It has been said that
storytelling in Texas is really nothing more than one tall tale after another
with each participant trying to out-best the other. While this may be true for
the majority of the State, it is not true for the citizens of the tiny town of
Marfa. They know their tall tale cannot be outdone. Their mysterious night orbs
have been investigated by so many reputable authorities and written into so many
scientific journals that they are guaranteed their own place in history.
Along the Rio Bravo del Norte,
which Americans call the Rio Grande, near the Big Bend in the river, lies the
crown jewels of the Southern Rockies. The majestic Chisos, or "Ghost Spirit"
Mountains, are famous as the backdrop of the Big Bend National Park. To the
northwest about one hundred miles, in another part of the mountain chain at the
gateway of the Park, is the quiet little town of Marfa...home of the infamous
"Marfa Lights," lights which have become the longest running, hardest to explain
mystery in the history of the Lone Star State.
No one knows the exact sequence
of events for the lights. That part of Texas has such a unique history that the
lights could have been there since the beginning of Time, and probably were. But
it is also just as possible that they winked into existence in the past couple
of centuries or so. There is really no way of knowing, as Marfa lies on the high
desert, or caprock escarpment, of the Trans-Pecos area of the Tex-Mex border, a
situation which contributes to spectacular viewing of the night time sky all by
itself. The Southern Rocky Mountains form the backbone of this area, and the
tiny town is the second highest in the state---the highest is Fort Davis---with
an elevation of 4,688 feet. Like all high deserts, Marfa’s air is crystal clear
and incredibly clean. It is also unbearably hot in the summer and freezing cold
in the winter, a weather phenomena which helps build legends. Folks around Marfa
claim that on moonless nights, the stars are so close that one can pluck them
from the heavens and use them as torchlights.
Each cluster of peaks in this
area bears its own name. Within the Big Bend National Park, there are the Chisos
and Dead Horse Mountains, also called the Sierra Del Carmen. Outside the Park to
the north, the range becomes the Christmas and Rosillos Mountains. To the west
they are the Chinatis. They are all part of the same system, a system known as
the Chihuahuan Desert, which teems with distinctive plant and animal wildlife
unique only to itself. Yet for all its majesty, mystery, and haunting beauty, it
is the most remote and sparsely populated region in Texas. More legends are
associated with this country than anywhere else in the State...
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