Spookville, Mo. May 6 1963
This town is marked by a small store, a deadend intersection and a "spook light" across the state line in Oklahoma.
Population varies from one to several score, depending on whether the spook light is shining.
Local historians take great delight in the eerie light. White men say it dates back to 1886. Indian lore pushes it back many winters before then. Legends have it that grandfather indians told their grandchildren about it for generations.
The light is a glowing blob in the middle of a dirt road that stretches from the state line westward into Oklahoma. It rests just above the horizon dancing about slightly. It glows every night.
L. W. Robertson who runs the tiny store at the intersection, said the Army sent soldiers in to try to solve the riddle of the light shortly before World War 2. No answer was announced.
Colors change Quickly
" Surveyors, geologist and scientists have been here" he said, " and the soldiers shot at it with highpowered rifles. Nobody has told me what it is."
" When I look at it with this telescope" he said, pointing to a $500 instrument he rents to the curious for 10 cents a peek, " it seems to be about 16 different lights all bunched together,"
It does not take a telescope to see the light. It looks like it might be a mile or two down the road and changes colors from white to yellow to red - all within minutes. You drive towards it and it disappears until it shows up behind you.
The light is formally called " the Hornet Spook Light" for the nearby town of Hornet, Mo. This dirt road intersection is 14 miles southwest of Joplin, Mo, four miles south of the Kansas line and 40 miles from Arkansas in the Ozark mountains.
Some versions vary
" It's harmless, mind you " Robertson said. " All it has ever done is scare a few people. I have no idea what it is and I've looked at it as much as any living man."
Others in the area claim the light has come within varying close distances. Robertson said it has never appeared closer than a half mile, " but my imagination doesn't run away with me, like a lot of people."
" I'll tell you, " another oldtimer said. " I've read a newspaper by that light- it was plain as day. "
Two legends are tied to the light, Robertson said. They are as plausible as some of the scientific theories he has heard.
One is that a Civil War sergeant had his head blown off and his headless spirit is hunting for that portion of the body with a latern.
Another is that a torch-carrying Indian maiden was searching for her lover who ran off a nearby bluff called " lovers leap" during a tribal war.
Probe may resume
Robertson said a man who identified himself as a representitive of the Army from Arlington Heights, Illinois recently was in the area and said the military investigation into the light would be reopened.