When aliens first visited Earth four billion years ago, they left two things to confound us: language and the Marfa Lights.
Explanations for the lights abound, from vehicle headlights to the genie in the iron dark of the world. The first written report was filed in the 1880’s by railroad workers about the time Marfa was coming into its own. The luminous spherical objects bouncing oddly across the horizon were seen from parts of the Chihuahua-San Antonio Trail just before Paisano Pass.
Strangely no reports of sightings were filed during the operation of the Marfa Airfield during the 1940’s when tens of thousands of military personnel were stationed here.
Scientists from around the country, Japan, and Germany have studied the phenomena. Nucleated dust has been one theory, an event that occurs when water in the atmosphere condensates with dust creating prismatic orbs in the sky.
Another theory, first discovered by Marie Curie’s husband Pierre, called the Piezoelectric effect, suggests that quartz in the surrounding mountains (the Chinatis and Paisano Plateau) build up electricity during thermal expansion of the rock and discharges the voltage on contraction. This pressure induced charge is especially active when great swings in ambient temperature occur. The luminous release is known as ball lightening. Unlike lightening flashes, these discharges can last for many seconds.
Another theory centers on the mirage principle where inter-stellar light is refracted through layers of cold and warm air in the earth’s atmosphere, essentially bending light. The dense cold air has a greater refractive index than the warm air and as the light passes through, it bends away from the temperature gradient, producing the mirage.
A recent study by the University of Texas at Dallas concluded after four nights in the field at the Marfa Lights Viewing Center on Highway 90, that they were nothing more than headlights from vehicles on Highway 67.
But written, video and photographic evidence of the lights might suggest otherwise. The unpredictable nature of these rare colored orbs bouncing yellow, blue and green along the horizon, suggesting a Sing-a-Long-with-Mitch rhythm, are different from the commonly seen white headlight spheres of the vehicles, the distant ranch lights, the flashing red of the railroad switch station and the Border Patrol checkpoint.