I lived about an hour north of Paulding in Hanthingy until I was 22 and I still go back to the U.P. every summer for 3 months. I’ve been to the Paulding Light several times and have never seen anything or experienced anything unexplainable, paranormal, or out of the ordinary. I believe that what I’ve seen is nothing more than car headlights and here’s why: Look at a detailed map of the area. The observation spot off Robbins Pond Road faces due north. Cars traveling due south on highway US-45 have their headlights pointed directly at the observation spot for several miles before the highway bends east just after Paulding. If I’m looking due north and I know that there are some cars traveling directly towards me, my common sense tells me that the lights I’m seeing are probably the headlights of those cars. The video on this website that is labeled "Actual Footage of the Light" can be misleading. It looks small for the first 2-3 seconds and then suddenly the Light gets really big. I’ve emailed Robert Wiegert who shot the film, and he told me he zoomed in on the Light which “magnified it 500%”. Only the first 2-3 seconds of this video is what the Light looks like to the naked eye. I’ve never actually seen this myself, but people have told me that the Light is not always white. Remember that you’re looking at the headlights from much further away than when you usually observe car headlights. When you look at a light source from very far away, it looks a little different. Take stars for example: stars twinkle and some even seem to have shades of blue or some other color since the light is traveling such a great distance before it reaches your eyes. If you were closer to a star (or the car), it would just be a big, white, blinding light. And by the way, if you see a red Paulding Light, don’t you think it might be taillights of a car that’s traveling north on US-45? Since the car lights are so far away, fog, rain, or haze can change their appearance. If you were to go there every night for a year, I’m sure the Light would take on a variety of appearances on different nights just due to the normal changes in atmospheric conditions. Some people get excited because they say the Light moved. Well yeah, cars tend to do that. If you’ve been there before you know that the Light appears and disappears. One night I was there with two buddies until dawn and every time the Light appeared we timed how long it was visible. Every appearance lasted around 80 seconds give or take about 5 seconds. Wouldn’t cars traveling south on US-45 (say, between 50 and 70 mph) each be visible for approximately the same amount of time? You can try this yourself. If you try it, I’m not promising you that on the particular night you choose every car will be visible for an average of 80 seconds. In different weather conditions or different times of year (due to leaves on the trees or snow on the ground) I figure your average time could be longer or shorter. But I do reckon that all the Light appearances you observe on a single night will be visible for about the same amount of time. Another reason people claim to see crazy stuff at the Light is because (in case you haven’t noticed) it’s a hell of a party spot. I’ve been there before where over half the people present are drinking and/or smoking weed. Sure, I’ve seen and experienced some weird things in my life too but I had enough sense to know it was the alcohol and/or drugs in my system and not ghosts, the grim reaper, leprechauns, magic fairies, or anything else like that. Finally, one last reason I think you hear stories about the Paulding Light is simply this: the human desire to witness the incredible. I’ve been looking at the Light and the person next to me says “did you see that? It just turned green and then moved left to right!” And I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. I never took my eyes off the Light and I didn’t see anything like that. When people are in the mood to see UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, etc., they are more likely to think they are seeing something when they really aren’t. They aren’t necessary crazy or lying, just highly suggestible. If you go out into the middle of the woods at night, you’d be amazed at how easy it is to convince yourself you’re seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there. Have you ever been camping and you’re walking around in the dark and you think you see a skunk or whatever and it turns out just to be a rock? It’s the human imagination at work and it happens to all of us. Now I’d like to comment on a couple of posts that are on this message board. Someone named Jeff in his post titled “I went to see the Light” talks about the lady with pictures. I know who you’re talking about and I’ve seen her pictures too. She claims to have been visiting the Light a couple times a week for about 10 years and if that’s true then she’s probably put in more hours there than the rest of us combined. The interesting thing about that lady is that every time I’ve seen her there, she has agreed with me that we were looking at car headlights. But she insisted that there is a “real” Paulding Light that is separate and independent of the car headlights and that it very rarely appears. I asked her how many times she has witnessed this “real” Paulding Light and she said less than a dozen. Less than a dozen appearances in 10 years! I am wondering if every couple of years or so the weather conditions and the time of year are just perfect and it makes the car headlights look a lot larger than usual, and this is what she calls the “real” Light. Kind of like if you were to play darts with a blindfold on a couple of nights a week for 10 years – every few months you would hit the bulls-eye just out of luck. Anyways, her pictures don’t impress me. She showed me about a dozen photos and all they look like to me is car headlights on a foggy night, car headlights in the rain, car headlights on a hazy night, etc. No big deal. If these pictures are the best evidence someone can come up with after 10 years, isn’t that the best evidence of all that nothing weird is happening? Someone named Rick under the discussion titled “the Paulding Light Mystery” claims that “the government” has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to “keep people away from the Light”. For crying out loud. If they really wanted people away from the Light, wouldn’t they just come up with a lame excuse to close the road to the observation spot and put up a fence? They would say they’re doing it because the place has become too much of an underage drinking spot or something like that. It seems like all these bogus stories about UFOs or whatever always include hogwash about “the government” hiding the truth. It’s talk like this that lead people to believe that we never landed on the moon and other such nonsense and it’s really stupid. This is reality, not an X-files episode, so cut the crap. Let the Paulding Light be what it is: a fun party spot. No more, no less. All you folks who say you’ve seen monsters or ghosts or that the Light came within 10 feet of you, bring your video camera next time and get some footage! Nothing personal but I’m not going to believe it until I experience it for myself or see some proof. By the way, Jarvi’s bar in Paulding has some huge fish on the wall and has the best juke box in the UP. It’s a fun place to hang out for a little while before you venture on to the Light. See you there next summer!
Hey guys, I'm one of those who has proven to myself without a doubt that the Paulding Light is really just distant headlights. I don't want to take up too much space here, but I have a story to relate that explains how you can debunk it with your own eyes, with no doubt in your mind that you've uncovered the truth. If you want the mystery preserved, however, then don't follow in my footsteps... I had already visited the Light two or three times, and thought it was cool, but never saw it do the wild and crazy maneuvers sometimes attributed to it by others. One day a friend and I decided to bring a third friend out there because he had never seen the Light before. We decided to go early so we could do some scouting while it was still light out, preferably right around dusk so it was dark enough for the Light to show up. I guess we kind of wanted to try and debunk it, but we never really thought we would succeed as easily as we did. We got out to the site, before the big crowds had really gathered, and did a bit of a visual survey from the usual lookout spot by the signs. You'll see some treetops out there that appear to be on top of the nearby hill, with sort of a space between them (where the Light shows up). With that image in mind, we set off towards the hill. After 15 minutes or so, we got out to the hilltop, and guess what? Those distinctive trees are nowhere to be seen. What we did was climb a smaller hill off to the right to get a better view of the area and, without warning, we suddenly had the whole mystery explained to us in an instant. From the little hill we could see, some miles in the distance, those same distinctive tree shapes, and a road going up between them... car lights appearing, and looking just like the Light. When you see it yourself, there can be no doubt in your mind that the Light is just car lights. We were both excited and disappointed at the same time, because we knew the truth, it was undeniable. We saw it with our own eyes. They key here is that we went at dusk, so it was dark enough for cars to use their headlights, yet light enough for us to see terrain features such as the road in the distance, and the treelines. It's one heck of an optical illusion, I'll admit, but it is in fact headlights. The way it works is that the trees on either side of the distant highway have a space in the middle (from where trees were removed for the highway construction) and this area appears to be on the nearby hill (where the "Light" is thought to be seen). Anyone who has seen the light previously and wants to prove this to themselves can do it by replicating our experiment at dusk. We left the site and stopped at a local gas station before returning home, and we got to talking with the worker there about the Light. We told him we found out what it was. He seemed excited to hear some silly tourist explanation and said "Oh yeah, what?" We told him it was headlights from a distant highway. "Yeah." he said, and seemed sort of disappointed that we'd figured it out. He told us all the locals know what it really is but like to promote the paranormal myth for tourism's sake... it's lights from a highway some ten miles away, he confirmed. He also mentioned the Unsolved Mysteries TV show, and how they sent someone there to do a story, but realized it was headlights, so rather than waste the time and money they just reported it as unexplainable. That show's purpose is to provide entertainment, not to debunk the paranormal. I know some people here will say I'm full of it, but I frankly don't care. I debunked this myth personally, and once you see it for yourself, there's no way you'll look at it the same again. However, take that as a warning as well... if you have fun with this neat illusion, don't go looking for the truth, because you certainly will find it, and spoil the mystery for yourself, because once you see it for what it is, it's over. Let my explanation here be "only a rumor", a secondhand account, or you may regret discovering the truth firsthand when the it suddenly clicks in your brain as you gaze out at that highway in the distance, and see the little tiny Paulding Lights moving up and down it. I also will add that I don't think people who "believe" in the light are idiots, they are just hanging on to something that they enjoy, and have fun believeing in. That's fine with me! I almost wish I didn't know the truth myself so I could still enjoy the mystery. Almost... Brian
Anyone whom believes that the paulding light is some natural occurance is a complete idiot!!! I just came from there yesterday and within 30 seconds knew that it was a scam. Here we were all excited to see some cool light that cant be explained. Here we were, just before sunset looking off in the distance and we seen the light. Then grabed a pair of binoculars and looked at it and seen a road off in the distance about 5 miles out with cars going and comeing. the red light is the tail lights and the white light lights are the headlights. the tail lights are always on the right side of the head lights, and every once in a while some one clicks on the high beams for a little kick of excitement for the doorknobs who believe that it is a supernatural deal. In short my synopsis is that things are pretty boreing around paulding and the only way to make a buck is to sell bogus videos and T-Shirts to make a quick buck on the mentaly challenged people who buy into this crap...
You said..."Remember that you’re looking at the headlights from much further away than when you usually observe car headlights." Then how in the hell can you see these "head lights" so bright? You must not have been in the right spot buddy..maybe you should get the RIGHT directions, go back and take another look!!
Hey Phil, maybe you and Brian..who says"we suddenly had the whole mystery explained to us in an instant" should get together and claim your $$ from Ripley's. Seeing that you two have the answer, why wouldnt you get your money??Time to collect... Geniuses LMAO!!!
I didn't know Ripley's was offering money to whoever could prove that the Paulding Light is cars! If this is true, I'm definitely interested. Where can I get more information on this prize? Or are you making this up?
No he's serious. Ripley offered $100,000 to who could show proof of how the lights occur. its been a long time, and no one's actually done it. just check there cite or sumthing. i HIGHLY doubt that your answer is right, because then someone would have solved it a LONG time ago. and were'nt there sightings of the light from when they hadnt invented cars?
I had the same thoughts the first time I saw the light. It stayed reasonably low, and only flashed bright white and red, and only moved slightly the way a car would, but I took my girlfriend to see the light for the first time this past spring. When we pulled up, the light was extremely close looking and high in the sky like a huge star. then it dissapeared, and seemed to go back to normal for about 3 hours. Then before we left, the red lights came out, and I looked at them through a camera with a 300x telephoto lens. There were distinctly 3 red lights that started low in the tree line like usual. As I watched, the 3 dots lined up perfectly vertical and the 2 outside dots started spinning in an unorthodox way around the middle light. I let my girl check it out, cause you can't tell that there are multiple lights with the naked eye. When she gave the camera back, the lights stopped moving, stayed still for about a minute and then shot straight up untill it was at least 30 feet over the tallest tree in the distance. It don't explain a thing, but it took away the chance of car lights, unless you know about a new flying car that can hover high in the air for any matter of time. All I know is that there are no hills that raise higher than the trees, cause there are trees everywhere. But if you can make visual proof that it is just cars, more power to you, and enjoy all that money.
To everyone who has gone to see the light and says, "It was obviously headlights"... Then obviously, what you saw was headlights. You didn't see the real Paulding light. There's no question that the road is visible in the distance, that's a fact. And, yes, it is true that car headlights can be seen from the Paulding light viewing point. But that doesn't mean the light doesn't exist. If you see the real thing you will know. I've been to see the light four times now, and I only saw the real thing once. The first time I went was like seven years ago. The light was glowing bright white and traveled down the path towards us. It got very close, (between the small creek and the guard rail), and then slowly receded. Then three small red lights appeared for about five minutes. They were swinging around in a very odd fashion. I cannot explain what I saw that night. I've been back three times over the past several years, only to be disappointed by a twinkling white light in the distance, which were obviously headlights. Personally, I think it's kind of annoying when someone goes to see the light for the first time, sees the headlights in the distance, and thinks they've got it all figured out. Because then they get on these message boards and act like they're smarter than everyone else. Just to be sure I'm getting my point across, I'll say it again... IF YOU THINK IT LOOKS LIKE HEADLIGHTS, THAN YOU DIDN'T SEE THE REAL THING... I would encourage everyone to go back if they get the chance, and see the real thing. It is quite astounding and mysterious. However, I've heard that the real Paulding light hasn't been seen in like three years. I hope that's not true. I plan on going back again sometime soon. Hopefully I'll get lucky and see the real thing again.
A little tip to anyone who plans on seeing the light: If you get there, and the light is "twinkling", like a star, then you are seeing headlights in the distance. The real thing has a more natural glow to it, and moves slowly and silently down the path toward you, and then fades away. You may also see smaller colored lights doing some crazy things. Good Luck!
My reply is about the stars. Ummm... there are stars that are red and blue. They are called Blue Supernovas or Red Giants. There are also white dwarfs. Light does not change color when it travels great distances. So to reply to this, stars are a bad example because you are wrong about them. Stars have certain colors because of the type of gases they are burning and the age of it can also determine its color. The color we see of stars are not illusions. It is the real color.
I agree completely with Josh. When I first saw it, it was coming down the path toward us, and I freaked out and left.
I've also seen the red light(s) swing madly between the treetops in a pendulum type arc. I've never been drunk (out there) and never been high (at all), and I'm a college graduate, so take my account for what that's worth.