Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 89

a native of Marion, North Carolina,
turned an early fascination with
rocks and minerals of the Blue Ridge
Mountains into a global career in exploration geology. For his most recent
book, "The Brown Mountain Lights,
History, Science and Human Nature
Explain an Appalachian Mystery"
(McFarland Books, 2017), Speer used
his training in science to explore a
childhood enigma with fresh eyes.
Over three years, he worked with a
team of experts-including scientists
and outdoor enthusiasts-camping
out regularly and employing staged
light tests at Wiseman's View and the
Highway 181 overlook.
"The team was convinced we
could identify a new, unexplained sequence of light," Speer says, "But we
were mistaken. We simply couldn't
find a light we couldn't explain. I

experience to investigate them."
Joshua Warren, expert on the
paranormal, grew up in the mountains near Asheville, and saw the
lights firsthand as a child. He hosts
a syndicated weekly paranormal
program, "Speaking of Strange," and
founded the Asheville Mystery Museum. He also has a research center
in Puerto Rico, where he studies the

"I feel like Brown Mountain and
that whole Linville area are certainly
part of this alignment," Warren says.
"People at Brown Mountain have
had so many odd experiences that go
way beyond telling stories around a
campfire. As a serious researcher, I've
interviewed lots of people, taken lots
of measurements and written reports.
I've been featured on the National

... they started telling stories about
what they saw. To this day, it makes
the hair on the back of my neck
stand up." - PHILLIPS

ED PHILLIPS/BURKE COUNTY TOURISM

This is one of two sold-out Brown Mountain lights symposia offered in 2012 by Burke
County Tourism and hosted by Ed Phillips.

concluded that 98 percent of all mistaken or baffling lights are manmade
lights: town and city lights, and moving planes, trains and helicopters. A
very small percentage of people are
seeing a naturally occurring light.
One example is the eerie blue ghost
firefly, which is out only at certain
times of the summer, at certain hours
and at certain temperatures. And
then there are the pranksters playing
'Brown Mountain Lights.' So, most of
the mystery lights aren't really mysteries to someone with the time and

Bermuda Triangle.
Warren likens the area around
the Linville Gorge to a mini-Bermuda Triangle, mentioning the first
English settlement on the Carolina
coast-The Lost Colony-that inexplicably disappeared.
"You draw that line out East and
you'll come pretty close to hitting
the Island of Bermuda, which is the
top point of the so-called Bermuda
Triangle. The three points of the Triangle are Puerto Rico, Miami and the
Island of Bermuda."

Geographic channel, and my team
and I captured footage that was studied at the Princeton Optics Lab. They
couldn't explain what we captured.
"Brown Mountain is a special
place. Ultimately, we have these odd,
eerily beautiful lights upon which everyone projects their ideas. You have
the physicists and astronomers with
theories, geologists and chemists
with theories, and the UFO people
who think this area is the landing
ground for the mother ship or the
place where the saucers go to recharge their batteries."
Warren adds: "Brown Mountain
is a blank slate upon which so many
different kinds people can enthusiastically project their own impressions
or their own ideas about what might
be happening. It breeds a lot of creativity: songs, novels, research, a TV
shows. It sparks people's imagination.
"We know there's a tangible, objective, measurable, phenomenon
occurring there. Whatever it is, it's
something that deeply affects people
when they experience it and opens
their minds to all the mysterious possibilities here on Earth."

JULY/AUGUST 2018

89



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 8
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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