Air Pilots Accounts?


5..."I was at the old Air Corps training base east of Marfa, Texas in 1970 to tow gliders at the World Soaring Championship. All that was left then were the huge runways and one old hangar. One night I walked out among the gliders and towplanes tied down on the ramp and I came upon a group of people clustered around a telescope, talking in hushed voices. I looked off across the dark sagebrush in the direction of the Chinita Mountains and could make out two or three small points of light on the floor of the desert. I asked what they were and was told they were called the Marfa Ghost Lights. They said that local Indians claimed it was the ghosts of their dead ancestors which came out to dance each night. When it came my turn at the telescope, I could see some fuzzy lights that looked much like a Coleman gasoline lantern. One of the lights remained steady while the one near it, which was more red in color, tended to change intensity and moved around a bit. A cold shiver ran down my spine; I was watching ghosts dance." ( airstory.htm Jim Foreman, Copyright 2000)

20..."The Marfa lights are elusive, and most people lucky enough to see them observe them from the ground. Nevertheless, a few pilots and aircraft passengers have encountered them. In February 1988, R. Weidig was flying at about 8000 feet, some 20 miles from Alpine, Texas, when he noticed white lights in motion around the Alamito Tower's red beacon light. "We noticed white lights coming up... I don't know how high, but it seemed like several hundred feet. Then the lights would just dissipate ... They moved around that tower for some reason. They'd get on the right hand side of it, the left hand side of it, and go just straight up." In June 1988, a stranger case was reported by E. Halsell, who was a passenger on a plane flying toward the Chianti Mountains. "'Suddenly a bright light came toward them rapidly, seemingly from a great distance. "It came straight at us til it got to the hood of the plane....It was engulfing us, larger than the plane.' It seemed as though they were inside the light. 'We couldn't see to fly. It scared us.' According to Halsell, as they tried to turn away from it, it moved in front of them. 'Always it moved around us, like it was observing us....We made right turns and left turns and it stayed right with us, like it was playing a game.' The light was very bright, but 'It was kind of fuzzy, like a halo or aura, a ball of light without an obvious center.' The light was white in color, was constant rather than pulsating or flickering. There was no unusual sound." (Brueske, Judith; "Encountering 'The Lights,'" The Desert Candle, 2:1, July/August 1988.) ( William Corliss Science Frontiers)

10..." Marfa's Mayor Fritz Kahl remains skeptical of such reports. "They come out with some real wild stories where the lights have stampeded horses and chased cars down the road. That's totally ridiculous. These lights are mild. They're friendly. They're not going to hurt anybody." Kahl first encountered the lights in 1943 when he was stationed at the nearby air base. He attempted to chase them in his plane but nearly crashed before a crewmember alerted him that he was flying too low. The ghost lights are a mystery the Mayor and many others here would like to remain unsolved. "This is a local phenomena that is very fascinating and we've had some good minds in here trying to find out what it is. "Oh, no. I don't want it solved." (marfal4.html)


11... If you're looking for lore on the Marfa Lights, Fritz Kahl is the man to see. Before he became mayor, he ran the Marfa Airport, and long before that he was a training pilot at the World War II-era Air Force Base that is now affiliated with numerous lights legends. "A lot of those stories are just plain ol' not true," Kahl says, seated in his office in the town's new, one-story city hall. Among the legends Kahl knocks down is the one about nuclear testing at the base. He denies the popular story that he and other pilots used to fly over the lights and drop bags of flour on them, hoping that would help solve their mystery. They didn't chase them in Jeeps, either, or do much of anything besides watch them from a distance like everyone else. Kahl did get close to one, back in 1973. He gave a hand-written testimony of the encounter to researchers, which is now on file along with several dozen other Marfa Lights experiences at the Archives of the Big Bend at Sul Ross University in Alpine, 25 miles east of Marfa. In his account, he described several lights as having "the intensity of a car light on bright" and "the size of a bushel basket." As for the one that came close to Kahl and a friend, this is what he reported: "We both had the distinct impression that it knew exactly where we were and that it was just daring us to chase it. It seemed to possess intelligence." Now, as mayor, Kahl tones down his beliefs in the lights, as many residents do for fear of looking like a bunch of loonies. "Oh, I'm not crazy when it comes to the lights, except for maybe I've always been the only one around here crazy enough to talk about them," he says. "It's not a big thing anymore. People know there's something out there, and they accept it. It's a friendly situation." Kahl goes on to tell me he has seen too many people of my profession come at it the wrong way -- reporters looking to solve the mystery, or at least to poke fun at it. He refers to a Japanese TV crew from a few years ago, and the filmmakers from England's BBC who are in town just this weekend. Says Kahl: The Japanese, "they didn't have a clue. This is the first bunch of limeys we've had, though. We'll see how they do." ( The Truth is out where?



Copyright (C) 2001 Dr. Sten Odenwald