Over the years I’ve been asked for my thoughts on what have popularly become known as “Ghost Lights.” Well, I can say for sure I’ve heard all sorts of theories for what they might really be. Those theories include some kind of intelligent ball of energy, the souls of the dead (people and animals), shapeshifting aliens, ball lightning, and entry points to other dimensions. Of course, there may be numerous other theories, too, but these are most definitely ones that I often hear about. I can’t say, at all, that I’m an expert in this field; however, I do have an interest in the subject. Chiefly because I had my very own encounter back in the summer of 2005. It wasn’t anything particularly spectacular, but it did make me realize this was a real phenomenon. With that said, I’ll share it with you now – my one and only encounter with a Ghost Light. The location was the Big Thicket, Texas – a large, forested area in east Texas that has a long history of having Ghost Light encounters in its midst. And, by the way, it’s not just Ghost Lights that are seen in the Big Thicket. The United States’ most famous monster, Bigfoot, has been seen there on many occasions, too.
Nick Redfern takes a photo at the ghostly area
To demonstrate just how heavily wooded Texas is, the Big Thicket alone – which is situated not at all far from the city of Houston – is more than 80,000 acres in size. It’s dominated by near-endless numbers of oak trees, beech trees, pines, and swamps and rivers. By day, the Big Thicket looks like pretty much any other large, sprawling mass of forestland. It’s after the sun has set, however, and darkness has fallen on the Big Thicket that things begin to change – and to a significant and creepy degree. Much of the high-strangeness of the Bigfoot variety is focused in the vicinity of a six-mile-long stretch of fairly primitive road that runs through the woods and which is called Bragg Road. While that’s the road’s official title, it also has an unofficial name, too: Ghost Light Road. It takes its curious name from the fact that, for centuries, people have reported seeing, strange, eerie, floating balls of light flitting around the woods – balls of light that vary from the size of approximately a tennis ball to a soccer ball. And, it’s against this weird background that the Big Thicket Bigfoot dwells.
No-one did more research into the strange creatures (and the Ghost Lights) of the Big Thicket than the late Rob Riggs, the author of a 2001 book, appropriately titled In the Big Thicket. An animal-loving vegetarian for almost half a century, Rob was a journalist and the publisher of a series of award-winning newspapers in Texas, uncovered a massive amount of data and witness testimony demonstrating that wild, monstrous things inhabit the darkest regions of the Big Thicket. As with so many other encounters across the United States, the phenomenon of the Big Thicket man-beast existed long before the term “Bigfoot” was coined. As for those Ghost Lights…
Nick Redfern and Rob Riggs, 2017
Early on what turned out to be a bright and sunny Sunday morning in June 2005, me, Rob, S. Miles Lewis of the Austin-based Scientific Anomaly Institute, and two conference attendees, Renee and Nancy, met at a prearranged location for our journey into the unknown. I can hardly say that the trip was one of proportions that would have made Jack Kerouac proud. But nevertheless, we were on a mission and everyone was fired up about what we might uncover, and so our convoy set off in earnest. It was late afternoon when we finally arrived in the town of Kountze, where all of us had reservations at the local Super 8. After a shower and a Mexican dinner, we were forest-bound. And this was when things got very strange – when it got dark, of course. And then, suddenly, it happened. We were on our way back to the vehicles to grab a bite to eat and some drinks when, as we entered a clearing in the trees, a basketball-sized bright light floated over us at a height of about thirty-five feet. It was moving from right to left, and sailed slowly yet purposefully on its journey. The ghost light was present for barely a handful of seconds, but it was definitely there. I have no idea of what it was – only that it was there. Until, that is, it wasn’t there.