Warmer Nights for Marfa Lights

On April 14, 2011, in sighting in North America, by Jonathan Whitcomb

Green mountain near Marfa, Texas

Eight years of accumulated data-gathering, and recent analysis of some of that data, continue to support the hypothesis that the more-mysterious Marfa Lights of southwest Texas are caused by the bioluminescence of a group of flying predators. The newest revelation shows a coorelation between air temperature and the number of sightings of the mystery lights.

Of the fifty-two sightings recorded by James Bunnell (author of the nonfiction book Hunting Marfa Lights), he included much information in his book, including temperatures when each sighting began. (He also noted that the lights can appear at any season of the year.) None of those temperatures were below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. About 15% were from 20-40 degrees, 25% were 40-60 degrees, and 58% were from 60-80 degrees (one sighting began when it was over 80 degrees). This is consistent with a group of nocturnal predators that need to hunt year round, but find it more challenging to find prey on colder nights.

Marfa Lights and Temperature

How does a preference for non-cold weather relate to flying predators in Texas? In this high desert area of southwest Texas, it’s probably easier for the predators to catch food when it’s not very cold, for small animals are more likely to be underground when the temperature drops below freezing at night.

This relates to my last post on this blog: “Science and Marfa Lights,” for the above reasoning comes from data from the same table on pages 270-279 of Bunnell’s book:

Science and Marfa Lights

When a group of intelligent predators has a successful hunt, they may, on the next day (or the next night for nocturnal predators) repeat what was recently successful, assuming the hunting conditions are similar. Applying this to the hypothesis mentioned so often recently . . . we would expect to find a few consecutive nights with ML activity and maybe even with a similar start time for the appearances. This has been found and published by James Bunnell, although he has not yet admitted the plausibility of my hypothesis, at least not to my knowledge.

Getting back to those temperatures, CE Mystery Lights around Marfa, Texas, do appear in the winter, on occasion, but I believe those nights are mostly warmer than the usual winter nights. I don’t have detailed weather information for this area of Texas, so I am not sure of the significance of this aspect of the data. But if Bunnell’s data is correct, the eight sightings in winter nights (2000-2008) are significant in the average temperature when those sightings began: 39.4 degrees Fahrenheit. I believe that is higher than the average night temperature for this part of Texas in the winter, even when early-night temperatures are considered.

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non-fiction book cover - Live Pterosaurs in America - third edition - with sketches

The following are excerpts from readers reviews of various editions of the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America (now in its expanded third edition):

Mr. Whitcomb does a thorough job questioning indoctrination and the close-mindedness of the Western world. Reading so many eye-witness reports of people who have seen living pterosaurs in America was mind-opening, to say the least. . . . (five stars for the third edition)

This is an updated review of the book and I am changing my rating to 5 stars. This book has been on my shelf for almost a year now. I pick it up every now and then and a part of me becomes more impressed by the book every time. Yes, the skeptics will laugh at it, but I am a skeptic to. . . . (five stars for the second edition)

He has focused on the accounts of witnesses who saw something, and that adds credibility. The writing is easy to read and he adds comments and analysis to make it all more useful. Mostly, the author lets the sightings speak for themselves, which is good. A worthwhile book.   . . . (five stars for the first edition)

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1 Response » to “Warmer Nights for Marfa Lights”

  1. […] Warmer Nights for Marfa Lights Of the fifty-two sightings recorded by James Bunnell (author of the nonfiction book Hunting Marfa Lights), he included much information in his book, including temperatures when each sighting began. . . . None of those temperatures were below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. About 15% were from 20-40 degrees, 25% were 40-60 degrees, and 58% were from 60-80 degrees (one sighting began when it was over 80 degrees). This is consistent with a group of nocturnal predators that need to hunt year round, but find it more challenging to find prey on colder nights. […]