Legends of America
Traveling through american history, destinations & legends since 2003., devil’s promenade & the hornet spook light.
Hornet Spook Light near Joplin, Missouri. Photo from Lisa Livingston-Martin, Paranormal Science Lab .
Bobbing and bouncing along a dirt road in northeast Oklahoma is the Hornet Spook Light, a paranormal enigma for more than a century. Described most often as an orange ball of light, the orb travels east to west along a four-mile gravel road, long called the Devil’s Promenade by area locals.
The Spook Light, often referred to as the Joplin Spook Light or the Tri-State Spook Light is actually in Oklahoma near the small town of Quapaw . However, it is most often seen from the east, which is why it has been “attached” to the tiny hamlet of Hornet, Missouri , and the larger, better-known town of Joplin.
According to the legend, the spook light was first seen by Indians along the infamous Trail of Tears in 1836; however, the first “official” report occurred in 1881 in a publication called the Ozark Spook Light .
The ball of fire, described as varying from the size of a baseball to a basketball, dances and spins down the center of the road at high speeds, rising and hovering above the treetops before it retreats and disappears. Others have said it sways from side to side, like a lantern carried by some invisible force. In any event, the orange fire-like ball has reportedly been appearing nightly for well over 100 years. According to locals, the best time to view the spook light is between 10:00 p.m. and midnight, and tends to shy away from large groups and loud sounds.
Though many paranormal and scientific investigators have studied the light, including the Army Corps of Engineers, no one has been able to provide a conclusive answer as to the origin of the light.
Many explanations have been presented over the years, including escaping natural gas, reflecting car lights and billboards, and will-o’-the-wisps, a luminescence created by rotting organic matter. However, all of these explanations fall short of being conclusive.
As to the theory of escaping natural gas, common in marshy areas, the Hornet Light is seemingly not affected by wind or rain, and how would it self-ignite? The idea that it might be a will-o’-the-wisp is discounted, as this biological phenomenon does not display the intensity of the ball of light seen along the Devil’s Promenade. Explanations of headlights or billboards are easily discarded, as the light was seen years before automobiles or billboards were made and before a road even existed in the area.
One possible explanation that is not as easily discounted but not yet proven conclusive is that the lights are electrical atmospheric charges. In areas where rocks, deep below the earth’s surface, are shifting and grinding, an electrical charge can be created. This area, lying on a fault line running east from New Madrid, Missouri, westward to Oklahoma, was the site of four earthquakes during the eighteenth century. These types of electrical fields are most commonly associated with earthquakes.
Devil’s Promenade near Joplin, Missouri
Other interesting legends also abound about the light, providing a more ghostly explanation. The oldest story is of a Quapaw Indian maiden who fell in love with a young brave. However, her father would not allow her to marry the man as he did not have a large enough dowry. The pair eloped but were soon pursued by a party of warriors. According to the legend, when the couple was close to being apprehended, they joined hands above the Spring River and leaped to their deaths. It was shortly after this event that the light began to appear and was attributed to the spirits of the young lovers.
Another legend tells of a miner whose cabin was attacked by Indians while he was away. Upon his return, he found his wife and children missing and is said to continue looking for them along the old road, searching with his lantern.
Others say the Spook Light is the ghost of an Osage Indian chief who was decapitated in the area and continues to search for his lost head with a lantern held high in his hand.
Sightings of the Spook Light are common, sometimes even reported to be seen inside vehicles. A few people who have been walking along the road at night have even claimed to have felt the heat of the ball as it passed near them.
Reportedly, the moving anomaly, growing brighter and dimmer, larger and smaller, can be seen approximately 12 miles southwest of Joplin, Missouri. To get to Devil’s Promenade Road, take Interstate 44 west from Joplin, but before you reach the Oklahoma border, take the next to the last Missouri exit onto Star Route 43. Traveling south for about four miles, you will reach a crossroads, which is Devil’s Promenade Road.
© Kathy Alexander / Legends of America , updated October 2023.
Readers Stories about the Spooklight:
Reader Ren Hunter writes:
As a resident of Joplin, Missouri for nearly all of my life, before moving to Carthage within this year, I had heard stories of the Spooklight throughout my childhood. Being as I was able to see things, understand things–albeit I was just a child who didn’t know better. My mom said I had an “imaginary friend” but, whose not to say, that was a family member? Or maybe, something even more sinister.
In 2020, my mom and I made a pact to start a YouTube channel, and it will be themed around the supernatural/paranormal, we went to a few graveyards, and places that we were told were haunted, and let me tell you, they didn’t disappoint. We decided since it was nearing Halloween(2020) that we were going to go to the Spooklight, it was the perfect night to do it, as it was a full moon–this was after trick or treating had come to a stop–which you didn’t see much since COVID was bad around that time.
We get to the destination, and we’re sitting there in the car–we pull up a bit further than most, when traveling down that road, there’s a forest of trees to the right(if going towards Quapaw), we stop just when that ends. We turned off the car, cracked the windows and just stared dead ahead. At first, nothing really happened, but I asked my mom to flash her lights a few times. I’m not sure why it happened, but it seemed to have called out to the spirit or spirits that are the Spooklight. The light seemed faint, but you could tell it was real. The light remained near the ground and danced from one side to the other, it glowed a bit brighter but nothing super strange. Then it seemed to disappear after 5-10 minutes, and as we left(we turned around in someone’s driveway) I spotted the light within my side mirror but it soon faded after that.
From 2020 until 2023, we had probably gone 20 or so times, each time we brought someone new with us–especially people who had never been, because new faces, new energies, could shake things up for us. And how right we were. One night(2021), we went, taking a family member, who was completely new to it all. We got to our exact spot, turned off the car, flicked the headlights three times and waited in the dark. Roughly 15 minutes later something that had never happened before, happened–as we watched dead ahead, two lights came into view, we thought, “Car?” We waited longer, about 5 minutes, and within that 5 minutes, no car came down the road. Now, we know that it could be debunked, perhaps they turned off on one of the many side roads, or driveways. However, it didn’t make sense, not to us. When no car came into sight, we started our car and began a slow drive down the road, as we approached the area where the Spooklight is seen, it was no longer in our view. We all looked at one another for a split second–where we were at, and where those two lights were was just at the end of one hill and the start of the other before it slopes back down–there were no driveways in that area. It made no sense! We thought we were crazy.
A few weeks after the incident, we went back–giving the Spooklight breaks between our visits, it just felt right.This time would be no different than the last. We arrived, parked in our normal spot, flicked our lights 3 times, and then sat in total darkness. We had brought some people with us who were a tad skeptical, believed but didn’t believe.We expressed what happened last time to them, and they wanted to see for themselves. We had probably been there for about 5 to 10 minutes when we saw the Spooklight in its glory, little did we know it was going to repeat exactly what happened last time. Two lights, that looked like the lights of a vehicle, appeared on the opposite side of us, near the Spooklight, bright white lights, with a yellow about it. Again, “Car?” We said, questioning it, unaware that we were once again being graced with a sight I’ve not heard many others speak about in their stories. No car came down that road, after the two lights appeared, lined up perfectly as if it was really a car. You’d think it ends there, right? Absolutely not.
In 2022, we decided to go again, this time was definitely different. We arrived, normal spot, flicked our lights and sat in the darkness of the night. Now, upon arriving at the Spooklight, I can tell you we were already seeing it in the distance as we traveled down the road to our destination. It also felt different too, we had been there so many times before, but something felt strange. The light showed up a few minutes after we sat there in darkness, we kept hearing noises, which was odd, and off to the right, on a piece of property, we saw another light. It zoomed between trees, and just disappeared. It was odd, nothing was making sense, then we sat there watching the light some more. I felt a chill run down my back as the light appeared to be getting closer to us, it was like something else was there and it was toying with us. Never in the amount of times had we gone did this ever happen to us.
Finally, this year we went in Sep, the start of Fall, the start of spooky things, you could just feel it in the air. Upon arrival, we could see it in the distance, and as we got closer, it got brighter–the incidents that happened before, didn’t happen again–but it definitely felt strange to see it act so normal. After hearing stories of it going into the trees, something I had never witnessed myself, but seeing something no one else has reported–that I know of–just seemed not only cool, but definitely strange.
Ren Hunter, October 2023.
Reader’s Story from Hornet, Missouri
I was doing some walking down memory lane this evening and came across your website about the old Hornet Spook Light. Your site seems to be one of the few that is updated, and I thought I would share my story of the Spook Light.
My dad was born in Seneca, near Hornet and Joplin. In fact, our family cemetery is in Hornet – generations of folks who lived and died on the prairie. It is a really amazing place. My dad is something of an adventurer, and I think he got that from his mom. She would tell us amazing and hilarious stories of cows jumping through the barn window, the wagon turning over and dumping everyone out on their way to church, and surviving countless tornadoes in “tornado alley.”
I remember my grandmother telling her story of the Spook Light. It seems that when she was in high school, it was common for buses to take tourists – and locals – to see the light.
The night she went, they had a truly close encounter. It seems the light not only appeared but actually came down the road toward their bus, rested on the hood, and then burst into a bright, blinding light and vanished. I don’t know if she ever went again. I heard the story many times, and she never changed or embellished it. She was in her 80s when she died about 15 years ago, so it was a very long time ago when she had her encounter.
My dad, as I said, is also an adventurer. Until I married, we would all vacation every year in that section of Missouri, visiting the family and exploring every little road and interesting spot on the map. I’ve explored countless deserted cabins and been through just about every little museum in the area. So, of course, one night, we had to see the Spook Light.
I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I know I was in high school, so that would have been the late 70s, early 80s. It was late when we got there, and I only saw a few cars in the area. Dad parked, and we waited. Yes, it showed up. I’ve read the explanations of the light…and some very reputable and determined people claim it’s cars on the highway. What I saw was certainly NOT headlights. We watched a car drive down the road toward the light. The light was above the car as it passed under it – and the light was brighter and larger than the tail lights receding in the distance – so I don’t see that headlights even farther away could appear that large, even if you could logically assume that the light was above the car, because the highway was higher than the road…I understand all of that.
What happened next convinced me that it was not headlights. The large light split into two smaller lights – and yes, they looked like headlights. So, I assumed it was just that and was somewhat disappointed…until the lights moved into a vertical position, held that position for several seconds, then moved back to a horizontal location, joined, and vanished. If a car could have accomplished that feat, it had somehow driven in a traditional way, then on its side, righted itself and managed to blend its headlights into one bright light and vanish.
I wasn’t a child – I was at least 16 years old. I know what I saw and I’ve never seen anything like it since. I have no explanation for it. I believe I saw the Spook Light. I don’t believe it was an alien or ghost; I am convinced there is a logical scientific reason behind it. But whatever it is, it certainly wasn’t headlights that night! Perhaps other sightings can be attributed to headlights, but not that summer night 30 years ago!
My dad wants to take my sister and our families back to the old family farm one more time – my daughter, niece and nephew have never been to Missouri. I’m planning to ask for an evening at the Spook Light. Maybe we’ll get lucky and pass the mystery on to the next generation!
Submitted by: Cassandra Krummel Golden, November 2009
I saw on your list of most haunted places the name of a place close to my heart. The Spook Light at Hornet, Missouri. My great uncle, Garland Middleton, owned a museum there for many years. He inherited the nickname “Spooky” from the former owner. The Spook Light has been studied by scientists from all over, the Corps of Engineers, and many more people for over a hundred years, and it has never been explained. I have seen it lots of times myself. I’ve seen it split into four glowing balls, turn red, then blue, and disappear. It’ll be in front of you. then disappear and then be behind you. It literally went through cars. Sometimes it comes out sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t. The best time to see it is after midnight when it’s really quiet. They tried to close the road it to the public several years ago. Talk about a 4-state uproar!!!!!! It’s still open. 🙂 The story goes back to Indian days.
Submitted by : Diane Melton, October 2005
A Reader’s Story About the Spooklight in Oklahoma
My name is Jackie, and I grew up in Quapaw, Oklahoma, attending grade school and high school through the 10th grade before we moved. My father grew up with the light, and I would have to say I saw the Spook Light at least 175 times or more during the time that I lived there in the 1960s.
There used to be an old bar near Spook Light Road where my dad would take us when we had company from out of town. We kids loved to go there, play pool, and listen to the old man who owned the bar tell us stories about the light. Often we would sit outside on the car to watch for the Spook Light. We had to be really quiet, or it would not come out. As we watched, all of a sudden it would appear at the other end of the road. My dad would leave his lights out and try to creep up on it, but always, by the time we got near the light, it would suddenly be behind us.
It was a regular tradition that our family would attend the Indian pow-wows on every 4th of July holiday. On one of these occasions, after we left the pow-wow, we went to my Aunt’s house, which was just right off Spook Light Road. As we were drying there at about 10:00 p.m., a light came up behind us, weaving back and forth across the road like a drunk. My mom insisted that we pull over and let the car pass; however, as soon as we did, the light took off across the land.
I have seen it with a big white light with a small green one below it, as well as it sometimes appearing as a red or yellow-orange colored orb. I believe, at one time Readers Digest came out with a story in the late 1950s or early 1960s. On another occasion, my father took me and all our friends out into the country, where we had such a bizarre experience it would make you believe almost anything. At this place, there was a fence upon the land where an Indian and his wife were said to have been killed by a white man. According to the legend, the Indian stated before he died that, he and his wife would always be around. At the fence, dad had us hold our hands out with a piece of bread over the fence. Suddenly, we would feel something taking the bread from our hands. Even with a flashlight, you could see that it was there one second, and the bread was gone the next. This was very scary to me at the time.
When I grew older, my dates always took me to Spook Light Road, and along the way, we would cross the Spring River Bridge, its wooden structure rocking side to side so badly that I was frightened before we ever reached Spook Light Road. I always saw the light appear near Quapaw, Oklahoma.
I don’t know if it is the same now as it was back then, so I will be making plans to go home to Quapaw, Oklahoma, to see it again. My Aunt Mary, who was raised with me, will go with me. It should be fun as we talk about our old stories and try to find the light again.
Submitted by: Jackie Oliver, June 2005
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Tri-State Spook Light aka Hornet Spook Light
One of the few consistently performing mystery lights in the U.S., glowing since 1881, and named the Hornet Spook Light (after a now defunct town). Investigated without satisfaction by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1946, which declared it a "mysterious light of unknown origin."
The orbs are visible at night (when they choose to appear) along a four mile stretch of the gravel Oklahoma East 50 Road, also called the "The Devil's Promenade" and "Spook Light Road." Current explanations blame it on lights refracted through the woods from nearby highways, or escaping subterranean gas, or piezoelectric energy created by quartz crystals rubbing together underground. Or ghosts.
At one point in its history there was a local general store maintaining a Spook Light Museum, but that has been closed for decades.
Also see: Mystery Spots | Creatures Guide: Spook Lights
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The Legend Of The Ozark Spook Light In Missouri Will Make Your Blood Run Cold
A professional writer for more than two decades, Beth has lived in nearly a dozen states – from Missouri and Virginia to Connecticut and Vermont – and Toronto, Canada. In addition to traveling extensively in the U.S. and the U.K., she has a BA in Journalism from Point Park University (PA), a MA in Holocaust & Genocide Studies from Stockton University (NJ), and a Master of Professional Writing from Chatham University (PA). A writer and editor for Only In Your State since 2016, Beth grew up in and currently lives outside of Pittsburgh and when she’s not writing or hanging out with her bunnies, budgies, and chinchilla, she and her daughter are out chasing waterfalls.
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We all probably have our own favorite legend – and theories behind it – whether it’s the sudden appearance and rapid departure of Momo or it’s the Ozark Spook Light in Missouri. The legend of the Ozark Spook Light dates back more than a century, and the stories behind it may be just as intriguing as capturing a glimpse of the light itself.
What do you think is causing the Spook Light in Missouri? Have you ever seen it? Join the conversation in the comments! Have you heard of the Legend of Momo , a mysterious Missouri monster who first appeared in the early 1970s?
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Home » Folklore
The Spook Light: This Creepy, Glowing Orb Might Give You Nightmares
This mysterious flickering light that appears in the back woods of missouri might just have you spooked what exactly is the spook light find out . . . if you dare.
One of the oddest and weirdest stories in the Heartland of America is that of the Spook Light, a glowing orb that appears near the border of Missouri and Oklahoma in an area known as the “Devil’s Promenade.” The bouncing, colorful light has been a mystery for hundreds of years. So what’s behind this eerie phenomenon?
What Is The Spook Light?
The light is also known as the Devil’s Jack-O-Lantern, Hornet Spook Light, Hollis Light, and the Joplin Spook Light. But each of these names gives you the rough idea: it’s spooky.
The Spook Light has been witnessed by Native Americans and others since the early 1830s, during the days of the Trail of Tears . No one knows for sure what the Spook Light actually is, but it is commonly described as a single ball of light (or a tight grouping of lights)—varying in size from the size of a baseball to the size of a basketball—that appears in the area frequently, usually at night, no matter the time of year.
Sometimes the ball of light remains still. Other times it moves with active vibration. Folklore and legend says it’s either the Devil with a lantern wandering the Earth, or the soul of a confederate soldier. Another tale involves the ghosts of two young Native American lovers searching for each other in the nightscape.
One of the earliest written reports of the Spook Light was in 1936, from the Kansas City Star , though the legend has been around for almost 100 years before its official documentation.
What Causes The Spook Light?
Some speculate that it could be anything from natural gas leaking out of the earth, to car lights in the distance reflecting off a river a few miles away. However, these strange lights have been reported since the 1880s (before cars) in the woods, over the land, and even in backyards.
In 1946, a team of investigators from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers studied the Spook Light, but there were no concrete findings that seemed a logical source for the orb.
The Spook Light: A Haunting Attraction
The Spook Light is very popular, especially around Halloween. Automobile transportation made it possible for even more people to visit to these rumored haunted country roads—curiosity-seekers have been coming from far and wide for years trying to spook themselves and witness the Spook Light, firsthand. And today, if you pull into Southwest Missouri, the odds of someone being able to give you the proper direction to the mysterious light are pretty high.
What do you think the Spook Light could be? Is it something logical that hasn’t been considered, or could one of the old legends hold true?
Is it time for a road trip to see for yourself? The Spook Light is 11 miles southwest of Joplin, Missouri. Get directions to the best viewing spot here!
Join The Discussion!
Have you ever seen The Spook Light before?
Do you believe it really exists?
Let us know in the comments below!
Larry Fleury is a writer and outdoor photographer who has a background in atmospheric science, marketing, astrophotography, creative writing, and all things outdoors. His photography has been featured by The Weather Channel, Midwest Living Magazine, and National Geographic Your Shot. Larry lives on the edge of the Ozark Mountain Range in Southeast Kansas, where he spends his free time fishing, camping, hunting, hiking, storm chasing, and playing guitar on the porch.
In the late 60’s I was playing in a nightclub in Joplin and after closing several of us decided to see if we could find the “Spooklight” that we had heard so much about. It was a cool clear night and we found the little store called Spookys which was closed at this early hour but we knew we were on the right road. We parked on a hill that gave a nice view of the road and waited… and waited. It was close to 4 AM and just as we were about ready to leave my friend said “ Look, is that it? A small glowing ball appeared far down the road and seemed to be coming our way it grew in size as it came nearer and then disappeared behind a dip in the road then suddenly reappeared, by time it was about the size of a basketball and the glow alternated between white and yellow. We were all transfixed and holding our breath as it loomed larger. Suddenly one of friends freaked out and started yelling “No No No”! and it vanished. We didn’t know whether to be mad or relieved but the be thing for sure we had definitely seen something quite mysterious.
I live in Archie and saw the light with my husband in our back yard last year. He saw it first and called me outside. It was maybe about the size of a basketball and was in the grass. I ran inside to get my phone to take a picture but when I came back out it was already gone.
We have the Gurdon Light in South Central AR. My husband and and I took our kids and a couple of others out to see it once. It’s hovers near and over the railroad track and isn’t all that large. It will appear somewhat close at times then be be at a distance. Didn’t scare me. I was more afraid of someone jumping out of the woods at us?
My mother grew up in the woods and spoke of these lights often. She said they were playful. You could chase them and they would bob higher, and then they would come back down. At sunset they would bob through the woods, never hitting a tree. Country people called them jack o lantern.
Wow! Thanks for sharing Terri!
I went to NEO A&M in nearby Miami, OK for three semesters and went out twice with friends to see if we could see it. No such luck. The B&W photo above of the two ladies looking at it actually looks like a train headlight more than anything but I don’t think there are train tracks close around those parts.
My grandmother was an honest, christian lady, and there is no doubt in my mind the incident she told us as children was true. Her mother told her she could go blackberry picking by herself if only she would be home before dark. She lost track of time and the sun was setting and she became a little frightened. She turned around to see a ball of light slowly bouncing behind her as if God sent it to safeguard her home. It disappeared as her home was in sight. I believe this was her guardian angel that was assigned to her at birth, as we all have. The Bible says one day we will actually meet our angel and know they’re name.
Have you ever considered that it Could perhaps be Spiritual, and that it ISN’T meant to be evil but good?! Angels have been known to be called UFO’s! They APPEAR as light, or a male or female, ANYTHING that someone might NEED to see in order to Help them. I KNOW… A lot of people think that those of us who believe in THAT sort of thing is crazy, but think about it, there are a Lot of people who have Actually SEEN Angel’s too! Besides, if it is where people have died, the Angels are there to escort them to the next realm!
Fallen angels may man UFOs but not angels of God. All UFOs do is take people away from God, think about it!
I hope it’s supernatural. We need some mysteries in life. However, it’s probably moonlight bouncing off outcroppings of quartz rock or something boring like that.
I don’t know what it is. But I know the people that do know don’t want us to know!!
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The Hornet Spooklight
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How Curious: What Is The “Spooklight?”
A mysterious ball of light seems to appear and disappear on a road in far northeast Oklahoma. One listener who witnessed the so-called “spooklight” asked: Where is it coming from?
Editor’s Note: A version of this story aired in October 2018.
Lora Nall saw the spooklight for the first time in her early twenties along E 50 Road, also known as Spooklight Road or the Devil’s Promenade, in Quapaw, Oklahoma.
“You’re told to park your car on the side of the road, turn out all of your lights and stay quiet. [Then this ball of light] starts to just sort of float. Sometimes it looks like it’s floating toward you,” Nall said.
She asked How Curious: What causes this phenomenon?
One urban legend suggests the light is the wandering spirits of two Quapaw lovers who killed themselves after they were forbidden to marry. Another claims it’s the ghost of a miner carrying a lantern.
Though some argue the light has been around since the late nineteenth century, it was reportedly first documented in 1935 by a newspaper. In 1946, the Army Corps of Engineers supposedly investigated the site and could not find an explanation.
At one time, a Spooklight Museum, reportedly run by Arthur “Spooky” Meadows and then Garland “Spooky” Middleton, allowed visitors to view the light through a telescope. The museum’s walls were said to be papered with articles about Spooklight sightings.
An Unscientific Experiment
Like Nall, University of Central Oklahoma English professor Allen Rice was also curious about the spooklight.
“I thought it might be swamp gas,” Rice said.
Gases like methane are often cited as the cause of otherworldly glows and mysterious flickers--sometimes called will-o’-the-wisps--in swamps and marshes.
Rice leads a group called “The Boomers,” in which he and several friends and family members try to solve unusual mysteries. They have searched for buried treasure in the Rocky Mountains, looked for the Loch Ness Monster and traveled to Roswell, New Mexico, the site of an alleged 1947 UFO crash.
A few years ago, The Boomers took a trip to the Devil’s Promenade, expecting to be underwhelmed by Oklahoma’s Spooklight.
“At the top of the road, [there was] this sort of glowing basketball. And we were shocked. We kept saying, ‘What is happening?’” Rice said.
After taking some observations, the Boomers conducted an unscientific experiment, which they documented in a YouTube video .
Rice and several Boomers drove to Spooklight Road and parked in the best possible viewing place, facing a forest at the end of the road. Another group drove to the opposite side of the forest and flickered the car’s headlights. According to Rice, his group could see the Spooklight phenomenon through the trees.
“I think what’s happening is cars...are coming down the long highway, and we’re seeing headlights or tail lights five miles away,” Rice said.
Rice’s theory has not been well-received online.
“This is the absolute worst explanation ever,” wrote one YouTube commenter.
But a 1965 investigation by the magazine Popular Mechanics backs up Rice’s results. Using binoculars in daylight, Rice and his team were able to see cars near where the Spooklight supposedly originates.
Though some claim the light was visible before cars existed, Rice said sightings that old are not well-documented. The phenomenon could also have been created by distant campfires or torches.
Rice said he’s not surprised by the backlash to The Boomers’ mundane explanation.
“We all want awesome. When you go to Loch Ness, you’re looking in the water because you want Nessie to be there,” he said.
How Curious is a production of KGOU Radio. It's produced by Claire Donnelly. This episode was edited by Jacob McCleland and Caroline Halter. David Graey composed the theme music. Email your questions about Oklahoma to [email protected]. Subscribe to the How Curious podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast app.
As a community-supported news organization, KGOU relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online , or by contacting our Membership department.
Tri-State Spook Light Booklet
In the Autumn of 1955, a booklet on the Tri-State Spook Light was produced in Joplin, Missouri by the retired Capt. Bob Loftin, an enthusiast on the light. One of the owners of this old booklet, which originally sold for 25c, scanned the pages and put them online. With the permission of that owner, in May 2002 I transcribed the entire document so that it could be searched, read, and quoted more easily.
The booklet itself is a mixture of articles from various sources, along with one photo by Orrick Sparlin, and a map in the appendix prepared by Capt. Loftin showing the three areas in which the spooklight has been known to show. There are many advertisements, presumably to finance the production of the booklet, and these have their own particular charm.
So as well as being a good source for information about the spooklight, it's also a pretty good source of '50s culture: one of the most interesting comments is that given by a man credited as "Frank Allen, Jr. (Colored)", who refers to the fact that there aren't any segregation problems along the spook light road, since he won't be going. The tone of the whole booklet varies between the sensationalistic, the skeptical, and the colourful, which reflects the fact that it's been composed from many sources.
If you have a copy of this booklet that you'd be willing to sell, please email me ; there was a copy on ebay in the summer of 2006, but I only found out about it after it sold.
TRI-STATE 25c SPOOK LIGHT it Actually Exists SEE for Yourself... Authentic Guide by Bob (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) YOU CAN SEE IT TOO UNKNOWN -- FEARED -- INTERESTING!!! "The mysterious light of the Ozarks, near Hornet, Mo., has been seen nightly for over a half century to the amazement of thousands." *** KANSAS CITY STAR-- "In the Star office we have recieved reports of these spook lights for many years. Scientists had visited the area, seeking explana- tions on the spot, but they failed to locate the source." *** TULSA WORLD-- "During World Was II the U.S. Corps of Engineers spent weeks in the area with the latest scientific equipment. They came away baffled." *** ST. LOUIS GLOBE DEMOCRAT-- ". . . it could be an interplanetary filling station for flying saucers." *** COLUMBUS DAILY ADVOCATE-- ". . . persons will be interested in knowing the "Tri-State Spook Light" contains points of interest for tourists, including map, pictures, news items, Army tests, stories and testimonials of many persons who have visited the Hornet, Mo., area and tried to solve the mystery." *** A POINT OF INTEREST FOR TOURISTS --1-- NEWS RELEASE By LESLIE G. KENNON State of Missouri DIVISION OF RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT Jefferson City, Missouri The Ozarks, thousands of sprawling acres of scenic beauty and packed full of Indian and colorful local legend, is reviving one of its oldest phenomena-- the "ghost lights." For more than 50 years, espe- cially since the coming of the auto age, tourists from all over the country have come to see them; national magazines have given space to the story; photog- raphers have tried in vain to take pictures. And today the "ghost lights" are becoming a top tourist at- traction in the area. No one can give an accurate account of whence they came nor can any two people describe the lights in the same words. To each, it is something dif- ferent, a symbolism of something unknown, sometimes feared, al- ways interesting. It is, to the tourists' way of thinking some- thing unique which they cannot find anywhere else and which is well worth their time to visit. The "ghost lights," as they are called by local citizens, appear actually as one bright light, often dimming and then bouncing back over the rolling as a great blaze of light. It is as though some giant ball player were taking his gigantic ball of light and tossing it in the air, sometimes catching it on the mountain which serves as his mitt, or sometimes missing it when it disappears. During World War II the U.S. Corps of Engineers spent weeks in the area with the latest sci- entific equipment. They tested caves, mineral deposits, highway routes, every possible logical ex- planation as to why the lights existed. They came away baffled. Of late, nationally known sci- entists have visited the area and as yet, they have not come up with the answer. Area residents come away with stories which would go well on Hallowe'en. As a Joplin police officer said, after relating a "weird experience" on the oft- traveled ghost light road, "It was the last time I've been there and it's the last time I'm going there." Legend has it that an old time miner carring his lantern across the fields disappeared and that it is his lantern which still causes the light to shine. In a more logical sense, it is a definite tourist attraction of the area, a little "extra" in a tourist's trip to the Ozarks, the Shepherd of the hill country or on to Central Missouri to the Lake of the Ozarks or other points. The Missouri Division of Re- --3-- sources and Development points out that the route is compara- tively easy. You follow Main Street out of Joplin until the highway passes by Hornet and a large white frame store. Then, you turn on the first good gravel road to the right and travel it until it forks. Turning left, you ford a shallow stream, go up a hill and turn right. There you'll see the famed light. For half a century, the light has attracted tourists. It's a cinch that it will continue to do so for a good long time to come. The explanation of why it exists is secondary to the fact that it does and that is enough for the tourist. The Ozark Mountaineer (The Ozarkwide Monthly Periodical)- October, 1955 ". . . the mysterious Light if the Ozarks, off and on, has ap- peared for fifty years near Hornet, southwest of Joplin, and has attracted renewed attention this year because of its unusual size and brilliance. An eerie of- fect is created over a wide area as it moves about with varying intensity. Thousands of people who visit the scene have been mystified by it." * * * Neosho Daily News -- 9-27-35 "Neosho people are nightly driving up to see the 'light' near Hornet. None have failed to see it so far, and in fact, we have heard it rumoured that one girl fainted, swearing afterwards that the light preched on the radiator of her car." Galena Sentinel-Tims--10-20-55 Your editor visited the "Spook Light" near Hornet, Mo., the night of October 24 and though it cut some fancy capers, it seemed absolutely harmless. The story that appeared in The Kansas City Star, October 2, about the light coming inside a car and burning the upholstery can prob- ably be taken with a "grain of salt." This was a good night to view the light judging from the big eyes and open mouths of the other spectators. * * * Carl Junction Standard--9-22-55 "We doubt if there is a person in the Four-State area of the Ozarks who has not heard about, and many have seen, the famed ghost light of spook light found near Hornet, Mo. This weird light is gaining momentum as a drawing card for tourists ac- cording to the Missouri Division of Resources and Development. . . . a host of request for in- formation about the spook light were recieved by the Division and the Joplin Chamber of Com- merce. . . . . . . This mysterious light, some say, has appeared in the vicinity for more than 80 years." * * * Springfield News Leader -- In article by Joe Clayton-- "A motorist tells of driving toward "Spook Light" until it vanished, then finding it behind him. The strange glowing, float- ing ball remains one of the few things left on earth which defies all efforts to strip it of its mysticism." --4-- LEGEND By O. W. Buzzard, Hornet, Mo. There are several legends about the spook light. The oldest one is handed down by an Indian tribe who love in this vicinity, the Quapaws. I have talked to many Indians in the area and the story that their forefathers handed down to them is no doubt true. It has of course, by now become a matter of record. The legend is that a handsome young Indian brave fell in love with a beautiful Indian maiden of the Quapaw tribe. The young Indians were desperately in love and it seems that the old Chief, father of the maiden, tried to take undue advantage of the situation by asking for an unusually large payment for his daughter's hand. Being unable to meet the demands of the Indian Chief, the couple decided to escape and elope. They had scarcely reached the outside of the camp area when their absence was discovered. The Indian Chief became very angry and sent out a large group of warriors to pursue the young brave and his daughter. The young maiden knew that she would be severely punished and her lover would be killed. Knowing that they were going to be captured, the young couple de- cided to commit suicide by leaping from atop a high rocky cliff over-looking Spring River. This spot is now known as "Lovers' Leap" or "Devil's Promenade." It is believed that the spirits of the young Indian couple return nightly to form the phenomenon which we view to this day. A large Indian Pow-wow and stomp dance are held annually in the Spook Light area which is attended by thousands from near and far. The bridge crossing Spring River has been named Devil's Promenade Bridge. For over 50 years tourists have stopped at the store here in Hornet for directions to view the light which per- forms nightly. (Mr. Buzzard is operator of the general store at Hornet, Mo.) --5-- The Old Timer's Story of The Light (As told by F. Q. (Bill) Mizer of Hornet, Mo., to Mrs. Orval Jewett, reporter.) I've been around here since 1886, and I have heard all the stories, but this story about the light, and the first time it was seen was in 1903. At that time there was a widow lady living near State Line Road. She lived alone, and when she first re- ported seeing the light, she thought someone was trying to run her off her property. The reports persisted, and a bunch of boys decided to investigate. One night about six or seven of us went to the widow's house, the were Jake Leach, Edgar Zirkle, W. L. Buzzard, Jiram Elliott, John Ventle, and maybe others. We didn't have long to wait before we saw the thing that had the widow frightened. The first time I saw the light, my hair raised several inches from my scalp, and I had a hard time keeping my hat on my head. There was a draw on her pro- perty, and a little branch ran through. Lots of cattails grew there, and as everyone knows when the vegetation dies down, and conditions are right, phos- phorous gas comes from the de- caying vegetation. You can rub some of the fuzz from the cattails on your hands and your hands will glow in the dark. So we thought we knew the answer, but as we took up our vigil on this particu- lar night, we were not so sure. After we had waited for a time, we saw this light moving up the draw. It floated like a will-o'- the-wisp, up the draw, and dis- appeared. Then presently it re- appeared, and got to within a hundred feet of us, floated around, and when the wind got up a bit, it disappeared. And as I said before, I had a hard time keeping my hat on my head. Well, the next night, seven or either of us went back, and wait- ed. And the light reappeared just as it had done the previous night. Each time the wind would get up a bit, the light would float away. One of the fellows, who thought he was a bit smarter than the rest of us, said the marsh gases were causing this bit of a ghostly apparition, but we were never sure. I tell you-when you're sitting out there in the --6-- dark, and this ball of light floats around for awhile, and disap- pears, you begin to wonder. After a month or so, the light stopped reappearing with regu- larity, and we had almost for- gotten about out experience; but early in 1905 reports had started coming in again about the light. I have talked to hundreds of people about the strange light which has existed here since long before the coming of the automobile. Since the passing of time and the many thousands of tourists coming here it looks like the old light is here to stay. --------------------- HALTS BUS While coming home from a school carnival at Quapaw, Okla., we got the thrill of our lives. The light had evidently grown tired and weary and decided to do a little hitch-hiking on our bus. The light perched on the rear window as though trying to get in the bus. We were scared half to death-women screaming and all. The light was so bright it temporarily blinded the bus driver and he had to stop the bus. Just as we stopped, the light went away. I'll never for- get that bus ride. Louise Graham Route 1, Galena, Kans. * * * I think the light is caused by some kind of gas. I'm sure it isn't light from Quapaw because I have seen it from other directions also when the light comes up close to you, it you talk it will go away.-Ruth Ferris, Quapaw. FIRE WITH NO ASHES Many settlers camped here on our property "overnight" when they used to travel by wagon. After investigating the place where they had seen camp fires the night before, my mother and father became aware of the light because they found no ashes where the "firet" lights had ap- peared. This was back in the 1800's. After my father passed away we inherited the place and have had numerous experiences with the light. My sister and I have seen what we thought was a car's tail light only to have it disappear when we approached. I have seen it dance through the trees and scurry across the fields leaping fences as though being carried by a ghost. THe light travels so fast, it couldn't be caught by anyone. Juanita Kay * * * ALL I GOT IS THE FACTS, MAN! - "I ain't been and I aint going and you can be sure they won't be any segregation problems on that road." Frank Allen, Jr. (Colored) Joplin, Mo. --7-- FOLKLORE and FACTS By Roy Grainger, Joplin, Mo. This section of the Ozarks has its own superstitions and folklore. Here, too, the Indians have "handed down" many tales from genera- tion to generation. I thought of all this the first time I heard the light being discussed. I dismissed it from my mind and really didn't believe a light to be in existence. Each time it would be brought into the conversation my curiosity would be aroused more and more, but being from Missouri, I had to be "snown." Finally one night a bunch of us met to get see the light. One of the fellows had been there many times and as we drove along he told the story about the time when lead and zinc were discovered in the area back in the 1870's. Many miners lived in the area. Once of the miners lived here off the Spook Light road, just a "stone's throw" from the Indian terri- tory. One night his cabin was raided by the Indians while he was away working in the mines. His children were kidnapped and he never saw them again. It is said he took his lantern and started to look for them. He was never seen again. The light down the road as seen now is believed by many to be the miner returning night after night with his lantern still in search of his lost children. This story prompted another fellow in the car to say that he had been told that a number od years ago a small child from a miners family had wandered off into the woods and was never seen again by her family. She has become somewhat of a "nature girl" with witch- like feature who travels at night with a lantern in quest of food. This girl-the teller says-has actually been seen. With these conversations "fresh" on my mind, we turned onto the road to watch the light . . . and there it was! ! My first impres- sion was of an invisible person walking down the road with a lantern in his hand. As he walked the lantern would swing to and fro. Then it seemed to disappear as if going off into the woods only to re- appear at another point. This was my first visit. Another time a group of boys and myself took a rifle to see if we could shoot the light. This was an ideal night because the weather was quite damp and the light seemed to loom closer and larger. On this particular night there was a slight sprinkling of rain, but no fog. We stopped our car when we judged the distance between the light --8-- Tri - State SPOOK LIGHT MYSTERIOUS LIGHT OF THE OZARKS ------------------------------------------------------------------ | Light As Seen From Car, Near Hornet, Mo. | | [...] | | Actual Photograph of Spook Light as seen about | | Midnight. (Photo by Orrick Sparlin, Miami, Okla.) | ------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------ and ourselves to be approximately a half-block, we started to shoot. As we shot, the light seemed to dance from side to side as though dodging the bullets. Needless to say we never did hit our target. So it is with these experiences, I leave to the experts the solu- tion of the light. If I ever hear of a logical solution concerning it, I will be ever-ready to lend an inquisitive ear. --9-- MY GREEN-THUMB TREMBLED Chester McMinn My folks used to call the light "jack - o - lantern" when we moved here some 30 years ago. The old "lantern" and I got along pretty good together until about 2 1/2 years ago. Seem the old light felt real neighborly one night and decided to help me with my plowing. It gets hot here during the day so I do a lot of plowing late in the evening. I couldn't see too well and I guess the old light sensed it, because he started hovering all over the field where I was plowing. He made a dart in my direction and I absolutely "froze stiff" to the tractor. I was too frightened to run. He must have seen my pre- dicament because just about then he sailed out of sight. Another time while standing in the yard listening to the hounds running a wolf I saw the light sitting atop the Cherry Grove church. It would turn bright and dim alternately. I called my wife to look, but when I did the light disappeared. Fun and Failure Having lived on State Line road near the area where the "Ghost Light" is located, I have seen it hundreds of times. I can remember about 1942 when a group of students from Michigan University came down and camped out for 2 weeks in the vicinity of the "Spook Light." The performed every test they could, even shooting at it with high powered firles, but they found out nothing. An old timer, the late Charley Dawes, who lived three-fourths of a mile off the road for 70 years, told me his father had seen the "Ghost Light" even before his son was born. A number of times we have left people in a parked car and walked down the road a mile or so, only to have the light appear between us and the car. CHARLES MILLER, ---------------------- You don't need a light down on "Spook Light" road to hunt possums or shoot doogies at night. A. A. WHITE Joplin [@@ doogies? --sbp] --------------------------------- | LOG CABIN CORNER | | STORE and STATION | | South of Hornet on Highway 43 | | Beer -- Groceries -- Gas | | Indian Jewelry and Sovenir | | Pictures of Spook Light | | Stop Here for Information | | About Spook Light | --------------------------------- --10-- DISAPPOINTING, BUT TOO LATE TO POST . . . Application was made October 24, 1955 to the Burgess Insurance Agency of Joplin, who have direct contact with representatives of Llyods of London, to secure a Financial Guarantee Bond offering $10,000 Reward if the Spook Light could be proved a Fake. We have offered to pay the premium for this interesting and unusual risk and regret that we have not heard the outcome of our appli- cation at this printing. On seeing our proposed guarantee of reward one insurance man jokingly said, "Don't me surprised if Scotland Yard doesn't send Sherlock Holmes to investigate." SORRY, THERE IS NO REWARD AT PRESENT . . . ----------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------- I have seen the "Spook Light" a number of times. I have been within 10 feet of the light, but I still can't figure it out. It looks like a lantern swinging to and fro as it moves down the road. RAY TAYLOR, Joplin Geologists and scientists claim that the Spook Light is caused by a mineral deposit. I am in busi- ness at Quapaw and I know it isn't light from Quapaw.-- J. E. Rhodes, Quapaw. ----------------------------------------------------------------- | You'll See the LIGHT When You Check Our Deal. | | There's Nothing Spooky About Our LOW RATES. | | "THE FRIENDLY FIRST" | | First National Bank | | OF JOPLIN | | FOURTH AND MAIN | | JOPLIN, MISSOURI | ----------------------------------------------------------------- --11-- Yeary Sees the Light (Statement from Robert M. Yeary as told to Mrs. Orval Jewett, reporter.) I have gone down to the area where the "spook" light appears a number of times, but one night remains vivid in my memory. The light was really in a playful mood. Three of us drove down, and left the motor idling, in- tending to chase the light to its source, if possible. When the light appeared it wandered back and forth across the road, moved up from a distance, came close to us, and went out. Then it re- appeared from a distance, came close to us, and went out. Then it reappeared from a distance and we tried to sneak up on it; when we would move ten of fif- teen feet, the light would go out. Another time, we got behind the light, and tried to drive up to it. When we moved closer, it would disappear. This same night, we were sit- ting in the car, waiting for the light to reappear. When we saw it, the light moved up close to us from the distance, continued getting brighter, and suddenly it lit up the interior of the car much the same as a floodlight would do. You could have read a newspaper from the brilliance. The lasted only five or six sec- onds. There has to be an answer, but I just don't know. ---------------------------------------------------------- | We Don't Like To Boast, But We've Got | | The Coldest Beer Closest To The Ghost | | WIMPY'S | | REDING'S MILL INN | | DANCING NIGHTLY --- OPEN SUNDAYS | | Beer --- Good Food | | TAKE A SNACK WITH YOU TO SEE THE LIGHT. | | | | Hamburgers by the Sack Fried Chicken by the Box | | BEER and SODA POP to Go | ---------------------------------------------------------- --12-- FIRE WORKS For the 4th We moved to this section in 1918, and have seen the light often, especially around the first part of July each year. This is just about the time the Indians are having their stomp-dances down at the bridge. The Old Indian Medical Spring is on our property. In- dians have come from all over, including the well-known Frank Vallier, to drink from this spring. A number of Indians are buried here in the hillside above the spring. It is in this gully where the spring lies that the old light bounces around like a big ball. Why it always appears here the first part of July, I don't know. All the while it's here it bounces up and down this gully as far as you can see. Mrs. John Bryant * * * Rev. S. K. Biffle Joplin I have have been told that some people think of the light as hav- ing a religious bearing. One lady saying, "the Lord put the light there for a reason and that people (experimental groups) had better leave it alone." Maybe, they are connecting the light with the Psalms . . . "If I say, Surely the dark- ness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me." Psalms 139:11 --------------------------------- | MINNIE'S | | And | | MILT'S | | One of MISSOURI'S | | MOST MODERN | | Proudly Presents | | BILL PIERSON | | [...] | | And His Orchestra | | Featuring | | Jerry Seaton | | Formerly wrote and played | | for Tiny Hill, Russ Carlyle, | | Richard Hayes, Henry Busse. | | THE BEST IN | | Atmosphere . . Chinese Foods | | . . Sea Foods . . Chicken . . | | Steaks . . . Chops | | 1700 West 7th St. | | Highway 66 | | Dial MA 3-0415 | --------------------------------- --13-- [Photo] Shown prior to take-off for inspection of the Spook Light area is Colonel Vic Freer, Region- al Director, South Central Region of the Civil Air Patrol, and the author Capt. R. E. Loftin, Ret. on his left. Al Burgess, Jr., of the Burgess Insurance Agency, was also a passenger, taking several photographs of the area. Both Col. Freer and Mr. Burgess attest to the fact that a section of High- way 66 between Quapaw and Commerce, Okla., used in Capt. Loftin's experiments, is in direct alignment with the Spook Light road near Hornet, Missouri. -- Photo by Al Burgess, Jr. ---------------------------------------------- | KELLER'S | | BAR-B-CUE | | Chas. Keller - On 66 Highway | | Dial MA 3-4327 1514 West 7th | | JOPLIN, MO. | ---------------------------------------------- --18-- The Tri-State Spook Light By CAPT. R. E. "BOB" LOFTIN, Ret. The stories of the mysterious Light of the Ozarks has been a subconscious challenge to my curi- osity since first hearing of its existence over five years ago. My inner urge to meet the eerie light has resulted in hours of silent plan- ning as to where, when, and how I might solve this strange phe- nomenon. The opportunity pre- sented itself this summer for my quest into the realm of the sup- posed supernatural. The experience I had acquired as a Weapons Company Commander had given me ample knowledge of how to seek out and destrot by using the various instruments and methods relevant to this task. I felt over-confident in my proposed conquest as to the solution of the mystery surrounding this light near Hornet, Missouri. Several months ago had you mentioned the Tri-State Spook Light I would have casually re- plied, "Elementary, my dear Wat- son." This however, would have turned out to be the understate- ment of my career. Maybe I had not forgotten that a small boat, a raft, a good dog team and a couple of size dozen feet would take me almost anywhere; as it did in Alaska. Having moved somewhat south, I had now gathered equipment for another type of adventure and was ready to launch a new experiment. My first action in this direction was with my neighbor, Bill White, who escorted me to the area near Hor- net where the Spook Light was known to perform its fantastic capers. I was a little surprised that first night, that some of my in- formants had been accurate in their description of the ghostly light. The next day I visited the area and was directed to the home of Bill Mizer, who is the most wll- versed resident of Hornet regarding the light. After a lengthy inter- view, Mr. Mizer accompanied me in my car to the road where the Army Engineers had performed their test in 1946. It was then I realized the Army experiment had been conducted on a different road than that from which I had seen the light on the previous night. Rechecking of the two roads showed I was correct in assuming the Army had been on the wrong road. The number of people viewing the light numbered ten to one more on the new ghost light road. Mr. Ghost had changed the location of his nightly promenade. This seemed strange but not unusual inasmuch as the light was first viewed by Mr. Mizer from still another loca- tion--often referred to as the origi- nal ghost light area. It was after these revelations that I obtained a copy of the Engineers' test of the area. My first endeavor was to check the correctness of their re- port. On the next day I recon- noitered the road forming the north boundary of the city of Quapaw, Okla. I located and marked the high ground at several points for a distance of 10 miles west of Spring River. That night my party split into two groups: one to watch from the old spook light road near Hornet, Mo., and Bill White and I returned to the road north of Qua- paw, Okla. Through the use of a portable spotlight connected to our car battery we were able to signal the other party a prearrange code from a distance of approximately 9 miles. This proved the Army test, though not comprehensive, had its merits. Before trying to solve the mys- tery of the new spook light road, I made every effort to obtain more information about the light. It was while in search of old reports, news- paper articles, and the whereabouts of individuals connected with former experiments that I saw the need for compiling a booklet about the spook light. Many people had told me about seeing articles con- cerning the light in various pub- lications. Some of this information --19-- was true but in other cases pub- lishers denied having printed such articles. In my search for the best picture available of the light I was di- rected by Marie Kolb, director of the Ozark Playgrounds Association, in Joplin, Mo., to the studio of Orrick Sparlin, Miami, Okla. Hav- ing made this trip to Miami about 2 p.m. on a sunny afternoon it was not by chance that I noticed a small section south of Highway 66 south of Quapaw that seemed to run directly east and west. Previous to this day, I had checked all the gravel roads west of Spring river but could not find a parallel to the road forming the north bound- ary of Quapaw. On my return from Miami I measured the distance from the east-west segment of Hi- way 66 between Quapaw and Com- merce and found it to be that same distance as that between the old and new ghost light roads near Hor- net, Mo. It seemed almost impos- sible that car light as seen from this section of highway could ap- pear as a gigantic ball of fire on a lonely road 13 miles away. By the time I became aware of this section of east-west road be- tween Quapaw and Commerce I had become acquainted with the most distinguised scientist ever to visit the spook light road--Dr. George W. Ward, scientist form- erly of the Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C., and of late The Midwest Research Institute. We had both worked out a hypothesis for the new spook lights existence. My job was now to make several experiments with light of Highway 66 and report my findings to Dr. Ward. The night of August 3, 1955, through use of colored lights I sent signals which were received on the new spook road near Hor- ner. There were times when only one car was moving east on the segment of Highway 66 and other times when 20 or 30 cars moved in this same direction simultane- ously. This explained why the phantom light would change from the appearance of a lantern to a stupendous ball of fire. The reddish glow of the light would vart as the number of cars and truck in- creased or decreased as they moved in a westerly direction. When there ------------------------- | | | For an Evening of Fun | | Come to . . . | | Ken's Bar | | 2409 W. 7th ST., | | Phone MA 3-0529 | | | | Joplin's Newest and | | Finest Night Club | | ENTERTAINMENT | | NIGHTLY | | Finest Foods in Town | | Henry Chinn, Chef | | | ------------------------- ----------------------------- | | | STOP AT | | LITTLE KING'S | | COURT | | | | 2207 W. 7th | | (Highway 66) | | | | Air Conditioned in Summer | | Hot Water Heat in Winter | | | | GET INFORMATION | | ON GHOST LIGHT HERE | | | ----------------------------- --20-- wasn't any traffic on the Highway, we had complete control of the gohst light as to when it appeared or disappeared or turned pink or green. This still did not wholly solve the mystery of the light. After a further study of the light iself, I realized Dr. Ward was correct in his refraction theory. His theory is, "The fact that the light did not always appear, substantiated the refraction or bending of light idea in that the relative humidity and temparature would have to at- tain the correct values to produce the correct density of atmosphere to bend the light sufficiently for observation." This simply means that the rays of light are bent out of their normal course, since they pass through a rare, then dense, then rare substance which varies continually with the humidity and temparature. The interesting phe- nomena about the spook light is that it appears where it actually isn't. Thus the ray of light as you see it from Hornet can do a bag of tricks while the source of light might remain stationary. The weeks of hard work I spent in solution of the light were made insignificany by the fact that I knew I had been the first man to hold the "spook" in his hands. I wish to thank the many people who helped to make this experi- ment possible, especially the 93rd Spl. Infantry Co., U.S.M.C.R. in Joplin for the use of their instru- ments, and certainly to Dr. George W. Ward whom I quote from his letter to me of August 8, 1955-- "Your experiments with lights on the aforementioned highway were followed with a good deal of in- terest. It was indeed most grati- fying when you finally proved our theory." I will probably be called a liar more often than has the late Rob- ert L. Riplet, but I can truthfully say a trip to Hornet, Mo., to view this interesting phenomena is well worth your time. Editor's Note: The article "Tri-State Spook Light", which also appeared in our first issue this summer, has caused considerable controversy. All the letters and cards re- ceived, including the corrective criticism, were sincerely appreci- ared. However, there were some who insist on believing in ghost. We thought everyone was entitled to an opinion of his own, but evidently not. Some of the letters and remarks bordered on the in- sulting and for these few we re- call this old adage--"Remember that it's better to remain silent and appear a fool, that to speak and remove all doubt." We admit there is a range of hills protruding above the line of vision from the spook light road to the section of Highway 66, referred to in the experi- ments. Our assuming a possible solution is based entirely upon the theory that the light is bent up over the mountain and comes down on the road on the other side, the light coming down at different points and with various intensities dependent upon the temperature and humidity. Our hypothesis is based on the double Refraction of Light. We welcome discussions and correspondance and in no way insist our solution is infallible. Why not try is yourself? We haven't convinced many. B. E. L. --------------------------------- The Galena Sentinel-Times Printers and Publishers 706 Main Box 276 GALENA, KANSAS --21-- LETTER BY DR. GEORGE W. WARD August 8, 1955 Capt. R. E. Loftin, U. S. A. Ret. 2922 Virginia Joplin, Missouri Dear Captain Loftin: Following our telephone con- versation this week-end. I am re- lating my first experience re- garding the "Spook Light," near Hornet, including the refraction theory, which you have recieved. It has been a pleasure working with you and I wish you every success in your publication. I came to Kansas City January, 1945, from the National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D. C., to aid in the development of the Midwest Research Institute. Part of this effort involved addresses to various group such as Cham- bers of Commerce, Rotary, etc. It was while appearing in Joplin that one od the Joplin Newspaper reporters recounted the story of the "Spook Light," or as he classed it, the "Mysterious Light of the Ozarks." Naturally, being trained scientifically, my curios- ity was aroused. Arrangements were immediately made with the Joplin newspaper reporter, whose name I have forgotten momen- tarily, to view the phenomenon. We drove down south of Joplin some either to ten miles and eventually parked on a gravel road at the top of a long slope, the road continuing down hill away from us, as we faced west, to dissipate itself in a number of cattle paths. The moon was not ----------------------------- | KENTUCKY STRAIGHT | | BOURBON | | 6 Years Old | | [...] | | If You Can Find | | A Better Bourbon | | - - - Buy It! | ----------------------------- --22-- up and our reporter friend claimed that the night was ideal for observation. Not long after our arrival a suffused glow appeared in the sky, to the west over a range of hills, the center of the lighted area being in line with the axis of the road. This was followed almost immediately by a ball of light estimated as 4 to 6 feet in diameter that appeared to de- scend out of the hills and to rapidly advance toward us. As the greenish-yellow ball of light approached, the Publicity Director of the Institute caused some amusement by exclaiming that he had seen enough and he dashed back to lock himself in the car. The light approached and seemed to envelop us. Upon rap- idly turning toward the east to observe the continuance of the light past us I observed nothing. After observing the phenom- enon a second time I placed an observer at these points, one in the center of the road, another some 50 feet behind him and one at the fence line on each side of the road. I was the first observer on the road and found that after the light passed me I could not see it, but that the observer 50 feet to my rear could still see it. The fence line observers reported only an obscure flash appearance. These observations then caused me to believe that the source of the phenomenon lay ahead to the west and preferrably over the range of hills. Further reasoning led to the possiblity that the ------------------------------------ | CROWN | | COACH | | LINES | | Travel by BUS | | | | For Information Call | | Crown-Greyhound Union Bus Depot | | Third & Joplin Streets | | Joplin, Missouri | | | | Phone MA 3-3178 | ------------------------------------ --23-- cause lay in the refraction of automobile headlights from a road in direct line with the gravel road where we stood. The fact that the light did not always appear, substantiated the re- fraction or bending of light idea in that the relative humidity and temparature would have to at- tain the correct values to pro- duce the correct density of at- mosphere to bend the light suf- ficiently for observation. Further it was observed that as an observ- er moved down hill toward the observed source of light, the phenomenon was not visible while an observer remaining at approximately the top of the slope could see the light. The re- fraction theory was also borne out by the lack of good observa- tion at the fence lines. Satisfied that we were deal- ing with the refraction of distant automobile headlights -- one light instead of two, automatic- ally called for distance -- we sought on the highway road map a road travelled by cars that was directly in line with our obser- vation point. It was decided that such a road was the section of highway running east and west from Commerce to Quapaw, Oklahoma. It now remained to correlate automobile headlights on the highway with observation of the "Spook Light." We had satisfied ourselves as to the probably ex- planation and had no further interest. We suggested observa- tion from an airplane as to cars ---------------------------- | -- TOW SERVICE -- | | TIRES -- BATTERIES | | | | Complete Cooling System | | Cleaning and Muffler | | Service | | BLOCK & SIZED ICE | | | | JOE'S | | Service Station | | 2301 Main -- Joplin | | Day PHONES: Nite | | MA 3-9503 MA 4-1550 | ---------------------------- ----------------------------- | A friendly place to | | DINE | | [...] | | C & A | | BARBECUE | | 2608 Main Dial MA 3-6382 | ----------------------------- --24-- in Oklahoma and a radio report to a ground observer of the "Spook Light." We were quite pleased at your offer to collaborate when you learned of our theory. Your ex- periments with lights on the aforemenioned highway was fol- lowed with a good deal of inter- est. It was indeed most gratifying when you finally proved our theory. Yours truly GEORGE W. WARD Director of Research --------------------- I first saw the "Spook Light" back about 1911, before many roads or cars existed in this area. I have seen it a number of times, even in rain and snow and at all hours of the night for the past 44 years. ORA C. WINFREY Redings Mill * * * I've lived around Quapaw for 61 years. I've seen a number of teams investigating the source of the "Ghost Light," but none of them have ever found out what it is. I was here before there were any cars in this district and the "Ghost Light" was there then. LEONARD STONER, Quapaw * * * Miami News Record--1-6-52 ". . . even scientific experts have been mystified by "Spook Light," which bounces along a gravel road between Baxter Springs and Peoria. -------------------------------- | "To Make Her Smile As | | Bright As The Old | | Spook Light" | | Remember | | Aaron Florist | | 615 W. 21st St. Joplin, Mo. | | Phone MA 3-6768 | -------------------------------- ----------------------- | FOR EATING JOYS | | IT IS THE | | BEELER BOYS | | 210 W. 7th Joplin | | On Route 66 | ----------------------- ------------------------------ | CLYDE | | ELAM'S | | SERVICE | | STATIONS | | 1801 Main and 7th & Picher | | Joplin, Mo. | | "For Direction to Light | | Stop Here" | ------------------------------ ------------------------------- | A B C MATTRESS AND | | UPHOLSTERING CO. | | All Mattresses Rebuilt | | Cotton Mattresses made into | | Innerspring | | Free Pickup and Delivery | | Arnold Newby - Dave Sexton | | Phone MA 4-6856 | | 1607 Main St. Joplin, Mo. | ------------------------------- --25-- The Kansas City Star--May 19, 1946 From a story by the late Charles W. Graham (Part of Copyrighted Article Reprinted by Special Permission) The reader of ghost stories, if he would derive the fullest enjoyment from his reading, should put his mind in a state of temporary be- lief in the supernatural. The deeper one can sink into the belief, the greater is his enjoyment of the ghosts, but when the story is ended it's time to come back to reality. In my pocket was a short manu- script by C. Paul Spidell of Baxter Springs, Kansas, addressed to the Sunday Editor of The Star. I had read it two or three times. In stark incredulity first, then in growing amasement; it came to me that Spi- dell was not fooling. He was telling an actual experience, and his back- ground did not admit of undue superstition in his make-up. He is a big man, a Harvard graduate, with considerable experience in the realistic occupation of advertising. Here, in part, is what he wrote: "There was a dull glow. It got brighter, then scampered quickly across the field to a point about a hundred yards directly ahead of us. There it halted and grew in size and intensity. Excited whispers came from the car. The light paled and disappeared, only to repeat its performance, making its entry again in the field to the left. When it got in front of us this time, it started to come toward us in a sort of wavering dance. "It seemed to be about ten feer up from the ground. At it ap- proached there was a reflection on the hood of my car. Four beams were like pipe-stem arms and legs. About fifty feet away it stopped and decided to climb a tree to our right where it perched for awhile, losing its brilliance and turning into a kind of ectoplasmic cloud. "Whatever it was, it had a rest- less spirit. It faded and by fission reproduced itself into three bright little lights with waving arms and leg beams. About six feet apart, the trio scurried through a grove of jackoaks and across a field to our right, then converged into one blazing light which halted." There was more including a des- cription by Mr. Spidell of a lumi- nous tadpole which wriggled out of sight under a house, and a mansion with lighted windows. In The Star office we have re- ceived reports of these "spook" lights for many years. Scientists had visited the area, seeking ex- planations on the spot, but they failed to locate the source. In 1936 the late A. B. Macdonald of The Star went to see them and an explana- tion satisfactory to himself, but he did not obtain a proof. This spring a Kansas City scientist, Dr. George W. Ward of the Midwest Research Institute, had veiwed the lights for diversion when on a business trip to Joplin. The intrigued him. after a few preliminary tests he reasoned out a hypothesis that was subject to proof. With that to start with, I sent a letter to Col. Dennis E. McCunniff, ------------------- | PETE'S | | CLEANERS | | 28th & Main St. | | JOPLIN, MO. | | "WE MAKE SPOTS | | DISAPPEAR | | LIKE MAGIC" | ------------------- ------------------------- | Dan Stanley | | FORD | | Joplin, Mo. MA 3-5660 | ------------------------- --26-- commanding officer of Camp Crow- der, three miles from Neosho, and not far from the lonely road. I ex- plained to him the hypothesis, and asked the assistance of the army in seeking proof. Colonel McCunniff invited me to Camp Crowder to talk it over. The Army Joins the Quest "They have my curiosity aroused," the colonel said. "I should like to know what they are. We shall be glad to co-operate." The solution of the "mystery" light probably will not satisfy some persons who have seen it. We have no desire to insist upon the solution and we certainly don't want to rob anyone of the enjoyment of a good ghost. We should like to point out only that the light is brighter, visible for longer periods, and seen more frequently in winter than in summer, as many observers have testified. The reason is be- cause the trees, being denuded of foilage in winter, form less obstruc- tion than in summer. In any event, the phenomenon of optical illusion enters into all of it, for it has been demonstrated many times that light at night often ap- pear much closer than they actually are. For what it may be worth, that is the opinion of the men who conducted the tests. ----------------------------------- | FENCE | | CHAIN LINK | | RED WOOD -- PICKET | | RAIL & STOCKADE | | "Installed Any Where In | | the 4 State Area." | | Call or write for Free Estimate | | Globe Fence | | & | | Improvement Co. | | JOPLIN, MO. | | 2213 Main Phone MA 3-7526 | ----------------------------------- UNPREDICTABLE I have lived here on the road over 2 years. We were about to take the light for granted, when one night about dusk, that crazy light came within about 7 feet of our car as we were driving home. It appeared as a big bright ball but vanished when we turned on the cat lights. The thing scared the "daylights" out of us. Mary Hamilton * * * Carthage Evening Press--7-23-55 "Whence comes the light or the reason for its existence are still a mystery." * * * The Southwestern--7-1-55 "For a half century, the light has attracted tourist. It's a cinch that it will continue to do so for a good long time to come." * * * If I ever have a flat on the "Spook Light" road, I'll drive it flat, cause I'll never get out to fix it. DR. J. C. KIMBROUGH, Veterinarian * * * Refraction of Light-- When a ray of light passes from one sub- stance to another of a different density, it is bent out of its course or refracted. The law of refraction is: When light passes from a rare to a dense substance, it is bent in the direction of a line that is perpendicular to the surface of the refracting body, when light passes from a dense to a rare substance, it bent away from a line perpendicular to the surface of the refracting body. --27-- EDITORS COMMENT: The test shown below has no connection whatsoever with the present spook light. The army test was con- ducted on a road approximately 1 mile north of the road from which the light is seen today. The results of this test has been best de- scribed by the State of Missouri, Resources and Development Di- vision stating . . . "They came away baffled." The tri-pod mounted telescope, now operated on the new spook light road by A. P. "Spooky" Meadows is three times more powerful than those used by the army. The light as seen through this scope cannot be sep- arated into a pair or pairs of automobile headlights. The light as seen through the telescope appears as a firey flame or flames, us- usally green at the bottom and red at the top. It is sure worth seeing. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- ARMY AND ENGINEERS TEST MAP AND PROFILE N ^ West Twin ELM Quapaw Spring | Ranch CREEK River OKLA|MI O | SCALE OF MILES LEGEND | ROADS/RAILROADS/Observation Point Lights ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Twelve miles souhwest of Joplin is a lonely road of Northwestern Oklahoma where the famous "spook light is seen. As this map shows, the lonely road is in direct line with another road bordering the north side of Quapaw, Okla. Experiments were conducted to prove a theory that the mystery light had its origin in the light of motor cars on the Quapaw road far ahead. Observations were made on the lonely road at points 1 and 2 on the map. Controlled test lights were flashed on the Quapaw road from points 3 and 4. From point 5, a motor cat was driven east, its headlights flashing. All of the flashed in the test were seen at points 1 and 2, in the spots where the "mystery light" occurs. Profile below the map shows that points 1 and 2, where the lights are seen, are from 200 to 250 feet higher than points 3 and 4 on the Quapaw road. Elevation at point No. 1, where the light is seen, is 1,050 feet. The highest point on the Quapaw road, where the light originates, is only about 800 feet. Thus from point 1, and observer looks down upon the Quapaw road. --28-- Try Your Own "Hunt for a New Point-of-Interest The Playgrounds of the Ozarks, the scenic vaca- tion wonderland of southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma, seems to offer an in-exhaustible fund of legend, folk-lore and historic sites as yet fully unexplored and unre- corded. The story of the "Ghost-Light" is a true story of such a search. The Ozark Playgrounds Association suggests ac- tual research in this field, interviews with resi- dents, as well as a review of historical material, for a new kind of "hunting." There's a rich re- ward of fun in seeking out such facts. If YOU know of some "little-known" facts of interest, you think could be developed as points of interest for tourists, won't you please advise the Headquarters Office of the Ozark Playgrounds As- sociation, 112 W. 4th Street, joplin, Mo. OZARK PLAYGROUNDS ASSOCIATION
Labour conference latest: Heckler removed from stage before Angela Rayner speech; Keir Starmer told what public think of him
The latest updates from Liverpool as the Labour Party conference gets under way, as Sir Keir Starmer faces questions and a top Labour frontbencher attacks the transport secretary.
Sunday 8 October 2023 12:51, UK
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- Heckler removed from stage minutes before Rayner speech at Labour conference
- Rayner addresses gathering in Liverpool - the key points so far
- Starmer shown world cloud of what public think about him
- Submit a question for our conference Q&A
- Amanda Akass: Credibility and seriousness the watch words in Liverpool
- Sam Coates: There is a new context to this conference - and it touches a raw nerve
- Rob Powell: Starmer and Rayner could prove to be a valuable electoral double act
- Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: Frontbencher accuses 'bonkers' minister of 'peddling conspiracy theories'
- Pledge tracker: Is Sunak keeping his promises?
- Live reporting by Faith Ridler
Ask a question or make a comment
Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds is now addressing the party conference in Liverpool, on the first day of the four-day gathering.
She begins by handing awards to those given merit achievements for their campaigning efforts in their local areas.
Here's what she had to say - as she said it:
- She begins by reiterating pledges on the NHS, crime and workplace conditions;
- "The last Labour government did more to advance equality than any in history," she says. "The next will finish the job";
- Ms Dodds adds that combating inequality is "fundamental" to the Labour Party;
- She turns her attention to hate crime against the LGBT community. "We believe everyone deserves to be accepted," she says;
We've just been speaking to RMT general secretary Mick Lynch, who is at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.
Asked about Sir Keir Starmer's current offering to voters - and Sharon Graham's claim that Labour is currently being "too timid" - Mr Lynch said he agreed with the Unite boss.
"They've got to be bold, there's no point in being timid or hiding your light under a bushel. People need something to vote for, not just something to vote against," he said.
"There's a great reason to vote against the Tories because of their corruption and incompetence.
"We need the Labour Party to be radical, assertive and bold in what they put in front of our people."
Asked if he thinks Labour has failed to do that thus far, Mr Lynch said:"I think people think it’s a bit bland.
"If you're coming to the electorate with a message of change, you’ve got to show that there will be real change.
"That's what the country's crying out for. I think the country is ready for radical change and ready for a new departure in terms of the political situation.
"But also what is offered in terms of public services and the way our country is run and what people can expect from politics going forward.
"There's got to be a period of dynamic change going forward."
Angela Rayner's speech to a packed conference hall shows exactly why she was moved to the levelling up and housing brief earlier this year.
The deputy leader was clearly on comfortable ground, talking about her own backstory growing up in a council house and announcing popular policies around workers' rights and social housing.
A reference to the Blair years was also there, as she talked about changing people's lives in the same way the last Labour government changed hers.
It all went down very well in the hall, with Ms Rayner drowned out by applause at times.
She'll no doubt be given more training in the art of when to pause to soak up the claps.
How Ms Rayner is utilised over the next year in the run up to the general election will be interesting to watch.
At a fringe event this morning, the pollster James Johnson pointed to voters across the country starting to warm to the Labour deputy leader.
He said while people struggled to say what lay at the core of Sir Keir Starmer, it was a different story for Ms Rayner, referring to a "Thatcher, Blair, Rayner axis" of politicians who the public believed stood for something.
The tag team of stable and managerial Sir Keir and charismatic and punchy Angela could prove a valuable electoral double act.
Away from Labour conference for a moment - the family of Nathanel Young have confirmed he has been killed in the Hamas attacks.
The 20-year-old from London was a corporal in the IDF.
His family shared a post on Facebook saying: "We're heartbroken to share that our little brother Nathanel Young was tragically killed on the Gaza Border yesterday."
You can follow more updates from the attacks here in our dedicated live blog:
Labour's general secretary David Evans is next up at the party's annual conference in Liverpool.
He begins by paying tribute to his predecessor Margaret McDonagh, who died in June.
"Great is an overused word in politics, but it does fit Margaret", he says ahead of his speech. "She is a huge loss to our party."
We'll bring you live updates from his address below.
- He begins by launching the Margaret McDonagh Leadership Academy - which will "ensure that future generations will also know Margaret";
- Mr Evans says the next general election will "change the course" of our country. This could be a Labour government that "unlocks opportunity";
- "Each day before this election is more important than the last," he says;
- Mr Evans says there are "reasons to be confident", with Labour able to invest "more in this campaign than ever before";
- He adds that people are "nervous" about what the future holds for them - and its Labour's job to show they are "different" and "deserving of their trust";
- Mr Evans lists a number of by-elections Labour has won this year, while hailing successes in local elections;
- He mentions Danny Beales, the Labour candidate in Uxbridge who lost to the Conservative Party. "A reminder that even if the Tories have given up governing, they haven't given up campaigning";
- Mr Evans confirms a change to the Labour membership card;
- "Our card bares our pledge to our voters - that Labour will always put the country first";
- He then hands out the first of these new cards to three members - who he invites to the stage;
- He launches the campaign for a Labour victory in 2024 - named simply, "Win 24".
Labour activists, MPs and frontbenchers are in Liverpool for the party's annual conference.
In what could well be the last Labour conference before the next general election, Sir Keir Starmer will be hoping to present himself as a prime minister-in-waiting.
Our political correspondents Rob Powell, Amanda Akass and Tamara Cohen will be answering your questions about Labour conference this afternoon.
You can submit your question using the form above.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner delivered the first speech at the party conference in Liverpool, opening the four-day gathering of members.
She was cheered on by Sir Keir Starmer, and numerous members of the Labour frontbench.
This post was updated with the key points of her speech as it happened:
- Ms Rayner began by describing a "momentous time" for the Labour Party, days after the party's "huge win" in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, which she described as "watershed moment";
- Ms Rayner went on to describe the last year under the Tories, including the "leader who lost to a lettuce" - and taking aim at Gavin Williamson and Dominic Raab;
- The Labour deputy said that "throughout all of it" the prime minister "simply can't stand up for the country against his party";
- "The reality is that Labour is already delivering in power," she says. "Our movement has never been so unified, so focused around one aim: to give Britain it's future back";
- She says the Tories also have one focus - to "desperately cling to power" and there is a "lingering sense" that Britain is broken under the Conservatives;
- The deputy hits out at Rishi Sunak for not mentioning housing once in his Tory Party conference speech last week;
- "Rishi Sunak and his party have taken a sledgehammer to the foundations on which a decent life" can be build, she says;
- Ms Rayner says the Tories have "dragged us down" and are "holding us back";
- She adds that a priority of a Labour government would be "growth" - to "truly level up our country";
- This would include creating "new devolved powers" and moving forward with "new housing", Ms Rayner says;
- "We seek power so we can hand it back to the people," she says. "That's the Labour way, it belongs to them - not us";
- She vows to increase minimum wage to "take account" of the rising cost of living - and ban zero hour contracts;
- She also pledges to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace. "And we won't stop there," Ms Rayner says;
- She adds this work has started, but it can only be completed "with Labour in power";
- Ms Rayner pledges to implement this deal for workers within 100 days of Labour taking office;
- Turning to rents, Ms Rayner says "too many people" are paying unaffordable rents. "The dream of home ownership is slipping away";
- "We know a secure home... is a gamechanger," she says. Labour will build more social housing, Ms Rayner vows;
- "Keir and I will provide the biggest boost in social and affordable homes" in years, she says. This includes council housing;
- Labour will achieve "rental reform", she promises;
- The party plans to ban "no fault evictions", and will give "first time buyers first dibs" on new developments in their local areas;
- "It's Labour that is the party of home ownership," she says;
- Ms Rayner says the Tories "can't solve the country's problems, because they are the problem".
A man got on the stage at the Labour Party conference as it kicked off in Liverpool - ahead of Angela Rayner's speech, which we expect shortly.
It was hard to hear what the delegate said - as his microphone was turned off - but it appeared he was discussing the NHS.
The man was quickly escorted off the stage.
This year's Labour Party conference in Liverpool is handed a potentially difficult context due to the "tragic" attacks in Israel, our deputy political editor Sam Coates has explained today.
"This was meant to be one of the Labour Party's biggest moments before a general election widely anticipated to come at the back end of next year," he said.
"But the extraordinary, tragic pictures coming out of Israel do write a new context for this conference.
"I do think that the Labour Party are in no doubt that the events in the Middle East are now going to dominate our screens for the coming days.
"This means as a first consequence this conference, with its announcements, its speeches, its big moment is going to command so much less of the public's attention than perhaps it otherwise would have done.
"There is a concern that this issue... does touch a raw nerve with this party."
Sam said there has been a "lot of effort" to "make sure those with strong views perhaps are sensitive to the context of what is going on".
This will be an opportunity for Sir Keir Starmer to show he is a "very different leader" than his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, he added.
The Labour Party in Liverpool is on a mission to prove to voters that its plans for government demonstrate credibility, and seriousness.
Sir Keir Starmer has said he wants to ensure all policies are "bomb proof" and ready to deliver from the first day of a future Labour government.
But that has led to criticism from the likes of Sharon Graham, the leader of Unite (the party's biggest donor) that their positions are "too timid", and will lead to the party "limping into Number 10".
This morning shadow health secretary Wes Streeting hit back at the suggestion their policies lack boldness, telling Trevor Phillips on Sky News that "we've got the ambition, we've got the plan, we've got the team and now we've got to make our case for the country".
Mr Streeting argues Labour was facing an "existential crisis" when Sir Keir took over.
He makes the case that he has now successfully "dragged the Labour Party back to the mainstream, built a team and a platform that can give Britain its future back, and is building public support on a scale the Labour Party".
Sharon Graham is a longstanding critic of Sir Keir's leadership and has never been a fan of his efforts to move the party back towards the centre ground of British politics.
But in some ways she had an unlikely ally this morning in the form of Lord Peter Mandelson.
"Yes, we need more than policy tweaks and small twists of the policy dial,” he told Trevor.
"Yes I’m happy to be bold, but not bold and stupid."
He suggests renationalising the energy companies, as Ms Graham has suggested, would be the difference between boldness and stupidity.
Lord Mandelson also celebrated Sir Keir's revamp of the party as successfully bringing "the Labour Party across the line from being weird to being normal again" and urged him to continue.
Mr Streeting meanwhile made the point that Labour's new plan to spend £1.1bn providing anothertwo million NHS appointments during evenings and weekends is an example of the party's political ambition.
This is a policy which would be funded by abolishing non dom tax status.
You can be forgiven for thinking that this is a pot of money that has already been spent multiple times already.
The party had originally planned to use the £2bn they estimate would be raised annually on an expansion of the NHS workforce, but that money has now been freed up by the government already funding its own long term NHS workforce plan.
Questioned on whether relying on already over stretched NHS doctors and nurses to volunteer for overtime was a realistic solution, Mr Streeting responded that similar voluntary schemes already operate in a number of London hospitals.
"It's a credible plan, it's workable," he said.
"It will create two million more appointments a year and that will be game-changing in terms of getting waiting lists down and busting the Tory backlog."
But with junior doctors and consultants continuing their long running strike action - in large part because of anger about their existing workload - it's unclear how much of a dent this will really be able to make on the record NHS waiting lists, until many more new staff have been trained.
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Joplin Spook Light: The full story behind a mysterious orb
OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla. ( KSNF/KODE ) - Since it was first mentioned in a publication more than a century ago, many names have been given to the mysterious, dancing or flickering light that, to this day, people continually claim to have witnessed. The light is known as The Joplin Spook Light, Tri-State Spook Light, and the Hornet Spook Light; all of them are named in connection to the area where it was discovered.
According to paranormal investigator and author Lisa Livingston-Martin, the Spook Light is usually seen during the evening or nighttime hours and is most often described as an orange ball of light. People who’ve seen it say the orb usually travels from east to west along a four-mile road between Missouri and Oklahoma, called “Spook Light Road” or “The Devil's Promenade near Quapaw, Oklahoma.”
“The ball of fire,” as it’s sometimes described, varies from the size of a baseball to a basketball. While doing research on the local Spook Light, Livingston-Martin conducted many interviews with those claiming to have seen the mysterious orb. Some say the light dances and spins down the center of the road (sometimes at high speeds), rising and hovering above the trees before disappearing in the blink of an eye. Others reported it swaying from side to side, like a lantern being carried by an invisible being. According to most witnesses, the Spook Light strays from large groups and loud sounds.
LEGEND AND FOLKLORE
There are many legends, stories and science-based theories that attempt to explain what this spooky, dancing ball of light could be. It’s believed that Native Americans of the Cherokee Tribe were the first to see the Spook Light while traveling along the Trail of Tears. One of the oldest legends says it’s the ghost of an Osage chief who was murdered somewhere in that area.
The Ghost Miner
One legend is about a local miner: “A miner comes home one night, only to discover that his family was missing and his cabin burned to the ground, perhaps by Native Americans. Now, the ghost of the miner roams the road (Spooklight Road) at night with a lantern in his hand, searching for his family,” Livingston-Martin explained.
Native American Spirits
According to Livingston-Martin, the most common folklore tale says the light’s glow comes from the spirits of two young lovers within the Quapaw Native American Tribe - a woman and a man who married against her father’s wishes. At her father’s request, the couple was chased through the forest by warriors of their tribe until the two came to a large cliff above Spring River. With nowhere to run, the couple held hands as they jumped into the river below, plunging to their deaths.
In 1965, an investigation was conducted by the magazine Popular Mechanics. Using binoculars in daylight, a team of investigators was able to see cars near where the Spook Light supposedly originates. This explanation was summarized by a quote from one of the investigators: "I think what's happening is cars… are coming down the long highway (Route 66), and we're seeing headlights or tail lights five miles away.”
Advocates of the “car headlight” theory said it’s accurate and they could recreate it with a man-made light that corresponded to the appearance of the Spook Light. “This particular theory doesn’t account for the 99% of reported sightings. The first reports of the Spook Light come from a time when cars weren’t in existence yet, so lights from a vehicle is not what everyone reports seeing,” said Livingston-Martin.
“Swamp gas just doesn’t make any sense,” claimed Livingston-Martin. “As to the theory of escaping natural gas, which is common in marshy areas, the Joplin/Hornet Light is seemingly not affected by wind or by rain, and how would it self-ignite?”
Lisa Livingston-Martin said there’s one possible explanation that’s not as easily discounted. It’s also not yet proven to be conclusive. “To be honest, I think it has something to do with geology. The best theory we have, in my opinion, is the Spook Light is the product of electrical atmospheric charges,” said Livingston-Martin.
The Spook Light is more than just a phenomenon restricted to the Devil's Promenade. Witnesses describe similar, mysterious lights in several areas across the United States, which leads her to believe it’s likely a geologic phenomenon. “In areas where rocks, deep below the earth's surface, are shifting and grinding, an electrical charge can be created. This area, lying on a fault line running east from New Madrid, Missouri, westward to Oklahoma, was the site of four earthquakes during the 1700s. These types of electrical fields are most commonly associated with earthquakes,” explained Livingston-Martin.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES – JOPLIN SPOOK LIGHT
On KSNF's Living Well with Gary Bandy and Shelby Neely, the following question was asked: “Have you ever seen the Joplin Spook Light? If so, what was your experience?”
Here’s what some had to say by posting their response on the KSNF Living Well Facebook Page :
- Dominic A. - " Use to go to it there all the time when it was open to public, I believe I've seen it on more than one occasion. "
- Leisha B. - " I saw it on Local News Today behind Hank!” > https://youtu.be/GlXqhDgo-rc
- Mike R. - " We used to go a lot when I was in high school way back in the 1960s. It was just a dirt road. It was fun to take dates to Spooky’s Museum and then park along the side of the road to watch for it. I guess we saw it. It always seemed so far away it was hard to tell. "
- Gaye-Alan W. - " 1957 with my parents. A light came up the road, stayed at least 15 minutes, split into 2 lights, 1 moved around briefly then joined back together. Eventually returned to its original destination till it faded out of sight. Scary but not. You wanted to keep watching. "
- Linda S. - " Grew up not far from the Spook Light – I’ve seen it many times. "
- Carlene J. - " Saw it every time I went, late 70s early 80s.haven’t been in years, and also had to go to SPOOKY’s before and after. “
- Julie F. - " I went to see it probably 25 years ago but never saw it. Always wanted to see it but never did. "
- Timothy W. - " Was there back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. We did see it. Came up the road then just disappeared. Always wanted to go back and take the kids. Nowadays I don’t remember exactly how to get there ."
- J.D. S. - " We don't live very far from Spook Light road. It's not anything like it was years ago. It's all paved now. "
- Monte C. - " It got on the hood of our car. I would call it a ball of energy more than being a light. We honked the horn and it left. It was about the size of a baseball. "
- Buster & Joyce Y. - " Couple of times, a light that split, moved around, then disappeared when we tried to get closer ."
- Charla O. - " Yes, Mom and Dad would take us to see it in the 60's. Dad made fudge and we made a night of it. One time it came right up to our car and he decided to step out of the car! Us three sisters and brother all screamed! It disappeared and showed up in a field right next to our car but there was two of them. It was amazing watching them dance together in the field next to our car! Now the road is paved and lots of houses. Haven't seen it since. You can't stop and park and turn out your lights and wait for the spook light to show up. Sad.. "
- Kevin E. - " My mom lived in a house on the road where the Spook Light was and it would come up the driveway. "
- Donna D. - " Yes, something I can’t even explain! "
- Diana M. - "Y ep! It followed us over the hills ."
- Dennis C. - " Never! "
- Jack F. - “ I literally live a mile and a half from Spook Light. I’ve never seen it. Of course, I’m not looking for it either. “
- Melia E. - “ I saw it several times in the early 90’s. Typically reminded me of a motorcycle coming up the road until it was close enough for me to realize there was no motorcycle. Once it bounced around on our car hood. “
- Ron R. - “ Never seen it. “
- Rusty F. - “ Saw it split in two during the early 70s…won’t say who I was with… “
- Linda V. - “ We saw a light, but couldn't tell if it was just a porch light. It never came close to us. “
The primary source for information published in this article comes from author and paranormal investigator Lisa Livingston-Martin who spent many years researching the Joplin Spook Light. Lisa also runs a company based in Southwest Missouri called Paranormal Science Lab (PSL).
PSL offers a variety of services to individuals, businesses and historic sites, including private research and investigations, educational programs and public history tours and ghost hunts. You can visit their Facebook page here .
- Want to know where to find the location of the Joplin/Hornet Spook Light? The answer can be found here .
- If you’re looking for more information on the Joplin Spook Light, this article includes several interesting stories from those who claim to have seen it.
- Published in this article are some personal Spook Light stories that are told in great detail.
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