Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Marfa Mystery Lights

This is Highway 67/90 heading out of Alpine towards the community of Marfa.
Marfa is 24 miles through the desert.
About 8 miles before reaching Marfa is a viewing station for what is known as the Marfa mystery lights. 
This is the viewing platform.  The round portion of the building contains restrooms.
If you guessed it would be pitch black in the middle of the desert at night, you would be very right!  Lights in the viewing area and the driveway area leading to it are kept to a minimum for better viewing of the mysterious lights that appear over the desert.  There were cars along the drive, but when we got to the platform there was only one man with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head.  The dark was spooky enough, but to share it with this shadowy lone figure was too much to relax and enjoy the light show.  To be fair I think we made him as nervous as he made us!  The night temperature in the desert in December didn't lend to our wanting to linger for the light show either.  A few minutes of nervousness and we all departed.  We did see the shimmer of a light or two before leaving.
This is an Internet picture of some of the lights.  The Marfa mystery lights have been appearing over this area of the desert since the 1800s.  They appear in all seasons and all types of weather.  The only stipulation is that it be nighttime.  Some are occasionally seen at dusk and early dawn.  They are about the size of a basketball, come in a variety of colors, and float from 10' to 400' in altitude.  Varying numbers of the lights appear, and they act independently of one another.  The individual lights may last a few seconds to an hour and move in all directions!  Some people report having been followed by them or having had them come close overhead!  Native Americans claim that they are spirits of their ancestors, some say they are U.F.O.s, and others say they are produced by swamp gas.  A common theory is that atmospheric conditions cause lights from vehicles 20 miles away and over the distant ridge to be reflected.  Others say that this can't be true, as the lights were being seen before cars were around!  Conspiracy theorists believe that because there was once an Airforce base close by that there is an underground laboratory where experiments are being conducted!  There are some videos on YouTube to explore and lots of information on the Internet to research.  I discovered that there are group tours out of Marfa.  That might be a more comfortable way to view the lights.  If we are in the area during warmer weather, I'd like to give viewing the lights another try.  They would definitely be fascinating!