Marfa Lights and Miller Lights by
POSTED: 4 April 2000
It's not the beer drinking that causes residents of Marfa, Texas, to
occasionally see strange lights in the night sky. In fact, it's the
beer they are drinking that is sponsoring the mysterious lights that have
been mystifying observers for more than a hundred years. Miller Brewing
Company announced on 30 March, that they are negotiating to become the
official sponsors of the Marfa Lights, soon to be renamed "Miller Lites" if
the Brewery gets its way.
The Marfa Lights (named for their location near the town of Marfa, Texas)
are reported to be 1 - 10 feet in diameter. They are spherical and
reddish-orange in colour. They have been observed to vary their size and
fly at high speeds. Numerous photographs and video footage have captured
these lights in action.
Marfa Lights are generally considered harmless. They are even rumored to
have helped a lost man during a blizzard by providing warmth and guiding him
Many theories and folklore surround the phenomenon, each attempting to
explain the Marfa Lights in different ways. Some say they are the spirits
of Chiso Appache warriors who were sealed in a cave to guard a treasure.
Others say the lights are the ghosts of Pancho Villa and his crew, cursed to
wander the desert forever. Still others
speculate that the lights are a government invention, used by the military
to warn of invasion. And of course, there are those who say the Marfa Lights
are caused by UFOs or alien space craft.
Robert Ellison provided the first report of the Marfa Lights when he
encountered them during a cattle drive in 1993. Native Americans had seen
the lights prior to this; and residents and tourists continue to see them
Other Ghost Lights
Ghost Lights are not unique to Marfa, Texas. In fact, they are a fairly
common, worldwide phenomenon. Superstitious Europeans, who believed that the
appearance of such luminous globes foretold a death, called them "Death
Candles". Native Americans had similar beliefs as well. Other ghost light
folklore suggests a darker side to these otherwise benign lights. Legends
of will-o-the-wisps describe a being that lures an unfortunate person deep
into the woods (or wilderness) until the "hypnotized" follower discovers
that they are hopelessly lost. Mocking laughter soon rings in their ears.
Scientific theories suggest ball lightning (however unlikely due to the
widespread nature of ghost lights) and earthlights caused by tectonic strain
at fault lines.
The Marfa Lights, as do all ghost lights, continue to defy explanation
despite their frequency. While they remain a mystery of unknown nature,
should corporations be allowed to "own the rights" to such phenomena? Just
when you thought corporate America could not invade your life any more than
it has already, it has now threatened to buy up the supernatural as well.
Imagine if the Loch Ness Monster became the Coca-Cola Monster; or if
sasquatch became Microsoftsquatch. What do you think? Post your opinion in
the X-Project Forum.