Part 3: Research
There are many possible causes of the Spook Lights along Devil’s promenade. What follows are a few that have been researched or have been suggested.
For many, the popular will-o’-the-wisp theory is a probable explanation. The name is given to a biological phenomenon that is “caused by the decay of wood and organic materials. The emission of light that comes from the decay often glows brightly and can be seen on occasion in wooden areas in damp regions.” This theory is stated to be unlikely due to recorded will-o’-the-wisp phenomenons do not give off the intensity of light that has been reported on Spook Light Road.
Marsh Gas Theory. Unfortunately Marsh Gas is not self- igniting and must be ignited somehow. Even if it did self-ignite, the Spook Lights have been reported being sighted on windy and rainy nights that would extinguish any flames that would appear due to marsh gasses. The strong winds noted on many sightings had no affect or disturbance of the lights seen on Devil’s Promenade.
The Headlights Theory. As stated previously as Bayless’s Investigations during 1963, many locals in the area reported spotting the Spook Lights prior to the existence of automobiles, let alone the creation on Route 66 that is 5 miles west and reported to be the cause of many of the current Spook Light sightings.
Minerals Theory. A glow can be emitted from mineral deposits. This is stated to be unlikely due to the light does not always appear in the same place.
Electrical Fields Theory. Electrical fields in areas where earthquakes and ground shifts take place can emit lights due to rocks, deep below the earth’s surface, are shifting and grinding causing an electrical charge. This is possible due to the fault line running east from New Madrid, Missouri, westward to Oklahoma. Four earthquakes devastated the Devil Promenade region in the early 1800’s. It is plausible that the lights stared after these recorded earthquakes.
Many researchers have studied these theories including but not limited to; University of Michigan (group of students) in 1946, Dr. George W. Ward in 1945, Captain Bob E. Loftin in 1955, Raymond Bayless in 1963, Ghost Research Society in 1982, and Ghost Research Society in 2002. It is also stated that the Army Corps of Engineers has studied the Spook Lights.
A few publications to check out on the Spook Lights are as follows:
1936 Kansas City Star Newspaper article.
1947 book Ozark Superstitions by Vance Randolph.
2006 book So, There I Was… by Troy Taylor and Len Adams