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. There are also several cool, sometimes controversial, art installations around Marfa. 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.
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.
Folklore says that the lights are ancient campfires from the ghosts of the Indians that used 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 given all the conflicting information I have no idea what it is, but I can assure you the Marfa lights do exist.