Don’t Follow the Lights

Marfa Mystery Lights

Sam: “There are dead things, dead faces in the water.”

Gollum: “All dead. All rotten. Elves and men and orcses. A great battle long ago. The Dead Marshes. Yes, yes that is their name. This way. Don’t follow the lights.”

At first we thought they were car headlamps shining faintly across the vast expanse of the West Texas desert. Slowly they moved to the right, roughly in a row; four in all, until one of the middle lights went dark. The others followed suit, winking out in no particular order. Other lights appeared within the general vicinity, mostly white but also red and blue. Some drifted left. Others moved vertically or bounced around at random.

Reports of Marfa’s softly glowing mystery lights date back as far as the 1800’s, with rumors of even earlier sightings. They’ve been explained as everything from swamp gas, to the reflections of car headlamps, to UFOs. Some still maintain there is no explanation for the nocturnal apparitions.

If you find yourself in Marfa, TX, look to the south for an interesting show. But if you’re tempted to strike out in pursuit of the lights to uncover their mystery, know that miles of dangerous desert have long helped shield their secret. It’s probably best if you enjoy them from a distance and don’t follow the lights.

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4 Comments on “Don’t Follow the Lights”

  1. Grant May 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    I have been waiting patiently for this blog post!


    • Brian May 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

      Admit it, you just like the LOTR tie-in.


  2. Pat Bean May 23, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    This post earned a Bean’s Pat on my blog for today. It comes with no strings attached.

    Bean’s Pat: Don’t Follow the Lights I’ve gotta visit Marfa, Texas – so I can wonder some more.

    *This award is this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps my readers might, too.



  1. 7 Reasons to Visit Marfa, TX | Everywhere Once - May 23, 2012

    […] darkness peaks your interest, then Marfa is for you. Next to Judd’s artistic installations, the Mystery lights are one of Marfa’s top tourist […]


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