Copyright 1997, by Bob Soetebier
The Hornet "Spook Light" (HSL) is an intriguing enigma that appears in southwest Missouri and northeast Oklahoma [near the town of Joplin, MO].
I have visited the HSL site. One local-area resident told me that he had seen the light "move all over the road, out into the nearby fields, and all over the place." When he "tried to drive toward it, it just disappeared."
Another of the area's residents told me about her encounter with the HSL: "It came all the way down the road, hopping along like it was a swinging lantern light being carried by an invisible ghost. It hopped right over our parked car! It was real neat!"
Beverly Trout, Iowa MUFON State Director, told me of her recent experience: "It stayed way down the road... It was very distinctive and very active." She described the distant HSL "like tubes of light moving all around, up and down, right to left and back again." Sometimes "two or three other lights split off from it [the main light], later to return to it." Trout said that she and her two companions watched the HSL almost constantly for a full 3-hour period, with only short breaks of inactivity. She noted that the lights were all different colors.
Lastly, I spoke with a man who lives right at the HSL site. "The Spook Light has come right down that gravel road [the "stem" of the "T"-intersection where he lives] and right up to me here at the house," he said. "The light varies in size from softball-size, to the size of a basketball. It also change colors, from blue, to red, to yellow, to green and to white. If you try to move toward it, or make any sudden moves, it just immediately disappears."
The above descriptions of encounters are similar to the following quote concerning the HSL from page 79 of the 1968 Dell paperback book, "Mysterious Fires and Lights" (MFAL) by Vincent H. Gaddis:
"[The lights] change in size from that of an apple to a bushel basket, expanding and contracting, moving from left to right and back again, and from ground to tree-top height. In color, they range from a golden-amber or yellow to a reddish hue. Their intensity of light is sometimes so brilliant that the glow is reflected from the surface of the road.... Movements of the lights appear to be at random.... They appear and disappear, usually suddenly. When approached, they seemingly recede, only to reappear behind the observer."
No one can say for sure what the HSL is. Some have tried to explain away spook-light sightings and encounters with "down-to-earth" causation. Debunking explanations include such things as swamp gas, ball lightning, mineral deposits and headlights. But these explanations all seem to have holes in them.
Page 80 of Gaddis' MFAL states:
"Several investigators have proved that on clear nights light is refracted into the area from automobile headlights on U.S. 66, five miles to the west.... The refracted light, however, does not have the characteristics of the Ozark light.
"Moreover, [from] old Indian legends... [the HSL] was known as the "Indian light" to the grandfathers of the pioneer families in the vicinity, and was attracting tourists long before the construction of U.S. 66."
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources' 1990 book "Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri" (GWC) agrees. On page 330, it states: "Some people think that the light at the Devils Promenade is the ghost of an Osage Chief who was murdered near this spot; others say that it is the spirit of a Quapaw maiden who drowned herself in the river when her warrior was killed in battle."
Regarding such theories as automobile lights and airport beacons, the GWC book notes: "...old-timers laugh at all such explanations, claiming that the Indian lights were seen at the same spot in the deep wood, fifty years before the 'Devils Promenade' road was built. Fred C. Reynolds of Kansas City says that his grandfather, a pioneer doctor at Baxter, Kansas, observed these lights long before there was any such thing as a motor car, adding that he himself saw the jack-o-lantern as a boy. Bob Hill of Joplin, Missouri, observes that the phantom was seen by many persons in this vicinity before there was a Highway 66, and certainly long before the airport was established at Quapaw, Oklahoma."
Some sightings of the HSL -- particularly during the time of year when the leaves are off the trees -- might be attributable to the distant-road, auto-headlights hypothesis. But this explanation certainly flies in the face of credible close-encounter HSL reports, such as this example from page 80 of Gaddis' MFAL:
"Dr. George W. Ward, formerly with the Bureau of Standards, Washington, DC, and later associated with the Midwest Research Institute, made an investigation in 1945. He wrote that he observed a glow over the hills, followed by the appearance of a greenish yellow sphere of light about five feet in diameter. This sphere advanced toward the doctor and his companions.... One of the men, a publicity director for the institute, said he had seen all he cared to see. As the light approached and enveloped the witnesses, he quickly locked himself in their automobile."
The HSL is currently under active investigation by UFO field investigator Ted Phillips. Phillips is famous for his many years of investigating innumerable "physical-trace" UFO cases. He will be presenting a HSL update at the April 11-13, 1997, Ninth Annual Ozark UFO Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. [See "Special Notes" below.]
Distant sightings of, and close encounters with, the HSL continue to be reported. For further information and recountings of some of these numerous incidents, refer to recent articles about the Hornet "Spook light" in the following publications:
"Spooklight" -- by Suzanne J. Wilson; pp. 8-11, January, 1997, issue of the "Missouri Conservationist" magazine; Freely available from the Missouri Department of Conservation Internet Web site URL address: http://www.state.mo.us/conservation/conmag/1997/01/2.html
"Old Faithful of the Ozarks" -- by Wann Smith and William Equals; pp. 33-36, "FATE" magazine, October 1996, [Vol. 49, No. 10; issue 559]. Web site: http://www.llewellyn.com
"The Hornet-Joplin 'Spook light'" -- by Bob Soetebier, pp. 10-12, "UFO" magazine, July/August 1996, [Vol. 11, No. 4]. Web site: http://www.ufomagazine.com
Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, by Thomas R. Beveridge; pp. 329-330. Revised and published in 1990 by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geology and Land Survey, P.O. Box 250, Rolla, MO 65401. Tel: 314-364-1752.
Mysterious Fires and Lights, by Vincent H. Gaddis; pp. 79-80. 1968 paperback. Dell Publishing.
Ted Phillips is an internationally known and respected UFO researcher. His main field of expertise and interest is "physical-trace" evidence left as a result of UFO sightings and/or encounters. He has documented and reported upon literally thousands of UFO-related physical-trace cases over the years. Ted currently serves as an Assistant State Director for Missouri MUFON. He and his wife now reside in southwest Missouri, where he is actively investigating and documenting the Hornet "Spook Light."
For more information on the April 11-13, 1997, Ninth Annual Ozark UFO Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, call 501-354-2558, or send a S.A.S.E., along with a note requesting a registration form, to: Ozark UFO Conference Information, #2 Caney Valley Drive, Plumerville, AR 72127-8725.
Original file name: CNI - Spook Light.edit
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