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Marfa Lights

Marfa Lights

The Marfa Lights are without a doubt the most famous ghost lights around. They've been talked about for over 100 years, and every year thousands of people flock to Marfa to try to see the famed "mystery lights." They even have their own website! (See links below.)

The Marfa Lights appear in the desert around the Chianti Mountains in West Texas. They appear at dusk and move through the air in no particular pattern. The lights are most often described as yellow or white, but just about every color of the rainbow has been reported at one time or another. Like other ghost lights, they disappear when approached closely, making scientific observation difficult. The lights have been featured on Unsolved Mysteries, but the scientists on the show could not come up with an explanation. And although they elude scientists, the lights have been known to follow people or cars, or even in one case enter a car.

For those who don't believe the lights are car headlights, ignited gas, or the luminescent fur of jackrabbits (typical "scientific" explanations), there are several folktales surrounding the lights. An Apache legend contends that the lights are the spirit of one of their chiefs, or stars falling from the sky. Another story involves the phantoms of a family who got lost in the Texas wildnerness. Even the specters of Pancho Villa and Adolph Hitler have been blamed for the lights.

Whatever the lights are, hundreds of people who have witnessed them are convinced that they are not car headlights. Maybe it's best to leave this one a mystery and just enjoy the show.

Marfa Lights (2)

From: "Barry Barlow" (
Subject: Marfa lights
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2003 8:36 AM

My wife, son and I went to Marfa Texas in late July 2003. Just before darkness settled a white light appeared across the plains at the top of the mountain. It stayed there a few seconds and then went straight into the clear sky. A lady sitting down from me at the viewing stand said" I have been coming here for years and that's the first one I've seen do that." I watched a green light through binoculars split into 6 lights and chase each other. I gave them to my son and he counted seven lights. We were there for about 2 hours and the moving and different color lights were active and pleasant to watch. My son and I saw one white light split into 3 lights side by side the switch to up and down and then they just played around in circles. Some want to say its lights from cars coming from Presidio but the Indians and cowboys in the 1880's reported seeing them. Someone there told me the Army went out there with radio men and helicopters to find them but the lights were faster and more maneuverable than the choppers. I don't know what they are but it was worth the trip to West Texas just to see the lights. Marfa is a nice town and there is a viewing stand where you can watch the light show. Bring your own chair and a jacket. The elevation is higher than Denver and gets chilly at night.

Barry Barlow
Mont Belvieu, Texas

Links to other sites:
Not titled Another (short) personal experience
James Dean Mystery Ghost Lights A twist on the traditional tale
The Marfa Lights A very short article


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