The Brown Mountain Lights: Solved! (Again!) |

Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 300+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 26000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at €10,99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade Now for €10,99 Learn more
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Italy version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Leggi ovunque Read anywhere
Modalità di pagamento Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
A Pocketmags si ottiene
Fatturazione sicura
Ultime offerte
Web & App Reader
Loyalty Points

The Brown Mountain Lights: Solved! (Again!)

Joe Nickell, PhD, a former private detective, did graduate work (both coursework and independent studies) in folklore. Among his many investigative books is The Science of Ghosts.

So-called “ghost lights” are reported at various sites worldwide, the term being applied to luminous phenomena that, many claim, defy explanation. However, Rosemary Ellen Guiley in her The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits (2000, 156), cautions: “Many reports of ghost lights can be explained naturally, such as car headlights or phosphorescences known as ignis fatuus” (literally “foolish fire,” e.g., combustion of marsh gas).1

Among the most famous ghost lights are the Marfa Lights, after a town in Texas, reported first by a settler in 1883 (Lindee 1992; Guiley 2000, 156); the Hornet or Ozark Spooklight, south of Joplin, Missouri; and the Brown Mountain Lights, near Morganton, North Carolina, reported since 1913 (Guiley 2000, 156–157; Corliss 1995, 71–72).

There are also ghost lights at sea— for example the Bay Chaleur Fireship, seen off the coast of New Brunswick, Canada, and attributed to the phenomenon of St. Elmo’s fire (Corliss 1995, 72–73).2 In 1999 at Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, I investigated the Teazer Light, another reputed phantom ship in flames. Although the rare light did not appear to me during a vigil, my research turned up an instance when the phenomenon proved to have been the moon, just coming over the horizon and being viewed through a bank of fog (Nickell 2001, 188–189).

Here is my report on the Brown Mountain mystery, based on lengthy research and two visits my wife, Diana, and I made to Brown Mountain in 2014 (the first, however, becoming a fiasco when the area was shrouded in fog!). (See figure 1.)

Evolution of the Lights

In investigating the Brown Mountain Lights, I discovered that the phenomena—plural—have evolved over time, along with explanations for it. I consider that there are three main historic periods or phases:

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Skeptical Inquirer - Jan Feb 2016
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - Jan Feb 2016
Or 349 points
Getting free sample issues is easy, but we need to add it to an account to read, so please follow the instructions to read your free issue today.
Email Address
Annual Digital Subscription
Only € 3,16 per issue
Or 1899 points

View Issues

About Skeptical Inquirer

The ‘Lie Detector’ Test Revisited: A Great Example of Junk Science Trends in Scientific Knowledge, Education, and Religion The Science of Meaning Mistaken Memories of Vampires: Pseudohistories and much more.