Talk:Marfa lights

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Talk:Marfa light)
Jump to: navigation, search


Untitled[edit]

For those who may be interested, I am the person who has been adding to this stub page over the past several days. My first two additions are labeled 209.179.32.9, and 209.179.251.74 . My user account name is edh . I am Edson C. Hendricks, I live in San Diego, California, USA, and my telephone number is USA 858-273-1194 . August 6, 2004


contradiction[edit]

This page contradicts the main Marfa, Texas page. The marfa lights section on that page is weasly and total crap. I deleted an outright lie about "no investigations have offered any explanation of the lights" (see experiment cited in this article) and in fact the section doesn't even suggest that the lights could be anything so "mundane" as headlights, really POV stuff... I'm sure someone will revert it and put the weaslyness back in so could someone help me out? That page does not cite the experiment, directly contradicting this article and being very deceptive, and it states the "since the 1800s" thing as fact, and is just terribly weasly and not good.

What's wrong with using fact?[edit]

Since my last edit of Marfa Lights, someone changed the following

  • Suggestions have been made of even earlier written reports, but their actual existence has never been confirmed.

to the following which looks like it came straight out of the consipracy theory factbook

  • Claims have been made for even earlier written accounts, but the actual existence of these is not yet confirmed.

Why remove a fact, and replace it with a weasely inference?

Also, why does someone feel compelled to change

  • Suggestions have also been made that these are myths designed to attract tourist business to this remote west Texas area, pointing out that it wasn't until July 1957 that the first article about the Marfa Lights, by Paul Moran, "The Mystery of the Texas Ghost Light," appeared in [[Coronet Magazine]].

to

  • They suggest that this is a myth designed to attract tourist business to the remote west Texas area, and that because no written report dating back to the nineteenth century has been produced, it follows that verbal accounts attributed to that era can be discounted. One early description of the Marfa Lights was published in Coronet Magazine in 1957 (see references).

More weaselling. It IS NOT TRUE that because no 19th century written report exists it necessarily follows that verbal accounts can be discounted. Where are sources for saying skeptics have ever advocated this? Also, do you think that as these lights are sometimes visible for several hours anyone would discount them because there was never a 19th century written report? (Source for SEVERAL HOURS -- Wikipedia.)

+++++++++ Hello you should know that it says the same thing on the main Marfa Texas page, that people have been seeing it since the 1800s or whatever. Might want to change that in fact the whole Marfa Ligts section of the Marfa, Texas page is crap and could be rewritten +++++++++++++++ 66.245.139.17 22:11, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Furthermore, why say One early description of the Marfa Lights was published in Coronet Magazine in 1957? Why deliberately remove the FACT that the very earliest written description of the lights never happened UNTIL 1957? That it was the first written description was precisely the point the context of the paragraph was stating. Hey, I try to be as tolerant as possible here on wiki, but some of the deliberate obfuscation in some articles is very disappointing. That's why I've amended the paragraph.Moriori 04:06, Aug 10, 2004 (UTC)

I have received email from a user and because it is about content of this wiki article, I think it is better discussed here. He says he was pointing out that skeptics had mistakenly claimed, widely, that there was no "written" account (not "published", but "written") of the Marfa Lights before1983. He said it is important to illustrate where the skeptics make mistakes. I must point out that the article refers to the FIRST known written publication re the lights in 1957, so 1983 is irrelevant now. However, despite the lights sometimes being on show and available for study for several hours, no-one hasever published definitive evidence for them being anything other than natural phenomena, so everyone who has identified them as paranormal etc are mistaken. If it is important we must refer to a historic mistake by some skeptics (which this article clearly gives the lie to), then it is also important that we must also refer to the mistakes made by all those people who claim to have identifed the lights as being paranormal. Imagine how many that could be. Moriori 01:24, Aug 14, 2004 (UTC)

Facts must be true[edit]

I am the "someone" referenced in the above comments. I have been investigating the Marfa Lights for the past thirteen years, and am widely recognized within the scientific community as a competent expert on all aspects of this subject. I am the featured scientific speaker at the 2004 Marfa Lights Festival in Marfa, Texas, two weeks from now. I supplied nearly all of the original text in the article as it stands; but if I must waste time replying to insults such as this, I will supply no more.

  • That is your perogative, but I (Moriori) need to comment on your statements to straighten a few things out.. You can be the most competent expert in the world if you like, but that doesn't permit you to insist on removing a fact and deliberately replace it with unsubstantiated inference.

I regret that the comments above employ the derogative terms "weasely," "weaseling" and "obfuscation to characterize my cautious and qualified language.

I fail to see how changing "never been confirmed" to "not yet confirmed" is worth any comment at all.

  • Yet you did it deliberately! You removed an uncomplicated fact and replaced it with something that makes an unsupported inference to slant an article. "Never been confirmed" infers nothing but the fact. "Not yet confirmed'" infers it hasn't but will be, and that is exactly what you intended. You say so yourself.

I made the change to suggest that in my view there is good reason to suspect that earlier written accounts actually do exist,

  • Precisely. You replaced a fact with a suggestion of something for which there is no evidence.

and that since it has become a question, I plan to see whether I can identify some of these explicitly.

  • Fine. If you can produce evidence of any previous written accounts, (your "good reason to suspect" is not evidence), then of course, Wikipedia should include it. I'd post the info myself, but until then, Wikipedia should stick to fact..

Several years ago the Texas Department of Transportation opened a fine, newly enlarged Marfa Lights roadside viewing area with a visitor center. The structure bears a conspicuous bronze plaque reading as follows:

"IN APPRECIATION -- This Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area was made possible by a generous donation of property from Clayton and Modesta Williams. Their gift honors O.W. Williams who first wrote of the mysterious lights in the 1880's."

Clayton Williams is a prominent rancher and businessman in west Texas, who was the Republican candidate for governor of Texas in 1990. O. W. Williams, who was Clayton Williams' grandfather, wrote a great many articles in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Clayton and Modesta Williams must have approved the text of the plaque quoted above, and both were present at the dedication of the new visitor center. One would assume that Clayton Williams would know what his grandfather wrote, and that he would not permit inaccurate claims about that to appear publicly next to his name.

Indeed, it certainly is not true that if no nineteenth century written report exists, it necessarily follows that verbal accounts can be discounted. I didn't make that up, a skeptic did.

  • Huh. Are you truly a competent expert? I never said you made it up. I said the statement was not true (and qualified why), and also asked you for evidence that skeptics suggested so. You haven't produced that evidence. Also, you said they (skeptics), but now say skeptic. Which is it?

Several years ago I was contacted by a well-known professional astronomer who hosts a popular astronomy web site. He was trying to put together a treatment of the Marfa Lights, and he had some questions for me about the matter.

First, he informed me that he was unaware of any written records of the phenomenon prior to 1985. I replied that I had on my desk right at that moment a published account dated 1976. He then replied suggesting that he didn't think there would be any written accounts before 1970.

Here is a direct excerpt from my email to him at about this point:

"Now to review briefly the bidding, your prior horizon for Marfa Lights written records was 1985. Then I offered one from 1976, and you moved your threshold back to 1970. OK, fine, I just picked up my telephone and called the Marfa City Municipal Library, 432-729-4631, I reached 'Esther' and related your inquiry to her. While I remained on the phone she pulled out her ML scrapbook and offered me an article from the San Angelo Standard Times dated January 14, 1965, and then Paul Moran, 'The Mystery of the Texas Ghost Light,' Coronet Magazine, July 1957, p. 57 (or maybe p. 37, her copy was obscured). She assured me either you or I could examine her material any time we like, and she even offered to make copies and mail them to either of us. I said no need. Good enough, or would you prefer another, earlier threshold now? I'm sure even earlier written records are out there somewhere, I'm confident this story is real."

At this point he replied saying he was now convinced that this whole idea was wrong in the first place, and so we should forget it. He didn't say explicitly, but he implied that this whole angle had come to him from a very well-known skeptic with whom he'd been communicating, whom he identified by name. I checked this skeptic's web site, and indeed, there were the claims, that written accounts of the Marfa Lights first appeared around 1988 when the original Marfa Lights Viewing Area was established, which was when the local business allegedly began to attempt to build the myth to attract tourism. This web site is no longer to be found, or at least, I can't find it.

However, descendants of this skeptic-generated myth persist. Where is the source? See, for example, http://www.watchingyou.com/marfa.html, which includes:

"One question you may be asking yourself: 'The lights have been reported since the 1800's. This means the Lights can't be from cars. Right?' Perhaps. But perhaps not. This particular story has been passed on by those who deny the mundane reality of the Lights. Are there indeed written accounts of the lights, written in the 1800's, that describe these Lights? If so, cite them -- not second-hand references. (Note as of March 2003: In the 6 years this site has been up, no one has been able to furnish these references.) And if people did indeed report mysterious, unexplained lights, were scientists brought in to decide that the lights were unexplainable?"

It is not a "fact" that the very earliest written description of the Marfa Lights "never happened until 1957."

  • You have misquoted. Your "never happened until 1957" does not appear in the article. The correct quote is "it wasn't until July 1957.....". And to give the paragraph balance the very next sentence refers to suggested, earlier, unconfirmed, reports. Also, based on all available evidence, it is indeed a fact that 1957 is the earliest date. It doesn't mean it will always be a fact (because someone might find evidence) but it is a fact right now.

The facts are as I report here, and I strongly suspect that the early Coronet Magazine account gained attention due simply to my telephone call that day to the Marfa public library. It certainly doesn't mean that there is no earlier reference. It may mean nothing more than that no earlier account has yet been cited on the Internet where it's easy to find.

  • The information you report here lacks one very important component --evidence to refute 1957.

The claims from the skeptics generally deny "written" accounts. I used "published," which is accurate and stronger. If it is published, it is obviously written.

  • Small point, but not so. I have heard/seen people on radio/tv discuss unknown phenomena. Their comments have gone into my knowledge base as surely as written information I have read.

"Paranormal" does not exclude natural phenomena. It means, according to the American Heritage dictionary, "Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation." The strong evidence is that mundane explanations for the Marfa Lights, while adequate in very many cases, cannot account for a fairly small fraction of the reported observations, plenty of which I've seen for myself. Nonetheless, my assumption is that this is indeed some very strange and elusive natural phenomenon, yet to be understood and explained.

So in my view, the Wikipedia entry for Marfa Lights is no longer as accurate as I wrote it, and I'm not going to try to fix it any more. Also, if I do find an earlier explicit written reference, I don't plan to cite it for Wikipedia unless some "tolerant" contributor asks me specifically and politely to do so, and I won't be back to this page to look for that. These will be my final words on the subject in this forum. Edson C. Hendricks, August 15, 2004

  • Well, that's a pity, but it's your decision. I am going to amend the article slightly to include the word "known". I can't put it in the bit attributed to skeptics, but will manage somehow, I hope. Moriori 02:39, Aug 16, 2004 (UTC)

Facts must be true -- clean copy[edit]

For those who may want to read my original remarks above without the rude and impertinent interpositions, here follows a clean copy:

I am the "someone" referenced in the above comments. I have been investigating the Marfa Lights for the past thirteen years, and am widely recognized within the scientific community as a competent expert on all aspects of this subject. I am the featured scientific speaker at the 2004 Marfa Lights Festival in Marfa, Texas, two weeks from now. I supplied nearly all of the original text in the article as it stands; but if I must waste time replying to insults such as this, I will supply no more.

I regret that the comments above employ the derogative terms "weasely," "weaseling" and "obfuscation to characterize my cautious and qualified language. I fail to see how changing "never been confirmed" to "not yet confirmed" is worth any comment at all. I made the change to suggest that in my view there is good reason to suspect that earlier written accounts actually do exist, and that since it has become a question, I plan to see whether I can identify some of these explicitly.

Several years ago the Texas Department of Transportation opened a fine, newly enlarged Marfa Lights roadside viewing area with a visitor center. The structure bears a conspicuous bronze plaque reading as follows:

"IN APPRECIATION -- This Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area was made possible by a generous donation of property from Clayton and Modesta Williams. Their gift honors O.W. Williams who first wrote of the mysterious lights in the 1880's."

Clayton Williams is a prominent rancher and businessman in west Texas, who was the Republican candidate for governor of Texas in 1990. O. W. Williams, who was Clayton Williams' grandfather, wrote a great many articles in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Clayton and Modesta Williams must have approved the text of the plaque quoted above, and both were present at the dedication of the new visitor center. One would assume that Clayton Williams would know what his grandfather wrote, and that he would not permit inaccurate claims about that to appear publicly next to his name.

Indeed, it certainly is not true that if no nineteenth century written report exists, it necessarily follows that verbal accounts can be discounted. I didn't make that up, a skeptic did.

Several years ago I was contacted by a well-known professional astronomer who hosts a popular astronomy web site. He was trying to put together a treatment of the Marfa Lights, and he had some questions for me about the matter.

First, he informed me that he was unaware of any written records of the phenomenon prior to 1985. I replied that I had on my desk right at that moment a published account dated 1976. He then replied suggesting that he didn't think there would be any written accounts before 1970.

Here is a direct excerpt from my email to him at about this point:

"Now to review briefly the bidding, your prior horizon for Marfa Lights written records was 1985. Then I offered one from 1976, and you moved your threshold back to 1970. OK, fine, I just picked up my telephone and called the Marfa City Municipal Library, 432-729-4631, I reached 'Esther' and related your inquiry to her. While I remained on the phone she pulled out her ML scrapbook and offered me an article from the San Angelo Standard Times dated January 14, 1965, and then Paul Moran, 'The Mystery of the Texas Ghost Light,' Coronet Magazine, July 1957, p. 57 (or maybe p. 37, her copy was obscured). She assured me either you or I could examine her material any time we like, and she even offered to make copies and mail them to either of us. I said no need. Good enough, or would you prefer another, earlier threshold now? I'm sure even earlier written records are out there somewhere, I'm confident this story is real."

At this point he replied saying he was now convinced that this whole idea was wrong in the first place, and so we should forget it. He didn't say explicitly, but he implied that this whole angle had come to him from a very well-known skeptic with whom he'd been communicating, whom he identified by name. I checked this skeptic's web site, and indeed, there were the claims, that written accounts of the Marfa Lights first appeared around 1988 when the original Marfa Lights Viewing Area was established, which was when the local business allegedly began to attempt to build the myth to attract tourism. This web site is no longer to be found, or at least, I can't find it.

However, descendants of this skeptic-generated myth persist. Where is the source? See, for example, http://www.watchingyou.com/marfa.html, which includes:

"One question you may be asking yourself: 'The lights have been reported since the 1800's. This means the Lights can't be from cars. Right?' Perhaps. But perhaps not. This particular story has been passed on by those who deny the mundane reality of the Lights. Are there indeed written accounts of the lights, written in the 1800's, that describe these Lights? If so, cite them -- not second-hand references. (Note as of March 2003: In the 6 years this site has been up, no one has been able to furnish these references.) And if people did indeed report mysterious, unexplained lights, were scientists brought in to decide that the lights were unexplainable?"

It is not a "fact" that the very earliest written description of the Marfa Lights "never happened until 1957." The facts are as I report here, and I strongly suspect that the early Coronet Magazine account gained attention due simply to my telephone call that day to the Marfa public library. It certainly doesn't mean that there is no earlier reference. It may mean nothing more than that no earlier account has yet been cited on the Internet where it's easy to find.

The claims from the skeptics generally deny "written" accounts. I used "published," which is accurate and stronger. If it is published, it is obviously written.

"Paranormal" does not exclude natural phenomena. It means, according to the American Heritage dictionary, "Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation." The strong evidence is that mundane explanations for the Marfa Lights, while adequate in very many cases, cannot account for a fairly small fraction of the reported observations, plenty of which I've seen for myself. Nonetheless, my assumption is that this is indeed some very strange and elusive natural phenomenon, yet to be understood and explained.

So in my view, the Wikipedia entry for Marfa Lights is no longer as accurate as I wrote it, and I'm not going to try to fix it any more. Also, if I do find an earlier explicit written reference, I don't plan to cite it for Wikipedia unless some "tolerant" contributor asks me specifically and politely to do so, and I won't be back to this page to look for that. These will be my final words on the subject in this forum. Edson C. Hendricks, August 15, 2004

Question[edit]

This might be a insignificant question to some people, but I'm wondering. Since the phenomenon is commonly known as the "Marfa Lights" why isn't this page there? Wikipedia allows plurals if they are appropriate to the subject. In my opinion the redirect should be heading the other way around. [[User:MacGyverMagic|Mgm|(talk)]] 15:24, Oct 9, 2004 (UTC)


I agree. "Marfa Light" sounds awkward. –Floorsheim 21:27, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Qualities of the Marfa lights[edit]

It is my belief that the 2004 study was purposefully looking for a mundane explanation, because the kinds of lights that they reported did not share qualities with many past events, including the 1973 reports of Pat Kenney and Elwood Wright, where they claimed to see unidentified sources of light at a distance distance of less than one hundred feet, with no attachment to any cars. Likewise, more than enough publications and sources (including but not limited to the San Antonio Standard [May 13, 1976] and Marfa, Texas, Finds a Flickering Flame in Mystery Lights, Wall Street Journal (March 21, 1984)])have stated that the Marfa lights are not at all a recent phenomenon, going back to the time of the Apache who once lived in the region. Aside from this, however, wrangling over the Marfa lights is somewhat foolish, because it is merely one "luminary" among several locations to report similar phenomena (including Wales, Yakima, and Hessdalen). --Chr.K. 02:32, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

What's wrong with "purposefully looking for a mundane explanation"? No wonder that some people don't have a natural explanation if they think one should avoid looking for one!
People stating something does not make it true, by the way. And of course "wrangling over the Marfa lights" is not foolish at all because if you want to find an explanation you have to start somewhere. --Hob Gadling 09:35, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Car Headlights Theory[edit]

I don't understand how the UT Dallas team concluded that these Marfa Lights were car headlights. I just saw the Marfa Lights this week and while I am sure there is a natural explanation for these lights, I don't agree with the car headlights theory. I am naturally a skeptic and don't go for the conspiracy theories but there are some things that I don't see mentioned on this page.

Question - If the Marfa Lights are car headlights then why are tail lights from cars never seen? I never once saw a set of tail lights. Question - If the Marfa Lights are car headlights then why do the lights sometimes travel in one direction and then reverse their direction with quite a bit of speed? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mozzer30 (talkcontribs) 06:01, 17 March 2007 (UTC).Mozzer30 06:02, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

  • I agree. I saw the Marfa lights on December 31st, 2000. From what I saw during the day, from my vantage point, Highway 67 is NOT visible. I would also ask the skeptics: how exactly do cars float? The lights I saw (yellow and green, with one or two red ones) appeared sometimes to be a hundred feet off the ground.

I lived in Presidio County in the early 1980's and I know that references to the Marfa lights were common in local and regional newspapers at that time and had been for years, and local people said they had heard of them for as long as they could remember. As for Hwy. 67 being visible from the viewing site, a very long stretch of it on Todd Hill south of Marfa is visible but you would have to know where to look during the daytime and use binoculars. Vehicle taillights are not visible for any great distance at night but I know from personal observation in the deserted Big Bend country that headlights can be seen from 30 miles away. An account of an early cowboy is often referred to as evidence that the lights were already around in the nineteenth century. I don't know when this was first written down--he is likely the ancestor Clayton Williams referred to. Supposedly he was riding west through Paisano Pass, having just arrived in the area, and saw some lights on the flats and thought they might be Indian campfires (this was in the early 1880's soon after the last Apaches had been driven out). When he arrived in the Marfa area people told him that other people had seen lights in the area. If if thought they were campfires obviously they weren't the kind of moving lights people report now.70.233.134.212 07:15, 15 September 2007 (UTC) For the benefit of anyone who doubts vehicle lights can be seen at such distances, on any clear night you can sit at the parking lot of the visitor's center at Big Bend NP (milepost zero) and see with the naked eye southbound vehicles from the time they emerge from Persimmon Gap at about milepost 28, or you can go a couple of miles towards Rio Grande Village and see vehicles in Mexico, on one of the only two roads, that are many miles the other side of Boquillas or San Vicente, and those villages are themselves fifteen and twenty miles away. You only see those coming towards the river, of course, and only when the lights point directly at you. A person doesn't realize until there is only one light to be seen anywhere within a whole vast area how far it can be seen and what tricks it can play. I have seen an ordinary flashlight from at least eight miles away, and a car will cast a light on a cliff or hillside ten miles away from it, while being itself completely invisible from the viewer. Every vehicle that comes from Presidio at night on Highway 67 is visible for several minutes from the Highway 90 viewing site and appears to be floating in the air, and there is no telling what its headlights are reflecting off at great distances from it. I don't know if this is the whole explanation of the Marfa lights, but it is all I saw the only time I ever visited the viewing site. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.233.143.190 (talk) 08:17, 16 September 2007 (UTC) How can you say how far off the ground the lights are if you can't pinpoint their location? And of course car lights seen from a distance flicker, shift and go out as they travel over undulating terrain and behind hills and through curves.

Fata Morgana (mirage)?[edit]

The latest Skeptoid podcast covered the Marfa lights... the podcast said that the 2004 SPS study concluded that the car lights were distorted due to a Fata Morgana mirage... I can't find any mention of this in the SPS report though... If anyone can find a reliable source for this, it would be good to add. --Interiot 00:30, 13 April 2007 (UTC) ]

article sucks[edit]

Goes without saying that this article is cleverly, weasle-ishly POV.

several months ago I mentioned and linked to the study done on the Marfa Lights here in the discussion page of this article. Someone deleted my comments (and the link) from this page. I don't care enough to get into a war about it, but I think that's seriously lame. Why is the study mentioned but not linked in this article? Would it kill to have that link there instead of say, the skepdic link which isn't of much use? Link to the study, why not?? That's my question.

And as for the person who asked "why can't tail lights be seen when headlights can be seen and verified as per the study?" My guess would be common sense. Tail lights are not as bright as headlights. I'm not mechanic but I'm pretty sure headlights are bigger brighter bulbs, plus, the plastic covering over headlights is clear, making the light brighter. The plastic covering over tail lights is red, dimming the light somewhat.

I just can't believe someone completely deleted my comments and my link to the study on this page. And that the study won't be linked on the marfa article page.

I'm showing bias, yes. The Marfa lights are just headlights. This article is full of crap and doesn't even link the study that tears all conspiracy theories apart, why? Because the article instead needs a bunch of crap links that don't do much (scientifically) to challenge the idea of a supernatural thingy causing the marfa lights?

Said experiment may not be perfect (though it does cover almost everything) but it's certainly worth linking IMO not just glossing over like in the article and I still think it's bull that REGARDLESS of the validity of the study, my comments were deleted from this discussion page.

friggin wikipedia you wonder why no one trusts this site....

  • The Marfa lights are NOT headlights. Anyone who has actually seen them knows that. The "valid" research you talk about is most likely nothing more than a group of people trying to put an explanation on something that just isn't yet explainable. I've seen the Marfa lights and I know a headlight when I see it. The Marfa lights aren't headlights. Headlights aren't green, red, and blue. Headlights don't hover dozens of feet off the ground, change directions, or simply fizzle out of existence.

And if you think the article sucks, stop whining and change it to something that doesn't suck.

my point exactly. this article doesn't really suck, it just needs a little more factual information. Has anybody stopped to consider that the lights seen might actually be lights?

point and case. Thank you... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 63.73.199.69 (talk) 04:37, August 25, 2007 (UTC)

nightorbs.net[edit]

What exactly is all that nightorbs website advertising doing in the article? Seems rather PoVish to me anyway.84.57.160.189 (talk) 22:38, 12 November 2008 (UTC)


About www.nightorbs.net: When I try to go to this site my Avast antivirus immediately warns me that this page contains the trojan horse JS:Agent-BA [Trj]. Make sure your AV software is fully up to date before going there. I suspect the threat level isn't very high, but it's better safe than sorry. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.254.47.232 (talk) 18:58, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Immigrant flashlights?[edit]

Considering the location, why haven't any skeptics considered the possibility that the lights are flashlights held by illegal migrants? 173.12.172.149 (talk) 03:18, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Citations needed[edit]

This article is of terribly poor quality. It makes many claims without providing a single reference. For example, from just the first paragraph: 'Reports often describe...' - which reports? 'Colors are usually described as white, yellow, orange or red, but green and blue are sometimes reported' - by who? 'The balls are said to hover...' - by who? 'They often appear in pairs or groups, according to reports...' - which reports? 'Their sizes are typically said...' - by who?

I have added the neccessary tags, but suggest that unless these claims can be substantiated the article be rewritten describing the lights as a natural phenomenon - fata morgana mirages of Highway 67 traffic lights. The dissenting point of view should be the as yet unsubstantiated paranormal claims or rejections of the scientific, natural explanations.

If anyone disagrees with this proposal I am interested to hear your reasons. Didacticus albus (talk) 17:03, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Uhm. When you say "Natural" phenomena, you mean "automobile headlights", as opposed to the alternate (crazy) explanation that it's something that just happens on its own in nature? That's ... more than a little confusing.
Assuming I'm understanding you, I'm not sure I agree. The notability of the phenomena comes from its ridiculous paranormal claims. It's important to make the reader understand that. It seems appropriate to describe it as an alleged paranormal phenomena and then describe it's debunking. You wouldn't open the Loch Ness Monster article with a description of boat wakes and floating logs. APL (talk) 17:59, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

I apologise, I guess I wasn't very clear. I take issue at how the article is framed. The article makes the claim that the lights are unexplained, and that the explanations given for the observed phenomena are insufficient, and implies that it is supernatural or paranormal in some way. The 'Criticism' section contains 'arguments' against this position. I believe that the Marfa Lights should be represented as a natural phenomenon for which there is an explanation, as described in the studies which have been done, and the 'criticsm' section should be replaced with an 'alternate explanations' or 'paranormal claims' section, detailing the positions of those disagreeing with the scientific explanations (providing those opinions can be properly referenced). I'm not suggesting the article be devoid of information about the paranormal claims, nor of descriptions from eyewitnesses (again, as long as they can be adequately referenced). The cultural significance of the Marfa Lights phenomenon is an important subject too, and its importance to the town of Marfa is also notable. Didacticus albus (talk) 22:17, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Ok, then I think I agree with you. I certainly don't like how the lead describes them as "Unexplained". However, some care should be taken that the topic is still introduced as an alleged paranormal phenomena. Again, the article on the loch ness monster doesn't start by talking about boat wakes and floating logs, it opens by talking about the lore and mythology of the monster, which is the heart of the matter. The origins of the myth are secondary. I think this article should be approached the same way.
I made a very quick stab at it, but it's still not very good. The summary should probably include a little more of why these are interesting to anyone. APL (talk) 14:44, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Important Part of the Story Missing[edit]

I just watched the Unsolved Mysteries episode and proceeded to Google the subject, arriving here on Wiki. I read the article, including the section about the Unsolved Mysteries episode. What it fails to include is the formal scientific investigation that was conducted into the phenomenon. The investigators, from a local observatory and university, included a professor of chemistry, a geologist and an astronomer. They focused on the areas away from the highway and watched for air traffic, determining that neither were the cause for the light that they later observed, fading in and out. They were certain that it did not come from a man-made source and was a natural occurrence. They suggested that it was possibly refractive starlight or luminous gasses produced by earthquakes, but they were certain that it was a natural phenomenon occurring in the atmosphere which is not yet explained by science. http://unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com/wiki/Marfa_Lights

I am going to add this to the article, as the fourth paragraph in that section, as it is of great importance to the subject. The article shares skeptics' views, explaining away the activity as car lights, etc. This is what gives great importance to this investigation, as it is disproves the skeptics' arguments against the phenomenon being a natural one. Neurolanis (talk) 22:08, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

I think Unsolved Mysteries is now being given far too much undue weight in the article. That section needs to be trimmed.
The show is not intended to be educational or scientific. It's light entertainment. The segment with the scientists is exactly as real as the "product comparisons" in a late night infomercial. They're people, who may or may not really be "scientists", who are paid to show up and say something entertaining. They might not have actually been handed a script, but I promise you that they understood what they were supposed to say before they even went to check out the lights. (There's nothing dishonest about that. "Unsolved Mysteries" is entertainment. They bend the truth to put on a good show.) APL (talk) 06:30, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
You promise me, huh? Care to provide me with evidence to support this claim? Wikipedia itself describes the show thusly: a documentary format profiling real-life mysteries and featured reenactments of unsolved crimes, missing persons, conspiracy theories and unexplained paranormal phenomena (alien abductions, ghosts, UFOs, and "secret history" theories). It sounds to me that you are actually going against how Wikipedia describes the show. I think that it is fair to show both sides of the story, not just one (as would be expected of any mainstream news or information source.) It sounds to me as if you feel that the article should only reflect one side. Neurolanis (talk) 23:49, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree with that bolded text.
Unsolved Mysteries is documentary format. And it does "profile" those things.
How does that contradict what I said? APL (talk) 22:57, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Because it is a "documentary format profiling real-life mysteries," not a "mocumentary" or a "documentary-style series loosely based on actual events," etc. This description gives the show integrity, which your previous statement attempts to scrap. You know better than this. Both sides should be reflected fairly in the article. Wikipedia should be bias-free. Neurolanis (talk) 07:17, 11 September 2015 (UTC)

Marfa lights in the 1800s[edit]

The Unsolved Mysteries episode had stated that the lights had been first reported in the late 1800s. before there were automobiles. While I'm not claiming they're UFOs or anything, they have been seen for a very long time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.80.110.225 (talk) 17:12, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

Unsolved Mysteries is entertainment.
Besides, even if someone found a real reference to the lights from that time period (Which, as far as I'm aware, nobody has.) it wouldn't really contradict the theory that the things are basically mirages. Camp-fires and even lanterns could easily provide the light needed to cause the illusion. APL (talk) 19:25, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

Original research and essay-like structure[edit]

Recent revisions have fundamentally changed the article, resulting in an essay-like structure, containing what appears to be original research (most particularly in the 'Explanations' section). This will clearly need rectification. Please note that this is also being discussed at Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard#Marfa Lights. AndyTheGrump (talk) 14:30, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Astronomical? carlights? Foolish science claims[edit]

Nobody citing spiritual connection, foo-fighters or different views. What a lame explanation. When science tries to play God it fails in plain view. --81.37.41.177 (talk) 19:01, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

are you serious? what a lame fringe theory. if you have a problem with the article, edit it, it is not locked. see if you get reverted --84.60.141.136 (talk) 19:28, 24 June 2014 (UTC)