Mystery behind the Brown Mountain Lights persists

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By Luke Weir. November 1, 2017. BLOWING ROCK, NC — When the sun goes down and conditions are right, spectators overlooking Brown Mountain Ridge may witness mysterious orbs of light.

Located in the Pisgah National Forest, an hour Southwest from Blowing Rock, Brown Mountain is home to an unexplained luminescent phenomenon known as the Brown Mountain Lights, visible from the Linville Gorge and along the Blue Ridge Parkway at overlooks on mileposts 301 & 310.

Nobody knows exactly where the flashing lights come from, or where they go once they disappear.

The leading experts investigating the Brown Mountain Lights are a group of paranormal researchers called the League of Energy materialization and Unexplained phenomena Research, or the L.E.M.U.R. team.

“Back in the folk-days there were stories of soldier spirits along the Brown Mountain ridgeline,” L.E.M.U.R. member Dean Warsing said in a phone interview. “Older folklore explained it as ghosts with lanterns.”

It’s 100% unnatural; not subtle at all.

Warsing said his team worked with National Geographic to document and investigate the phenomenon using a plethora of tools and devices, including military-grade night vision goggles. His team tentatively hypothesized that the lights might be the result of some type of piezoelectric effect, along the same lines of what causes a spark to flick when using an everyday lighter, only on a much larger scale.

Despite the team’s best guess, and many other countless explanations such as scientific, religious and supernatural reasonings, nobody knows exactly what makes the lights appear, but everyone seems to have a different answer.

“It’s rather paranormal,” Warsing said. “With a place of interest like this, stories just grow and grow.”

According to research done by the L.E.M.U.R. team, it is possible for the Brown Mountain Lights to occur in any weather conditions and at any time. However, the lights are most prominent in the darkness of autumn, either in the rain or shortly after, when extra carbon is in the air from smoke and when the kp index, which measures earth’s magnetic field, reads 5 or above, according to brownmountainlights.com.

Third-year Appalachian State student Mitchell Tanzy, who claims to have seen the lights for himself, described his experience as downright spooky.

“It’s one hundred percent unnatural; not subtle at all. The patterns are incredibly geometric, definitely not something you would expect to see in nature,” Tanzy said. “The hardest part about the experience was trying to rationalize what I just saw because there’s no explanation for why those lights appear.”

More information on the mysterious orbs of light can be found at brownmountainlights.com.

Edited by Taylor Welsh

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