Note: For more information about this and other ghost lights, check out my book The True Ghost Stories Archive: Spooklights, available on Amazon in ebook and paperback. Below is a condensed version of the chapter in the book.

Location: Brown Mountain, North Carolina

Appearance: White, yellow, or red spherical lights hovering high in the valley or just above the mountain.


  1. The lights are spirits of Native American tribesmen killed in battle.
  2. The lights are the ghosts of a woman and her child murdered by her husband on the mountain.
  3. The lights are the lanterns of Revolutionary War soldiers.
  4. The lights are lanterns of a Civil War-era servant searching the mountain for his lost master.

Other explanations: Probably car headlights.

Additional notes: The lights were studied by members of the United States Geological Survey in 1913 and 1922. Their report in 1922 concluded that the lights came from automobile headlights, locomotive headlights, stationary lights, and brush fires.

Reader Comments:

“My Grandmother told me that at Brown Mountain, North Carolina one can see a “ghost city”. Basically, it’s a city where the outlines of structures are visible, but the lights are very very clearly “manifested”. For example, one sees, in her words, the headlights of the cars as they travel, the stop lights changing, the lights in the office buildings being turned on and off.” – Brandy, June 1999

“I looked into the sky and saw what looked like an ordinary spotlight beam. Then it began changing shape. The ends began to close in, so that it became something like a fat toothpick. The end pointing toward the mountain began to open out into an arrow or spearhead shape, with the rest of the beam becoming the shaft. Then, the shaft began to shorten, as though it were being absorbed by the head, until it was gone.” – Michael, May 1999

“Everyone that I know that has seem the lights (except me I scare easily) has tried to walk up to the lights but the vanish.” – Emily, June 2000

“I was fascinated as the lights began to show up at dusk, quite clearly visible back then, because pollution had not yet filled all the hollows of the Smokies and other mountains. Their appearance coincided with dusk falling, just as the sun was going down, and they were roughly 1/2 to 3/4 mile away from us, across the valley that separated us. Their color was pale, yellows, blues, greens, pinks, oranges, all on a translucent coloring, as though there was some sort of light within them.” – Howard, March 1997

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