This particular story will focus on the Devil’s Kitchen region in the Catskills of New York. The region holds claim to multiple reports of ghost lights. Devil’s Kitchen is located off of Platte Clove Road in west Saugerties, NY.
Many names of places in the Catskills contain the name of the Devil. There are plenty of stories about the various cloves in the mountains that were created by the Devil. Devil’s Kitchen got its name from the various shaped boulders at the bottom of the gorge. People believed that these boulders were the kitchenware of the Devil; in addition, during storms settlers could hear banging as if someone was cooking in a kitchen in the mountains. These sounds were most likely caused by boulders falling down into Platte Clove. Regardless, the stories kept people out of the mountains at night, particularly in the Platte Clove area near Devil’s Kitchen.
Off of Platte Clove Road bluestone was quarried for building multiple structures in the Hudson Valley. These bluestone quarries can be found abandoned across the entire Catskill Mountain region; however, one abandoned quarry is particular interesting due to its unusual characteristic- people often see ghost lights in this area. The origin is uncertain, however, many people believe that these lights are from miners that died while mining the bluestone in Devil’s Kitchen.
It was late September and the four boys hiked down the path leading to the campsite above Devil’s Kitchen. My friend told me that the path was littered with downed trees and bushes that prevented a steady pace. At the campsite, they boys made a fire and began cooking dinner. Soon after dinner while the boys were talking around the fire, they began to hear moaning and whispers in the trees around them. At first they believed the wind and trees were creaking and moaning but to make sure they grabbed flashlights and began walking around the area to see if anyone was nearby. They walked down the path that led to and from the campsite. When they came around a corner they saw a light floating in the path about 40 feet in front of them. The boys called out to whoever it was standing on the trail. There was no response. Another light appeared behind the first and slowly floated toward the closest. (Mind you this path is full of trees and there is no way to hold a lantern steady while negotiating the trail.) The boys called out again but there was no sound. They put their flashlights together to try to see as far down the path as possible but there was no figure or person, just a light among the downed trees.
Oddly enough while researching the history and stories behind this story, I came across a post on a website about these ghost lights at Devil’s Kitchen. Was it my friend posting it? I cannot tell because I do not talk to him anymore. Here is the link to this story.
Years later while attending college at SUNY New Paltz I was able to see lights floating on the Shawangunk hills and cliffs. I always questioned whether these lights could be flashlights from hikers, but I was many miles away and a flashlight would not be visible. Of course, some I could dismiss as car lights shining across the valley. However, there were others that seemed to float up and down as if they were separated from the ground itself. They would only last for a few seconds, but long enough to make you wonder what it was you were seeing.
In Highland, NY I used to have a view of Illinois Mountain from my bedroom window. I was facing the west, so I could see storms coming over the mountain and into the valley near the Hudson River. It was at these stormy times that I would see lights floating among the trees and over the canopy on the mountain. There is a slight possibility that these lights could have been ball lightning; however, this phenomena is extremely rare and I saw the lights on the mountain at least four times over a five year period.
Now, barring any explained phenomena (lightning, gas, flares), what could be causing these ghost lights? There are many explanations of the lights. Some believe they are the spirits of Native Americans walking down old paths in the woods while holding torches. Others believe these lights are alien spacecraft landing in the woods. Others believe the lights are simply the spirits of the dead that are damned to roam the Earth for eternity. What do you think?
So, I have to ask, have YOU ever seen lights that you cannot explain? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below or on The Weather Dork Facebook page.
(Below find a news report from North Carolina of ghost lights seen on a mountain in that region. Ghost lights are common in many places on Earth!)
For more reading about Will o' the Wisp visit this link.
Happy Halloween! Thanks for reading!