Mystery light

Jenny Glasscock, Features Editor

There is a half-century old mystery in the village of Paulding, Michigan. This mystery has been given names such as the “Dog Meadow Light” or the “Lights of Paulding”, but it is most commonly known as The Paulding Light. The Paulding light is a yellow-white light that appears every night on the horizon above the trees in a valley at the end of a dirt road off of US Route 45.

Countless individuals have seen the light since it was first reported in the 1960s. Many locals, others who flocked to it from across the country. But it almost never disappoints. This seemingly unexplained light grows closer to those viewing it, changes colors, splits apart, it has even been said to float into the sky and back down again.

For years since it was first reported, nobody was able to officially debunk it. But in 1986 a team of paranormal investigators traveled to Paulding where they performed an experiment and declared The Paulding Light was nothing more than passing headlights from a section of US 45, which is on the other side of the valley. But many people who have seen the light do not accept this finding, and insist on other explanations.

Many believe that the light is a ghostly train conductor’s lantern, who died on the railroad that once ran through the valley, and that he is looking for his disembodied head. Another theory suggests the light is a UFO, although there has been no evidence to support either of these theories.

In August, 2010 The Paulding Light was featured on the Syfy show Paranormal Files: Fact or Faked, and after an investigation the light was deemed “unexplainable.” But despite this claim, students from Michigan Tech conducted an experiment of their own to test the headlight theory in October, 2010.

The MT students determined The Paulding Light was indeed headlights after successfully recreating the light through their investigation. The students said the different colors that are occasionally seen come from a police car pulling someone over. In addition, they said the light bobbing up and down could be because without a frame of reference, objects (or in this case the light) tend to move around in our vision.

But even these explanations don’t answer all the questions that many who have seen the light have. If The Paulding Light is indeed headlights, why is there only one light visible? Why does the light stay steady for minutes, to even an hour at a time, if the headlight theory is correct? Why does it appear to come closer? Does MT’s explanation really account for the sightings of the light when it splits apart and flies into the sky?

If you are ever in northern Wisconsin or the Upper Michigan Peninsula, stop by Robbins Pond Road and see The Paulding Light for yourself. It’s best viewed at night during weekdays when it’s less crowded.