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: Southwest Missouri on the Oklahoma border, near Joplin, Missouri and Quapaw, Oklahoma

Appearance: Yellow or orange ball that travels eastward down the road, sometimes at great speed. The light can emit sparks and may hop, sway, spin, or move in arcs. May land on the hood of vehicles but also will display avoidant behavior if directly approached. Occasionally the light splits into two or more lights.

Folklore:

  1. The light is said to be the spirits of a star-crossed Native American couple.
  2. Some say the light is a beheaded Indian chief.
  3. The light is the ghost of a miner searching for his kidnapped wife and children.
  4. The light is the Devil himself.

Other explanations: Perhaps swamp gas, car headlights, electrical disturbances caused by the New Madrid fault.

Additional notes: The light was a popular tourist attraction for a time and even had a small museum dedicated to it in the 1960s and 1970s.

Reader Comments:

“I used to live in Miami Oklahoma and frequented the spooklight road at least two or three times a week for about 18 months or more in 67-69. That particular night the Spooklight was not seen at a distance. It came within about 50 feet of our hood and was as big as a basketball! We had been out there many nights before but all yelled: “TURN ON THE LIGHTS!” – Patrick, July 1999

“My mother saw [the light] very up-close when she was in her 20’s (in the 1950’s). In similar vein to other experiences, the light floated down a road toward them, disappeared, then reappeared behind them. About a foot behind my mother’s head, to be exact.” – Mark, September 1999

“My friends and I drove from Springfield to Joplin on a Sunday night in 1998 and arrived there around midnight. We were just sitting there and nothing was happening. Then he said for me to flash my brights. I did. Not 5 seconds later down the road I saw what looked like a red laser pointer. It grew bigger and bigger in a matter of seconds. Then it turned into a big white round light about the size of a basketball. It bounced in and out of trees. Up and down the road. It came so close it lit up the whole inside of my car like daylight!” – Toni, March 2000

“The second we turned onto the road we noticed a small light way off in the distance. Looked miles and miles away. We kept driving up the road at idle speed all the while the light changing colors, moving, disappearing, reappearing, and changing size. Sometimes the light had a reddish color to it, sometimes a greenish glow, and sometimes it looked white. After about an hour of being out there we came over a hill and a white/yellowish basketball sized light was at the bottom of the hill not more than 7 ft from our vehicle. The light got about 3 ft. from the car, then spun around in a 2 ft. circle parallel to the ground.” – Jason, April 2002

Date received: October 1998

This is a story my grandfather told me once. When I say once, I mean it. It was a while ago, and I could be elaborating on it, but only a little. If I do, I apologize. There are others, but this is one I think other people would find most interesting because there may be others who know about this. It’s about the lights in Hornet. I don’t remember if it’s Mississippi or Missouri.

At any rate, at one time my grandfather took a trip to see them. He had heard about them and wanted to see them for himself. There is apparently a field outside of town. He got there and stood up at the road with other people who had come for the same reason. It was some time after dusk. Presently, an orange globe, like someone carrying a lantern, started bobbing along the horizon.

My grandfather decided he was going to go down and see what it was. Some other people tried to convince him not to go, but he decided he would. He walked down off the road. The field wasn’t totally level, and he had to go down some gullies. When he got to the top of one very close to where he judged the globe to have been, it wasn’t there! He looked around, but it was nowhere to be seen. He walked back, and when he turned back at the road, it was back again!

This made him a little upset. Some of the people asked him what it looked like close up, and he said, “It wasn’t there, didn’t you see it disappear and come back when I got back?” One of the others there replied, “No, it didn’t go away, it floated right around you the whole time you were there! Are you sure you didn’t see it?” When I was told it, my grandfather swore to me that it was true. I was about five, but it was easy to tell when my grandfather was kidding me. Anyone else who was there when my grandfather was can attest to this.

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