In the Blue Ridge Mountains, there is a legend and phenomenon that has mystified people for over 800 years that we know of. Many ghostly stories and tall tales have been told throughout generations about the Brown Mountain Lights. Many have claimed to see supernatural events while others have gone searching time and time again just to leave more perplexed than when they arrived. The explanation might never be known as to what causes these lights. Enthusiasts may never stop searching for the lights of Brown Mountain but the fact is, there really is something there.
Living near the famous site, it's not hard to find people that have witnessed the lights. Some say that they glow, some say they float around, and others have gone to see them and haven't been so fortunate. This was something that I wanted to see for myself. I have always wanted to see a flying saucer or a ghost or even Big Foot. Well, I never did and am sure that I never will; however, everyone was so sure about the lights that it was worth a try.
On the night of September 28, 2002 (Saturday night), I set out to see the lights and at least enjoy a night on Brown Mountain. My wife and children went along as well as Doug Trivette, who has seen the lights many times. The temperature was around 70 degrees F and it was slightly overcast. The stars were showing through the clouds a little but visibility was basically clear. The night was dark and the overlook commonly used to view the lights was isolated. It was very dark in the area. Brown Mountain Lights
We drove to the location where we were going to start our viewing and we parked the cars. I took my telescope so that we could see them in greater detail, and that idea paid off. As we walked up to the edge of the overlook, Doug pointed out what was typical of a Brown Mountain Light. It was a small light, yellow/orange in color much like a standard light bulb. The light began shining brightly and then dimmed. When the light was invisible to the eye, the telescope held its own. The light disappeared after the brightest peak; around 11:00 pm. The light seemed to be at the top of a distant ridge possibly three miles away. A radio antenna appeared to be about 1/4 mile to the right of the light and the center red light on the antenna was the same height as the mysterious light. The antenna was not changing in brightness. To the far right was the city lights of Morganton; those lights never changed other that the normal flicker that all distant city lights have. Brown Mountain Lights
My explanation was that there must have been a blue street light far in the distance that was covered by a limb to account for the brightness and dimness, but not the color. I know that when people get excited, their thought process will allow them to make up supernatural explanations for what they see. I knew that there was a good reason for what I had seen, but I didn't know what it was. As far as lights floating and moving around, that was not my experience this evening.
For more pictures of the area, click here.
Trip Two (October 6, 2002). The weather was the same as before. Doug and I play music together as you can see from my music pages. This Saturday night we decided to take our guitars and chairs up there in order to get in a little practice while we waited on the lights. Of course the telescope was along for the ride. Doug took his 400 zoom digital camcorder so that we could catch the lights on film for this page. The battery turned out to be dead, so there went that idea. I arrived at the overlook before dark so I could study the area where the previous light was spotted. I wanted to see if my street light theory was possible. The ridge that previously appeared to be three miles away in the dark was in fact, about a half mile away. There was a little hill that could have had some sort of light on it; maybe that is what we saw previously.
Darkness quickly descended and there was no light on that little hill as before. There was a light that came on much higher in the sky and moved to the side and then went out. Doug said, "That looks like one of them". It looked like an airplane getting ready to land with its runway lights on in a turn. The only problem was that there were no wing or tail lights as it seemed to fly away. There was another light just like the one a week before on the other end on the ridge, and all characteristics were the same as before. Then two other lights came on and that we could see with our eye, so out came the telescope. Brown Mountain Lights
Until now, I was able to use common reasoning to explain what we were seeing, that is until we looked at the new lights through the scope. What looked like one light to the eye was actually three in a cluster through the scope. They were up over the land and about three times as high as the trees. I said, "That is an airplane in a sharp turn." Then I said, "but it just turned upside down and now it's not moving." OK, now we are leaning toward supernatural. The lights went dim and still. When they got bright they moved around in a cluster yet staying in a certain area. They looked like distant street lights when dim and still, but they floated like electric basketballs when excited. In the height of movement and brightness, one light had a red tint to it at times. All lights did not stay exactly the same brightness as each other. They were slightly different, but together. Sometimes one would rotate halfway around the other and sometimes they would all rotate in 3D. One light stayed alone and quite a distance to the left of our viewing area; it stayed bright most of the time and did not seem to move. This light, at one time, started flashing from dim to bright as if it were on a timer with about 4 seconds between changes.
As it got late, they calmed down but did not go away. No, we were not drinking or doing drugs! There were about twenty people in all that saw some part of it. I feel that Doug and I saw the best part through the telescope being we were working with it the most. Whatever it was was floating in the air above the trees. Now every possible explanation that I had was gone. I now have no clue as to what causes these lights but I think it's time to go down into the woods and wait on that ridge.
Trip Three (October 12, 2002) Down in the woods. It was around 75 degrees and about to rain. We set out to see if we could locate the area where we saw the lights last week. We planned to be in the area when the lights begin to appear. Three of us went; we took radios, cell phones, flashlights, compasses, cameras, and just about everything that we could think of to make sure we could handle what ever we might confront. Doug had squirrel hunted in the area many times and has had many encounters with the lights. Walter Young, an ex Marine, had never seen the lights but was very knowledgeable of navigating in the woods. Not a bad person to be lost in the woods with! And of course, I was there too.
The road around the ridge was in fairly good shape but near the end, it was rocky and hard to travel. Once we arrived at the highest point, there were too many trees to see off the mountain. For the entire trip, the trees were so thick that we could not see out of the area where we were. There was one place on the road, in a curve, at the top of a gorge; if there were any lights, this would have been a good place to view them.
We laid in the woods at the peak overlooking the gorge waiting for nightfall. Darkness came and the only thing we saw was a deer hunter returning to his car. We made our way back to the area on the road that over looks the gorge and waited for a while. Again we saw nothing. A little farther down the road, near where we estimated the clusters were from last week, our radios gained interference as if it were generated rather than static. Doug's hand-held radio and his CB had the interference on all channels; my two hand-held radios did not. Our compass seemed to be unsteady during this time. As we left the area, the interference went away. Doug talked to a man on the CB who said that they were looking at lights but Doug lost contact and we never found that man so we don't know if it was true or not. That type of radio interference had not been experienced before. Brown Mountain Lights
When we arrived back at the overlook on Hwy 181, the crew from L.E.M.U.R. (Paranormal Investigations) also from http://www.brownmountainlights.com , were there with all of their equipment set up looking for lights. These people are professional investigators of the unexplained. There were no lights to see. We talked for a while with Joshua P. Warren, Brian Irish, Michael McCurry, others from their organization. They showed us a video of some of the lights that they had taken from the past to see if it was what we had been seeing over the past couple of weeks. It was the same though in different areas and quantities. It was impressive to see how extensive their investigation equipment was.
Rain started falling. As we were about to leave, after all of the equipment was put up, I saw a light come on very bright for about two seconds and dim. Then it went bright again and disappeared. Just enough time to get everyone's attention; then it was gone. Some of us saw it, others did not.
Could the lights be campfires? There were campsites in the area but they were near streams at the bottom of the valley out of site from the viewing area on Hwy 181. For those of you that are thinking about walking through the woods to the lights, don't! The area is dangerous and you can get killed. It is easy to get turned around and become lost. The landscape is as steep as 45 degrees and may have cliffs. If you were to make it to the lights, you would not be able to see through the trees. I have pictures of the landscape that I will post as soon as I can.
One possibility is that there could be several large deposits of iron ore that have been magnetized in that area. Natural gasses that are released from the earth could take many forms. When magnetic fields are forced against each other, electricity is produced and electricity causes radio waves. Magnetism can confuse compasses. The other magnetic field could come from the sun as solar wind even as everyday activity. These fields can travel right through the earth. If this is true, then certainly there would be areas in which the fields are concentrated. If the gasses happen to be concentrated in the same place, then the gas could glow as in a florescent light tube. However, proving this would not be easy.
On the other hand, maybe some things are just not meant to be understood. Could it be a ghost? Anything is possible. You look at the Brown Mountain Light through a telescope and tell me; it is freaky!!!
Doug and I arrived about two hours before dark armed with a telescope and a night vision scope. With all that we had witnessed, it was apparent that there was something going on. Some of it, we were sure, could be explained. Trying to remember what we have seen previously, we did our best to locate items of suspicion in the area while it was still light. What we saw first, was a place down in the valley where one light could have been blinking that simulated a timer. It was a place that was in clear view, and if anyone wanted to play a trick, that would be the place to do it. Some people have as much fun "creating" a legend or story as we do studying them.
We looked through our telescope at the horizon to find anything that could have been a light source. To our right, there were new houses that had been built recently. I donít believe that they were there last time; however, that was not an area we had ever noticed lights. Straight in front of us, far in the distance, was an antenna that I referred to in an earlier viewing. I noticed that there were several mountain peaks that all lined up on the same plane. As it started to get a little dark, there were streetlights in the distance that came on, but they were hard to see even with the telescope. These lights started to take on the characteristics of the Brown Mountain Lights.
It was clear to see that the heat from the land made waves that we had to look through to see these streetlights. These waves were like the heat distortion that the movies use to create the allusion of a hot, dry, desert. It is very likely that this type of heat and moisture rising from several peaks can magnify any light depending on the conditions. Think of it as a glass lens on two peaks. That would be the same thing as a telescope. The fall is the best time to see the lights. That could be because the air is cool and the earth is warm. Heat should rise more at this time than in any other season.
Once it was completely dark, we looked at the same areas with the night vision scope. Man! There was every light in the world in view! Not Brown Mountain Lights, but distant streetlights. It is likely that anything could have been magnified from there. There were airplanes in the distance and the closer to the ground that you looked, the more there were. Now, could the airplane lights be some of the moving, mysterious lights that are possibly magnified through atmospheric conditions? On a clear night you could expect to count about 20 airplanes in the sky at one time. Using night vision, and viewing the horizon, I would not be surprised if there were really 500 planes out there. By the way, this experience makes me think that the use of night vision would be a spectacular way to view a meteor shower!
There is also something called Power of
As you are reading this article, a part of your
body will start to itch.
Donít scratch it because it is your
block it out of your mind.
It seems that every
time I go to see the lights, I meet several
people that have had some type of experience with
people are not making their experiences up; something really happened
to them just as something has really happened to me.
If you want to see the lights for yourself,
just plan a trip to the hwy 181 overlook or any of the
places known for sightings.
It seems that every time I go to see the lights, I meet several people that have had some type of experience with them. These people are not making their experiences up; something really happened to them just as something has really happened to me. If you want to see the lights for yourself, just plan a trip to the hwy 181 overlook or any of the places known for sightings.
Think about my experiences, and consider my possible explanations and see what you think. Also, keep in mind that my next trip might change everything that I just said. Oh yeah, now you can scratch.
Read more, and get directions at http://www.brownmountainlights.com
Brown Mountain Lights
Here are some other links if you want to read more.
The Legend of the Brown Mountain light (Song) For the words to the song Click Here!
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