Call Of The Otherworld: Ghost Lights

“Some evil Spirit attends.
Hovering and blazing with delusive Light,
Misleads th’amaz’d Night wanderer from his way”( John Milton).

“Ghost Lights” are also known as will o’ the wisps. They seem to be a special type of dangerous lights in the forest. They’re both deeply rooted in folklore as a strange light that attracts travellers from pathways into dangerous marshes or graveyards. The scientific explanation is that ghost lights, often seen over bogs, are likely phosphene or methane gas emissions visible at night. However many reports doesn’t fit the scientific explanation. The deeply disturbing stories surrounding these anomalous lights are strongly related to the afterworld or otherworld since they are harbingers of death.


Ghost lights are reported around the world. Sometimes they are related to fairies or lost souls who made a pact with the devil. They are believed to lead travelers to their demise. They are also called “fairy fires” or “foolish lights”. In Wales the light predicts a funeral that will take place soon. The old legends have many counterparts in modern urban legends.

The interesting difference between ghost lights and the more ufo-like orbs (sometimes however are also the earth-lights and ball-shaped ufos are labeled as ghost lights) is their distinct behaviour. They are acting like living-beings; like a character. They are irritating people and luring them into danger. Or they are some sort of message.  Furthermore they are often related to typical ghost-stories like the killed railway worker who becomes a spook-light and appears near abandoned railway tracks.

These stories sound often fairy-tale like or like some sort of old superstition. However it’s good to distinct between the phenomena and the belief-system surrounding it. We don’t need necessarily believe the interpretation or the good old legend but often there is truth even in weird tales.

Ghost lights are one of the many mysteries in our dark forests. There are so many sightings and even in our modern world ghost lights are reported a lot.

They do represent a real phenomena.

The associations with the realm of the dead in many stories suggest that they appear in zones where our dimension overlaps with other realms of the otherworld.  These intermediate realms have become an integral part in my movie project. I haven’t seen ghost lights so far but will do further research since this seems to be one of the most common paranormal phenomena in many forests.

Furthermore the quality of something which leads you away from the ordinary world into a different realm is a very interesting aspect of this phenomena.

Perhaps ghost lights are the visible call of the otherworld.

Ghost lights appear not only in folk tales. John Milton uses the phenomena in a metaphorical sense when he implies Satan in the description of the mysterious ghost light in “Paradise Lost”:

“Hope elevates, and joy
Bright’ns his Crest, as when a wandring Fire
Compact of unctuous vapour, which the Night
Condenses, and the cold invirons round,
Kindl’d through agitation to a Flame,
Which oft, they say, some evil Spirit attends.
Hovering and blazing with delusive Light,
Misleads th’amaz’d Night wanderer from his way
To Boggs and Mires, and oft through Pond or Poole,
There swallow’d up and lost, from succour farr”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One Reply to “Call Of The Otherworld: Ghost Lights”

  1. In fact, in ghost hunting, I often check the use of mirrors in the home and advise on their placement to help enhance the home’s light and allow no dark or cluttered areas.

Comments are closed.