Saturday, January 26, 2013

City Lights visible from Wiseman's View

Photography from the popular Wiseman's View observation site on December 1, 2012 clearly shows some city lights of Lenoir, NC.

Brown Mountain is the distant flat-top mountain in the center of the image
The prominent ridge in the foreground is the east rim of Linville Gorge with Hawskbill Mtn to the left edge of the image and Table Rock Mtn to the right edge of the image
Canon EOS REBEL T3i DSLR camera, f/9, 1/200 second, ISO-100
City lights of Lenoir, NC
The single white light above the ridgeline in the center of the image is a lighted tower atop Hibriten Mtn
The adjacent orange light is Lenoir's Christmas Star which is only lighted during the holidays each year
The dark profile of Brown Mountain comprises the foreground of the image
Canon EOS REBEL T3i DSLR camera, f/98 3 second, ISO-800

City lights of Lenoir, NC
A wide-angle view of Lenoir
 The lighted tower & Christmas Star atop Hibriten Mtn are visible
The Google Data Center is the row of orange lights near the right edge of the image
The dark profile of Brown Mountain comprises the foreground of the image
Canon EOS REBEL T3i DSLR camera, f/6.3, 3 second, ISO-100
Google Data Center, Lenoir, NC
 This is the same building visible in the daytime from our Jonas Ridge BML Cam1 site
Canon EOS REBEL T3i DSLR camera, f/0, 10 second, ISO-800

Wiseman's View, named for the spot where Fate Wiseman first saw the Brown Mountain Lights (BMLs), lies on the western rim of Linville Gorge and may have been the site of the very first BML sightings.  As an old man, Fate Wiseman told his nephew, Scotty Wiseman, about seeing mysterious lights atop Brown Mountain when he (Fate Wiseman) was a very young man----this would have been about 1854, +- 10 years .  Although not proven, this is the earliest 'verifiable' report of the BMLs.   The sightings of mysterious lights seen over the top of Brown Mountain from Loven's Hotel at Cold Springs, NC weren't reported until the late 1890s and early 1900s.  It was the sightings from Cold Springs, popularized by newspaper articles, that first ignited the public's imagination and initiated the legend of the BMLs.
Since Fate Wiseman's sightings, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of others have reported seeing similar lights from his observation spot. 
Note that although a vast expanse of Linville Gorge is clearly visible from Wiseman's View, no one at the time, including Fate Wiseman, reported seeing mysterious lights down in the gorge itself.  However, since about the 1950s, mystery lights down in Linville Gorge have been reportedly seen from Wiseman's View and elsewhere along the rim of the gorge.  These lights, called the Linville Gorge Lights (LGLs), are not the same thing as the BMLs; and the two should not be confused with each other.  The lights that gave rise to the legends of the BMLs were seen over the top of Brown Mountain when viewed from distant observation sites, like Wiseman's View and Cold Springs, that are located in the higher mountains west and north of Brown Mountain.  The sightings of mystery lights in Linville Gorge itself are a more-recent phenomenon and undoubtablely have a different source than the BMLs.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Views From Brown Mountain

These three images were taken from rock clifts near the top of the north end of Brown Mountain on January 5, 2013.  The first two views look northwest and west toward the popular viewing sites on NC Highway 181, Jonas Ridge & Wiseman's View.  Our BML Cam1 is located on Jonas Ridge.  The third image looks northeast toward Grandfather Mountain.

Canon EOS REBEL T3i DSLR camera, f/7.1, 1/400 sec, ISO-100, 50 mm; 3:09 pm

Canon EOS REBEL T3i DSLR camera, f/8, 1/640 sec, ISO-100, 50 mm
Canon EOS REBEL T3i DSLR camera, f/7.1, 1/400 sec, ISO-100

Due to the dense forest covering Brown Mountain, there are very few places with open views.  No open views to the south toward the Catawba River Valley or east toward the Yadkin River Valley are present.  Thus city lights in these valleys are not visible from Brown Mountain; which may explain the lack of distant BML sightings reported from the mountain itself---a preplexing fact mentioned in many published BML documents.  However, a small number of individuals have reported close encounters with unexplained nighttime lights while visiting the mountain; some of these reports are currently being investigated by our BML research team.  These upclose lights are reported to be too small and too faint to be visible from more than a few hundred feet away.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

BML Time Line Updated

Updated 06Mar13.  The following time line of critical events in the history of the BMLs is based on our review of more than 180 published & unpublished documents.

BML Time Line
Dates of Significant Events in the History of the Brown Mountain Lights

1765   Lenoir, NC (Catawba Valley) first settled---Incorporated in 1841
1777   Morganton, NC (Catawba Valley) first settled---Incorporated in 1784
1850   Hickory, NC (Catawba Valley) first settled---Incorporated in 1860
1854   Lafayette Wiseman camped at Wiseman’s View & reportedly saw Mystery Lights
1858   First Railroad constructed in Catawba Valley---WNC RR, 84 mi from Salisbury to near Morganton
1870   First train arrived in Marion, NC---WNC RR; 1873 Old Fort, NC; 1880 Asheville, NC
1882   Mystery Lights reportedly seen by J. Stokes Penland of Linville Falls, NC
1888   Electricity first available to Hickory, NC residents; Electric Street Lights installed 1889
1889   Statesville, NC gets Electricity for first time
1897   Mystery Light reportedly seen by Joseph Loven of Cold Springs, NC
1898   Automobiles first appeared in NC; First mass produced car in US was Ford Model T (1908-1927)

1908-9 Mystery Lights reportedly seen by B.S. Gaither of Morganton, NC
1910   Rev. C.E. Gregory built cottage near Cold Springs, NC & reportedly saw Mystery Lights
1911   Mystery Lights reportedly seen by numerous members of the Morganton Fishing Club
1913   September---First written account----Light rises in Catawba Valley over top of Brown Mountain
1913   October---USGS Geologist D.B. Sterrett visit----Locomotive headlight
1915   Dr. C.L. Wilson saw lights of Joy, Lenoir, Connelly Springs, & Rutherford College from Cold Springs
1916   April---H.C. Martin’s camping parties see lights from Adams Mtn & Brown Mountain---Fireflies?
1916   July---Historic Flood, Catawba River reached +25’ above flood level
1916   Joseph Loven and Lafayette Wiseman reportedly saw Mystery Lights after the flood
1917   C.H. Hite publishes First Story of Ghosts (Bird Carroll) on Brown Mountain
1917   US Forest Service buys Brown Mountain
1919   US Weather Bureau & Smithsonian Institute issue Brush Lightning statement
1921   National Geographic Society bulletin----Brush Lighting, similar to St Elmo’s fire & Andes Light
1922   USGS Geologist G.R. Mansfield research----90% reflected electric lights and 10% brush fires
1927   R.K. Babington publishes First Reference to de Brahm’s 1771 Document of Nitrous Vapors
1928  J.B. Derieux & A.A. Dixon, NC State College---binocular & transit study---Hudson Town Lights
1929   E.M. Bell---first BML photo---4 hr Exposure, Moon Streak & lights above crest of Brown Mountain
1932   F.D. Ruggles reported 100s of lights like city street lights---concluded they were burning gasses
1936  S.M. Dugger publishes First  Legend of a Murdered Wife
1937   Hickory Municipal Airport constructed
1940   H.A. Whitman’s research----transit triangulation---BML photo---reflected city lights
1941   W.J. Humpheries & H. Lyman (US Weather Bureau) report----Andes Light
1941   L. Weir publishes First Legend of Indian Maidens searching for their braves lost in battle
1946   US Highway 70 constructed in Catawba Valley
1948   First published story of Lost Lover Legend
1958   Bob Brown---BML photos---reflected city lights
1959   N. Alexander publishes first report of a Swamp atop Brown Mountain
1961   S. Wiseman publishes first reference to Legend of Faithful Slave Searching for Lost Master
1962   P. Rose---Tower construction---close encounters
1962   S. Rowe & C. Holler, Jr.---Transit survey & site visits---refracted city lights
1965   R. Lael publishes first stories of Aliens---Alien abduction---close encounters
1968   H. Bailey first published reference to UFOs flying over Brown Mountain
1975   Interstate I-40 completed in Catawba Valley
1977   ORION’s 500,000 candlepower light test in Lenoir (22 mi away)---seen at 181 Overlook
1978   First joint Enigma/ORION investigation began
1980   First published sighting of lights in Linville Gorge?---published in 1995
1981   ORION detonated dynamite atop BM---no lights seen at 181 Overlook
1982   First published Legend of Revolutionary War Solider searching for Missing Family
1999   LEMUR---The X-Files segment---aired May 9, 1999
2000   LEMUR--- Brian Irish’s video of suspected BMLs
2002   LEMUR---Travel Channel segment on BMLs---aired March 2002
2003   Dr. Greg Little of Alternate Perceptions Magazine videotaped BMLs
2009   Dean Warsing’s night vision video of suspected BMLs
2012   First and Second Brown Mountain Light Symposium, Burke Co Dept of Tourism
2012   S. Nicholson published First Reference to ghosts of Civil War Soldiers
2012   BMLs Research Team---BML Cam1 setup, staged light tests, telephoto photography, Lit research
2013   BMLs Research Team---BML Cam1, geologic Investigations, lit research, telephoto photography

Campfire Stories---Pseudo-Scientific Explanations

In more recent times, explanations masquerading as scientific are being proposed by misinformed individuals and/or groups, generally with economic ties to furthering the mystique of the BMLs.  Videos of questionable BMLs can be found on the Internet while web pages posting questionable, misleading, undocumented, and even disproven BML explanations abound.  Authors often fail to distinguish between fact and fiction and elaborate extensively on their favorite ghost story---references are conveniently omitted.  In addition, theories such as stresses on geologic faults, earth lights, earth currents, ionized plasmas, luminescent gases, radioactive minerals, and even glimpses of parallel universes are proposed, but with no logical evidence to back them up.

unexplained lights

 Of course, a small number of reported BMLs are not easily explained as manmade lights.  Some personal stories, especially those of close encounters, continue to defy this logical explanation.  Investigations of these phenomena are ongoing by the Brown Mountain Light Research Team BMLRT).