The Brown Mountain Lights

The Brown Mountain Lights
By Rhetta Akamatsu

While researching haunted places around the country, I was reminded of a phenomenon I am personally familiar with, North Carolina's Brown Mountain Lights.

Mysterious lights are phenomena that occur all around the country, and often defy explanation.

My mother was born and raised in North Carolina and I lived there a while myself. I have seen the Brown Mountain Lights a number of times. They occur in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and they appear to be numerous lights at least twice the size of stars. I have seen them when they were red and another time when they were blue.

These lights have been reported since before white men settled the area. The Cherokee and Catawba tribes have reports of them as far back as the year 1200. In their history, it is believed that the lights are the spirits of Cherokee and Catawba warriors killed in a great battle that year. Civil War soldiers wrote home about the lights.

The lights have been researched many times, including by teams from the Smithsonion and by the U.S. Geological Society. Theories have included swamp gas, reflections from moonshine stills, and in recent years, some unusual atmospheric condition which reflects electricity. The Smithsonian survey dismissed the moonshine still theory, saying there were not enough stills to cause this kind of activity. There are no swampy areas around Brown Mountain. And the lights were around long before electricity.

In 1913, the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that the lights were reflections from locomotive lights behind Brown Mountain. But shortly after that survey was done, floods washed out all the railroad tracks around Brown Mountain. There was no train service in the area for months.

And the lights showed up right on time.
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