Were the ancient stone rings of England connected
with spook lights?
Seven miles east of Marfa, Texas, on route 90,
the Texas Historical Commission put up this tourist information
The Marfa Lights: Mysterious and unexplained
lights that have been reported in the area for over one hundred
years, have been the subject of many theories. The first recorded
sighting of the lights was made by rancher Robert Ellison in
1883. Variously explained as campfires, phosphorescent minerals,
swamp gas, static electricity, St. Elmos's fire, and "Ghost
lights," the lights reportedly change colors, move about, and
change in intensity. Scholars have reported over seventy-five
local folk tales dealing with the unexplained phenomenon.
The Marfa lights are just one example of a mysterious
phenomenon sometimes referred to as "spook" lights. As the sign
suggests, many explanations for these lights have been offered
but, so far, there is no proof that any of them are correct.
One of the most famous sightings of the Marfa
lights occurred in 1973 when two geologists, Elwood Wright
and Pat Kenney, observed two lights and tried to track
them down. At first they used a jeep, then later proceeded on
foot. They never caught up with them, but the scientists were
left with the unnerving impression that the lights were toying
Other locations in the United States that are
well known for "spook lights" are Maco Station and Brown Mountain,
North Carolina; Ada, Oklahoma; Uinta Basin, Utah; and Washington
Township, New Jersey. Although these represent some of the most
active locations, reports of lights like this have been cataloged
from almost a hundred different areas within the United States
alone. Many additional reports have come from locations around
What causes the lights? What do these locations
have in common? Some scientists suggest that it is seismic activity.
Many of these locations are in geologically unstable regions
with faults. Faults are fractures in the earth's crust that
may shift during earthquakes or tremors. It may be that the
lights are the result of static electric charges that build
up as rock moves against rock underground. Some spook lights
have actually been seen during violent earthquakes, but most
would have had to been generated by movements in the faults
too small to been noticed.
It may also be possible that there is no one single
explanation for spook lights, but that there are a variety of
causes. There are a number of bizarre
electrical phenomenons (like ball lightning) that might
be responsible for some reports. Glowing methane (swamp gas)
created by the decay of dead plant material may also cause sightings.
Finally, unusual atmospheric conditions may cause mirages
that reflect and magnify light from extremely distant sources.
Even if we don't know what causes the lights we
can see that they apparently had an effect on our history and
archaeology. There seem to be quite a few ancient sacred sites
located near places where spook lights have been observed. Could
this unexplained phenomena have inspired the ancients to build
their temples? We know for sure a temple was built in the western
mountains of China to observe the "Bodhisattva Lights." In 1937
the writer John Blofeld described the lights as "fluffy balls
of orange-colored fire, moving through space, unhurried and
Orange balls were also seen in 1989 near the great
stone circle of Avebury in England and at the Castlerigg Ring
in 1919. An observer at Castlerigg said, "We then saw a number
of lights in the direction of the Druidical circle. Whilst we
were watching, one of the lights came straight to the spot where
we were standing; at first very faint, as it approached the
light increased in intensity. When it came close it slowed down,
stopped, quivered and slowly went out."
So what are these things? Are they related to
the reports from WWII pilots about orange balls, referred to
as "foo fighters", that followed Allied
aircraft? Are these things weird electrical phenomena or some
kind of UFOs? Only time, and scientific investigation, will
tell us for sure.
Copyright Lee Krystek 1997.
All Rights Reserved.