January 31, 2011

Getting a Handle on Marfa Lights in Texas

Of course there may be many tourists who gaze at distant car headlights and take them for Marfa Lights. That is not the point. The scientist James Bunnell recognizes the night-mirage phenomenon that sometimes makes car headlights appear strange-looking southwest of Marfa, Texas. But a few times each year very different lights make their appearance, with much different characteristics of behavior, color, and flight patterns. Those more-rare appearances of dancing lights or flying lights Bunnell has labeled "CE-III" ML (Mystery Lights).

With so much written about those strange CE-III, online references may be useful.

Scientific Skepticism and Marfa Lights

Norman Huntington (pseudonym used by American author Jonathan Whitcomb) replies to a blog post, criticizing the idea that all mysterious lights around Marfa, Texas, must be from car headlights. Huntington/Whitcomb makes his point well. He objects to the other blogger, who uses the word "whiskey" to try to discredit those who have seen lights flying strangely in this part of Texas. Whitcomb strongly objects to that bulverism:
. . . we need to remember that some of these sighting reports are quite strange: flying lights that seem to fly in ways related to each other. These flights are too complex–I believe “complex” is the word used by James Bunnell–to be easily explained as an ordinary phenomenon. But the strange reactions some person might have to consuming alcohol does not mean that all strange experiences should be dismissed with “whiskey.” We can admit that not-yet-explained things may exist.

Marfa Lights of Texas

This includes a brief overview of the 2010 Marfa Lights sighting by a Mr. Greene (the sighting itself was hours long).
Why consider that American “ghost lights” relate to live pterosaurs? Consider the ropen light of Papua New Guinea. From them we can learn that at least some living pterosaurs are bioluminescent, in particular the apparent Rhamphorhynchoids of the Southwest Pacific.

Flying Predator in Texas
In southwest Texas, local residents have speculated about dancing devils or ghosts. Scientists have preferred something along the lines of ball lightning or earthlights, but all their scientific explanations have tripped over the resemblances to line dancing. . . . Now a cryptozoologist from California has explained the dancing lights of Marfa. Tales of spooks may hold a spark of truth, for recent research implies intelligence directs the lights: Bioluminescent flying predators may be hunting at night and catching a few unlucky Big Brown Bats: Eptesicus fuscus.

Those Mysterious Marfa Lights
Why should earth lights or atmospheric energies behave with intelligence? They should not, Yet the Marfa Lights, the ones labeled “CE-III” by the scientist James Bunnell, act like intelligent flying predators that hunt bats or other prey in this part of southwest Texas. [Note that Mr. Bunnell himself has not supported the living-predator interpretation, at least not as of mid-2010; but bear in mind Bunnell is not a biologist.]

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