The Mysterious Marfa Lights are Real

While on my little road trip adventure last year I took a small detour to visit the town of Marfa. There really isn’t much there but, for some reason, the town felt like an oasis in the bat shit crazy otherwise known as Texas. Located in the beautiful high desert, not too far from the Mexican border, between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park, Marfa has become a cultural center and a haven for artisans and artists. The are also several cool, sometimes controversial, art installations around town. It has a classic 1880s style granite courthouse complete with Roman Arches and pecan wood interiors, a few fun dive restaurants/bars, a classic 1930s luxury hotel, some gourmet restaurants, and not a lot else.

Mural on Abandoned Building in Marfa Texas

I think this building asks a lot of pretty good questions

The “not a lot else” is the famous Marfa lights. The “Marfa Lights”, aka the “Marfa Ghost Lights” have had visitors to this tiny town scratching their heads since the 19th century. At night, spheres of bright light appear in the distant south, float above the ground, blink on and off, move horizontally near the ground or shoot off toward the stars. On the night I was there several of the eerie lights, quite far away, that seemed to hover just above the horizon. Sometimes they would rise slowly then appear to settle back down. They would sometimes join together and move in pairs before just fading away. The ones I saw were a white orangeish color but other people have reported seeing green, blue and red ones.

Marfa Light Sign at View Park

“View Park” off of Texas US 190

Folklore says that the lights are ancient campfires from the ghosts of the Indians that use to inhabit the area. Others tales say that the Marfa Lights are swamp gas or even UFOs. Recent studies hypothesize that the lights are mirages caused by sharp temperature gradients reflecting automobile headlamps from a nearby highway, but this certainly doesn’t account for the sightings in the 1800’s. I am sure there is a scientific explanation and I have no idea what it is, but I can assure you the Marfa lights do exist.

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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