Rodeo, New Mexico
January 1, 2005
So when did the Spooklight originate and what are some theories from believers and skeptics? Earliest origins are estimated to be mid- to late 1800s, after the beheading of a Quapaw Indian, whose wife hid his head. The Spooklight is said to be the spirit of the man searching for his head. A more romantic version tells of a young Quapaw couple pursued to a cliff, where they leapt together into Spring River, their spirits merging forever into a wandering light. Variants of the headless tale include one about a miner decapitated in a mining accident, and whose spirit wanders about carrying a lantern, also in search of his head. Another tells of a Confederate sergeant killed by cannon fire, and yes, searching for his head. Yet another has a miner searching for his kidnapped children. Some researchers maintain, though, that Spooklight is an Ozark legend that began following the introduction of the automobile, not before. The lights could be reflections from car lights on nearby roads, including old Route 66, deflected by heat rising from the hills. Issue is immediately taken with this by firmer believers, who maintain Spooklight showed itself LONG before highway construction and even the advent of motorized vehicles.
Apparently most people who’ve grown up in the Spooklight area have seen it many times and take it for granted with a combination of amusement, awe, and a little fear. There are no reports that the light has harmed anyone, although people have harmed themselves trying to get away from it too fast or from the combined effects of drinking and driving en route or away from the Spooklight. Reports of sightings range from the far away to very up close, its movements described as dancing, darting, floating, bouncing, hopping, skipping, spinning, swaying, and zipping. Colors also vary, as well as shape of the light itself. For more info and stories, view the 4-State Explorers Spooklight Page.
From journal Spirits of Carthage, Missouri