Early Charlotte Observer Article on the Brown Mountain Lights

BML Home

BML References

Webmaster Home Page


This article appeared in the Charlotte Observer, p.2, on September 24, 1913. The text at bottom left is a transcription made from the somewhat difficult to read microfilm copy of the original. Thanks to the North Carolina Room staff at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for providing the article.


Burke County's Mysterious Light Still Baffles Investigators.

(Special to The Observer.)

Linville Falls, Sept.23.--The mys-terious light that is seen just above the horizon almost every night form Rattlesnake Knob, near Cold Spring, on the Morganton road, about seven miles from here, is still baffling all investigators. All theories as to its origin or nature have either been exploded or fall through from lack of evidence to support them.

With punctual regularity the light rises in a southeasterly direction from the point of observation just over the lower slope of Brown Mountain, first about 7:30 p.m., again about 20 or 30 minutes later and again at 10 o-clock. It looks much like a toy fire balloon, a distinct ball,with no "atmosphere" about it, and as nearly as the average observer can measure it, about the size of the toy balloon.

It is much smaller than the full moon, much larger than any star and fiery red. It rises in the far distance from beyond Brown Mountain, which is about six miles from Rattlesnake Knob, and after going up a short distance, wavers and goes out in less than one minute. The observer has to watch the sky closely at the right time, or he will miss it. It does not always appear in exactly the same place, but varies what must amount in the distance to several miles. The light is visible at all seasons, so Mr. Anderson Loven, an old and reliable resident, testifies. During the Winter it appears far off to the south of the usual Summer position, and is not visible from Rattlensake [sic] Knob, but is seen from a point farther down the turnpike, around the point or ridge that hides it from the Summer point of observation
Many have scoffed at this "spooky" thing, and those members of the Morganton Fishing Club who first saw it more than two years ago were laughed at and accused of "seeing things at night" as a result of a common human frailty. But as more and more persons have seen it, various attempts have been made to explain the mystery
That it is no mere reflection of some other light has been disproved. Some have declared that it was some practical joker sending up a light to mystify people, but it would hardly be kept up for several years, nor would it appear miles apart within a few minutes. There seems to be no doubt that the light rises from some point in the wide,level country between Brown Mountain and the South Mountains, a distance of about 12 miles, though it is possible that it rises a still greater distance.