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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:58 AM
Original message
Poll question: Your favorite strange natural phenomenon:
Add a reply if your favorite is not listed here.

Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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wildhorses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. the brown moutain lights
searching...
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wildhorses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
18. too late for edit...but.
(Legend of the) Brown Mountain Light

Way out on the old Linville Mountain,
Where the bear and the catamount rein.
There a strange ghostly light, can be seen every night,
Which no scientist nor hunter can explain.
Chorus:
High, high on the mountain, and down in the canyon below
It shines like the crown of an angel, and fades as the mists come and go.
'Way, 'way over yonder, Night after night until dawn,
A faithful old slave, come back from the grave,
Is searching, searching, for his master who's long, ling gone.

In the days of the old covered wagons,
when they camped on the flat for the night;
With the stars growing dim on the high gorge rim,
they would watch for the Brown Mountain light

Long years ago a southern planter
Came hunting in this wild land alone
And here, so they say, the hunter lost his way,
And never returned to his home

His trusty old slave brought a lantern
And searched, but in vain, day and night;
Now the old slave is gone, but his spirit wanders on,
And the old lantern still casts its light

here is an article:
The Brown Mountain Lights are one of the most famous of North Carolina legends. They have been reported a dozen times in newspaper stories. They have been investigated at least twice by the U.S. Geological Survey. And they have attracted the attention of numerous scientists and historians since the German engineer, Gerard Will de Brahm, recorded the mysterious lights in the North Carolina mountains in 1771.
"The mountains emit nitrous vapors which are borne by the wind and when laden winds meet each other the niter inflames, sulphurates and deteriorates," said de Brahm. De Brahm was a scientific man and, of course, had a scientific explanation. But the early frontiersman believed that the lights were the spirits of Cherokee and Catawba warriors slain in an ancient battle on the mountainside.

One thing is certain, the lights do exist. They have been seen from earliest times. They appear at irregular intervals over the top of Brown Mountain - a long, low mountain in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. They move erratically up and down, visible at a distance, but vanishing as one climbs the mountain. From the Wiseman's View on Linville Mountain the lights can be seen well. They at first appear to be about twice the size of a star as they come over Brown Mountain. Sometimes they have a reddish or blue cast. On dark nights they pop up so thick and fast it's impossible to count them.

Among the scientific investigations which have undertaken from time to time to explain the lights have been two conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey. The first was made in 1913 when the conclusion was reached that the lights were locomotive headlights from the Catawba Valley south of Brown Mountain. However, three years later in 1916 a great flood that swept through the Catawba Valley knocked out the railroad bridges. It was weeks before the right-of-way could be repaired and the locomotives could once again enter the valley. Roads were also washed out and power lines were down.

But the lights continued to appear as usual. It became apparent that the lights could not be reflections from locomotive or automobile headlights.

The Guide to the Old North State, prepared by the W.P.A. in the 1930s, states that the Brown Mountain Lights have "puzzled scientists for fifty years." The same story reports sightings of the lights in the days before the Civil War.
Cherokee Indians were familiar with these lights as far back as the year 1200. According to Indian legend, a great battle was fought that year between the Cherokee and Catawba Indians near Brown Mountain. The Cherokees believed that the lights were the spirits of Indian maidens who went on searching through the centuries for their husbands and sweethearts who had died in the battle.

The lights can be seen from as far away as Blowing Rock or the old Yonahlosse Trail over Grandfather Mountain some fifteen miles from Brown Mountain. At some points closer to Brown Mountain the lights seem large, resembling balls of fire from a Roman candle. Sometimes they may rise to various heights and fade slowly. Others expand as they rise, then burst high in the air like an explosion without sound.

Late in 1919 the question of the Brown Mountain Lights was brought to the attention of the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Weather Bureau.

Dr. W.J. Humphries of the Weather Bureau investigated and reported that the Brown Mountain Lights were similar to the Andes light of South America. The Andes light and its possible relation to the Brown Mountain Lights became the subject of a paper read before the American Meteorological Society in April 1941. In this report Dr. Herbert Lyman represented the lights as a manifestation of the Andes light.

The second U.S. Geological Survey report disposes of the cause of the Brown Mountain Lights by saying they are due to the spontaneous combustion of marsh gases. But there are no marshy places on or about Brown Mountain. The report also states that the lights from foxfire would be too feeble to be seen at a distance of several miles.

The report rules out the possibility that the lights are a reflection of mountain moonshine stills. "There are not enough such stills and they probably would not be in sufficiently continuous operation to produce lights in the number and regularity of those seen at Brown Mountain."

St. Elmo's Fire, that electrical phenomenon familiar to sea voyagers, was dismissed by a scientist from the Smithsonian Institution. He stated that St. Elmo's Fire and similar phenomena occurred at the extremity of some solid conductor and never in midair as in the case of the Brown Mountain Lights.

Some scientists have advanced the theory that the lights are a mirage. Through some peculiar atmospheric condition they believe the glowing balls are reflections from Hickory, Lenoir, and other towns in the area. The only drawback to this theory is that the lights were clearly seen before the War between the States, long before electricity was used to produce light.

In recent years scientists have been more concerned about exploring outer space. Perhaps they have forgotten that there are mysteries on our own planet still unsolved. The Brown Mountain Lights are one of them.













The Brown Mountain lights dance in the night sky, shimmering and mysterious at least that's what I've heard.

The lights - seen in the night sky over Brown Mountain - have been reported as far back as the 18th century. The lights will be the focus of the Brown Mountain Lights Heritage Festival this weekend.

On a recent trip to the Brown Mountain area, I didn't see any lights.

Sorry.

But I did meet several people who said that they have seen the lights.

David Mull, a scruffy, enthusiastic man in his mid-50s, has been fascinated with the mysteries of Brown Mountain since he was a child. In the early '60s, a folk song called "(Legend of the) Brown Mountain Light," performed by Tommy Faile, led to a boom in interest in the lights.

Mull was about 8 at the time. As the song grew in popularity, roadside lookout points - previously used for gazing at the scenery - became hot spots for gawkers hoping for a glimpse of the lights. One hotel owner charged people 50 cents a car to park in his lot. Mull's dad balked at the exorbitant charge, so they found another place to park. Mull has made himself an expert on the lights. He has produced two documentary videos, The Brown Mountain Lights and The Mysterious Lights of Brown Mountain, and touched on the subject in several other documentaries.

Mull said he saw the lights when he was a child and has seen them many times since. But sightings are still a rarity, even for him.

Mull said that it's hard to say what he does for a living. Mostly, he said, he sells videotapes of his documentaries, raises and sells carnivorous plants, and does odd jobs. He devotes much of his plentiful energy to the Brown Mountain lights and other local lore.

Mull offered to act as a tour guide. He met us in the parking lot of a Kmart in Morganton and led us to several of the best places to see the lights.

A pre-dusk visit to one of the most popular lookout points from the 1960s craze was a bust - trees had grown and blocked out the view. Besides, it wasn't dark enough to make out the lights - though Mull theorized that they are still there in the daytime, just harder to spot. Another stop at the lookout point several hours later turned up no lights other than fireflies.

A drive down Highway 181 into Pisgah National Forest and then up a winding, four-mile dirt road led us to Wiseman's View, a lookout point with a spectacular view of the Linville River Gorge, including the distant Brown Mountain. There were plenty of lights to be seen, especially with binoculars, but most of them belonged to houses, radio towers and the like. Two rock balconies overlooking the gorge provided an ideal vantage point - and for those with a healthy fear of heights, a bit of vertigo.

We weren't the only ones on the balconies that night. The Clarks - parents Josh and Laura, and kids Jesse, 8; Jenna, 4; and Justin, 14 - make frequent trips to Wiseman's View from their home in Old Fort to see if they can spot anything. Josh and Laura said they have seen the lights only once in about 20 visits, but the results were spectacular.

"The light comes on slowly and goes to a bright glow," Laura Clark said. "They move; they jump all around." She wasn't quite sure how to describe the lights. "Until you see it, it's hard to say what you saw."

On the night that we met her, her father was visiting from Texas and the family had turned the visit to the park into an excuse for a picnic. They left without seeing any lights. But shortly after their departure, Mull excitedly pointed in the distance - not toward Brown Mountain, but down in the Linville River Gorge, where the Clarks had their one sighting.

"There, did you see it?" he asked eagerly.

We didn't. Mull said he saw a burst of light, almost like an explosion, that was gone too quickly for him to take a photo. He talked about it the rest of the evening, though, and wondered if it might have been a headlight. He decided that he would camp out there in the near future to see if he could see it again.

There are plenty of theories about the origins of the lights, Mull said.

The folk song by Faile said that the light comes from a ghostly lantern held by a spectral slave looking for his master. And other supernatural theories depict the lights as the ghosts of murder victims, Indian warriors slaughtered in some ancient battle, star-crossed lovers or the victims of a train wreck trying to find their way to safety.

Scientific theories hold that the lights could be a rare form of lightning called "ball lightning" or an energy discharge generated by quartz in the region. Some people say the lights are created by lithium, but Mull scoffed at that last theory.

"It's just B.S.," he said.

Jesse Clark had another theory. "It might be people walking around with flashlights."

Could the light be caused by the fire under moonshine stills? Or by the moonshine itself?

"Some people say you need a little mind alteration to see these things," Mull said with a laugh.

One of Mull's pet theories is that the lights are small time warps or "wormholes" into another dimension. And then there's the notion that they are UFOs, or - more specifically - aliens from the planet Venus who once abducted a local man, who later made a living selling books about his experience and running the now-long-gone Outer Space Rock Shop and Museum.

"I don't know if you can get much further out than that," Mull said.

Even though Mull came up with the wormhole theory - inspired in part by other theories, he said - he tries to keep an open mind about the origins of the lights. "It's better to hear new stories if you haven't got preconceived notions," he said.

But there's one theory he doesn't subscribe to. "The light may not even really exist - but it's hard to believe that's true," he said.

Although he has been studying the Brown Mountain Lights in earnest for more than 20 years, Mull said he hopes that no one ever solves the mystery of the lights' origin.

"It might make a person famous," he said, "But it might end the folklore."
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. Is Charo a natural phenomenon?
:shrug:
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Probably synthetic by now.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
3. My Great Dane knows when he's going for a car ride
way before I tell him or imply that he is. He. just. knows.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. My dogs know it, too.
I think it is a case of canine ESP. I swear that I my dogs know what I am thinking sometimes.
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. My cats always knew which one had to go to the vet. All I had to do was
bring the cage into the room. If they were both in one room, I would simply walk into the room with the cage, and without me saying a word or looking at one cat specifically, whichever cat it was that had to go to the vet would instantly vanish, while the one who didn't need to go would just sit there staring at me. I don't know how they could read my mind that way, but it happened every time they were in the same room when I walked in with a cage. I am sure they develop a sixth sense with their owner after a number of years.
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unsavedtrash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:00 PM
Response to Original message
7. foxfire n/t
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SOteric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
8. Ogopogo and Mel's Hole.
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_testify_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. Mel's Hole!
Last I heard the government men seized that property.
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anarch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
9. gravity
That is some seriously freaky shit.
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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Gravity's such a downer, man.
:D
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youthere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:08 PM
Response to Original message
10. My LEAST favorite Phenomenon:
When every customer in the store heads to the checkout line a second before I do.
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Especially when you were in line, but got out to get "just one more thing,
then when you go back to the line, it's four times as long as when you were in it.
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
13. You forgot Poland ... and Ball Lightning! n/t
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Xipe Totec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
14. Fireflies at dusk n/t
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. I love them, but I never get to see them here in California.
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Fox Mulder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:49 PM
Response to Original message
16. Auroras
and the Tunguska fireball.

I can't choose between the two, so I pick both.
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IChing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. Auras, I can explain Auroras
Aura (electrophotonic glow) around a fingertip can be seen with naked eyes





http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://selfheali...
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Drum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
19. When I add cinnamon to coffee, it gets cold faster.
What's up with that?
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Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:09 PM
Response to Original message
21. Aurora Borealis - Northern Lights
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 11:09 PM by Kali
Oh and the lifesavers thing is way cool too.
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AlienGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 01:16 AM
Response to Original message
22. Weird stuff falling out of the sky
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Monk06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 04:56 AM
Response to Original message
23. Herring balls
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