Author Topic: What would cause this? Or is it just a legend?  (Read 163 times)
Cole D.
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What would cause this? Or is it just a legend? « on: February 09, 2019, 04:12:20 PM » Author: Cole D.
My grandma used to tell me when I was younger about lights that people would see at night where she grew up. People said they would see lights that would come from nowhere and move around, jump, etc. One lady she knew was sitting on the porch in evening and the lights started coming and when they got to the gate she went inside.

I did some research on this, and found that the story is that at an intersection in that area, you can sit at night and see the lights come up to the car. And if you sit too long, they'll follow you.

Anyway, the theory is, that there were phosphate mines around there and that the phosphate caused such lights. But, I can't figure out why they would move around? Could it have been balls of fireflies? Also it's in the middle of nowhere, especially back then there wouldn't be traffic at night.

It could just be a tall tale, but since it's lighting related I thought I'd ask. Another thing I noticed is that online there is another section of road about, I'd guess 10 miles from there with the same story. And there are still phosphate mines around there.

Also, I don't know if this still happens or not.
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Ash
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Re: What would cause this? Or is it just a legend? « Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 05:50:12 PM » Author: Ash
People have seen many mystery lights phenomena over the ages. Without a better description it is hard to tell..



Car headlights :
They can visibly illuminate a patch on surfaces from miles away. If you move into the illuminated spot, you would be able to see the source of the light. But if you are not in line of sight from the light source, and are avoiding getting near the illuminated patch, then you won't be able to tell this.. Since the lights from a car driving at distance of miles could move and would normally move in the same direction all the time (since that's how the road goes, from which the light comes), it is possible that the spots would e.g. appear quickly (road turns into this direction) and disappear slowly (e.g. road deviating away from the line of sight), so the lights would seem to appear and follow, but fade away too smoothly to be able to tell that they disappear. It is a plausible option



Phosphate mines :
If it's about phosphates that are located outside the mine that emit light, i do'nt see a mechanism by which it would cause the described phenomena. Imagine the most extreme scenario, where highly concentrated phosphorescent material is stored in a big pile in some open location. For one, even materials with high output like Zinc Sulfide have to be excited by some other powerful phenomena to start glowing brightly enough to project light that would illuminate something from distance. Then, the light would be emitted equally in all directions, there is no mechanism that would make the projected light to be like patches of light. Finally, for the patches of light to move, the exciting phenomena must move in such a way to make a moving glowing spot on the pile. But since there are no optics, even if the exciting phenomena is concentrated to a spot chasing on the pile, this would not tend to project noticably moving spots of light to distances

If it's about fine airborne dust, that glows from the air : First, i think with air polluted enough to glow, the people who live there would have big health trouble - When everyone in town dies young, people get out of there without waiting for wacky lights. Second, no optics means no definite and moving spots of light

If it's about dust that settled on the surfaces on which the light was observed (such as, on walls of neighboring houses) - This solves some questions, except : That the dust would have to be in the air at some point in the past, and would have caused all the same health trouble. So even if it was a thing from the past, people would primarily tell how the town was cursed by the devil himself to live short when the mining was active, not about seeing lights. The phosphorescent material would have to be fairly concentrated, which i don't know if is the case. And the exciting phenomena would have to be very localised to make the glowing spots. Possibly something involving electrostatics and particularly favorable conditions like wind, dry air, and possibly very specific materials used to build the houses on which walls the lights were observed etc. While this seems like a remote possibility, it would need quite some things to aligh just right for the phenomena to happen....

If you are interested to research more in the direction of airborne dust or dust that settled, take samples of undisturbed dust from derelict places in your area and examine them under UV

If it's about lights glowing inside the mines, with light escaping from the mine shaft and reflected off the clouds - For one, this would spread much more exciting stories than some faint lights seen from the porch, by anyone who worked in the mines. Then, i don't think unprocessed mud with some phosphorous content would glow enough to illuminate the sky even with some very powerfull exciting. Finally, with the mine itself being underground so not much air movement and all walls being effectively electrical ground, i think this is quite unfavorable condition to any electrostatic phenomena that would cause coming and going excitation. If it would be radioactive phenomena instead, then it would only be able to cause absolutely steady light, and something with enough power to make phosphors visibly glow, would probably kill everyone around faster than tales about curse by the devil would spread



Fireflies light, in places that have fireflies, is not a rare sight so i doubt it could be mistaken for some "unknown" lights



I have seen myself on some stormy nights, when the sky appears to be illuminated allmost continuously with some faint flicker (that seems to be of lightning origin), but without lightning bolts seen and either no thunder at all, or some faint continuous rumbling (largely overpowered by sounds of wind and rain etc), and not distinctive thunder sounds from discrete lightning strikes. This is yet another "mystery light" phenomena, but it doesn't fit the description of distinct spots moving around



If there are swamps in your area, there are some mystery light phenomena related to swamps as well. If the swamps are near the houses, orojected light could have been seen, similarly to the car headlights thing but much more faint



And, sometimes it's all in our head. For a reason : We are very good at information completion when we have limited information. If you go out of your house and the light level there is in the order of 1/100's of Lux, you'll be able to see the outline of big things, but that's about it. All the rest will be completed to the wildest of our imagination
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Cole D.
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Re: What would cause this? Or is it just a legend? « Reply #2 on: February 10, 2019, 09:41:37 AM » Author: Cole D.
That is some interesting possible causes. To my understanding the lights never appeared on houses (and probably few houses there then). I looked up one intersection in question on Google Maps and I don't see many homes even now. It seem to be groves in the area mostly now, yet could have been a phosphate mine decades ago, since filled in. The other location is still active mines.

The car headlights to me seems to be a most possible culprit as you say. Although I don't know how much traffic would have been there decades ago or even now. Yet to me the phosphates cannot cause lights in the air or that move around, as you'd said.

The swamps can also cause gasses that can ignite or glow I have heard. Yet I don't know how could ignite and cause lights moving in air either. Looking at the topography I don't see any swamps in vicinity to either area.

The description that lights get close enough to touch sometimes but then disappear makes it seem almost like a tall tale to me.
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