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Ignis Fatuus (ghost Lights)


Ghost lights (Ignis Fatuus)

We always loved taking the kids camping.

One summer night under a warm, muggy clear night sky in 2011, the time was only an hour or two into sunset. We were walking across the campground to the lake, which has a pier across it that's four feet wide.

I was gazing into the darkness of the woods beyond the lake, which was marshy with hardwoods and some pines and very few bushes. I began seeing what I thought was lightning bugs.

As we began crossing the lake I'm thinking that getting closer would help me finally catch it with my direct vision as I had lucked out on with the first couple. I began thinking I can't follow them! Which was an instant problem.

All my life I have been accustomed to lightning bugs appearing in summer here in the south; and watching and following them with my eyes.

I noticed that as I was trying to follow, "the bugs", I couldn't. Now keep in mind my first glance was caught directly with my eyes which turned immediately to peripherally noticing them. By this point I knew it was not lighting bugs and realized what I was seeing ghost lights.

I'd ran across the term researching Halloween folklore and many other things the internet of knowledge can reveal, a few years before. Anyway, there was an incredible number of flashing lights throughout the woods. They seemed to be bluish-white in color and were a pulse of magic in the darkness. There were more appearing in the first few feet off the ground than upwards. As I looked higher they were not present. By now I'm scanning my eyes all different directions and catching dozens pulsing.

I brought it to the attention of my kids and their mother who saw them. We did seem to see a similar light activity in the lake, but could have been reflections. I've also camped other times there and did not see them. JWW

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, James_sightings, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

James_sightings (2 stories) (3 posts)
3 years ago (2019-06-02)
Definitely ghost lights, I camped back there a month ago and seen fire flies higher and brighter. Following them visually was as expected as easy.
countrybamagirl5 (6 posts)
3 years ago (2019-03-25)
Really loved this story very interesting & fascinating. I truly believe that things like this really do happen.
Ghosts and the supernatural are very real.
Rex-T (5 stories) (288 posts)
3 years ago (2019-03-07)
Hello James,

As Nectavore has highlighted, in Australia, the indigenous tribes have passed on stories, down through the ages, of "Min Min Lights" and similar sightings with other names, well before any European settlement. What makes the Boulia phenomena so unique is that the region is in the heart of the Channel Country in outback Queensland, where flowing water is a rarity for most of the year.

The other occurrences, reported around the world, are usually associated with environments that have abundant amounts of water and organic decay, hence the term "Swamp Gas", referring to methane, phosphorous and spontaneous combustion.

There is no one scientific explanation that proves what these "wil'o-the-wisp's" are, and thus, I believe these lights (or orbs) have different origins, including insects as Augusta and LuciaJacinta have described.

Nectavore's suggestion of ball lightning is "up there" on the list of possibilities. Having witnessed the antics of ball lightning, their different sizes, colors and sounds, it is possible to see a small number floating and bouncing around, all at the one time (like basketballs in a Harlem Globetrotters' Show). Although there are reports of these balls of plasma lasting up to 25 minutes, the "give-away" would be the presence of a severe thunderstorm somewhere close by.

One thing's for sure, whether it be Elementals or one of the above possibilities, they are all part of Nature's "WOW" show. 😲

Twilight1011 (8 stories) (277 posts)
3 years ago (2019-03-05)
James, welcome to YGS 😊 after reading about your experience, I couldn't help but wonder the possibility on if those lights you saw, were some kind of fairy 😕 I'm not sure your beliefs on things like that, but after reading many accounts on this site, as well as some research on them online, I can't help but believe in the possibility of them. It's just my personal opinion though. I'm curious what they actually were. Thank you for sharing your experience with us here.
Nectarvore (1 stories) (226 posts)
3 years ago (2019-03-05)
Hey James

Beautiful little story.

There are documented cases of lights from all over the world, some places have recurrent activity.

Here in Aus, in a place out west called Boulia, is a phenomenon called the min-min light.
(my fathers friend saw it first hand in the late seventies... It followed his car for half an hour on a deserted stretch of highway. He was never so scared in his life)

There's documentation of this light as far back as pre electricity, our indigenous people spoke of it, it's a long spanning thing, or so I read.

I got a bit fascinated about this light and started researching similar stories from around the world.

Read about the Lonsdale lights, in England, and a similar case in Sweden but I cannot recall the name.

I've wondered whether it could be ball lightning phenomena... I saw something similar once, at night, in the forest...
I don't know if ball lightning is like, tiny, tinkerbell lights, but, it could be.

Bright Blessings.
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
3 years ago (2019-03-01)
My first thought would be lightening bugs since the altitude you and location describe are perfect for them but being from the South too, I have to say, we've grown up with them and it would be hard to mistake them for anything else after so many years of seeing and catching them. They're also not blue...

So...I'm stumped! Given the region's mad history, ghost lights don't sound far fetched to me. If you give us the name of the lake, maybe some history might be found to shed some light on the situation...
LuciaJacinta (8 stories) (291 posts)
3 years ago (2019-02-27)
Hmmm...I don't know. Could still be some other type of bug. I've seen disappearing insect lights from time to time.

I think I'd need more details and investigation to see for sure if it was supernatural.

But I enjoyed this story. Very descriptive. 😊

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