"The mountains emit nitrous vapors which are borne by the wind and when laden winds meet each other the niter inflames, sulphurates and deteriorates," said de Brahm. De Brahm was a scientific man and, of course, had a scientific explanation. But the early frontiersman believed that the lights were the spirits of Cherokee and Catawba warriors slain in an ancient battle on the mountainside.
One thing is certain, the lights do exist. They have been seen from earliest times. They appear at irregular intervals over the top of Brown Mountain - a long, low mountain in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. They move erratically up and down, visible at a distance, but vanishing as one climbs the mountain. From the Wiseman's View on Linville Mountain the lights can be seen well. They at first appear to be about twice the size of a star as they come over Brown Mountain. Sometimes they have a reddish or blue cast. On dark nights they pop up so thick and fast it's impossible to count them. At some points closer to Brown Mountain the lights seem large, resembling balls of fire from a Roman candle. Sometimes they may rise to various heights and fade slowly. Others expand as they rise, then burst high in the air like an explosion without sound. There are innumerable stories of the lights. But perhaps the best description is that the lights are "a troop of candle-bearing ghosts who are destined to march forever back and forth across the mountain." Pasted from <http://www.ibiblio.org/ghosts/bmtn_p2.html>
A group of 10 of us headed out to Wiseman's Bluff in Linville Gorge to see the Brown Mountain Lights. It was a beautiful fall day in the western NC mountains; the crisp mountain air sill had a bite to it, but the winds were minimal so we could enjoy the night in relative comfort. We brought food to share, and enjoyed each other's company in the hour and a half drive to the dirt and gravel road of our destination. We stopped to take in a gorgeous sunset lighting up one of the nearby ridges as the sliver of the moon provided a focal point. Each of us were inspired individually by the perfection of the moment. We were surprised by 5 other friends who changed their plans in order to meet up with us to share their night vision goggles. It is truly amazing when you look at the sky through the lenses … billions of stars light up the sky that the naked eye can't see. There's a general shimmer over the whole landscape, like a thin piece of silk light flowing in delightful randomness. The lights played peek a boo games with us as they dipped and flitted along the ridges, which could be seen with the naked eye. Additionally special were the lights that could only be seen through the goggles … closer to us than we thought. Some of the lights were triangulated, darting all over the sky like spacecraft and definitely not in ordinary flight patterns. Did we actually see aliens through the goggles? I didn't, but that's not to say they weren't there staring at us. Did I see comets, falling stars and stars that were at first stationary that later moved? Maybe … probably … I still don't know exactly what I saw; it's more a feeling than a rational thought. I felt a definite connection with the unknown; a feeling that there is so much more out there than we can't even conceive of … yet. There are no words to describe what I saw, but I do believe the answers will be revealed to us … soon.