“Marfa Lights Hunting”

I hope the scientist James Bunnell, author of Hunting Marfa Lights, takes no offense; I could not resist the play on words “Marfa Lights Hunting.” Mr. Bunnell’s nonfiction book on his years of investigating those strange phenomena in southwest Texas—that book, which I highly recommend, deserves notice here:

Results of an Eight-Year Investigation

This is, to date, the only long-term, extensive study of these phenomena. Reports of unusual lights east of Marfa extend back to the 1800s. . . . the author finds that while most of the observed lights in this area can be explained, about 3 percent are truly mysterious and of unknown origin. In addition to frequent on-site observations and photography, the author installed three automated monitoring stations equipped with a total of nine cameras, to collect nightly video records.

Be aware that Mr. Bunnell’s book says almost nothing about the possibility of bioluminescent flying predators except a brief mention of research into barn owls, and he rejects that idea, the suggestion that birds are behind the flying lights. I agree with Bunnell in the specific Tyto alba sense but disagree with him on the general concept of flying predators.

Communicating with Bunnell

I communicated with Mr. Bunnell early in 2010, by emails, telling him about my ideas about nocturnal bioluminescent flying predators that intelligently hunt bats in southwest Texas. He appreciated my hypothesis but said, “Your concept, interesting as it may be, does not fit my collected observations.”

The following are problems that Mr. Bunnell found in my hypothesis that a group of bioluminescent flying predators are hunting bats:

  1. “ML-IIs are also common and sometimes transition into the ML-IIIs”
  2. “I have observed ML-IIs stay in one spot, pulsing on and off for as much as seven hours”
  3. One ML-II grew to an enormous size. It lit up clouds “to an extent similar to the amount of cloud illumination caused by the city of Alpine when viewed from the same distance with overhead clouds at a similar height” (June 3, 2005). Bunnell estimated the size at probably more than one hundred meters in diameter.

Answering the Objections

The first “problem” appears to me to be irrelevant to the overall concept of flying predators, for the only difference between ML-II and ML-III is that the first stays in one place and the second travels. Sometimes an animal stays in one place and sometimes it travels. There’s no real problem with the biological interpretation in general, only, perhaps, in regard to one form of bat-hunting.

The second problem is also irrelevant to the key concept, for an animal may stay in one place for as long as seven hours. One example is sufficient here: a juvenile ropen may wait in one place for many hours, while its parents are hunting for food. That juvenile may turn on its glow periodically so that the parents can find it.

The third problem is interesting but appears to be based on only instance. Nevertheless, it can be answered. A large group of the flying predators may, on rare occasions, engage in courting that involves competition. Many of the adults may gather to prove who has the brightest glow, who is more fit to breed. This may cause an appearance, at a distance, of a very large glowing structure, even perhaps over one hundred meters in diameter. What may be occurring, if a human could get closer to observe better, is that there are many bioluminescent flying creatures displaying their best and brightest potential, and they have gathered in a group, albeit separated enough that they cover a wide area of land, even over a hundred meters in diameter.


James Bunnell has made great contributions to our knowledge of many details about the most mysterious of what are called “Marfa Lights.” He found several problems with my concept of flying predators hunting bats through a particular hunting technique. But those problems involve that particular technique; they do not distract from the overall concept that a group of bioluminescent flying creatures sometimes search for prey near Marfa, Texas.

Mr. Bunnell admits problems in the (non-living) conjectures or hypotheses that he describes in his book Hunting Marfa Lights. I suggest that bioluminescent predators explain what he has observed in those strange flying lights, and that this explanation is much better than anything that other investigators have been able to come up with.



Near Marfa, Texas




"Searching for Ropens and Finding God" was pubished by the author, Jonathan Whitcomb, in April of 2014

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – nonfiction paperback

From the Introduction in the book:

. . . this is not mainly about religion, not in the usual sense. It’s less likely to take you to church than into the lives of ordinary persons who have encountered extraordinary flying creatures, and into the lives of Christians who have risked their health, even their lives, in searching for living pterosaurs. Our disbelief in the General Theory of Evolution has freed us to search far and near, and for years, with a firm belief that God’s purposes will prevail.


Marfa Lights

According to the late-2010 press release “Unmasking a Flying Predator in Texas,” a group of “bioluminescent  flying predators may be hunting at night and catching a few unlucky Big Brown Bats.”

Marfa Lights Controversy

“Are there mysterious lights around Marfa, Texas, which cannot be explained away as commonplace, like night-mirages of car headlights?” The answer? A resounding “Yes!”

Interview of Jonathan Whitcomb

We did not get into any details about the Marfa Lights of Texas, but we did discuss the bioluminescent-pterosaur concept, and Susan Wooten mentioned her experiences watching the Bingham Lights of South Carolina.



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