Earth Lights
Also called "night orbs," "mystery lights,"
"ULO's" (unidentified lighted objects), etc.


Hey, we got to see the Marfa Lights! | The mysterious mirage effect of the Marfa Lights | Marfa Lights Pictures

Night Orbs Book | Conversation Between Jim Bunnell and Bruce Cornet on Plasma Lights

Marfa Lights Presentation given by Sharon Eby when she was Co-Director of El Paso MUFON 2002


Hey We Got To See The Marfa Lights!

 Hey!  We got to see the Marfa lights! ...... two nights in a row for several hours each.  We started off at the standard observation point approx 9 miles east of Marfa, TX located on highway 90.  For a puny west TX town of around 2500 people this lookout point was packed with people come dusk.  With flashlights and headlights, folks walking around beside their cars, RV's, trailers, etc. were cramming into this small roadside parking area.  People from all over were lined up in the "yard" area (fenced in) to view the lights.  Of course, a good many of them were newcomers, as well as a few folks we met who religiously came each year to see the lights.  The newbies didn't have a clue that they were calling the headlights going down the mountain on highway 67 THE "Marfa lights"!  We had arrived before dusk, of course, to check out the terrain and notice where the mountains were located, and to get a feel for the area so we wouldn't be so confused come dark. 

Friday night (the day after Thanksgiving) we sat there, freezing our hinies off in the moonless night while we turned on the make-shift ELF/VLF magnetic "Natural radio" receiver.  It was a weak receiver, although it has been successfully used by Ed Hendricks, whom I've had contact with via email, in the past to pick up the lower frequencies given off when the Marfa lights show up.  One lady laughed at me when I told her I had this receiver... oh well, her loss.  I found that most people there had the mentality of typical "tourists" rather than any real investigation into this long-claimed "ghost light" phenomenon that has been seen for over 100 years in the area.  With magnetic receiver in hand my husband and nephew and I stood and awaited the famous lights to come "on" so we could see them.  My parents and children and a friend were close by, but they were hiding out in the warmth of the vehicles for the most part.... and it was then that I wished that I had a nice, heavy coat instead of the few layers of clothing and light jacket I had on as we stood waiting.  The sun set, the mountains became a silhouette against the darkening sky and the cars ramping down highway 67 that extends south of Marfa turned on their headlights.  One could easily spot the ranchers' lights from the ranch houses out in the desert also.  

Then at 6:45 pm, my nephew Derek and I saw a very bright light "turn on" south south-west from the viewing location.  At this same time, my husband, with his back turned to the light, had his ear to the receiver and he exclaimed how the receiver started clicking and making noise at that same moment!  Then after a few seconds, the light that had been quickly turning yellow to orange to red and occasionally a whitish color just "blinked out".  Along with it, the sounds on the receiver died.  We were ecstatic to think that perhaps what we had just witnessed could have been the real thing, rather than headlights, especially since it was not in the same backdrop area of the Chinati mountains where highway 67 lurked.  We got a little confused after that though, and thought perhaps it could have been coincidence, when the light came back on, and the receiver no longer made any "special" noises.  We watched the light and it did appear to move back and forth, however I stood very still and used one of the fence posts as an anchor and peeked at the light with only one eye open and realized that the appearance of the light moving was only an optical illusion.  It was not moving at all.  This was the beginning of what would later be a full realization of just how deceptive the desert, with all it's hills and valleys, could be in tricking the eyes in a full optical illusion.  Not unlike the heat waves that show up on a hot day over the desert, the nights also hold some secrets in illusion....... but the great question was.... are the Marfa lights such an illusion, or are they real? 

Since there was not the convenience of a bathroom at the official Marfa Lights Viewing Area we packed up temporarily to head back to town.  We left our oldest son Tyler, and Derek, to stay and watch over the lawn chairs and blankets we had placed there, and to keep listening for the receiver to make more noises.  On our way back to the viewing site I noticed that the one light we had seen was really two lights when seen from a different perspective.... or so I thought.  When we returned the entire parking lot was packed with people and since I was not even remotely willing to deal with the headaches of that, nor in having my deep curiosity satisfied by viewing possible lights from a distance of 10 miles away, we threw our belongings into the SUV and headed toward Nopal road which lies west of the viewing area.  From there, we thought, we would be able to view the lights up close and personal. 

My parents had given up fighting the cold and took our little ones (thank God for many blessings that grandparents often deliver!) with them to where we were camping and my husband, Gerald, and I, as well as Tyler and Derek all headed down Nopal road towards the area of the lights.  We had to be very careful not to leave the road as private property in Texas is serious business... especially when Ranchers post No Trespassing signs and often hold guns in their possession.  After 5 miles we crossed the old railroad tracks and kept heading south toward what still appeared to be two amber-colored lights in the distance.  They seemed to just sit there motionless so we figured they must have been ranchers lights after all.  The road Y'ed and we stopped to park to just watch for a while.  An hour passed again and nothing happened.  We decided that sitting in the SUV was a bit smarter than trying to fight the cold so the inside of the vehicle became our sanctuary and our official "stake-out" place whenever we got too cold.  

Just before 10 pm, during one of the times we were standing outside of the vehicle, we noticed that the two stationary lights had suddenly doubled and that there were four lights!  The lights appeared to be within less than a mile away.  We exclaimed aloud as, this anomaly we watched (sometimes through binoculars), the four lights became two again, and then three, and then two once more.  Excited by this new thrill, and now with the fuel needle showing between a quarter of a tank and Empty we decided that this was too fantastic to pass up.... we headed out towards Marfa to put more gas into the tank so we could continue further down the Nopal road to see these lights up close!  

Upon returning we passed the Y in the road and went around the bend where we lost sight of the two lights that were still hanging there in the same place in the sky.  While rounding the bend, with the lights out of view, the road finally straightened out again and we continued to look south for the lights.  Now we couldn't see them anymore.  The road ended at the 10 mile mark as we reached a ranch that had a closed gate with warning signs all over.  Strange words like "cyanide" and "US Government" involvement and "predators" were on these signs to ward off people (along with their pets) so that curious trespassers would not dare to cross the line.  Cyanide canasters are sometimes used to kill coyotes and other predators and to protect the livestock on the ranches.  It all gave way to a very strange and uneasy feeling out there in the lonely desert.  It seemed the Marfa lights had abandoned us and had been replaced instead with this fearful thought of deadly poison lurking on the other side of the fence just waiting to kill anything that dared cross it's path. 

With that, we turned and headed back and realized that the two amber-colored lights had been there the entire time, but had been BEHIND US, off in the desert in the area west of the bend in the road (where we had lost sight of it prior to this due to the hills).  We got as close as we could and stopped the vehicle and got out.  We watched as the lights stood at attention and then the left light faded into oblivion.  The light on the right side remained and we didn't know what to make of it.  We decided to head around the bend and go back to our original area of the Y to view it from that side again.  It was south of us so since we could not reach the light by way of the left road that Y'ed off, we decided to try the road on the right.  

As we headed towards it, it faded and so we stopped the vehicle, wondering if our close distance to it might've had something to do with it.  It seemed that it couldn't have been more than a half of a mile away at that time.  When we went forward we spotted the entrance to Antelope Springs, a nearby ranch.  We dared not enter, but did notice two windmills off the left.  At that point we figured the windmills were in the same vicinity of the two lights we had seen and we wondered if some type of scam wasn't afoot to create the lights on a more consistent basis to keep the tourism up.  After all, I had been told by many of the locals, as well as having read similar comments by folks who have written articles, that they didn't want to know what caused the lights.  People enjoy a good mystery, but a town the size of Marfa doesn't seem to have a lot to offer, so the economic reasons for keeping tourism alive in the area is obvious.  For example, why put the convenience of a pit toilet at the viewing location when you can make folks drive into town and buy some snacks and fill up with gasoline instead?  Perhaps they had some contraption on the windmills that would cause the lights to APPEAR to split off into 4 or three lights.  Well, it was a workable theory at first anyway. 

Eventually, about 12:45 am, we gave up looking for the lights and went back to camp to get some sleep.  The next afternoon, after touring around Ft. Davis and the McDonald Observatory, we returned to the Marfa area, down Nopal road, to see the windmills at Antelope Springs, and just check out the area in general during the DAYLIGHT hours.  It was not long before the "scam" theory was shot down as we realized the windmills looked like normal windmills, and there were no apparent towers or other fixed objects in the area that would be indicative of having lights atop them.  In fact, the notion seemed silly when one considered that the lights have a history of over 100 years in the area, long before cars or electric lights were commonplace.  This time though, we had a plan... a different plan. 

We had to hurry because the sun was setting and darkness would be upon us soon.  This time it was just the two boys and myself as my husband decided to stay back at camp with our 5 and 3 year olds.  I parked the SUV at the Y and quickly made what we called the "chicken foot" mark in the dirt by the edge of the road.  This would best be described as three lines that come out from a point, hence having the appearance of a giant chicken footprint.  The main point ("heel" of the "chicken foot") was made under an electric line in direct line with the electric poles.  The center "toe" of the chicken foot marks flowed in the direction of the power lines.  To the right was the "toe" that pointed directly to the Antelope Springs ranch house.  The left "toe" pointed directly to the windmills.  Now we had a way to spot "landmarks" in the dark when those same landmarks were not visible in the dark hours of the night.  Now we had something to compare the location of the lights to if they were to show up again.  It was a good plan. 

All we had to do is wait.  Again the two amber-colored light showed up to the south of the Y road.  Quickly we ran to the "chicken foot" and I stood at the main point where the "heel" of the "chicken foot" was.  The lights were in direct line with the windmills.  Ah hah!!  We jumped back into the vehicle and drove to the windmills, but alas, the lights, although still visible, seemed farther away and yet the windmills stood there alone in the dark, with the Marfa lights probably laughing at us in the distance as we sulked.  

Around the bend we went, looking to see the lights in that same empty field to the west of the bend.  As we rounded the end of the bend we looked and realized that the lights had to have moved at tremendous speed because even though they were close to us at first, now they were NOT in the bend area AT ALL (which was now to the north again).... but were waaaaaayyy down south and to the west of the "cyanide ranch" gate.  These lights had moved away from us and had stopped at a safe distance in a place where we could not reach them.  The magnetic receiver rarely would make a sound although once in a while it would seem to freak out.... we weren't sure why this was happening either.  Our binoculars showed that the lights, which would pulsate and grow brighter and then go dim, only to repeat the process again and again, were not moving anywhere but were so bright that an area of approximately 100 feet (radius) would light up.  Bushes and even a tall object that appeared to be either a tree or an electric pole, were lit up near the lights.  

The lights became three, with the light on the left being of medium brightness, the right one very bright, and a small one next to, and to the right of the bright one, quite dim.  Across the desert perhaps a few hundred feet was another light of medium brightness.  In the binoculars only, one could see a bunch of very tiny lights trailing between the three main lights and the lone light that stood a few hundred feet away.  All the lights just sat there motionless although when my eyes were not fixed upon a star or a stationary ranchers light as an "anchor" one would almost swear on the Bible that they were moving back and forth or up and down due to the atmospheric disturbances and illusionary distances of the desert at night.  We had tested this the night before with a ranchers light that "appeared" to stretch and then triple itself when we moved slowly forward on foot or in the vehicle.  Derek and Tyler and my husband all noticed this phenomenon, although I only saw the ranchers light stay single the entire time.  As they backed up on the road, the ranchers light would appear to become one again.  This would happen when a hill would seem to pass in front of a distant light as one moved forward or backward.  This was not the case with the Marfa lights we were witnessing.  These suckers had completely moved aross literal MILES in the desert (to the north of our vehicle the first night, and then to the south the second night) despite being parked in the same place each time! 

Our last indication of PROOF to us was when we headed one more time over to the "chicken foot".  I stood at the same point at the "heel" and compared the position of the lights with the left "toe".  The left "toe" had originally pointed at the lights, in the same direction as the windmills.... but this time the lights were far off in the distance (miles away now) to the left of the left "toe".  This would have put it many 1000's of feet to the east of it's original location from the perspective given at the "chicken foot".  It seemed like a silly sounding way to check for the position of the Marfa lights, but it proved beyond a doubt that these lights were truly moving all over that valley DESPITE the illusionary effects of the atmosphere on the lights.  It was an amazing sight indeed! 

We look forward to the time when we can go back and see the lights up close again.... and Oh! how we had wished we could just flap our arms and fly over to the lights as they sat still in those areas of temporary rest.  One day we plan to go back and do some more investigating into the Marfa lights, and hopefully, it will be during the summer when the weather is warm and lights are still dancing in the desert.  I am counting on both.

(c) Sharon Eby 2000-2004

The Mysterious Mirage Effect of the Marfa Lights

Well, we went once again to Marfa, TX on Sunday, March 11, 2001 for a four day trip to view the "Ghost/Mystery Lights" and continue to do some research on their strange behaviors.  The trip this time around did not come close to what happened last November.  We learned a lot more about the lights and their nature than ever before on this fact-finding expedition, although the lights remained elusive to us.  It was, in fact, that very elusive quality that brought us to some startling facts about these Marfa Lights!  

The last time we (my family and I) went down to this small west Texas town it was to get a feel for the area and to view the lights for the very first time.  They have been known to appear out in the desert out of nowhere, suddenly flash very brightly and then dim to a mere flicker, and then just as quickly burn bright and split off into 2, 3, or even multiple lights before merging back again.  They have been seen, by some peoples' testimonies, to avoid people when folks tried to get too close, and also to go as far as chasing cars down the highway to the nearest town of Alpine, TX which lies about 30 minutes east of Marfa.  Numerous accounts of the lights have been published in magazines and newspapers across the country and a scrap book FULL of many of these articles are located in the local Marfa library.  Some of the reports on the Marfa Lights have been as far back as 1883 by Robert Ellison, grandfather of Ms. Rosemary Cox whom we interviewed while there.  Rosemary, and her parents before her, have had a long history of viewing the lights and have been on numerous interviews about them in the past.

Back during the Thanksgiving holidays, while on the county dirt road "Nopal Road" we stopped near a ranch and witnessed the lights within a mile distance.  We only knew this distance because of the area we were at, and having driven around the lights and seeing them from both sides (north and south).  The same nature of the lights, with the brightening and dimming of their luminescence, as well as splitting off into multiple lights thrusted their magical qualities into our eager eyes as we watched with awe.  The question this time around was. were we going to be able to see the lights on this springtime trip? 

Being a researcher/investigator the main directive for me was to meet and speak with the local ranchers to gain permission for land use access to view and study the Marfa Lights provided they would appear.  This involved numerous methods to locate the land owners and then seek their phone numbers and then actually be able to reach them when they were at home and not out doing the duties of ranch life.  As luck would have it, the information fell into my lap and I had permission from two ranchers within a short amount of time.  That was all we needed although I also had the data I needed for future possible expeditions to other sites in the valley south of Marfa.

My nephew Derek Eby, an intern with CBS news channel 4 out of El Paso went with me and caught on camera our adventures of Marfa light chasing as well as the interviews of the Marfa Mayor, Fritz Kahl, also Marfa residents (of 38 years) Armando and Josephine Vasquez (Armando was influential in choosing the official roadside Marfa Lights viewing spot), and also Jan and Jimmy Poenisch (local Marfans who have seen the lights numerous times).  We also spoke with a good number of other locals and professionals who wish to remain anonymous, but did tell about their experiences off camera.

Of course, all this interviewing and learning was in preparation to investigate the lights themselves.  Three nights were available for the viewing of the Marfa Lights although the lights did not show up the first night at all, at least not for us.  Hours and hours we sat there and moved around between locations to see what we could see.. but nothing.  I suppose most people go to the Marfa Lights viewing area, which is located 9 miles east of Marfa on Highway 90, and stay anywhere from minutes to hours.  We spoke with some folks from Houston who believed they had been seeing the lights that first night, although it turned out to be the car headlights on the Presidio highway.  They also thought they saw the lights down in the valley toward Nopal road just 20 minutes prior to our arrival (bobbing up and down, and going on and off, and then finally disappearing), although it is conspicuous since we had been driving up that very road at that exact time!  Our vehicle had been running up and down the hills, passing between both clearly seen and hidden spots from the viewing area, and we saw no lights behind, in front, or around us (and believe me, we were looking!).  I didn't have the heart to tell them it was our own headlights they had spotted as the "Marfa lights".  Unfortunately, this is all too common and most people don't realize it.  The desert can be very deceptive at night, and the atmospheric distortion can influence the appearance of any light, big or small, no matter how great or small the distance is between the viewer and the source.

Some have said that the cars' headlights barreling down Presidio Highway (seen in a southwesterly direction) could not be seen from the viewing spot on Hwy 90, and that the spot was chosen because you COULDN'T see the car lights from there; however, if you go there during the day you can see the mountain, and if you have also driven south on Presidio highway (up the mountain) you can most obviously see that this highway is MOST DEFINITELY visible from the viewing area.  Of that there is no doubt.  I would suffice to say that with all the turns and curves on that road, and the hills that block the carlights on occasion, that it is entirely possible that many, if not most, of the "Marfa Light sightings" by the untrained eye are indeed nothing but the car headlights.  They APPEAR to turn on and off (by going behind hills and turning direction), and APPEAR to flicker (obvious atmospheric distortion) and they APPEAR to split off into multiple lights (one car behind another and then once they go around a curve you see two sets of headlights instead of one).  It is all a very deceptive game of chance if you don't know what you're looking for.  

In the interviews we recorded, it became obvious also that there were a number of completely differing opinions about this whole phenomena.  That there exists a phenomena (despite some sightings being mere car headlights) was not in question (in most everyone's minds).  That the stories get exaggerated over time, and that some reports of light sightings are bogus, just comes with the territory.  One must be very keen and be able to read people well enough, and show some discernment concerning the stories they tell, in order to tell what is truth, and what is not.  I had been told that the Mayor himself, being a WW II pilot in the Marfa area, had been involved with dropping flour sacks where the lights were, only to find out that the lights were not there the next morning.  After speaking with the Mayor, Fritz Kahl, in a personal interview he threw that story in the trashcan because he was not involved with any such happening at all, nor did he know anyone who had.  With that clear, it is well understood that going to the source of the information is crucial when attempting to decipher between Marfa Light stories.  This includes different versions of the stories of the lights chasing people, avoiding people, or even the lights being angels, spirits, sent from God, or showing intelligence.  Until I see it for myself, I'm hard pressed to believe it.  But so it is with most.. as it should be.  But I also believe in the REAL Marfa lights, especially because they've been seen since well before cars or street lights were even invented.  I've seen them so I can say that with no doubt in my mind.  Now WHAT the Marfa lights really are is a whole issue unto itself!

A hotly debated topic was that very question that I asked to all the interviewees, "What do you think the Marfa Lights really are?"  Without naming names, I'm going to simply reconstruct a summary of a mere few of the many answers here:

The spirit of an old Indian chief looking for his maiden

St. Elmo's fire

Apache campfires

Ignited phosphorous gases

Static electricity

Earthquake lights


Lights from radioactivity


Ghost lights



The list goes on..

There are several issues that need more investigation but some of the reasons why the lights will show sometimes, and why they won't other times, is also covered by the hundreds of reports and personal opinions of Marfans and strangers alike.  A few of the reasons given for the lights showing or not showing at certain times include:


High winds

Solar flare activity

Geomagnetic storms

Rain (abundance or lack of)

Seismic activity


Magnetic fields/lines within the earth

Whether the lights "want" to be seen by certain people or not

Atmospheric distortion

Outside temperature

Location of the viewer

Desert mirage effects

Again the list goes on...

On our second night out, while sitting in a rancher's pasture (with permission of course as stepping foot on ANYONE's land in the entire state of Texas is illegal once you're off the road easements) we spotted two amber colored lights to the northwest.  Our location was fairly far down in the valley off Nopal Road.  (Please note that the local Border Patrol office was also notified personally of our whereabouts and our purpose in this area because drug trafficking is common in the area and because of the dangers down those roads at night)  The two separate lights would appear to be bright and then the left one would go dim.  They would flicker, appear to change from yellow to reddish, to greenish, to bluish, etc. but would mostly stay a soft yellow color.  They seemed to sit still although at one time you could look through the binoculars and see one was clearly below the horizon (it was silhouetted by a small hill) while the other one was not.  No other lights were seen.  We triangulated the lights with a compass and a map and found them to be about 2 miles from us.  Later the lights dimmed and the left one flickered out, or appeared to almost flicker out at different times, and would come up above the hill and then drop back down.  Also both my 14 yr old son Tyler, Derek, and myself all watched while the brighter light split off into what was clearly two separate lights (a total of three now).  We viewed this with the naked eye as well as through 10x50mm binoculars.  Finally they became two lights again, got smaller/dimmer and faded into the distance, almost as if they had moved much farther away (DIRECTLY away) from us than the original 2 miles we projected them to be at.  The whole scene of these lights doing all these things was absolutely spectacular even though it was slow going.  Now, my question to you, the reader, is.. DID WE SEE THE MARFA LIGHTS?

It appears so.

Or did we?

A further look into these things would not happen (at least not for us) until the next day when we went atop a hill of another rancher's land south of the city of Marfa during the day.  The nice gentleman who owned the ranch showed us the lights on his property and amazingly they were a low-light amber color.  There were two of them, plus a smaller white light that was lower in height that the amber ones.  They were located in the same direction as the way we had estimated them to be on the map, but about 4 1/2 miles FURTHER than we had triangulated them at from two separate locations.  What was going on???

Once nightfall came, and taking into account the "mirage effect" that was so predominant during the spring and fall times of the year (due to hotter days and still cooler nights) since the extreme temperature fluctuations cause extra heat waves to appear on the horizon, we focused on seeing if the lights we had witnessed doing all those things had indeed been those two ranchers lights.  We went back, and sure enough, the two lights were there in the distance, in the exact direction we'd seen them flickering and splitting off, etc. the night before, both amber colored.  I knew the ranchers lights were out there, but because of the enormous "activity" the lights seemed to exude we figured that they HAD to be "Marfa Lights".  Not so.  Even we, with critical thinking, decent binoculars, experience in seeing the lights before, and a full range of information at our fingertips, were still deceived that second night.  But not the third night.  

Hours and hours had been spent watching this from both sides of the spectrum.  And here we had personally witnessed the "mirage effect" of the desert.  Something I was all too familiar with, but had never seen in quite this way.  Most of us think of a mirage being heat waves on a concrete or asphalt road that makes the appearance of water in the distance.  I can tell you that as we had driven to the Marfa area that first day, we had all seen the entire corner of one of the mountains just "disappear" because of the mirage effect.  And not only did Mayor Kahl mention the mirage effect in the desert, since he has been a pilot for most of his life, but it is also interesting that despite conflicting reports of the lights being seen from the air, the Mayor himself said that he had never seen the lights from above the ground.  Are they only visible from ground level?  If so, why?

On a separate interview Jimmy Poenisch had told of how he was once working cattle on a ranch and that the buildings and fence and windmill of ANOTHER ranch were suddenly ON the pasture where he was.  He recognized it, as well as the man he was with, as not belonging on that pasture.  Jimmy said it was very clear and that they could see details of the building and fence, etc. and that within 5 minutes the entire mirage was gone and it was all "back" where it belonged 2 miles away on it's own ranch.  This type of mirage is not unlike the scenes one can see in the Sahara, when one is still mentally coherent but the bending of light and optical illusions and "mirage effect" take place very elusively and solemnly in the vast desert areas of the world.  Few get to experience this type of magnified (holographic?) mirage, but during this time of year the effects are especially evident.  It was clear that not only do some folks see the "Marfa Lights" and they turn out to be car headlights, but also some of us see the "Marfa Lights" and they turn out to be a mirage.

Now, I have to ask myself, and those who witnessed the lights with me back in November of last year.. Were the lights we saw the real thing, or just another rancher's lights having a mirage effect so strong and precise that it was visible from two (at least) completely separate directions?  I don't have any final answers to that question yet.. but.. I find it interesting that we first saw the lights appear from the viewing spot on the highway (location #1), and then we drove to Marfa to fill up on gas and noticed that the light had become two (location #2 while we were driving).  Then we drove down Nopal road and parked near a ranch, and by this time the light had become one again and just sat still for a long time (location #3).. then the light split off into two, then into four, and they were VERY bright and then went dim, back and forth, etc. before combining back into two lights (from the four) again.  Then we drove south on Nopal road toward the last ranch on the road and viewed the lights one more time, but this time we had to look north to see them, instead of south. (location #4)  Is it possible that what we witnessed within a mile distance was only a mirage?  A mirage that could be seen from 4 separate locations to be in the same place on the map???  Somehow I seriously doubt that!

Here's the biggest question of all though, as all this still does not solve the Marfa Lights mystery.. What is the source of light, even IF it happens to be a mirage?  Again, we're dealing with lights that have been showing up since the 1800's and very likely before that. before cars were in the area, and before street lights were evident in society as we know it today.  Are we back to the Apache campfires being miraged throughout the desert?  How about those accounts from folks who claim to have had the lights come VERY CLOSE to them.. within a 100 feet or even within a few feet?  Are these reliable eye-witness accounts?  Is it sensationalism?  Is it real?  Do the lights really show intelligence as some feel they do?  Until the Marfa light mystery is absolutely, scientifically, and unequivocally solved beyond a shadow of a doubt, then we cannot claim to know or understand every aspect of this phenomena.  All I can say with assurance is that sometimes, for some people, the lights are merely car headlights; and sometimes, for some people, they are a mirage... but if a mirage, then are they a mirage of a car, a mirage of a ranchers light, or a mirage of an authentic Marfa Light that is still desiring to keep itself as an unsolved enigma to the world?  The source of the lights is still completely unknown... and much to Marfa's joy, it is STILL A MYSTERY!

Until next time.. Think on these things..

(c) Sharon Eby 2001-2004

Marfa Lights Pictures

Courtesy of my  friend and colleague, Ed Hendricks:

I have a couple of my best ML shots at:

These were shot from the southwest corner of the MLVS looking slightly east of due south, in early dawn light, during March or April 1995 if I recall correctly.

Also, there are three shots of a very unusual UFO-looking petroglyph:

and another very evocative petroglyph from the same site:

These were shot in the southwestern Mojave Desert, near the Joshua Tree National Park.

Best regards,
Ed.H  2/2/04  15:11 PST

NEW Night Orbs Book now available! 

I am fortunate in that I was able to spend some time in the field (and did so again on Labor Day weekend - 2004 during the ML Festival) with Ed Hendricks and Jim Bunnell, both engineers and scientists who are dedicated to finding the truth on the cause, effects, and meaning behind the Marfa Lights.  NIGHT ORBS is a new book which Jim Bunnell recently wrote and published (one of my accounts above is also placed within his book)... the work he has done on it is absolutely tremendous and puts my puny little articles to shame!  Special thanks to Jim for allowing me use of his fantastic ML time lapse photographs in my powerpoint presentation for the Rachel, NV 2004 UFO Conference!

Hunting Marfa Lights takes the reader on a fascinating journey in pursuit of mysterious nocturnal luminous phenomena that sometimes appear near Marfa, Texas. These unusual lights were first observed by Native Americans who believed them to be fallen stars. This book describes the only, to date, extensive study of these elusive phenomena. Based on data collected, the author finds that while most observed lights can be explained, about three percent are truly mysterious and of unknown origin. In addition to frequent onsite observations and photography, the author has installed three automated monitoring stations, equipped with a total of nine cameras to collect nightly video records. Included are 34 compelling stories told by individuals who have encountered these mysterious lights and been amazed by the experience.

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Conversation Between Jim Bunnell and Bruce Cornet on Plasma Lights



NOTE FOR THE CONVERSATION BELOW: Bruce's words in black.  Jim's words in red.



   I don't claim to have solved the Marfa Lights puzzle.  I am still in the realm of speculation.  I do believe Marfa Lights involve plasma and that the oxidizer is atmospheric
oxygen but nitrogen doesn't work as fuel because nitrogen is inert.  The fuel may be hydrocarbon based but there are other possible explanations.  It may turn out that
Marfa Lights are a type of chemical light similar to that used in light sticks and by lightning bugs.  All the answers are not in and the mystery continues.

Dear Jim,

I very much respect and admire your work on MLs.

I would like to note that I used your term, fuel, in my plasma explanation for convenience.  Yes, Nitrogen is inert, except when in an atmosphere containing Oxygen and a high energy ignition source.  By ignition I mean that this focused energy ionizes the air molecules, and creates ions of Nitrogen and Oxygen.  As those ions move away from the energy source, they cool and recombine.  Many do not combine with their kind, but with each other, producing Nitrous Oxide gas, which is reddish brown and has a distinctive spectrum.

I thought perhaps that was what you meant. All but two of my ML spectrums have been continuous with no hint of absorption lines. Of the two discontinuous spectrums, one turned out to have been an infrequent ranch light but the other still appears to have been generated by an ML. Because the spectrum of that light was an emission type, it was possible to compare emitted color bands to the elements. The best match I could get was to nitrogen or mercury (the spectrum of these two elements are similar). This suggested to me that either this was some kind of mobile mercury vapor lamp or else it was an ML emitting a nitrogen spectrum. O2 could easily have been in there too because the oxygen spectrum is thin enough to easily hide in the other dominant spectrum. So you may be pleased to know that your idea of nitrogen ions oxidizing into nitrous oxide is supported by at least one data point from my research.

I have trouble imagining enough natural gas being funneled to the ML ignition source without there being a major hydrocarbon signature in the area (a natural gas seep along the possible fault you detected).

Absolutely. Unfortunately the area of interest is beyond access. All my attempts to gain legal access to the area have so far proven unsuccessful. I did test with a hydrocarbon leak detector along Nopal Road and had many positive indications but the indications were only relative in nature because my device was designed to seek hydrocarbon sources, not hydrocarbon magnitudes. Intrigued, I purchased another natural gas detector. One capable of not only detecting natural gas but recording the results as percentage of the explosive threshold. This new device failed to detect anything on Nopal. That may have been because the minimum concentration required was 0.1% of the explosive limit. So the bottom-line is that testing to date is inconclusive.

Why I brought up the plasma idea relative to the lights on the craft I recorded is that their artificial production of a plasma might give us some clues regarding the conditions necessary for plasmas to be naturally created.  The trailing of plasma and fumes from the crafts' lights when they are very bright is similar to what you recorded for some MLs.  But the technology on the craft are also capable of controlling the position and intensity of their lights - even capable of moving them from a physical structure off to the side of the craft as if they are formed and controlled in some type of electromagnetic field.  Significant magnetic anomalies have been recorded during performances, indicating that the field the craft create can extend out for miles.  I have no doubt that the anomalous fields created during ML appearance might be equally great and detectable.

While your lights and mine are probably entirely different in origin it is certainly true that MLs have an associated electromagnetic spectrum. Trying to nail this down has so far been mostly an exercise in frustration. I routinely detect electromagnetic anomalies using hand held detectors. What I seek is a data logging device capable of capturing these electromagnetic anomalies in sufficient detail to generate a data profile on which I can super-impose camera images of MLs. Understanding the electromagnetic relationship is probably essential to unmasking the true nature of MLs. I have acquired instrumentation that did an excellent job but failed to accomplish the intended task because it was only able to record at frequency levels above ML related disturbances. Other devices with sufficiently low frequency ranges (<3 Hz) have proven difficult to successfully operate in the field long enough to capture ML profiles. This quest is still ongoing and eventually will produce the data I seek but I am not there yet.

Thanks again for your response. 

I very much appreciate your feedback Bruce. 

Best wishes,  Jim



Marfa Lights Presentation given by Sharon Eby when she was Co-Director of El Paso MUFON 2002



Articles #2 Page


(c) Sharon (Eby) Cornet 2000-2011+