Tag Archives: Sangre de Cristo Mountains

The “Dancing Lights” of Silver Cliff Cemetery

by Dr. Karen Stollznow via randi.org

CEMETARY GIRL 155_250px_250pxThere are many “Most Haunted” cemeteries in America. As the eternal home of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans claims to be the most haunted cemetery. Another location that claims this title is Resurrection Cemetery in Chicago, allegedly haunted by the hitchhiking ghost of Resurrection Mary.Silver Cliff Cemetery is a lesser-known most haunted cemetery. For over 40 years people have reported seeing “dancing lights” that appear between the tombstones in the burial ground at night. Silver Cliff is a three-hour drive south of Denver. The tiny town is nestled in the Wet Mountain Valley of Colorado, with a backdrop of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. During its days as a mining town Silver Cliff had a population ranging from 5,000 to 16,000 people. Today, less than 600 people live there, but the town draws a large number of visitors in search of the lights. Once it was an attraction for its silver deposits, now it is an attraction for its silvery lights.

The mysterious lights are alternatively known as “dancing lights”, “ghost lights” or “spook lights”. TombstoneLights_250pxThere are varying descriptions of them. They are usually blue in color, but occasionally silver or white. Some say the lights are round and silver dollar sized, others report a kind of glow. The lights appear to “float”, “fly”, “dance” or “dart” around the cemetery and even bounce around the headstones. Sometimes there are just a few lights, while at other times they appear across the cemetery, but they always disappear when you try to get a closer look. The best conditions to witness the activity are dark, overcast nights, with no moon visible.

The discovery of the lights is relegated to folklore. One story tells that drunken partygoers first saw them in the 1920s, while another says nineteenth century miners crossing the cemetery at night witnessed them. Some theorize that the lights must have a natural explanation, while others prefer a paranormal one, claiming that the lights are will-o’-the-wisps, fairies, or ghosts. There are stories that the lights are manifestations of murder victims related to a mining scam; that it is the ghost of a little girl who is buried there, or they are the restless souls of the old miners who died in the town.

Most references on the web claim that scientists who reportedly couldn’t explain the phenomenon have examined the site, but there is no evidence of any scientific studies performed on the land. These sources also state that the lights have been “investigated” or “featured” by National Geographic. Indeed, the story does appear in the magazine in an article by Edward Lineham. In fact, this is the first documented sighting of the lights. However, these people clearly haven’t read it. This is a travel article about Colorado, not an investigation. The phenomenon is merely mentioned in a few paragraphs at the end of the 42-page article.
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Here is Lineham’s description of the lights.

We climbed out beside the old burying ground and for long minutes I strained to see something, anything. Slowly, vague outlines of grave markers emerged, in ragged rows. “There.” Bill’s voice was quiet, almost a whisper. “And over there!” I saw them too. Dim, round spots of blue-white light glowed ethereally among the graves. I found another, and stepped forward for a better look. They vanished.

He attempted to catch the source of the lights, “I aimed my flashlight at one eerie glow and switched it on. It revealed . . . READ MORE . . .

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