Strange Lights

A Scientific Look at Marfa Lights

The data collected by James Bunnell, on CE-type Marfa Lights, and published in his book, deserves close examination. The explanation given in “Analyzing Data for a Marfa Lights Interpretation” (the April 7th post on Modern Pterosaur) may be a bit daunting to some readers, however, so I’ll try to make it more clear. Here is my simplified interpretation.

In the book Hunting Marfa Lights, Bunnell included ten pages titled “Table B1.” Dozens of sightings are listed, with data such as date, time-of-sunset, time-of-first-appearance, time-sighting-ended, temperature (and other weather details). What a treasure for the scientifically-minded to analyze! The following quotes are from Modern Pterosaur.

We now notice the resulting complexity of potential behaviors and area patterns resulting from the above conditions. On any particular night, it would be unlikely that even one of Bunnell’s cameras would pick up even one CE type mystery light. But we have room for at least one prediction.

Bunnell himself admits that some mystery lights observed around Marfa, Texas, show complex behavior. He also admits that there are limitations to what his cameras can record in this large area where the lights are observed.

We now examine some of Bunnell’s data for camera recordings of significant mystery light appearances from late 2000 through late 2008 . . .

This post then goes into details about “night-successions.” There are two kinds of successions, although this is probably not mentioned or at least emphasized by Bunnell, at least not by that label: consecutive nights, and sightings separated by many days, even weeks or months. The point? Observations of mystery lights (called ML by Bunnell) are rarely on consecutive nights, but those exceptions are extremely important in this analysis on Modern Pterosaur.

For example, the consecutive nights of July 14th and 15th, 2006, (Texas time-date, not the Universal date mentioned on Modern Pterosaur: July 15-16) fit well the hypothesis of glowing flying predators, because of the start times of those ML events, recorded by Bunnell’s camera or cameras. On the first night, the mystery light display started 38 minutes after sunset, and on the second night, 37 minutes after sunset.

The significance? Take any consecutive ML-sighting dates at random, for example July 12, 2003 is followed by May 8, 2004. (That happens to be one of the longest periods without any camera recordings.) As expected, very little similarity is seen between these sightings, except that the lights recorded were both classified as “ML.” The wind speed on both nights was about 8 mph, surely just a coincidence. But some ML appear hours after sunset, sometimes many hours, and the one minute difference between July 14th and July 15th, 2006, was surely no coincidence, at least not when we consider the bioluminescent-flying-predators hypothesis.

To be brief, the group of bioluminescent predators probably had a successful hunt on the night of July 14th, so they left their sleeping quarters (perhaps a cave) at the same time on July 15th, soon after sunset, and flew to the same general area where they had success the previous night. Fortunately Bunnell’s camera recorded the activity on both those nights.

To any critic who might suggest that those two consecutive nights were very similar (in start times for mystery light appearance) because of similar conditions, what about the weather data for those two nights? Consider the details, the differences on those two nights:

Maximum temperature in daytime: 93 versus 86 (F.)

“Temperature at start” was 78.8 versus 75.2 (F.)

“Temp Change (day high to ML Start)” was 14.2 versus 10.8

Dew Pt. (F.): 42.8 versus 48.2

Max. Humidity: 41% versus 52%

Start Humidity: 28% versus 38%

Start Wind Speed (mph): 11.5 versus 17.3

Obviously, any non-living hypothesis (for CE mystery lights of Marfa) that involves atmospheric conditions fails to address this extremely close coorelation between these two consecutive nights. Does anyone still doubt? Look at the above data. The hypothesis of a group of bioluminescent flying predators hunting early at night—that fits the start time perfectly, for the July 14-15, 2006, one-minute difference. It appears those glowing predators have again survived scientific scrutiny.

Third edition of "Live Pterosaurs in America"
Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition, nonfiction
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2 comments on “A Scientific Look at Marfa Lights

  1. Interesting – you have a lot of data here. I also love the look of your blog.

  2. Pingback: Live Pterosaur» Blog Archive » Temperatures During CE Marfa Light Sightings