I read with great interest a text file which I recently downloadedfrom Paranet-Alpha concerning the investigation into the Salisbury ghostlight phenomena conducted on November 20-21, 1976 and have a fewcomments and criticisms to air out here.
I personally met Robert E. Jones, President of Vestigia, at the1986 Fortfest conference held in Tyson's Corner, Virginia and he struckme as being a very courteous, knowledgable, intelligent but somewhatsecretive person. I questioned him on several technical details of hisinvestigation into the Salisbury ghost light but received little in theway of straight-forward answers. He did respond that this was the onlysuch phenomena (ghost lights), that he has ever investigated before orsince. The statement somewhat shocked me!
I have been aware of Vestigia for sometime and thought that theydealt extensively with anomalous phenomena; UFOlogy, Ectomorphology andthe Paranormal in general. I got the distinct impression that this wasuntrue while talking to Mr. Jones.
The untitled, unauthored text regarding this investigation was readseveral times by myself and other senior members of the Ghost ResearchSociety which has investigated many similar lights including: BrownMountain Lights - North Carolina, Maco Light - North Carolina, Gurdon -Arkansas, Maple Lake light - Willow Springs, Illinois, The Moody Light -Francisville, Indiana, Watersmeet light - Michigan, Joplin Light -Joplin, Missouri and others. I would just like to comment on a few itemsin their investigation. I wish to state here and know, that I do notintend to be critical of the tests performed or sound insulting to anyof the testers themselves. I only intend to enter my own doubts andcomments here for the record. Being somewhat of an expert in infrared photography and since thistype of film was used as part of the investigation, I would just like toadd the following comments.
Normal color films have three emulsion layers, one sensitive tored, green and blue. Infrared's are sensitive to infrared, red and greenwavelengths and using a yellow filter for color infrared work blocks outthe blue wavelengths to which these layers are also sensitive to. Theinfrared sensitive emulsion in IR film is sensitive to wavelengths fromabout 700 to about 900 NM, ( a NM - nanometer is equal to one billionthof a meter), a range of about 200 NM. The visible spectrum consists of a300 NM band from 400 to 700 NM. In this 300 NM band are all thedifferent colors of the spectrum.
It is therefore reasonable to assume that there are severaldifferent IR "colors" in the 200 NM band between 700 and 900 NM,"colors" that are different but invisible to our eyes. There is no wayto determine which of these infrared colors are being reflected by thesubject. There are many variables in IR color photography, the time ofday, weather conditions, subject matter, filters, etc.
Black and white high-speed IR photography is somewhat morepredictable. It is sensitive to ultraviolet and blue wavelengths, justas all film is, but is also sensitive to red and infrared wavelengths. Adeep red filter (No. 25) is usually best to use because it absorbs blueand ultraviolet wavelengths. By using different colored filters witheither black and white or color IR film, you can change the colorscaptured on film and produce different results.
In general, IR film will detect and pick up phenomena of aninvisible nature, including, but not limited to: invisible light, heatsources, IR radiation, stray energy sources, electrical stimulations,and, depending on what filter you use, ultraviolet radiation.
No reference was made to what kinds of filters were used or theeffect that was captured on film. So, no determination can be made, atthis time, to exactly what, if anything, was captured on film.
There was also some results that tend to suggest the possibility ofpiezoelectrical effects from quartz crystals under stress. While this isan extreme possibility, it still is a somewhat rare and littleunderstood principle. I rather doubt that this could be causing thelights to appear on so many occasions! While I understand that there mayindeed be a faultline running parallel to the tracks, other explanationsare also possible. One possible explanation could be a temperature inversion layercaused by the heat released from the hot railroad tracks which wouldcollide with the cooler surrounding air and cause mirages to form. Ifthe lights were photographed through polarized lens and the light didn'tpolarize then it means it's not a reflection. A galvanometer would alsobe another good test to see if any electromagnetic current was beingreleased at the times the light was visible.
The drop in barometric pressure could simply have been caused alocalized low-pressure system. The testers did report a light snowfalldirectly followed the lights disappearance. There is nothing strangeabout a sudden drop in pressure followed by a snowfall. Especiallynothing that could be attributed to the light. The testers alsosuggested that the lights effect was enhanced by those conditions, whichI find highly improbable.
I suggest that further tests be conducted with different types ofequipment and we will be visiting the Salisbury area during the month ofOctober, 1987. We will publish our findings here.
All in all, the investigation was well coordinated, professionallyhandled, however I feel that some incorrect conclusions may have beendrawn from the results. I would, however, be willing to change myopinions given additional information and further test findings.
by Dale Kaczmarek