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An Eerie West Texas Adventure

Near the town of Marfa, Texas, many a car and truck has come to a dead halt at night, pulling to the side of the road or just stopping in the middle of the highway, to watch the famous eerie Marfa Lights that often dance across the far horizon like fireflies at play.

Just what the lights are and why they can't be scientifically identified is anyone's guess.

They can generally be viewed only at great distances, though there have been isolated reports that some have actually encountered tiny fireballs of light just outside their car or truck window.

In trying to describe just what these strange lights look like is difficult, some describing a single round ball of light, greenish or yellow in color. Others have noted multiple and similar lights.

On a lonely stretch of U.S. Highway 67/90, there's an area made for pulling to the side of the road and viewing the often occuring event. Here you'll find a plaque erected by the Texas Highway Department commemerating this unexplained phenomena. If you use this roadside area for viewing, chances are good you'll find you aren't alone, so popular and wide known are the Marfa Lights. It has been estimated that the lights can be seen from as far away 30-40 miles. In this arid stretch of land, there are small hills and mountain ranges that dot the horizon in every direction. The lights can best be seen looking southwest across Mitchell Flat, in the direction of a low range known as the Cuesto del Burro mountains. Most often, the light (or lights) are visible just in front of Chinati Mountain.

There are plenty of local legends concerning the lights. Some say they represent the wandering spirit of the exiled Apache Chief Alsate. Some hold to the story that the lights are flickering lanterns of a lost pioneering family who braved the harsh West Texas sun to settle a new homestead. The family reportedly became lost and died of thirst and exposure, destined to forever wave their signal lanterns through the decades in hope of rescue.

The earliest recorded account of the lights appeared in a frontier newspaper in the year 1883, a sighting by a West Texas range hand named Robert Ellison. The cowboy had been tending to his herd near Marfa when apparently the cattle became spooked with the appearance of one of the tiny fire balls. According to published accounts, Ellison chased the light on horseback in a prairie game of cat and mouse, finally giving up after the herd began to stampede.

In fact, even several modern sightings seem to support the theory that the lights have a way with "playing" with witnesses. Back in the '80's, a motorist reported to the Texas Highway Patrol that a single fireball of light entered his open window as he sped down U.S. 90 enroute to El Paso. The motorist claimed the fireball jostled around inside the car for about two miles before exiting the same open window.

More than one scientific study has been conducted and many different theories presented. Perhaps the most comprehensive study was performed by scientists from the University of Texas. A research team spent countless nights (at varying times of the year) at the optimum spot for viewing, using sophisticated equipment including light meters, spectrum analysers, etc. In the end, the only thing they were able to determine for certain is the Marfa lights are indeed a mystery.

There have been theories, ranging from car lights reflecting from mountains in the great West Texas distance, to weather related phenomena. In 1989 a research team from the popular television series, "Unsolved Mysteries", traveled to the remote site in an effort to explain the phenomena. After several nights of research, they listed the eerie Marfa Lights as being in the category of unknown (but not man-made) origin.

We may never know the whys and what-fors of these very strange lights. It seems they enjoy playing with witnesses and, in so doing, add to the overall mystery of just what they are and why they are here in this remote stretch of far West Texas.

But one thing is for certain: this is one mystery that, despite being difficult to explain, is easy to see. The Best part about Marfa is it's proximity to an adventure land paradise, Big Bend National Park but that's another series of articles. Next time you pass through this lonely part of the Lone Star state, schedule a little time to witness this very strange but true phenomena.

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I have seen one of these over lake michigan a few years back. it was out near the horizon and it would zip down towards milwuakee and then go up into the clouds, the clouds would then flicker different colors. then it would pop down and zip toward chicago. it did this several times over the course of a half hour or so. and each trip was very fast.then It came at us and silently went straight over or heads.The light while over head looked more like a shiney white hole in the sky like looking at the reflection of a laser. we watched as it went straight out into space then blip it was gone. about ten minutes later two fighter jets roared over head following the same path.
I think we may have seen a stealth bomber?
But man that thing was moving.I really don't know what it was.It took about ten seconds to get across the lake.

that's not the only thing I have seen out at the lake at night.

my buddy and I watched something just off shore maybe 50 feet. It was clearly not a boat , it was round and hard to see, like me eyes just could not focus on it. It had a blueish white light glowing from the bottom and a smaller white orb circled the main body. the wind was strong that night and the water was breaking in white caps but the thing over the water didn't rock, it just glided silently and smoothly down the shore line. we stayed hidden in the brush cresting a small dune until it went down behind a larger dune where we could no longer see it . Then ran like hell.
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