Debunking the
Big Thicket Ghost Light

The sign at the entrance to the eight-mile stretch of road near
Saratoga, East Texas, where the Big Thicket ghost light is seen.

Andrew Collins reports on his visit with Greg and Lora Little to the site of the Big Thicket ghost light, where they witness the phenomena for themselves, but find a plausible explanation for its manifestation

The same day that I captured the EVP at the Caddo Mounds State Historical Park - Sunday, March 6th, 2011 - I visited the site of the Big Thicket ghost light in Hardin County, East Texas. Strange lights have been witnessed on numerous occasions across the last century along an eight-mile stretch of road that runs between Farm Road 1293 and the US 787 highway near the town of Saratoga.

Named officially as the Ghost Road, although previously called Bragg Road, this dead straight stretch of road was formally the site of a railroad track, which formed part of the Santa Fe line from Bragg Station to Saratoga. It was created in 1901, and after the railroad become obsolete in 1934, the lines were removed, but so useful was the track that it became a link road for cars and trucks moving to and from Saratoga.

Ever since Bragg Road has existed there have been reports of mysterious lights seen along its course. Usually these are either red or white in appearance, and in one instance a mysterious light form is said to have buzzed the occupants of a car, showing that close encounter cases do exist in connection with the location.

In full knowledge of what had been seen here over the years, we approached the entrance to Ghost Road, stopping to take pictures of its sign board on the edge of Big Thicket National Reserve. We then drove carefully along its course, reaching a distance of around five miles (8 km). Here we found another signboard, this one explaining the history of the Big Thicket Light, or Bragg Light as it is also known. Unfortunately, however, this had been so defaced with graffiti that nothing could be read.

Already alerted to the fact that vehicles passing along the eight-mile straight track cast their lights eerily across some considerable distance, we began to wonder whether some of the mystery lights seen might in fact be auto and truck headlights, a surmise that only grew as we began to see mysterious lights in both white and red appear upon the track itself. They seemed perfectly aligned with the road's southern termination, and were unquestionably the lights of vehicles on a section of the US 787 beyond that. The mystery lights would remain in view for around 30 seconds, the exact length of time it took for a truck or auto to travel the stretch of the US 787 that aligned perfectly with the Ghost Road, before entering a bend and disappearing from view. It worked with vehicles going either way, hence the red and white lights, which were either tail lights or, if coming towards you, distant headlights.

Both at twilight and later in complete darkness we attempted to take pictures of the light phenomena. Many of them would have fooled the most ardent ufologist or ghost light researcher, as they give the impression of a plasma light hanging in the air, casting its light down on to the surface of the road.

Above left, telephoto shot of the Big Thicket ghost light as captured on Sunday, March 6th, 2011. Above right, a blow up of the object seen. Is it a plasma? Is it a light construct? Sadly not. It is in fact the distant headlights of an auto or truck no less than five miles away on a stretch of the US 787 aligned perfectly with Bragg Road, otherwise known as the Ghost Road. The straightness of the track is enough to cause a slight bending of the light, giving the impression that the object casts a reflection off the road itself.

Thus car headlights now becomes the most likely explanation for the Big Thicket Light. Clearly, this was not going to explain all such sightings, particularly the earlier mentioned occasion when the light had virtually attached itself to a car passing along the road. Thus it is always possible that here and there sky-watchers and youths who come out to try and witness the lights just might, every once in a while, see something genuine, confusing the issue still further. On the other hand, the stories of more close encounters with the Big Thicket light could simply be the result of fabrications, exaggerations or even down-right hoaxes.

Lora Little photographing Ghost Road, Saratoga, from its access point on the US 787. Note how the highway is aligned perfectly with the track, a major factor in the creation of the mysterious light phenomena that has dogged the spot for almost a century.

Thank you to Greg and Lora Little for their driving and hospitality whilst in Texas recently.

For more on the Big Thicket Light, see

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