THE DOG MEADOW LIGHTS
Vacationers to the Eagle River area of Wisconsin find peace and relaxation in this northern playground of lakes and woods. But now they're finding something else, mysterious lights that linger in the night skies about thirty miles north of Eagle River (five miles north of Watersmeet, Michigan).
Although some local people claim to have seen the strange lights over a long period of time, the first reported sighting was in 1966. A carload of teen-agers had stopped one clear evening along a swampy area of the old Military Road called Dog Meadow. Suddenly a brilliance filled the car's interior and lit the power lines paralleling the road. The frightened young people fled to report their experience to the sheriff. Since that time, many havewitnessed the phenomenon, but none can explain it.
Local lore spins haunting legends. Some say that one night, about forty years ago, a railroad switchman, lantern in hand, was crushed to death between two cars while attempting to signal the train's engineer. Others say that an engineer was murdered along the old railroad grade where the lights appear. A third story tells of a mail carrier and his sled dogs who were mysteriously slain a hundred years ago at Dog Meadow. The lights appear near the scenes of these various alleged tragedies and are thought to be connected with them. The lights can be seen on almost every clear night in all seasons of the year.
One motorist, coming up over the crest of the gravel road that runs parallel to the old abandoned track bed, faced a golden bull's eye and, thinking it to be a one-eyed car, pulled off the road to avoid a head-on collision.There was no car.
On a frigid winter evening, a group of snowmobilers came upon the light. Not knowing what to make of it and badly frightened, they tried to surround it, to no avail. It vanished as quickly as it had appeared.
On another night, a drunken fellow from Eagle River shot at the light but it disappeared first. The light is usually the size of a weather balloon, appearing on the northwest horizon and seeming to move toward the northeast.
On a hot June evening in 1977, Elmer Lent and Harold Nowak of Wisconsin decided to check out the phenomenon. A newspaper account said that no sooner had they parked their car on the gravel road than the light appeared--a bright spotlight shining directly at them. It moved closer, backed away, appeared at an angle from time to time. To Lent, who grew up in the shadow of a railroad yard, it looked like the headlight of a train. Suddenly a smaller light appeared below the large light and slightly to the right. Lent recalled that "the two, at times, seemed to move together, then apart, one or the other disappearing, then showing again." The movements, he reasoned, were those a switchman would make in signaling with a lantern. Sometimes the light changed color from white to red and occasionally a dim green.
Lent judged the lights to be "two or three blocks away."After watching for an hour, Lent, still skeptical of any supernatural basis for the phenomenon, determined to catch the pranksters responsible. He and Nowak left the car and began walking. As they approached, the lights seemed to disappear down over the next rise but cast a bright glow in the sky. A half mile later, finding nothing that might explain the mystery, the pair turned around and the lights reappeared over the rise. When they reached their car,other observers said that, in the men's absence, they'd seen a large red light above a small white one in the middle of the road a block ahead of them. These lights would have been between the men and their car.
Two hours later, the men drove ahead for some distance, parked, and shut off the headlights. The lights reappeared, the large headlight and the smaller one beneath it beaming down the middle of the road. A minute later, the headlight vanished, and the smaller light, Lent said, "seemed to touch down and burst into three." The outer two lights disappeared, but the third remained, about two hundred feet away. Nowak snapped on the headlights but the light in the road didn't move. Then, several minutes later, it rose slowly to a height of four or five feet and vanished. Of his experience, Lent, still perplexed, said,"No teen-agers, no flashlights, no strings attached."
Charlie Gumm disagreed. His search led him to a secluded but well-used side road leading up to a plateau. He suspected that teen-agers manipulated the lights from there. Nightly! In temperatures of twenty degrees below zero! At five o'clock in the morning! It seems unlikely.
Yet, if the light show is not the work of pranksters, what is it! Similar lights along railroad tracks have been observed in other parts of the country, notably at Maco Station near Wilmington, North Carolina. Could they be caused by a luminous gas of some sort? Possibly.
Regarding Upper Michigan, some seismologists theorize that the weight of glacial ice in that area has created conditions favorable to future earthquakes, that the earth's crust, compressed eons ago by massive ice sheets, is now trying to expand to its original contour and, in the process, causing luminous gases to escape through faults in the crust. Although anomalous lights are frequently associated with earthquakes, their presence does not necessarily predict quakes. So far, the study of earthquake lights raises many questions but offers few answers.
Meanwhile, curious sightseers throng the Dog Meadow area. They watch the lights.They listen to the legends. And they wonder.
Sent in by Gerald Bringle.
I have been to the Marfa Lights in West Texas several times. They have been seen moving across the mountains near Marfa since the 1500's. Spanish wagon trains reported seeing them way back then.
One time my friend and I went to Marfa to see the lights. He was determined to go up to one. It was midnight and he drove and drove but they always moved away. No one knows what they are, some say car lights, but there is no road.
A television show, I think it was Unsolved Mysteries or some such show, went there. They had cameras set up at each end of where the lights are seen each night. The observers kept watch and the lights did not come while they were there. As soon as they left, the lights were back again - and still are. Obviously they have intelligence.
The State has a special viewing area east of Marfa where you watch them every night.