1920-: North Carolina. Reports of brilliant spheres or disks appearing from time to time [during the three years], moving in leisurely formation, or singly, in the neighborhood of the Brown Mountains. Much talk. Official investigation draws blank. ~ Desmond Leslie 1953
How does one start off the story of the mysterious Brown Mountain Lights that has been around for hundreds of years with a quote like that, and, with tons of ink and gigabyte memory devoted to it?
How about a comparison?
Several years ago I was invited to spend a week with a friend who lives on the Maine-Canadian border. We had lots of fun visiting sites like the resort town of Bar Harbor , Maine, and Campobello Island, Canada, that has one of the magnificent Franklin D. Roosevelt homes on it.
But, for the comparison, a local state park we went to is what reminds me of Brown Mountain in a way. You see dear reader, this Maine wonderland had a hiking trail that followed a misty, beautiful, boulder-strewn ocean shoreline with high rocks. You could even peer down into these big crevasses at times and see the ocean water swirling magnificently through them. It also had an ancient bog that rivaled one I had seen in Scandinavia once, albeit, on a smaller scale. There was much unique fauna in the moisture-soiled park as well.
The link to Brown Mountain, here in North Carolina, came about when my host told me that the Pine Tree State folk only occasionally took advantage of this majestic park, and as for locals, well, they almost never came to this cool place in their midst. The majority of my life I've probably resided within 100 or so miles of Brown Mountain. But until just recently, I'd never taken a trip or stopped to look at the phenomenon-laden mountain
ridge, one of the most famously unexplained places in the States, if not the world, despite driving down the closest road to it ( Hwy. 181), many times over the years.
I certainly can't claim ignorance of the place as I'd known of it since a young lad reading a 1960's book titled Ghosts of the Old North State, by the late Nancy Roberts, who specialized in the Carolinas' paranormal with her wonderful writing style. Her remarkable stories (including one on Brown Mountain itself) are still in print today, available in many libraries and on-line book sites.
This, plus numerous other reads and TV shows, including an X-Files episode with an Alien slant to it - that I didn't watch, but heard about, have during the years certainly made me very aware of the enigmatic mountain. But, as I said earlier about never visiting it, that finally changed come the year 2013 with a new but rather different kind of mystery photo taken that is shown near the end of the article.
The mystery is an uncanny, even weird, display of multicolored orbs of light, often reminiscent of Roman candles firing off in different ways or directions. Sometimes they will rise higher and higher from the ridge, darting here and there. Then at other times, singularly, or in groups, they will shoot straight up the slopes, only to maneuver sideways or simply disappear.
A remarkable aspect of these lights is the fact that they often display themselves as if guided by some kind of intelligence. Stops, hard angle turns, hovering, and their just plain moving about in general, can give one this distinct impression. The lights' sizes are varied, sometimes as big as several stars in appearance, with a deep-red or sapphire blue color to them. At other times they are so numerous, and moving so fast, it is hard to keep track of them all. At times, only one, or a few, or none at all appear during a night's darkness. Early autumn is considered the most active season for this so-far unexplained phenomenon, but they can and do appear throughout the year.
These pictures were taken in April of 2013 , I just forgot to reset the date after changing the batteries. I'll have to find out how to keep them off any further photos on this older digital...or better yet get a new camera, along with an assistant photographer along to use it from different perspectives, or to be blunt, a keener eye for the art.
According to Native American legends, the Cherokee and Catawba nations waged a particularly bloody conflict on the mountain over 800 years ago. The mystery lights in the Cherokee version, at least, have their sad maidens forever searching with torches for lost lovers who fell in the battle. A reader in the comments section has an even more amazing Cherokee legend concerning the mountain with an intriguing, mysterious explanation..
A gentleman named Douglas has commented that the Cherokees have legends of the mountain as a portal that contains a kind of door that leads to another dimension, or, as Douglas puts it, world. Whole villages sometimes relocated through this portal. A fifty year old book by a researcher and author named Alexander Key wrote about one of these "doors" in particular according to his post.
So, could the big battle with the searching maidens have been a tale to appease the white men and throw him off from searching the inside of Brown Mountain too thoroughly for this Shangri-La? With this enigmatic, long-lasting phenomena, can we really rule out anything concerning it? Seems a very interesting and fantastic story, absolutely, regardless if there is anything to it or not.
The first white man to report on the lights occurred in 1771, when a German engineer named de Brahm noted them in his exploration of the area. His take was naturally of a scientific bent. He wasn't the last to go that route over the years, all proven wrong in their theories as things turned out, of course. The lights continued to be seen throughout the nineteenth century, with active expeditions and studies starting in the early twentieth century.
This writer won't run through all the scientific and mundane explanations that came from all this. Suffice it to say all were found to be in error as time went on, and better technology methods of detection had their chance at breaking the mysterious code of the Brown Mountain Lights.
To date, these modern methods have come up almost as empty-handed as any used before them.
The lights' origins are simply baffling to this day.
Remember, it's the ridge to the right of the V-dip.
Also notice the rock to the left of me that has some kind of occult symbol on it. A triangle with some kind of eye- shaped drawing in the center of it, in fact. It would be most interesting to know the strange symbol's exact meaning.
Although it's not too apparent in the photos, the first thing that struck me as different from any of the other large number of mountain ridges in the southern Appalachians, was the numerous granite outcroppings on it. This may become important when I state my own humble thoughts on what might be causing the strange lights at the end of this story.
By the way, there is also a large triangle with an eye-in-center of it on one of the big rock outcroppings on the mountain, too. Now, to the new mystery photo that is part of this article's title.
Here is something intriguing, a strange digital that the person taking it would have had to have been standing in just the right spot and angle for it to line up exactly like it did. Notice how the pair of rocks just to the right of me form-up to look like those enigmatic heads on Easter Island. Seen from right to left, the two have the green scrub for hair or a top hat, then a forehead, eye and nose; and then the second, closer to the camera rock, forms a cheekbone, mouth and chin, to complete the profile.
Pareidolia, only? Possibly. However, several people I showed it to, with no lead or prior reading of the article by them, saw it too, with two seeing the resemblance to a Maori head and one remarking that it reminded them of an Amerindian profile. But was it all just an unusual chance shot? Maybe so...but then again?
Considering the high strangeness of the area, I'll keep an open mind for now on just what's going on with them lining up in the photo to appear in the way that they do. We would, of course, want to know how long they've been there. Those two stones certainly aren't new placements in the dirt, and seem to be firmly embedded in the ground, so it would seem they've been there for ages, or at the very least until Hwy. 181 was built.
As to any connection between the mountain phenomena and the Maori, the only one I can think of is they're both mysterious. The Island figures may be much older than what is generally thought. Even Professor Robert Schoch, famous for his back-dating the Great Sphinx through its weathering, but who generally sticks with mainstream archaeology chronology, believes them to be of a more extreme antiquity than the present age given. Could this one even have some kind of connection to the ones on Easter Isle? Ah! there I go speculating again!
However, on stopping at the overview I was quickly disabused of that notion. As you can see from the pictures, there's a good bit of wilderness and quite a ways to go if one were to attempt any walking between the two spots.
Not long after hanging around, I saw what looked like a dirt road a-ways down to the right. So, the hiking hope kind of reignited, briefly. On returning to the car (it was very windy, as you might imagine) and driving back down the highway, about a hundred feet or so, there appeared the entrance to the dirt road, sealed off with a metal pole of course!
Well, that seemed the end of the expedition but then suddenly, not another hundred or so feet down the main highway, there appeared another side road that looked to take a sharp dip. Bypassing it a ways on down the road and then turning around across from the big campground park on Hwy. 181, I drove on back and turned into it.
You know you're onto something a bit different when road exploring when one of the first things you see is a state road sign that basically says - be careful and drive at your own risk.
But, being the adventurous type, and hoping to get as close to Brown Mountain as possible, I continued on the unpaved mountain road. It wasn't long till I came to this bridge here, and that was when the fun really began.
The thinking was that this must take one up close to the holy grail of mysterious lights. It was a twisty, steep, often narrow road, and it wasn't long before an unusual feeling started coming over me. It was right before the blooms of Spring, and to be frank about it, the slopes and gullies gave off a rather uncomfortable vibe, not a place one would want to be caught alone at midnight.
As a matter of fact, later on, a friend who had been up this way told me they had gotten the same, if not eerie, then very strange feeling too. Perhaps a lot of psychological things go into that but I've driven many a back-road in the mountains and nothing could quite compare to this odd sensation of uneasiness. The sight of it here is actually one of the better looking stretches. Most of it was rough gravel, and quite snaky. You wouldn't want to run into another vehicle coming the other way, especially at night, and that's for sure.
The car's fan kept whirring for some time after stopping. This gives you an idea of how hard a ride it was to get maybe halfway around this ever escalating relatively steep elevation.
Maybe it's alright to come this way with a group of people in a four-wheel drive, to have a front row seat to a
mystery light(s) show at night, but I turned around at this point. It was more because of not knowing how much farther this service road went around the mountain than for any other reason, despite the lonely and uneasy feeling. By the way, there wasn't another soul in sight the whole time except for some good ol' boys near the entrance, hanging around a tributary of the stream that went under the bridge..
Three teams set up in three different vantage points and waited for the fall of night to begin. Sure enough, they eventually caught a very strange light, near the base of the mountain next to the V-dip, I believe.
The next morning reviewing the tape, they were startled to discover the infra-red film of the light, or object, was a totally different color than what it should have been. The mystery still remains. Also very interesting, and something I didn't know about until watching the piece, the geologist pointed out that Brown Mountain is basically made of granite rock with a lot of quartz in its make-up, which if not mistaken, should be full of piezo-crystals. On learning this my proverbial light-bulb went off on what, or at least partially what, could be going on.
Those lights can be elusive, in fact, had seemed to be tapering off significantly, but scientists from Appalachian State University have gotten evidence that seem to show them. Come the night of July 16, 2016, a circular glowing light was captured by two time-lapse digital video cameras close-by the mountain. Dr. Daniel Caton and his colleague Lee Hopkins of the physics and astronomy dept. at ASU attempted to gain evidence about the phenomena. They were successful. One video is in an updated article at or near the top of the blog pages.
Although some may consider this hackneyed or unscientific, I now believe the mountain is an inter-dimensional portal or conduit of some kind, and has been for God knows how long. On second thought, 21st century physics is seeming to discover this idea may not be so hackneyed after all. What energies or intelligence(s) are coming through, and why, I won't hazard to guess, but will leave it for any open-minded reader to ponder on or just consider the possibilities at their pleasure. However, the fact should be noted that the Pisgah National Forest
can be a hot spot for paranormal and high strangeness activity, particularly in close proximity to the mountain.
And in conclusion to the story, let's have a bit of fun with what the picture above is. It is a fair-sized granite boulder on the side of the service road I saw on the trip, with a perfectly-bored hole through it. My guess is it was drilled for dynamite or some other explosive when building the road. But if so why was the rock intact? What's your guess dear reader? Perhaps this is one we can both solve for sure.