  Nearly apprehended, the two joined hands and leapt to their deaths in the Spring River.  The lights appeared in the area shortly after.

Another story is that a miner and his family lived in a small cabin.  While he was gone hunting, the cabin was attacked by a local tribe.  When he returned, he found his wife and kids missing.  Stories say that it is not the Osage Indian Chief carrying the lantern, but the ghost of the enraged miner, still searching for his family.

Others say the lights are just vehicle headlights that are seen from over the hills, possibly cast from reflections.  Older residents of the area cast doubt on that explanation as the lights were visible even before the time of automobiles or billboards.  In 1946, the US Army Corps of Engineers researched and couldn’t find a cause for the mysterious lights of unknown origin.  The many resident reports were the reason for their research as families described seeing the lights in the forest, over their land, and appearing over their yards.

Other scientific explanations suggest that the lights are from atmospheric gases being affected by electrical fields.  The area was common for earthquakes, suggesting strong electrical charges.  A professor studied this theory in the 1960s and suggested the lights might be from a fixed object, however they did not seem to be affected by wind or rain.

Eventually, the locals embraced the lights and even created museums, including the Spook Light Museum which was popular in the 60s and 70s.  Roads were packed back then as vehicles crowded the area in the hopes of spotting the infamous lights.  No matter the cause, visitors still appear from all around the country trying to catch a glimpse and offering their own theories about the origin of the paranormal enigmas creating a stir in the Devil’s Promenade.

SOURCE: Dancing Lights at the Devil’s Promenade by Megan Borchert
See also:
  • Brown Mountain Lights
  • Earthquake Light - An earthquake light is an unusual luminous aerial phenomenon that reportedly appears in the sky at or near areas of tectonic stress, seismic activity, or volcanic eruptions. Once commonly challenged, it was not until photographs were taken during the Matsushiro earthquake swarm in Nagano, Japan, from 1965 through 1967, that the seismology community acknowledged their occurrence.
  • Hessdalen Lights
  • Marfa Lights - The Marfa lights or the Marfa ghost lights are allegedly paranormal lights (known as "ghost lights") usually seen near U.S. Route 67 on Mitchell Flat east of Marfa, Texas, in the United States. While the lights have gained an extensive reputation as an unexplained phenomenon, recent research has suggested that most, if not all, of the lights are atmospheric reflections of automobile headlights and campfires.
  • Paulding Light
  • St. Elmo's fire - St. Elmo's fire (also St. Elmo's light[1]) is an electrical weather phenomenon in which luminous plasma is created by a coronal discharge originating from a grounded object in an atmospheric electric field (such as those generated by thunderstorms created by a volcanic explosion). St. Elmo's fire is named after St. Erasmus of Formiae (also called St. Elmo, the Italian name for St. Erasmus), the patron saint of sailors. The phenomenon sometimes appeared on ships at sea during thunderstorms and was regarded by sailors with religious awe for its glowing ball of light, accounting for the name.
  • The Spooklight
  • Will-o'-the-wisp - Swamp Gas - A will-o'-the-wisp or ignis fatuus (Latin, from ignis, "fire" + fatuus, "foolish"), also called will-o'-wisp, corpse candle, jack-o'-lantern, friar's lantern, gunderslislik, and wisp, is a Folklore depiction of ghostly light sometimes seen at night or twilight over bogs, swamps, and marshes. It resembles a flickering lamp and is sometimes said to recede if approached. Much folklore surrounds the phenomenon.
An artist's rendering of will-o'-the-wisp
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