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Solar eclipses and spook lights

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
While not showing the actual eclipse, the sun was approximately 40 percent covered when this photo was taken on Spook Light Road near Peoria, Oklahoma.
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NEAR PEORIA, Okla. – It is here, on E 50 Road, just west of the community of Hornet, Missouri, but on the Oklahoma side of the state line, where I found myself on this important day – the day of the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017.

Yes, I could have traveled further north to places like St. Joseph, Missouri or Alliance, Nebraska (Like our M. Tim Blake did), where there was “totality” of the eclipse, an experience one is likely to never forget. However, I thought I should stay inside the borders of Oklahoma and yet see more than 90 percent eclipse totality.

Northeastern Oklahoma was getting more coverage than OKC, so I made the trip, via Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and up along the Arkansas/Oklahoma border and then the Missouri/Oklahoma border (with a stop for lunch in Baxter Springs, Kansas for a little lunch at Sonic on Route 66, of course, as part of this "occult trip" along the line of 94 degrees west longitude).

And so, when it came down to it, I thought, 'What better location to experience than here on the legendary “Spook Light Road?'"

Looking east along "Spook Light Road" in Ottawa County, Oklahoma on Aug. 21, 2017. (Andrew W. Griffin /Red Dirt Report)

Yes, it is officially known as the aforementioned E 50 Road by Ottawa County officials, but locals that I spoke to in the nearby town of Seneca, Missouri, folks quite familiar with the Spook Light and the many stories and legends surrounding the mysterious orb of light that dances in the dark on certain nights.

And if you missed Olivier Rey’s recent story on the Spook Light (and efforts by a local professor to debunk the mystery, claiming its distant car lights), go here. All I know is on March 31, 1995, I was on this very road - at night - and saw the Spook Light dancing around above the road, at a distance. I was a believer after that.

So, my companions and I drove down Spook Light Road and found a spot to pull off and put our solar eclipse glasses on, gazing up at this celestial wonder – and in total awe!

Cattle near "Spook Light Road." (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

We made sure our car engine was off so we could take in the ambient noise of nature. Roosters crowed and crickets chirped – at 1 in the afternoon, which seemed odd. Nearby, cattle seem drawn to the humans looking heavenward, a little “spooked,” perhaps? Or maybe they thought we had food for them?

I did take a lot of pictures of the open pastureland and a large cell tower right across the road from us. I looked for any evidence of daytime, unexpected Spook Light activity. If "it" was out there, it was laying low this strange day.

Only a couple of cars drove by as we stood there on the side of the road gazing up - taking breaks every so often - and sharing in what was a really incredible, communal experience with my fellow human beings. And I could see why the ancients thought the sun was being "eaten," as the crescent got smaller and smaller. It must have been totally terrifying for them, wondering if the sun would return.

But, now we know better. But this experience, in a way, links us with the ancients. 

And when you think about it, we are on this amazing rock, floating in space, and part of the cosmos. We are stardust. It's all really quite humbling.

And I think we need eclipses every so often to remind human beings of just how small - and unique - we really are. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Much was learned on this trip, particularly during a stop in nearby Seneca, Missouri. This will be noted in upcoming articles and in a book I'm working on called "The Stilwell Enigma."

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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