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April 8, 2014

Blogging From A to Z Day 7: G is for Ghost Lights


For the month of April I will be participating in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. Learn more about the challenge by clicking here. Each day (except Sundays) I will be posting a theme based on each letter of the alphabet. This blog is covering paranormal topics for the month. To read my automotive blog posts for the challenge, click here.

As with many paranormal terms, there are many meanings for the term "ghost light." Some people argue that ghost lights are only the traditional European variety, while others (especially Americans) say they are something else. The popularity of ghost lights has waned in recent years, and I have a theory about why.

First off, the traditional definition of a ghost light is a light that hovers not too far above the ground, typically over a bog or marsh. People used to think that the lights were faeries guiding them, while others believed they were mischievous spirits trying to lure people away from the safe passages. I guess if you ended up neck-deep in swamp water after following one of these lights, you would subscribe to the latter of the two philosophies.

Other terms for ghost lights is "spooklights" and "will-o'-wisp." As you all know from Men in Black, these lights appearing over bogs or marshes are just natural gases igniting, or sometimes they are the planet Venus.

In the American West there aren't a lot of marshes, bogs, etc. since a good portion is desert or rugged mountains, but we still have had many reports of ghost lights. I even blogged once about witnessing some strange lights that could possibly be attributed to the phenomena. Ghost lights in the United States have been characterized as being anywhere near the ground, and sometimes they even move (like in my personal experience). What they are is a topic of much controversy.

Now for my theory about why ghost lights are almost never reported in modern times. Most people, whether it's correct or not, attribute strange lights in the sky and even near the ground to UFOs, or more specifically extraterrestrial craft. With the rise of UFO reports starting in the 1940s, stories of ghost lights have waned.

Have you ever seen a ghost light?

14 comments:

Holli Moncrieff said...

Pretty cool topic. When I was giving a tour of a haunted museum for some reporters, we noticed moving blue orbs of light in the middle of a dark stairway. We searched for any reflection, etc. or light source that could have caused them, but found nothing.

Still not sure what they were. Wonder if they qualify as ghost lights….

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Poppin into to say Hi from the A to Z Blog Challenge (its quite a list!). Enjoy the Challenge, everyone seems to have a theme this year!

Sharon Himsl said...

No, have never heard of this... Think I steer clear of marshes and swamps at night just in case. I scare easily.
Shells–Tales–Sails

Robin said...

I haven't seen one. But they I haven't spotted any UFOs either.

I like your theory, though.

David P. King said...

Never seen a ghost light. Nor heard of them. Thanks, UFOs. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Never seen one, but your explanation makes sense. Blogger M. Pax had some follow her once on a lonely road and she thought it was a car at first.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

No, I never have, but I did read the Nicholoas Sparks book that had them in them.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Before we took to the skies, people didn't even realize there could machines in the air. Ghosts yes, aliens in ships, no.

Steven said...

Holli, perhaps that does qualify. Sounds like an interesting experience!

A Daft Scots Lass, thanks for stopping in!

Sharon, that's probably a good idea.

Robin, all my theories are good, don't you know? ;)

David, I'm hear to bring ghost light sightings back, or something like that.

Alex, again, glad to educate. Interesting story about M Pax...

Elizabeth, at least you had heard of them before.

Diane, I actually was reading an interesting story about that the other day. Perhaps I will have to do a blog post in May about it.

Lexa Cain said...

I've never seen anything like that, but I've seen many pictures with "ghost lights" or "orbs" in them. It's more romantic to imagine Will o'Wisps in bogs though! :)

mshatch said...

Haven't seen them, but I have heard of them and actually modeled some creatures in one of my stories after them.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Cool Ghosts Lights. I have seen a few odd things over the years...

randi lee said...

I've never seen a ghost light--but I certainly believe that they *could* be out there!

Patricia Lynne said...

I haven't seen any ghost lights, but there was an area I lived about an hour away from that had some mysterious lights. My little sister went and saw them. There's been a few attempts to figure out what the lights were. One team disproved them as car lights, but another team proved it wasn't car lights.

~Patricia Lynne~
Story Dam
Patricia Lynne, YA Author