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Bright Lights that Hypnotize: Mysterious Aerial Illuminations

Occasionally we see strange things in the sky that defy logic, and inspire the imagination to wonder whether odd facets of our existence are actually acting on us in our daily lives in ways we can’t comprehend. For the most part, these occurrences are completely random happenings; a mere matter of being “at the right place at the right time.” But what happens when you have locations around the world where anomalous activity not only occurs repeatedly, but predictably?

One such area is the Lineville Gorge, nestled in the Black Mountain Range in Western North Carolina. Although the Southeastern United States is home to a variety of strange phenomenon that captivates the area locals (and researchers abroad), near the vicinity of Brown Mountain, a long, looming ridge in the heart of the Gorge, a spectacular display of “ghost lights” can be seen on a frequent basis which continue to defy rational explanation.

Dubbed “The Brown Mountain Lights” by the locals, the lights are actually seen all throughout the Lineville Gorge, and are variously described as bright, glowing orbs of colored light that manifest and drift slowly upward, sometimes behaving so strangely that witnesses have been led to wonder whether they might somehow be “controlled” by external forces.

During a recent television shoot I participated in with the National Geographic Channel, my associates in the North Carolina-based L.E.M.U.R. Paranormal Investigations group and I managed to capture a spectacular display of odd illuminations while cameras were rolling. Below is a sneak preview of the new program, called Paranatural, which will be airing soon and appearing on the web to view:

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  • Tikki

    Another excellent article!! And thank you so much for providing the NGC clip! Those would be so interesting to see…has any further investigation lead to an idea of what they might possibly be!?

  • Tammy Nix

    If your ever in Western NC, you have to go and see the lights. Brown Mtn is about a two hour drive from Asheville, NC.

  • Tikki

    What do the Asheville locals think about the lights?

    Have you seen them yourself?!

  • tammynix

    If you grew up in Western NC , you grew up knowing about the Brown Mtn lights. My parents first took my brother and I to see them years ago. I've been back only once and seen them only twice. My brother has seen them a few more times. They are really amazing to see. If you ever get to Western NC you have to make the trip to see them. But please come in the summer, it gets really cold in the fall and winter. This is the legion that I was told about the lights, I know that there are other legions, but this is the he one I was told…..

    “The Cherokee Indians were familiar with these lights as far back as the year 1200. According to Indian legend, a great battle was fought that year between the Cherokee and Catawba Indians near Brown Mountain. The Cherokees believed that the lights were the spirits of Indian maidens who went on searching through the centuries for their husbands and sweethearts who had died in the battle. Early frontiersman believed that the lights were the spirits of Cherokee and Catawba warriors slain in an ancient battle on the mountainside. Some say the lights are just a troop of candle-bearing ghosts destined to walk back and forth across the mountain forever.”

    I got this from the Brown Mtn lights web page..

  • wccharlotte

    It's funny, I've lived in the area my entire life and I never really think about the lights until someone else brings them up. You get so busy marveling over other unexplainable phenomena, I guess you forget about what's in your own backyard.

    I'm looking forward to seeing this special.

  • That's weird, I know myself that nigh-vision is green/white/black only, no reds and blues.

  • micahhanks

    Hello Tikki!

    Micah here… indeed, there has been an awful lot of investigation into the nature of the strange phenomenon that occurs near Brown Mountain and throughout the Lineville Gorge wilderness. I've worked with a colleague, Joshua P. Warren, for years now at trying to “crack” the mystery, and we're certain, for the most part, that they are plasmas along the lines of the seldom seen (and always enigmatic) ball lightning manifestations.

    Here are some links: one is to an official report written by Joshua based on our collective research at Brown Mountain, and I also want to share a link to an update I posted at my own blog, The Gralien Report, which features an image of a night vision intensifier tube being “overdriven” (for lack of a better term) by a nearby plasma source. This seems to indicate that, unlike even I had anticipated (being rather skeptical myself) that colors might indeed be produced within the field of vision visible through most night vision scopes.

    I also discuss the Brown Mountain Lights pretty extensively in Nick Redfern's new book “Contactees,” for which I was interviewed about the subject. Feel free to touch base with me if you have any further questions, or insights for that matter!

    Warm regards,

    Micah A. Hanks
    Mysterious Universe

  • stonehead204

    Glad I could be 1 of many that sent this through to MU. Enjoy.Ya'all, stonehead204

  • Tikki

    Thanks for the update/reply Micah!

    Joshua's article was extremely interesting. I especially enjoyed the hypothesis based on the results found in the LEMUR investigations. The “quartz and magnetite” hypothesis, seems like a very realistic explanation of what's occurring…

    It's such an exciting phenomenon. I would love to be close enough to see it!
    I want to mention again at what a great addition your articles are to MU!

    Thank you!

  • razorwing77

    I attended nearby Appalachian State University in the late 90's. My college roommate and I were always intrigued by stories of the lights, and made probably 7 or 8 attempts to see them. Unfortunately, we never saw anything.

    I went by the overlook this past summer. The state of North Carolina has cleared away a lot of overgrowth, making it much easier to see Brown Mountain. Once the weather warms up some, I'll probably go back.

    Either way, it's a beautiful part of the country, so lights or no light, you can't lose.

  • alanborky

    RvX™: “weird, I know myself that nigh-vision is green/white/black only, no reds and blues.”

    I think he was referring to the readout on a temperature gauge.

    tammynix: “The Cherokee Indians were familiar with these lights as far back as the year 1200.”

    That can't be true because there wasn't any traffic back then to confuse the local yokels with their headlights – by the way, in case it isn't obvious, I'm being sarcastic about the usual explanation given by the s(c)eptics to dispose of them.

    Has anyone ever tried posting a trio of s(c)eptic, believer, and uncommitted observers where traffic'd've to be if headlights were the source to see if there was any actual correlation between passing traffic and the appearing of the lights?

  • Pingback: Micah Hanks: Bright Lights That Hypnotize | Ghost Theory()

  • Firebird

    This phenomenon fits into the category of physics I wrote about in this article:…. There are people who have more understanding of this and similar phenomena known to appear worldwide, but a 'mystery' is better for ratings, and NatGeo unfortunately usually puts a negative debunking spin on their 'unusual phenomena' coverage so I don't expect much insight from this program.

  • Bill

    The will-o'-the-wisp or jack-o'-lantern is found in many areas of North Carolina. I used to see them over the marches and in the swamps of southeastern North Carolina. They are caused by swamp gas (methane) in the low country, and by a form of ball lightning when hovering over the rocky peaks of mountains.

  • This show was one of the best (NG) channels shows Ive ever seen…!

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  • John

    That blue light looks like a person in the foreground moving a flashlight. The light “moves off” or disappears when the flashlight is turned away from the camera. I swear I can almost see the person. Also there is a clear reflection happening that no one mentions. Looks like fraud to me.