Out in the West Texas town of Marfa, you may see one of the most fascinating light shows on the planet. Observation of the lights has been reported since before the early 1880s, and they still can be seen, today.
If one is fortunate enough to catch them on a night they are active, what most likely will appear are basketball-sized orbs, in hues of red, yellow, green, white, blue, and sometimes other colors. These mysterious lights have been reported to twinkle, hover, dart from plant to plant, float, separate, then merge again.
No one has been able to predict when the lights will appear. They only show up around a dozen times a year, and weather conditions do not seem to make a difference to when they will start flashing and darting around Mitchell Flat, just east of Marfa.
The Houston Chronicle reported Native Americans of the area believed the Marfa Lights were fallen stars. To divert from Native American oral tradition, first mention of the lights came from a cowboy named Robert Reed Ellison in 1883. He claimed to have seen lights flickering at night, and thought they were from Apache campfires. Settlers in the area told Ellison they, too, had seen lights, but when they investigated, there never were any ashes from fires.
While scientists and paranormal researchers, alike, have proffered many theories to the origin and makeup of Marfa Lights, the most logical and sustainable is they are caused by the same gases that form glowing lights called swamp gas: phosphine (PH3) and methane (CH4). These gases can ignite when they contact oxygen, and have been seen around the world. In other lands, they are called ‘will-o’-the-wisp’, ‘ignes fatui’, or ‘fools fire’. There are oil reserves in the area of Marfa Lights, with natural gas and other petroleum hydrocarbons. These could very well include enough methane to create the same effect as swamp gas.
There is a lingering question regarding these lights. In over 136 years of observing the Marfa Lights, why has there never been a report of anyone approaching them? They do not sound menacing, nor threatening in any way. Descriptions of the lights paint a picture of happy little luminescent objects out for an evening of play, or dining. It seems like much of this mystery could be put to rest if someone would just go up to them, reach out, say hello, and investigate face to face, or face to ball of light.
(Photo courtesy of YouTube)