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Home > Archives > Paranormal > The Brown Mountain Lights

New Video Evidence May Finally Provide More Clues to Potentially Solve the Mystery.
by Davy Russell
POSTED: 18 July 2001

Brown Mountain Lights
The Brown Mountain Lights -
Brown Mountain, North Carolina.
CREDIT: L.E.M.U.R. Paranormal Research.
For centuries, mysterious lights have baffled observers on Brown Mountain in Burke County, North Carolina. The strange lights are often described as white, red, or yellow balls of light. They reportedly move around or remain stationary. Sometimes they are said to look like misty spheres or produce a sizzling sound. Close encounters with the lights have been said to cause dizziness as was described in a 1962 report in the "Charlotte Observer". Twelve eyewitnesses watched the lights from a 60-foot tower. When one of the lights approached one of the men, he suddenly had "a static-like feeling of dizziness". According to the report, when the men climbed down from the tower, they were unable to stand. Explanations for the lights range from several ghostly legends to scientific theories including ball lightning and "earth-lights".

Dating back to 800 year-old Cherokee legends where the lights were said to be the spirits of slain warriors, the Brown Mountain Lights have been observed and investigated numerous times. In 1771, German engineer Geraud de Brahm wrote about the lights in his journals. In an attempt to provide a scientific explanation for the phenomenon, de Brahm wrote: "The mountains emit nitrous vapors which are borne by the wind and when laden winds meet each other the niter inflames, sulphurates and deteriorates." "The Charlotte Observer", a local newspaper, was the first to feature a story on the lights in 1913. W. J. Humphries, of the U.S. Weather Bureau investigated the lights and compared them to a similar phenomenon in the Andes Mountains of South America.

Another government organization, the U.S. Geological Survey, launched two expeditions on Brown Mountain in 1916 and 1922, digging deeper into the mystery. During the 1922 survey, scientist George Rogers Mansfield found a variety of possible causes for the lights including cars, trains, stationary lights and brush fires. Fireflies were even a culprit, but were later viewed as an unlikely explanation. While Mansfield found numerous possibilities for the cause of the lights, he found that a small percentage still had no known cause. Others who have investigated the phenomenon suggest they are "earth lights", a luminous phenomenon caused my seismic activity. Mirages, ball lightning, and swamp gas (despite the lack of swamps on Brown Mountain) have all failed to completely explain the nature of the lights.

The luminous orbs eventually made their way into a bluegrass hit, "The Legend of the Brown Mountain Light," performed by musician Tommy Faile in the 1960s.

Over a two-week period in November 2000, L.E.M.U.R. Paranormal Research Team based in Asheville, North Carolina observed and filmed the Brown Mountain Lights using an Infrared Night Vision camera. Over an hour of activity was captured on the first known video evidence of the Brown Mountain Lights. L.E.M.U.R. hopes this footage will yield more clues about the mysterious lights that always have eluded a suitable explanation.

The L.E.M.U.R. team plans to show the footage during the First Annual Paranormal Weekend in Asheville, N.C. on January 11-13, 2002. Joshua P. Warren, founder and president of L.E.M.U.R., has written two books, "Haunted Asheville" and "How To Hunt Ghosts". "I believe footage of this quality is the most significant step forward in the history of researching the lights," says Warren. "By studying the video, were targeting places on the ridge to research further. Ultimately, we hope to solve the mystery."

For more on the Brown Mountain Lights, visit the official web page at: www.brownmountainlights.com.

RELATED STORIES: Marfa Lights or Miller Lites.

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