The Marfa Mystery Lights

I’m finally catching up on some of the trip reports that I hadn’t yet written. Real life has intruded and taken up an enormous chunk of my time, but I’m doing my best to get back to the reports – so here goes:

I decided to run south through New Mexico last October so as to swing by the Marfa Lights viewing center to check out the Marfa Mystery Lights. I’d ready about the phenomenon years ago, and it sounded like something worth witnessing directly.

Apparently, just outside Marfa, Texas, mysterious lights dance on the horizon southeast of the town – an area that’s uninhabited and not really easy to move around in, either by vehicle or on foot. It’s about a 6 1/2 hour drive from Albuquerque, NM (I was up visiting my Dad and his wife), and I had to roll through El Paso in the way. It was the first time I’d actually seen anything resembling mountains while driving through Texas.

About two hours out of El Paso, I took the turn off on to highway 90, and on this road I saw two ENORMOUS tarantulas crossing the road. I was a little alarmed that they were ballsy enough to get on the pavement and casually stroll across. I’m surprised the bastards didn’t have the spidery equivalent of middle fingers up as they walked into traffic.

Because I’m pretty much terrified of spiders – especially ones that tiny plastic G.I. Joe figurines could put a saddle on and ride across the frickin road, I had EXTREME doubts about this mission – especially the state of the toilets in the area. Thankfully, my fears/doubts were unfounded.

I arrived at the viewing center as the sun was going down, and just took in the view. It’s a really gorgeous place. There were a couple of folks milling around, looking through the few permanent telescopes that were provided. I kept hoping that I’d see something extraordinary, further wanting it to be really bored locals running around in the bush with flashlights, laughing their asses off.

Sadly, the night I visited, nothing wierd really happened – at least with the lights.

Turns out a large number of people from various parts of the country had the same idea that night, and it was really fun getting to talk to people about their experiences both with UFO’s and the paranormal.

There was apparently a UFO convention happening over the weekend out in Presidio, Texas (I think it was the Border Zone UFO Festival), and a large group of paranormal/UFO investigators had come out to the viewing center to collect any possible evidence. Several of them set up a rather impressive amount of equipment, and proceeded to have a live podcast for about an hour or so.

Another guy brought out these four foot tall plastic green aliens out and started setting them up around the vistor’s center. People were standing next to them, getting their pictures taken with them. It was all highly entertaining.

One guy was wandering around with $2500 night vision goggles and was generously handing them over to anybody that wanted to check out the surrounding landscape with them. Holy cow, I had no idea the kind of clarity you could get with really high end night vision gear.

Somebody kept talking about a guy that was supposed to arrive around 10pm that was going to regale the listening audience with a tale of his own UFO abduction, but he never showed.

I really wanted to check out the UFO convention – I’d never been to such a thing, and still want to go at some point, but I had to get to McKinney, TX to see Rocky Horror Picture Show with my niece and nephew, so I had to get back on the road.

(PIX from the Viewing Center)