Vintage Spook Light pamphlet.Roadside Creatures.

Spook Light

Spook lights favor dark, empty places -- often infrequently-used farm roads or abandoned train tracks. Some say that they're the souls of suicides, others that they're the ghosts of dozens of similarly unlucky railroad workers, carrying lanterns to search for their decapitated heads. Or they might be living creatures -- pure energy glowballs so inhuman that we can't even guess what they want or why they won't go away.

Spook lights are often described as floating, bobbing, basketball-size orbs of blue, orange, and white. They'll appear at any time of day -- although they're much easier to see at night -- and they'll do so suddenly, out of thin air.

Marfa Lights marker.If you're brave enough to advance on a spook light it will either retreat or disappear -- only to reappear behind you. Years ago we witnessed one confound a rail-mounted moon buggy of sampling and monitoring equipment (but it was a fun way to spend a night).

Though eluding capture or meaningful measurement, spook lights are fairly dependable when compared to the erratic appearance of other Roadside Creatures. Many Spook Lights have been scaring onlookers for generations. In a mark of acceptance, some accessible and popular spook lights have had their prime viewing spots marked by highway signs, sometimes with Casper the Friendly Ghost as a cartoon mascot.

Close Relative(s):

Prime location(s):
Dozens of spook lights infest the U.S., although most are in out-of-the-way places.

Special Powers:
It's said that a spook light will disable a car engine if it bounces onto the hood. Drive slowly in a spook light zone.

What's Out There for Vacation Travelers?
There are dozens of reported spook light hot spots, but here are the ones that garner enough attention and public access to be considered tourist attractions:

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