The Marfa Lights

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience Archive' started by Magical Realist, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,635
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,826
    Hasnt this been discussed quadrillion number of times and proven to be an atmospheric phenomena of light from cars passing on highway not far out?
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,516
    All the videos that I can find claiming the lights are not car lights never give any point of references or anything. At least try to falsify the claim, unless that's what you don't want to do.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,635
    Yeah, all those native americans were watching cars back in the 1800's..lol!
     
  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,635
    I'm not as naive as you might think. I viewed several videos on YouTube before selecting this one and a few DID look like headlights on a distant highway. I discounted those. The REAL lights have a different quality to them--they are multicolored and seem to dance with each other. They also appear suddenly and only at certain point in the night. Headlights would be there all the time. I'll post examples of both here shortly.
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,635
  10. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    Messages:
    2,088
  11. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,516
    Magical, that really wasn't my point. I was criticizing the video takers for how they go about doing their video, not your ability to find videos. I could take video of lights with no frame of reference and claim they are something, but so what?

    Here's what I think someone should do, and maybe it's out there somewhere. Either a time lapse video before and after dusk, or just a video before and after dark, to try and give some idea of where these lights are at, either actual or virtual positioning? That's one of the misleading things about these kind of videos, all you see are the lights, and no other reference point.

    Better yet, have several videos taken at the same time, from different vantage points. That would at least determine if there's an actual position or an optical illusion source. A lot like that one miracle in Jerusalem was made to seem more authentic, but then used to debunk, because it was "seen" from several areas (but then they didn't match up after closer analysis).

    How about what these guys did from Michigan Tech for the Paulding Lights?

    http://youtu.be/YKIQ8DpWC_Q
     
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,635

    Here's some video of the Marfa lights' background. They appear to me to be either ON the mountains or ahead of them in mid air. Car lights or something else? You be the judge:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKIjWuNrDAk


    I'm going to have to watch the video about that other ghost light again as it stopped on me midway. The blog comments said some things debunking the car claim. I also saw them try to debunk this light on "Fact or Faked?" and they couldn't do it.
     
  13. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,516
    That's a little better. At least the video taker is trying (I think) to note a difference between the road traffic and the lights. But I still can't discount it as an optical reflection. If the area is so hard to get closer, why not charter a small plane to fly over as the lights are showing? If the pilot can't see them, then that's suggestive of some type of mirage imaging going on on the surface level. If they can pinpoint a fixed source, then further research can be done. Or again, view the same lights, synced up video cameras, from different places, to triangular a location. Maybe they can't be seen but from certain areas, again implying an optical source, just like a rainbow can't be seen from all angles.
     
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,635
  15. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,051
    When you post about a crackpottish subject that can be easily debunked via a 30 second scan of a wiki article, it is tough to figure how you might expect different. But anyway:
    There is no primary source evidence of that, just a claim in an old magazine that has been repeated over and over. It isn't worth anything.
    Anyone can recognize superficial differences. Recognizing how slightly different looking things might actually be the same is what requires the skill and knowledge. As an amateur astrophotographer, I've spent a lot of time taking highly magnified photos of lights in the sky and as a navigator in the Navy, I spent a lot of time looking at distant lights on the horizon with high-power binoculars. There is no question in my mind both of those are videos of cars. The differences are easily explainable due to the exposure of the video and possible differences in weather. The real Marfa lights are headlights.
    Atmospheric refraction separates colors and causes lights to dance like looking at an object at the bottom of a pool.
    I'm quite certain you made that up and in any case, the linked videos contradict it.
    The reason they have so much trouble is by the time they get to where the lights are, they've driven away. They need to station a second observer on the road like the Texas college students did.
     
  16. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,051
    There's no need for that. Using a compass and a map to ensure you know where you are looking allows you to station a person on the road to count the cars as they go by. Using your own car as a marker is even better.
     
  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,635
    It's always humorous to watch the typical skeptic come strutting in acting like a smartass and proclaiming facts about things he hasn't the slightest clue about. For the truly objective, here's a brief history of Marfa lights dating back to 1883:


    "The Marfa lights are visible every clear night between Marfa and Paisano Pass in northeastern Presidio County as one faces the Chinati Mountains. At times they appear colored as they twinkle in the distance. They move about, split apart, melt together, disappear, and reappear. Presidio County residents have watched the lights for over a hundred years.

    The first historical record of them recalls that in 1883 a young cowhand, Robert Reed Ellison, saw a flickering light while he was driving cattle through Paisano Pass and wondered if it was the campfire of Apache Indians. He was told by other settlers that they often saw the lights, but when they investigated they found no ashes or other evidence of a campsite. Joe and Sally Humphreys, also early settlers, reported their first sighting of the lights in 1885. Cowboys herding cattle on the prairies noticed the lights and in the summer of 1919 rode over the mountains looking for the source, but found nothing. World War I observers feared that the lights were intended to guide an invasion.

    During World War II pilots training at the nearby Midland Army Air Field outside Marfa looked for the source of the elusive lights from the air, again with no success.

    The Lights, which most people describe as spherical, appear south of Marfa each evening. They appear to bounce around, vanish, then re-appear elsewhere. According to the legend, these lights have been observed since the 1800s. The Lights have become an important tourist attraction in Marfa, a town that has seen much better days. On a nice evening, dozens of people will stop and view the Lights at the "official" viewing area, about 10 miles east of town on Highway 90.


    Apache legends say the lights are the spirit of Chief Alsate - condemned to wander the area after he offended a tribal God. Early settlers thought they were the lanterns of a family that got lost in the 1850's.

    The first recorded sighting of the lights was by rancher Robert Ellison in 1883. Variously described as campfires, phosphorescent minerals, swamp gas, static electricity, St. Elmo's Fire, and "ghost lights," the lights reportedly change colors, move around, and change in intensity. Scholars have reported over seventy-five local folk tales dealing with the unknown phenomenon."
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,635
    Here's a test that was done to measure the heat of the lights. The lights emit NO heat. Therefore they CANNOT be headlights. It DID however suggest two other possibilities, both of which I find dubious. But see what you think:

    "Reliable answers to a question like this need verifiable and reproducable information; the Marfa Lights are no different. In our test, MLs were videographed at the Observation Area. At the same time, a hyperspectral sensor, with full crew recorded data from UV-TIR (ultraviolet to Thermal Infrared) overhead ("Marfa Lights Part I and II"). The thermal sensor was so sensitive that plants and soil types could be distinguished in total darkness. As the ground crew recorded the lights, the overhead aircraft saw nothing. If you list all the possibilities people have used to explain the MLs, you can eliminate all but two using the hyperspectral data. For example, burning methane, ball lightening or lanterns would be quickly identified by thermal bands. Phosphorescence or piezoelectric energy by both color and temperature. St. Elmo's Fire in our atmosphere is purple.

    The hyperspectral included both a daytime and nighttime run: the only one that I am aware of, and there were no differences. It is highly unlikely that methane would stop burning during the day, or that phosphoresence or piezoelectric effects would occur only after sunset.

    Our data leave two and only two possibilities: reflection and mirage. Reflection is caused by forward-facing car headlights bouncing off the white soils of the Boludo Series. It the most likely because the lights appear almost nightly, regardless of weather conditions, and the Boludo series is exposed on the concave surface of the Chinati Mts. I, among others, have observed them before, during and after a West Texas thunderstorm; a phenomenon that would rule out mirages by mixing any temperature layers.

    Lastly, while considered "flat" there actually a series of small rises and other features that block the observer's view, causing the MLs to "blink." You can also note that the MLs move from Left-to-Right. Reason? You are observing cars moving north along Highway 67 (it moves slightly SE-NW).

    Nothing aids understanding a phenomenon like illustrations. We took USGS Aerial Photographs and combined them with Digital Elevation Models, creating a 3-D image of Hwy 67, the terrain, and the white Boludo Series soils. These 3-D images will graphically illustrate what is happening.

    In the same "Telluricfields" YouTube site you can perform a simple "kitchen physics" experiment with a curved facial mirror and a flashlight. Besides sudden brightening and dimming you will observe how one single beam from your flashlight will appear as two or three when reflected along a curved mirror."
     
  19. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,516
    Can you give a source for this, and explain why you think their conclusion is dubious?
     
  20. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    Messages:
    2,088
    deleted
     
  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,635
    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_causes_the_Marfa_lights

    Dubious for two reasons: because they said it was a reflection of forward facing lights. If that was the case you'd see the headlights right with them. But you don't. Secondly, the intensity of the lights. A mere reflection on concave land is not going to have that crisp star-like quality these lights display. These lights have all the properties of direct light sources. The mirage effect is discounted by the atmospheric mixing occurring during and after thunderstorms.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013

Share This Page