Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

July 17, 2012

Write While the Iron is Hot

Filed under: Travel — Janice @ 11:09 pm

I write great long pieces for my blog … in my head. Things often happen in the day and I wish I could stop and write RIGHT then. So I’m doing that right now since the spark hit just as I was between parts of a report I am transcribing and all other stars aligned, too.

My friend Deric posted on Facebook that he is at the Marfa lights right now. That brings back some GREAT memories. I really love West Texas and the Big Bend. On one trip out there I was pondering how I could start a little delivery service that would drive the long routes from house to house and bring groceries, video tapes (this was a while back, remember), books, and other necessities of life for the people there. That never happened. That was also pre-Internet when just about everything you need in terms of movies, books, information, and anything but food and medical treatment comes over the satellite right to you.

I need to get my facts and thoughts together about the trips out there so I can write a real entry about beautiful deserts and clear nights and fields of giant bluebonnets, but I want to get back to the Marfa lights.

It was probably our last trip out there and it has been years. We had never seen the Marfa lights, though we had been through Marfa. We decided we needed to try to experience them if we could. We were staying in Marfa and we drove outside of town where there is a Texas Highway Department viewing area. We pulled in and there were lots of people there already. Some were set up with cameras, others with telescopes, most just with blankets and anticipation. People were friendly and let us know that they had seen a few. They told us where to look and what we were looking for.

And boy, did we see Marfa Lights. We saw “globes” of green light or of red light or of white light appear and disappear. Or appear and dart one way or the other, not always in a straight line. Some would change colors as they moved. Sometimes there would be more than one. It was eerie and it was unexplainable. There was talk from those around us. Lots of people would say, “I know what it is, that has to be headlights from that pass through the mountains over there.” We knew where they meant because we had been through that pass earlier in the day. That seems to make sense until lights would go up or a different direction. There was no pattern to it. We finally decided to hunt down these lights!

We took off back toward town and turned up one long lonely farm road. It ended up in a dead end and nothing so we came back to the main road again. We went around another way and found a main road, but it was higher and closer than the highway where we had been. We drove and looked and saw nothing. Then we saw a much bigger red Marfa light. Still in the distance, but closer, bigger, and much spookier up close… and alone. At that point we figured our hunting wouldn’t do us any good and it has all been researched to death, so we went back to town. The next day, we bought every booklet we found in the town about the lights and read up on the stories.

You can’t say it is headlights or airplanes or even illegals with flashlights… The Marfa Lights were reported by Texans back in the times when they were sure that it was an Indian campfire. Wagon trains reported them. And there are hundreds of reports, no, probably thousands, over the years. Some up close and personal… I remember one story in a booklet about someone driving down that highway and a ball of flame or a bright globe of light chased alongside of the car and then was IN THE CAR. Augh! That would make me drive right into a road sign, I’m sure.

I don’t have any pictures and I know this isn’t a complete story, but of the many “things you have to do to call yourself a Texan,” I’m very glad I’ve seen the Marfa Lights.

1 Comment »

  1. I want to hear more about your scary experience while chasing and finding a bright red one. After all these years of viewing the Marfa lights one would think there would be a scientific explanation like the northern lights. And speaking of them, I have told you about the first time I saw them when I was about 8 years old and living way out in the darkness of Brown County with no lights anywhere when suddenly streaks of colored light started shooting up in the north? This was in the days of gangsters like Machine Gun Kelly, and my dad first thought a country store several miles north of us had been blown up. This was about a once in a lifetime sighting in Texas, but I did get to see a brief barely visible showing from our front porch in Randall Co. some 50 to 60 years later

    Comment by pat — July 20, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

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