Hornet Spook Light

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This came from an old booklet distributed by the now closed Hornet spook light museum in the 50s or 60s.

The Ozarks, thousands of sprawling acres of scenic beauty and packed full of Indian and colorful local legend, is reviving one of its oldest phenomena- the “ghost lights”.

For more than 50 years, especially since the coming of the auto age, tourists from all over the country have come to see them; national magazines have given space to the story; photographers hae tried in vain to take pictures.

And today the “ghost lights” are becoming a top tourist attraction in the area. No one can explain their origin. No one can give an accurate account of whence they came nor can any two people describe the lights in the same words.

To each, it is something different, a symbolism of something unknown, sometimes feared, always interesting. It is, to the tourists’ way of thinking something unique which they cannot find anywhere else and which is well worth their time to visit.

The “ghost lights”, as they are called by local citizens, appear actually as one bright light, often dimming and then bouncing back over the rolling mountains as a great blaze of light. It is as though some giant ball player were taking his gigantic ball of light and tossing it in the air, sometimes catching it on the mountain which serves as his mitt, or sometimes missing it when it disappears.

During World War II the U.S. Corps of Engineers spent weeks in the area with the latest scientific equipment. They tested caves, mineral deposits, highway routes, every possible expanation as to why the lights existed. They came away baffled.

Of late, nationally known scientists have visited the area and as yet, they have not come up with the answer.

Area residents come away with stories which would go well on Halloween. As a Joplin police offiver said, after relating a “weird experience” on the often traveled ghost light road, “It was the last time I’ve been there and it’s the last time I’m going there.”

Legend has it that an old time miner carrying his lantern across the fields disappeared and that it is his lantern which still causes the light to shine.

In a more logical sense, it is a definite tourist attraction of the area, a little “extra” in a tourist’s trip to the Ozarks, the Shepherd of the Hills country or on to Central Missouri to the Lake of the Ozarks or other points.

The Missouri Division of Resources and Development points out that the route is comparatively easy. You follow the Main Street out of Joplin until the highway passes by Hornet and a large white frame store. The, you turn on the first good gravel road to the right and travel it until it forks. Turning left, you ford a shallow stream, go up a hill and turn right. There you’ll see the famed light.

For half a century, the light has attracted tourists. It’s a cinch that it will continue to do so for a good long time to come. The explanation of why it exists is secondary to the fact that it does and that is enough for the tourist.

The Ozark Mountaineer (The Ozarkwide Monthly Periodical) – October, 1955

“. . . the mysterious light of the Ozarks, off and on, has appeared for fifty years near Hornet, southwest of Joplin, and has attracted renewed attention this year because of its unusual size and brilliance. An eerie effect is created over a wide area as it moves about with varying intensity. Thousands of people who visit the scene have been mystified by it.”

Neosho Daily News – 9-27-35

“Neosho people are nightly driving up to see the ‘light’ near Hornet. None Have failed to see it so far, and in fact, we have heard it rumored that one girl fainted, swearing afterwards that the light perched on the radiator of her car.”

Galena Sentinel-Times – 10-20-55

Your editor visited the “Hornet Spook Light” near Hornet, Mo., the night of October 24th and though it cut some fancy capers, it seemed absolutely harmless. The story that appeared in the Kansas City Star, October 2nd, about the light coming inside a car and burning the upholstery can probably be taken with a “grain of salt.” This was a good night to view the light judging from the big eyes and open mouths of the other spectators.

Carl Junction Standard – 9-22-55

“We doubt if there is a person in the four-state area of the Ozarks who has not heard about,and many have seen, the famed ghost light or spook light found near Hornet, Mo. This weird light is gaining momentum as a drawing card for tourists according to the Missouri Division of Resources and Development, …a host of requests for information about the spook light were received by the Division and the Joplin Chamber of Commerce….

…This mysterious light, some say, has appeared in the vicinity for more than 80 years,”

Springfield News Leader – In article by Joe Clayton –

“A motorist tells of driving toward “Spook Light” until it vanished, then finding it behind him. The strange glowing, floating ball remains one of the few things left on earth which defies all efforts to strip it of its mysticism.”

Legend

By O.W. Buzzard, Hornet, Mo.

There are several legends about the hornet spook light. The oldest one is handed down by an Indian tribe who live in this vicinity, the Quapaws. I have talked to many Indians in the area and the story that their forefathers handed down to them is no doubt true. It has of course, by now become a matter of record.

The legend is that a handsome young Indian brave fell in love with a beautiful Indian maiden of the Quapaw tribe. The young Indians were desperately in love and it seems that the old Chief, father of the maiden, tried to take undue advantage of the situation by asking for an unusually large payment for his daughter’s hand. Being unable to meet the demands of the Indian Chief the couple decided to escape and elope. They had scarcely reached the outside of the camp area when their absence was discovered. The Indian Chief became very angry and sent out a large group of warriors to pursue the young brave and his daughter. The young maiden knew that she would be severely punished and her lover would be killed.

Knowing they were going to be captured, the young couple decided to commit suicide by leaping from atop a high rocky cliff over-looking Spring River. This spot is now known as  “Lovers’ Leap” or “Devil’s Promenade.” It is believed that the spirits of the young Indian couple return nightly to form the phenomenon which we view to this day.

A large Indian Pow-wow and stomp dance are held annually in the Spook Light area which is attended by thousands from near and far. The bridge crossing Spring River has been named Devil’s Promenade Bridge.

For over 50 years tourists have stopped at the store here in Hornet for directions to view the light which performs nightly.

(Mr. Buzzard is operator of the general store at Hornet, Mo.)

The Old Timer’s Story of The Light

(As told by F.W. Bill Mizer of Hornet, Mo., to Mrs. Orval Jewett, reporter.)

I’ve been around here since 1886, and I have heard all the stories, but this story is about the hornet spook light, and the first time it was seen was in 1903. At that time there was a widow lady living near State Line Road. She lived alone, and when she first reported seeing the light, she thought someone was trying to run her off her property. The reports persisted, and a bunch of boys decided to investigate.

One night about six or seven of us went to the widows’s house, there were Jake Leach, Edgar Zirkle, W.L. Buzzard, Hiram Elliott, John Ventle, and maybe others. We didn’t have long to wait before we saw the thing that had the widow frightened. The first time I saw the light, my hair raised several inches from my scalp, and I had a hard time keeping my hat on my head.

There was a draw on her property, and a little branch ran through. Lots of cattails grew there, and as everyone knows when the vegetation dies down, and conditions are right, phosphorous gas comes from the decaying vegetation. You can rub some of the fuzz from cattails on your hands and your hands will glow in the dark. So we thought we knew the answer, but as we took up our vigil on this particular night, we were not so sure. After we had waited for a time, we saw this light moving up the draw. It floated like a will-o’-the-wisp, up the draw, and disappeared. Then presently it reappeared, and got to within a hundred feet of us, floated around, and when the wind got up a bit, it disappeared. And as I said before, I had a hard time keeping my hat on my head.

Well, the next night, seven or eight of us went back, and waited. And the light reappeared just as it had done the previous night. Each time the wind would get up a bit, the light would float away. One of the fellows, who thought he was a bit smarter than the rest of us, said the marsh gases were causing this bit of a ghostly apparition. But we were never sure. I tell you – when you’re sitting out there in the dark, and this ball of light floats around for awhile, and disappears, you begin to wonder.

After a month or so, the light stopped reappearing with regularity, and we had almost forgotten about our experience; but early in 1905 reports had started coming in again about the light. I have talked to hundreds of people about the strange light which has existed here since long before the coming of the automobile. Since the passing of time and the many thousands of tourists coming here it looks like the old light is here to stay.

Halts Bus

While coming home from a school carnival at Quapaw, OK., we got the thrill of our lives. The light had evidently grown tired and weary and decided to do a little hitch-hiking on our bus. The light perched on the rear window as though trying to get in the bus. We were scared half to death- women screaming and all. The light was so bright it temporarily blinded the bus driver and he had to stop the bus. Just as we stopped, the light went away. I’ll never forget that bus ride.

Louise Graham

Route 1, Galena, Kansas

I think the light is caused by some kind of gas. I’m sure it isn’t lights from Quapaw because I have seen it from other directions also when the light comes up close to you, if you talk it will go away

. – Ruth Ferris, Quapaw

Fire With No Ashes

Many settlers camped here on our property “overnight” when they used to travel by wagon. After investigating the place where they had seen camp fires the night before, my mother and father became aware of the light because they found no ashes where the “firey” lights had appeared. This was back in the 1800’s. After my father passed away we inherited the place and have had numerous experiences with the light.

My sister and I have seen what we thought was a car’s tail light only to have it dissappear when we approached.

I have seen it dance through the trees and scurry across the fields leaping fences as though being carried by a ghost. The light travels so fast, it couldn’t be caught by anyone.

-Juanita Kay

Folklore and Facts

By Roy Grainger, Joplin, Mo.

This section of the Ozarks has its own superstitions and folklore. Here, too, the Indians have “handed down” many talkes from generation to generation. I thought of all this the first time I heard the light being discussed. I dismissed it from my mind and really didn’t believe a light to be in existence. Each time it would be brought into the conversation my curiosity would be aroused more and more, but being from Missouri, I had to be shown. Finally one night a bunch of us met to go see the light. One of the fellows had been there many times and as we drove along he told the story about the time when lead and zinc were discovered in the area back in the 1870’s. Many miners lived in the area. One of those miners lived here off the Spook Light road, just a stone’s throw from the Indian territory. One night his cabin was raided by the Indians while he was away working in the mines. His children were kidnapped and he never saw them again. It is said he took his lantern and started to look for them. He was never seen again. The light down the road as seen now is believed by many to be the miner returning night after night with his lantern still in search of his lost children.

This story prompted another fellow in the car to say that he had been told that a number of years ago a small child from a miners family had wandered off into the woods and was never seen again by her family. She has become somewhat of a “nature girl” with witch-like features who travels at night with a lantern in quest of food. This girl – the teller says – has actually been seen.

With these conversations fresh on my mind, we turned onto the road to watch the light…and there it was! My first impression was of an invisible person walking down the road with a lantern in his hand. As he walked the lantern would swing to and fro. Then it seemed to disappear as if going off into the woods only to reappear at another point. This was my first visit.

Another time a group of boys and myself took a rifle to see if we could shoot the light. This was an ideal night because the weather was quite damp and the light seemed to loom closer and larger. On this particular night there was a slight sprinkling of rain, but no fog. We stopped our car when we judged the distance between the light and ourselves to be approximately a half-block, we started to shoot. As we shot, the light seemed to dance from side to side as though dodging the bullets. Needless to say we never did hit our target.

So it is with these experiences, I leave to the experts the solution of the light. If I ever hear of a logical solution concerning it, I well be ever-ready to lend an inquisitive ear.

My “Green-Thumb” Trembled

My folks used to call the light “jack-o-lantern” when we moved here some 30 years ago. The old lantern and I got along pretty good together until about two and a half years ago. Seems the old light felt real neighborly one night and decided to help me with my plowing. It gets hot here during the day so I do alot of plowing late in the evening. I couldn’t see too well and I guess the old light sensed it, because he started hovering all over the field where I was plowing. He made a dart in my direction and I absolutely froze stiff to the tractor. I was too frightened to run. He must have seen my predicament because jsut about then he sailed out of sight.

Another time while standing in the yard listening to the hounds running a wolf I saw the light sitting atop the Cherry Grove church, it would turn bright and dim alternately. I called my wife to look, but when I did the light disappeared.

Fun and Failure

Having lived on State Line road near the area where the Ghost Light is located, I have seen it hundreds of times. I can remember about 1942 when a group of students from Michigan University came down and camped out for 2 weeks in the vicinity of the Spook Light.

They performed every test they could, even shooting at it with high powered rifles, but they found out nothing. An old timer, the late Charley Dawes, who lived three-fourths of a mile off the road for 70 years, told me his father had seen the Ghost Light even before his son was born. A number of times we have left people in a parked car and walked down the road a mile or so, only to have the light appear between us and the car.

Charles Miller,

Joplin

I have seen the Spook Light a number of times. I have been within 10 feet of the light, but I still cant figure it out. It looks like a lantern swinging to and fro as it moves down the road.

Ray Taylor, Joplin

Geologists and scientists claim that the Spook Light is caused by a mineral deposit. I am in business at Quapaw and I know it isn’t lights from Quapaw

J.E. Rhodes, Quapaw

The Tri-State Spook Light

The stories of the mysterious Light of the Ozarks has been a subconscious challenge to my curiosity since first hearing of his existence over five years ago. My inner urge to meet the eerie light has resulted in hours of silent planning as to where, when and how I mist solve this strange phenomenon. The opportunity presented itself this summer for my quest into the realm of the supposed supernatural.

The experience I had acquired as a Weapons Company Commander had given me ample knowledge of how to seek out and destroy by using various instruments and methods relevant to this task. I felt over-confident in my proposed conquest as to the solution of the myster surrounding this light near Hornet, Missouri.

Several months ago had you mentioned the Tri-State Spook Light I would have casually replied, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”  This however, would have turned out to be the understatement of my career. Maybe I had not forgotten that a small boat, a raft, a good dog team and a couple of size dozen feet would take me almost anywhere; as it did in Alaska.

Having moved somewhat south, I had now gathered equipment for another type of adventure and was ready to launch a new experiment. My first action in this direction was with my neighbor, Bill White, who escorted me to the area near Hornet where the Spook Light was known to perform its fantastic capers. i was a little surprised that first night, that some of my informants had been accurate in their description of the ghostly light.

The next day I visited the area and was directed to the home of Bill Mizer, who is the most well-versed resident of Hornet regarding the light. After a lengthy interview, Mr.Mizer accompanied me in my car to the road where the Army Engineers had performed their test in 1946. It was then I realized the Army experiment had been conducted on a different road than that from which I had seen the light on the previous night. rechecking of the two roads showed I was correct in assuming the Army had been on the wrong road. The number of people viewing the light numbered ten to one on the new ghost light road. Mr.Ghost had changed the location of his nightly promenade. This seemed strange but not unusual inasmuch as the light was first viewed by Mr.Mizer from still another location-often referred to as the original ghost light area. It was after these revelations that I obtained a copy of the Engineers’ test of the area. My first endeavor was to check the correctness of their report. On the next day I reconoitered the road forming the north boundary of the city of Quapaw, Ok. I located and marked the high ground at several points for a distance of 10 miles west of Spring River. That night my party split into two groups; one to watch from the old spook light road near Hornet, Mo., and Bill White and I returned to the road north of Quapaw, Ok. Through the use of a portable spotlight connected to our car battery we were able to signal the other party a prearranged code from a distance of approximately 9 miles. This proved the Army test, though not comprehensive, had its merits.

Beore trying to solve the mystery of the new spook light road, i made every effort to obtain more Information about the light. It was while in search of old reports, newspaper articles, and the whereabouts of individuals connected with former experiments that I saw the need for compiling a booklet about the spook light. Many people had told me about seeing articles concerning the light in various publications. Some of this information was true but in other cases publishers denied having printed such articles.

In my search for the best picture available of the light I was directed by Marie Kolb, director of the Ozark Playgrounds Association, in Joplin, Mo., to the studio of Orrick Sparlin, Miami, OK. Having made this trip to Miami about 2 p.m. on a sunny afternoon it was not by chance that I noticed a small section of Highway 66 south of Quapaw that seemed to run directly east and west. Previous to this day, I had checked all the gravel roads west of Spring River but could not find a parallel to the road forming the north boundary of Quapaw. On my return from Miami I measured the distance from the east-west segment of Highway 66 between Quapaw and Commerce and found it to be the same distance as that between the old and new ghost light roads near Hornet, Mo. It seemed almost impossible that car lights as seen from this section of highway could appear as a gigantic ball of fire on a lonely road 13 miles away.

By the time I became aware of this section of east-west road between Quapaw and Commerce I had become acquainted with the most distinguished scientist. ever to visit the spook light road-Dr. George W. Ward, scientist formerly of the Bureau of Standard, Washington, D.C., and of late The Midwest Research Institute. We had both worked out a hypothesis for the new spook lights existence.

My job was now to make several experiments with light of Highway 66 and report my findings to Dr. Ward. The night of August 3, 1955, through the use of colored lights I sent signals which were received on the new spook road near Hornet. The were times when only one car was moving east on the segment of Highway 66 and other times when 20 or 30 cars moved in this same direction simultaneously. This explained why the phantom light would change from the appearance of a lantern to a stupendous ball of fire. The reddish glow of the light would vary as the number of cars and truck increased or decreased as they moved in a westerly direction. When there wasn any traffic on the Highway, we had complete control of the ghost light as to when it appeared or disappeared or turned pink or green. This still did not wholly solve the mystery of the light. After a further study of light itself, I realized Dr. Ward was correct in his refraction theory. His theory is,

The fact that the light did not always appear, substantiated the refraction or bending of light idea in that the relative humidity and temperature would have to attain the correct density of atmosphere to bend the light sufficiently for observation.”

This simply means that the rays of light are bent out of their normal course, since they pass through a rare, then dense, then rare substance which varies continually with the humidity and temperature. The interesting phenomena about the spook light is that it appears where it actually isn’t. Thus the ray of light as you see it from hornet can do a bag of tricks while the source of light might remain stationary.

The weeks of hard work I spent in solution of the light were made insignificant by the fact I knew I had been the first man to hold the “spook” in his hands.

I wish to thank the many people who helped to make this experiment possible, especially the 93rd Special Infantry Co., U.S.M.C.R. in Joplin for the use of their instruments, and certainly to Dr.George W. Ward whom I quote from his letter to me of August 8, 1955 –

“Your experiments with lights on the aforementioned highway were followed with a good deal of interest. It was indeed most gratifying when you finally proved our theory.”

I will probably be called a liar more often than has the late Robert L. Ripley, but I can truthfully say a trip to Hornet, Mo., to view this interesting phenomena is well worth your time.

Editor’s Note:

The article “Tri-State Spook Light” which also appeared in our first issue this summer, has caused considerable controversy. All the letters and cards received, including the corrective criticism, were sincerely appreciated. However, there were some who insist on believing in ghosts. We thought everyone was entitled to an opinion of his own, but evidently not. Some of the letters and remarks bordered on the insulting and for these few we recall this old adage –
Remember that its better to remain silent and appear a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

We admit there is a range of hills protruding above the line of vision from the spook light road to the section of Highway 66, referred to in the experiments. Our assuming a possible solution is based entirely upon the theory that the light is bent up over the mountain and comes down on the road on the other side, the light coming down at different points and with various intensities dependent upon the temperature and humidity. Our hypothesis is based on the double Refraction of Light.

We welcome discussions and correspondence and in no way insist our solution is infallible. Why not try it yourself? We haven’t convinced many.

Letter By Dr.George W. Ward

August 8, 1955

Dear Captain Loftin,

Following our telephone conversation this week-end. I am relating my first experience regarding the Spook Light, near Hornet, including the refraction theory, which you have received. It has been a pleasure working with you and I wish you every success in your publication.

I came to Kansas City January, 1945, from the National Bureau of Standards, Washington D.C.m to aid in the development  of the Midwest Research Institute. Part of this effort involved addresses to various group such as Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, etc. It was while appearing in Joplin that one of the Joplin Newspaper reporters recounted the story of the Spook Light, or as he called it, the Mysterious Light of the Ozarks. Naturally, being trained scientifically, my curiosity was aroused. Arrangements were immediately made with the Joplin newspaper reporter, whose name I have forgotten momentarily, to view the phenomenon.

We drove down south of Joplin some eight to ten miles and eventually parked on a gravel road at the top of a long slope, the road continuing down hill away from us, as we faced west, to dissipate itself in a number of cattle paths. The moon was not up and our reporter friend claimed that the night was ideal for observation.

Not long after our arrival a suffered glow appeared in the sky, to the west over a range of hills, the center of the lighted area being in line with the axis of the road. This was followed almost immediately by a ball of light estimated as 4 to 6 feet in diameter that appeared to descend out of the hills and to rapidly advance toward us.

As the greenish-yellow ball of light approached, the Publicity Director of the Institute caused some amusement by exclaiming that he had seen enough and he dashed back to lock himself in the car. The light approached and seemed to envelop us. Upon rapidly turning toward the east to observe the continuance of the light past us I observed nothing.

After observing the phenomenon a second time I placed an observer at these points, one in the center of the road, another some 50 feet behind him and one at the fence line on each side of the road. I was the first observer on the road and found that after the light passed me I could not see it, but that the observer 50 feet to my rear could still see it.

The fence line observers reported only an obscure flash appearance. These observations then caused me to believe that the source of the phenomenon lay ahead to the west and preferrably over the range of hills. Further reasoning led to the possibility that the cause lay in the refraction of automobile headlights from a road in direct line with the gravel road where we stood. The fact that the light did not always appear, substantiated the refraction or bending of light idea in that the relative humidity and temperature would have to attain the correct values to produce the correct density of atmosphere to bend the light sufficiently for observation. Further it was observed that as an observer moved downhill toward the observed source of light, the phenomenon was not visible while an observer remaining at approximately the top of the slope could see the light. The refraction theory was also borne out by the lack of good observation at the fence lines.

Satisfied that we were dealing with the refraction of distant automobile headlights – one light instead of two, automatically called for distance – we sought on the highway road map a road traveled by cars that was directly in line with our observation point. It was decided that such a road was the  section of highway running east and west from Commerce to Quapaw, Oklahoma.

It now remained to correlate automobile headlights on the highwy with observation of the Spook Light. We had satisfied ourselves as to the probable explanation and had no further interest. We suggested observation from an airplane as to cars in Oklahoma and a radio report to a ground observer of the Spook Light.

We were quite pleased at your offer to collaborate when you when you learned of our theory. Your experiments with lights on the aforementioned highway was followed with a good deal of interest. It was indeed most gratifying when you finally proved our theory.

Yours Truly,

George W. Ward,

Director of Research

I first saw the Spook Light back about 1911, before many roads or cars existed in this area. I have seen it a number of times, even in rain and snow and at all hours of the night for the past 44 years.

Ora C. Winfrey

Redings Mills

I’ve lived around Quapaw for 61 years. I’ve seen a number of teams investigating the source of the Ghost Light, but none of them have ever found out what it is. I was here before there were any cars in this district and the Ghost Light was here then.

Leonard Stoner,

Quapaw

Miami News Record 1-5-52

“… even scientific experts have been mystified by the Hornet Spook Light, which bounces along a gravel road between Baxter Springs and Peoria.”

The Kansas City Star – May 19, 1946

The reader of ghost stories, if he would derive the fullest enjoyment from his reading, should put his mind in a state of temporary belief in the supernatural. The deeper one can sink into the belief, the greater is his enjoyment of the ghosts, but when the story is ended it’s time to come back to reality.

In my pocket was a short manuscript by C. Paul Spidell of Baxter Springs, Kansas, addressed to the Sunday Editor of The Star. I had read it two or three times. In stark incredulity first, then in growing amazement; it came to me that Spidell was not fooling. He was telling an actual experience, and his back- ground did not admit of undue superstition in his make-up. He is a big man, a Harvard graduate, with considerable experience in the realistic occupation of advertising. Here, in part, is what he wrote: “There was a dull glow. It got brighter, then scampered quickly across the field to a point about a hundred yards directly ahead of us. There it halted and grew in size and intensity. Excited whispers came from the car. The light paled and disappeared, only to repeat its performance, making its entry again in the field to the left. When it got in front of us this time, it started to come toward us in a sort of wavering dance.

“It seemed to be about ten feer up from the ground. At it approached there was a reflection on the hood of my car. Four beams were like pipe-stem arms and legs. About fifty feet away it stopped and decided to climb a tree to our right where it perched for awhile, losing its brilliance and turning into a kind of ectoplasmic cloud.

“Whatever it was, it had a restless spirit. It faded and by fission reproduced itself into three bright little lights with waving arms and leg beams. About six feet apart, the trio scurried through a grove of jackoaks and across a field to our right, then converged into one blazing light which halted.” There was more including a description by Mr. Spidell of a luminous tadpole which wriggled out of sight under a house, and a mansion with lighted windows.

In The Star office we have received reports of these spook lights for many years. Scientists had visited the area, seeking explanations on the spot, but they failed to locate the source. In 1936 the late A. B. Macdonald of The Star went to see them and an explanation satisfactory to himself, but he did not obtain any proof.

This spring a Kansas City scientist, Dr. George W. Ward of the Midwest Research Institute, had veiwed the lights for diversion when on a business trip to Joplin. The intrigued him. after a few preliminary tests he reasoned out a hypothesis that was subject to proof. With that to start with, I sent a letter to Col. Dennis E. McCunniff, commanding officer of Camp Crowder, three miles from Neosho, and not far from the lonely road. I explained to him the hypothesis, and asked the assistance of the army in seeking proof. Colonel McCunniff invited me to Camp Crowder to talk it over.

The Army Joins the Quest

“They have my curiosity aroused,” the colonel said. “I should like to know what they are. We shall be glad to co-operate.”

The solution of the mystery light probably will not satisfy some persons who have seen it. We have no desire to insist upon the solution and we certainly don’t want to rob anyone of the enjoyment of a good ghost. We should like to point out only that the light is brighter, visible for longer periods, and seen more frequently in winter than in summer.

The reason is because the trees, being denuded of foliage in winter, form less obstruction than in summer. In any event, the phenomenon of optical illusion enters into all of it, for it has been demonstrated many times that light at night often appear much closer than they actually are. For what it may be worth, that is the opinion of the men who conducted the tests.

Unpredictable

I have lived here on the road over 2 years. We were about to take the light for granted, when one night about dusk, that crazy light came within about 7 feet of our car as we were driving home. It appeared as a big bright ball but vanished when we turned on the cat lights. The thing scared the “daylights” out of us.

Mary Hamilton

Carthage Evening Press–7-23-55 “Whence comes the light or the reason for its existence are still a mystery.”

The Southwestern–7-1-55 “For a half century, the light has attracted tourist. It’s a cinch that it will continue to do so for a good long time to come.”

If I ever have a flat on the “Spook Light” road, I’ll drive it flat, cause I’ll never get out to fix it. DR. J. C. KIMBROUGH, Veterinarian

Refraction of Light

When a ray of light passes from one sub- stance to another of a different density, it is bent out of its course or refracted. The law of refraction is: When light passes from a rare to a dense substance, it is bent in the direction of a line that is perpendicular to the surface of the refracting body, when light passes from a dense to a rare substance, it bent away from a line perpendicular to the surface of the refracting body.

Editors Comment: The test shown below has no connection whatsoever with the present spook light. The army test was conducted on a road approximately 1 mile north of the road from which the light is seen today. The results of this test has been best described by the State of Missouri, Resources and Development Di- vision stating . . . “They came away baffled.” The tri-pod mounted telescope, now operated on the new spook light road by A. P. “Spooky” Meadows is three times more powerful than those used by the army. The light as seen through this scope cannot be separated into a pair or pairs of automobile headlights. The light as seen through the telescope appears as a firey flame or flames, us- usally green at the bottom and red at the top. It is sure worth seeing.

 

Hornet Spook Light Map

 

2 comments

  • David mead

    I was going to college in Miami, Ok. during the early 60’s and saw the light several times. What I think I saw is a ball of plasma traveling along natural mineral deposits. The area between Joplin and Miami was, for many years, one of the largest mining areas in the country for lead, zinc, and tin, As I recall the last mines stopped operations during the 1970’s in fact. There are still seams of lead, zinc, and tin all through this area even today. Rainwater falling through the air becomes slightly acidic from carbon dioxide turning into carbonic acid as the rain goes through it. When you run an acid through different metals, like lead and tin or zinc, you create a battery, similar to a car battery. This could build up an electric charge or a plasma charge similar to ball lightning which lights up the air along various natural mineral ore seams to create the Spook Light. Interesting side note is that during the 60 or 70 years of mining operations locals said you could literally go underground the 28 miles between Miami and Joplin using the various mining tunnels.

    • You make some very good points, thank you. Harvey Rhutledge a physics proffessor at SEMO , observed hundreds of these plasma balls in the 70’s during the “UFO flap”.. he wrote a book about it called “Project Identification”. Made some pretty interesting observations.

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