Imagine walking down the road at night: moon hidden behind black, shape-shifting clouds that give you a fleeting glimpse of the creatures so evil, the very thought of them is enough to stop a beating heart. Once in a while the clouds part just enough to let a sliver of moonlight through, winged serpents silently screech and jet away, looking for darker places. The lone tree, sitting in the middle of the just burnt field, entices you with its empty branches, which move as if by a lovers spirit, and yet there is no wind. The rustle of something large moving through the weeds next to the road; the sound of a small creature, crying out as the crunch of tiny bones reach your ear. You wonder whether you should stand still, or run for your life.
And then the lights show up. The Hornet Spook Lights. The lights that have been mystifying those who have had the fortune to see them since 1866, long before the automobile ever traversed that corner of Missouri.
Roughly twelve miles Southwest of Joplin Missouri lies a paved road, about four miles long, and in the middle of nowhere. It’s near the old border village of Hornet. Walk, or drive, down this road at certain times and one, if lucky, will see the Hornet spook light, also called the Seneca Light, Devil Light and Indian Light, among others. People have myriad tales of the light. People like Dr. George W. Ward, who investigated the light in 1945. He spotted a large bright light, six to eight feet across, moving toward the group he was with. As it got closer, George locked himself in his car and drove away, never to return again.
When I first moved to Joplin many moons ago, a lady I was seeing told me about them. I scoffed, and told her I wasn’t born yesterday. Wrong: she convinced me to see for myself, so we drove out there, waited and lo and behold, here it came. A single light, floating down the road and about the size of a basketball. I said headlight reflections; she said since 1866? I said moon in just the right place; she said show me the moon.
Anyway, after investigating this phenomenon via books, I came to the conclusion this is one nobody can explain, even though many have tried, including the corp of engineers. If your ever in Joplin, ask about it, and be sure to visit, if you dare.