The Spook Light

For mor than a century people near Quapaw, Oklahoma and the better known town Joplin, Missouri have reported something that has taken several names, the most common of which?  The Spook Light.  Described as not more than an orange ball of light that  bounces up and down from East to West along a road nicknamed “The Devil’s Promenade” by locals of the area long ago.

The story goes that it was first reported by Native Americans travelling on the Trail of Tears, but the first official report was in 1881 in a publication that went by “The Ozark Spook Light.”  It has been described as having a varying size from maybe a baseball, to larger than a basketball.  It dances high over the road at great speeds, until it rises over the tree tops and hovers, before disapearing.  Others describe it as only moving horozontaly along the roadside.

Locals say that the best time to see it is between 10:00pm and midnight, and it tends to shy away from loud noises or groups of people.  Though studied by many  paranormal investigators, including the United States Army engineer Corps, no one has been  able to identify the source nor origin of it.

Over the years many explanations have been offered up, however quickly dismissed,

Natural gas leak (Common in marshy areas)-It is unnaffected by wind/rain, also, no source of ignition.

Headlights\billboards- There have been reports dating back to before automobiles or billboards have been invented, and before there was a road in that area.

Will-o’-the-wisps (bioluminescents caused by rotting flesh)- there have been no known cases of will-o’-the-wisps as bright as the spook light.  And its kinda hard for dead things to travel.

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 areas known for earthquakes.

Some preffer more, supernatural, explanations.  Such as the story 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.

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