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Paulding Light mystery

January 14, 2011
Kayla Herrera

I remember the first time I heard about the Paulding Light.

It was from a local, of course, a writer for the Michigan Tech Lode gabbing to one of his friends about the implausible and famous dancing light.

His eyes had glittered with such fascination that it struck me that maybe this was something to look into.

It was, in fact, only about an hour and a half away from the Houghton area. Although, I turned back to my computer screen and kept typing away.

Over the past Christmas break, I found myself in Iron Mountain staying with a friend and sniffing out adventure in a small, tedious town.

I was out every night with friends, exploring the land and taking roads that perhaps led to nowhere or finding other tinier towns I never knew existed.

But I wanted more.

I wanted something bigger, more concrete and well-known to add to the list.

So I turned to the famous Paulding Light.

Students at Michigan Tech recently underwent an investigation of the site and claimed the light was just car headlights popping up over the hill.

The television show on the SyFy channel "Fact or Faked" claims it was not headlights due to tests their team carried out.

I do not really know what to believe, Tech students or a money-hungry television show.

So I had to see for myself.

When we printed out our directions and set off on the road, I could not even fathom the fact that we were actually going to see the Paulding Light.

All week it had just been talk, our weak murmurs of activities we wish we could carry out, yet here we were amongst frosted windows and looming woods.

The dirt road to the dead-end barricade emitted darkness like hot breath, enveloping our car. We had no idea what to expect and we squirmed in our seats anxiously, craning our necks to see the road ahead.

There was a small twinkle ahead like the famed North Star in the distance.

We did not think much of it at first because it did not seem out of the ordinary.

But as we drew closer to the barricade, we saw that it was indeed the Paulding Light sneering at us from far away with its glimmer.

A couple of my friends squealed in excitement and were immediately terrified. I and another friend occupied the backseat in cool curiosity, studying the light.

So this was it.

This was the Paulding Light, an illuminated ball hovering in the distance and making our eyes guess if it was bouncing or not.

This is what Yooper kids yipped about excitedly in their blogs and text message conversations.

I announced I was getting out of the car to get a closer look.

My two animated and petrified friends squeaked in opposition, but they eventually let me out. My other friend followed while the others stayed behind.

It did not look any different out from behind a windshield.

Though I must admit, it was fascinating.

If it was not car headlights, then what was it? What part of nature could cause such a phenomenon?

I certainly did not think it was some sort of spirit. I was almost sure of it. I did not feel fear, but I wanted to know more.

As quickly as it had appeared, it faded away.

While we were waiting for its return, a van pulled up beside us and I prayed it wasn't a couple coming to disturb the silence.

It was a van full of intoxicated guys claiming they were on a fishing trip.

They told us they were from Wausau, and in thick Yooper accents (almost sounding Canadian), they offered I and my other friend in the backseat a beer.

Their accents gave me the hint at least one of them was from Watersmeet.

The light reappeared, this time red.

It did not last as long as the first, but I did not understand why it was red. Was it tail lights?

Had that ever been reported before?

Our Yooper friends were out wandering in the snow determined to walk down to where the light was appearing.

We had joyfully rejected their invitation to join, but focused on the light some more, lost in our own train of thoughts and revelations.

I came away from the Paulding Light not impressed, but not disappointed.

A lot of people like to believe there is something paranormal going on and that is great; honestly, I think it makes life more exhilarating.

It certainly made for the most entertaining and enjoyable night of my Christmas break.

But it does make me wonder, why were the intervals of light different lengths?

If it were headlights on a road and they were going the same distance and speed generally, why was one drastically longer than the other?

Why was one light red?

How did the television show "Fact or Faked" supposedly rule out headlights then?

How is it headlights if claims of the light were reported long before cars were invented?

It may never be officially solved, but I like to believe in the unbelievable.

Kayla Herrera's e-mail address is



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