Marfa Ghost Lights, a will-o’-the-wisp seen at night over the desert. 

At night, drive east on US Highway 90 and look south towards Presidio to catch a sight of the Marfa Ghost Lights, a will-o’-the-wisp seen at night over the desert. 

According to Judith Brueske, “The ‘Marfa Lights’ of west Texas have been called many names, such as ghost lights, strange lights, mystery lights, or Chinati lights. The easiest place to view the lights is a widened shoulder on Highway 90, about nine miles east of Marfa. The lights are most often reported as distant spots of brightness, distinguishable from ranch lights and automobile headlights on Highway 67 (between Marfa and Presidio, to the south) primarily by their aberrant movements.”[2]

The first historical record of the Marfa lights was in 1883 when a young cowhand, Robert Reed Ellison, saw a flickering light while driving cattle through Paisano Pass and wondered if it was the campfire of Apache Indians. Other settlers told him they often saw the lights but that when they investigated, they found no ashes or other evidence of a campsite. [5]. Joe and Anne Humphreys reported seeing the lights in 1885. Both stories appear in Cecilia Thompson’s book History of Marfa and Presidio County, Texas 1535–1946, which was published in 1985. [3]: 21–22 

The first published account of the lights appeared in the July 1957 issue of Coronet magazine. [6][7] In 1976, Elton Miles’s Tales of the Big Bend included stories dating to the 19th century and a photograph of the Marfa lights by a local rancher. [3]: 25 

Bunnell lists 34 Marfa lights sightings from 1945 through 2008. Monitoring stations were put in place starting in 2003. He has identified “an average of 9.5 MLS on 5.25 nights per year” but believes that the monitoring stations may only be finding half of the Marfa lights in Mitchell Flat. [4]: 261 

The Marfa Lights have gained some fame as onlookers have attributed them to paranormal phenomena such as ghosts or UFOs. Still, scientific research suggests that most, if not all, are atmospheric reflections of campfires then and automobile headlights and homes today. 

WE&P by: EZorrillam.