Marfa Lights – Marfa, Texas - Atlas Obscura

In beautiful, desolate West Texas, Marfa is an outpost of civilization, boasting an independent bookstore and modern art by resident artist Donald Judd. But Marfa is also the site of some supernatural happenings, namely the Marfa Lights, several mysterious orbs of light that float off the highway out of town.

There is a viewing station set up off Highway 67 outside of Marfa, from which the lights may be observed. Their appearance, however, is sporadic at best, and you should consider yourself lucky if you see these multicolored, basketball-sized, glowing orbs floating in the distance.

The lights have been attributed to an array of things–ground temperature fluctuations creating static electricity, the piezoelectric effect (having to do with the expansion and contraction of quartz rocks), and, of course, magic and UFOs. Most recently, the favored explanation, supported by the research of a group of UT-Dallas students, is that the lights are caused by some refraction of headlights from cars on the highway, though the findings of the students were still far from conclusive. The mystery lives on.

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