I'm 55 years old and lived in N. WI as a kid. The first time I saw the "light" was 45 years ago. Back then this was only a local legend, not the tourist attraction it is now. I've been there probably 20 times over the years before the throngs of people that now congregate in the summer months. Back in the day my friends and I would be the only car parked at the observation point. The light would move closer (within 100 yards), change colors, split into two or three parts, and at times would be so bright that it would cast shadows or light up the area where we parked . Now, I haven't been there in probably 15 years and I don't know what people are seeing now, but car light 7 miles away are not going to cast a shawdows or illuminate the parking area. That doesn't mean you can't see car lights from that spot, just that what we saw back then was definitely not car lights. Fun spot to visit regardless of what you believe.
If this is indeed headlights like everyone says. Then, why do we not see orange lights (from semis) or halogen lights from fancy cars, or in that case police lights when they go cruising by. I've been to this light 50 times and I've seen it just as bright on foggy nights as I've seen it on night clear as day. Light cannot permeate fog with the same intensity at that distance, yet it did.
I am a photographer and have learned how light works and there is an effect called The superior mirage which explains the real Paulding Light effect which is much more amazing then lights from the close road and is a must see for a rare natural phenomenon! it is explained at this website www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/elements/supmrge.htm and here is the 7th paragraph explaining the phenomena.
The superior mirage forms when cold air lies beneath relatively warmer air, a conditions known to meteorologists as a temperature inversion. In this condition, light rays refract, or bend, toward the colder (and denser) air -- that is, downward. This bending causes the image of the object to appear to us to be above its actual position because our brains assume the light rays have taken a straight path from the object to our eyes. The rate of increase of temperature with height (the temperature gradient) affects how the light rays travel from the object to our eyes and thus how we see the resulting image pattern. The superior mirage may cause the image (or parts thereof) of an object to appear:
so the light seen is actually further away that the highway and over the horizon refracted thru normal "not swamp gas" atmosphere hence seen year round, and explains the more unnatural light over the obvious headlights and if you want to argue the fact think back to when you were in school when light was explained and the teacher showed you a triangular crystal that separated light into diffrent colors the light went around a bend www.amiright.com/album-covers/images/album-Pink-Floyd-Dark-Side-Of-The-Moon.jpg
I am a believer in many things but you should not be taken in by natural phenomena that is documented.
sorry just wanted to add the reason the light seems so bright is its being focused to the point where you view it from like a magnifying glass. So if you are a hard core believer then walk towards the light and have a friend stay from the viewing point. With cellphones keep in touch once you reach where the light seems to be coming from you won't be able to see it when your friend can because you are in the refracting area of atmosphere. If it was a ghost it would be there right next to you saying hello in its own way if it were bold enough to shine a bright light to your friend. Plus I do believe in ghost I am a bit jaded from being a photographer and warn you to look at this site bermangraphics.com/press/jerry-uelsmann.htm . This man is amazing at what he dose and one reason is its analog no photoshop he did all this with enlargers and multiple pieces of film! If you leave with anything from my rant even if you find it annoying or untrue I hope you see his work and if given a chance see it at your local photographic museum and don't give in to anything too easy! Where would we be if everyone was on one side of an argument life would be too boring to bother with and everyone would agree.
The air at the peak where the light seems to come from is different temperatures due to the sun going down and the earth still being warm, which causes light to bend like when you see heat on a road only the way it dose it here is more uniform. which causes the light to partly refract like this famous album cover
and is acting like a magnifying glass which collects light from a distance and by luck the focal point is on the ground where we can vew it. so basically the viewer is like an ant under a magnifying glass only much more enjoyable.
The funny thing is that the light that you see from the Paulding Light superior mirage is collecting light from more than one source so when you go up to the spot where the "lens" is you won't really see a specific source which makes it seem mystical.
I'm sure some people in the area know but it is probably more fun and profitable for them to let every one think its a ghost hell how many people on this thread said they went to it 20 times or more. plus the show I saw it on had a couple local business owners that own two shops on both sides of the the road going to and coming from the spot.
well I hope it makes sense. Knowing how something works and actually being able to explain it often eludes me.
LOL it is the paulding light. that's how it works. if you don't understand all the posts I have made then its a ghost with a light walking down the track. I have said hi to him very nice man he used to work with the rail road to check the rails were clear and it became such a habit he still dose it now that he is dead. if you would like to meet him just walk down the tracks he is shy tho so don't feel bad if he is gone by the time you get there.
I will be doing experiments involving upper atmosphere soundings and the Paulding Light over the next two years. One thing that fact or fake did not take into consideration is stability layer. Probably won't start the experiments until 2013 but will let you know what I find out.