The Paulding Mystery Light

I first heard of the Paulding Mystery light as a kid, watching the old Ripley’s Believe it or Not TV show with Jack Palance. As mysteries go, it wasn’t a very scary one, but it was memorable enough to stick in my memory that it was located somewhere in the U.P.

So what is the Paulding Mystery Light anyway? Well, grab a seat on the porch and let me tell you the story…

In the woods north of Watersmeet, Michigan along a stretch of Old highway 45, a ghostly light appears in the early evenings. This strange sphere of light hovers on the edge of the horizon, near a powerline right of way, and sometimes appear to move closer and change colors.

The Paulding Light

The Paulding Light

The lights have been captured on film many times, and many have tried to hike to the spot where the light appears. But each time when they get close they can no longer see the light, despite others claiming that the light is still very visible from a distance.

Many theories have been offered to the cause of the light, but so far, no logical conclusions have been reached. Some claim it is a reflection of highway lights from the nearby road, however the lights have allegedly been appearing since before the automobile was invented. Others have dismissed them as swamp gas, but the lights appear in the middle of winter when the woods are buried deep in snow.

Over the years various legends have developed concerning the lights. One myth explains the lights as the ghost of a railroad brakeman, while other say it is the ghost of an Indian dancing on the power lines, or the ghost of a miner trying to find his way home. Some claim that the lights start over Lake Superior and make their way inland.

USFS interpretive signs tend to take the scare out of mysteries...

USFS interpretive signs tend to take the scare out of mysteries...

The light itself does not do much, but shine. It has no unearthly connection to tragic events of great portent. It doesn’t make sound, or interact with anyway. As mysteries go it is somewhat dull. Despite all the theories the light remains what it is advertised as being. A mystery. Ultimately, it’s enigmatic nature is the thing that keeps people coming back to the end of this old dirt road.



3 thoughts on “The Paulding Mystery Light

  1. Someone should just pull a Carol-Anne and go towards the light.

    I’m sure they’ll find it is just some large gas burning furnace or something out on a farm or factory farther down from where people think.

  2. I visited this Oct 8, 2010 and sorry to say, it is head lights and taillights. The elevation to the north is higher so this is probably hwy 45 20-25 miles out. Looking through binoculars, you can see lines of traffic approach and pass each other…people turning off their brights as the approach on coming people, headlights reflecting off of a rectagular traffic sign, etc.

  3. ok first of all, bob and tom, it is real because i walked up to it and it disappered.and i’ve been there so many times, it changes a lot. sometimes the colors aren’t even close to car headlights or taillights.

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