December 14, 2010

Those Marvelous Enlightening Marfa Lights

A recent press release revealed how the mystery lights of Marfa (called "Marfa Lights") might be caused by bioluminescent flying predators. I know that the subject of flying monsters in Texas is hardly news, but glowing flying monsters? I beleive it deserves a closer look, first at the press release itself:
". . . the mystery lights of Marfa, Texas, have entertained residents with their strange dancing. On some warmer nights, a ball of light seems to split into two, which will separate and fly away from each other before turning around and flying back together. They have recently been linked to flying lights in the southwest Pacific, lights that natives of Papua New Guinea testify are from large flying creatures."
Before digging into the possibility of earth lights or flying away with a fancy for fire-breathing dragons, let's consider what the truly mysterious Marfa Lights are not. Many tourists who visit the Marfa Lights Viewing Platform (just east of Marfa) will gaze at the strange lights that flicker in the distance, to the southwest. They very well may wonder at the strageness, for night mirages sometimes cause car headlights on that highway to the southwest to behave unheadlight-like. But where else can tourists gaze? The true mystery lights that defy common-place explanations appear near Marfa only on a few nights each year and often where there is no highway. They have been photographed and studied by a scientist who has shown them to greatly differ from car headlights: James Bunnell, the author of Hunting Marfa Lights.

But at least one objection to earth lights has not been answered by Mr. Bunnell. Why do those mysterious Marfa Lights sometimes behave with such obvious resemblence to intelligent direction? The press release is enlightening:
". . . when one of the bioluminescent predators has been glowing for awhile, not far above the ground, it will be joined by another of its kind, which will then turn on its own glow. After insects have been attracted to that area, the two creatures will separate, which appears to distant human observers to be one light splitting into two. The predators will fly away from each other for some distance, then turn back and fly together. During the separation, bats may begin feeding on the concentration of insects before being caught from two sides by the larger predators."
So now there is an explanation for the mysterious Marfa Lights: bioluminescent nocturnal predators. But how are sightings of intelligent-acting lights in southwest Texas connected with modern pterosaurs? Besides the reports of glowing pterosaur-lke creatures in the southwest Pacific, far away, there are also reports of glowing flying creatures closer to home. A recent report of two glowing pterosaurs made this point clear: large nocturnal flying creatures that glow are not confined to the other side of the earth. Passengers of a cruise ship in the Caribbean recently observed the two pterosaurs late at night, flying back and forth while they glowed. And the Caribbean is not too far from Texas, for large flying creatures.

See also the post Cheesman Lights and Pterosaurs (relates to two bioluminescent pterosaurs seen in the Caribbean recently)

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