Tag Archives: will-o’-the-wisp

Mr. Nature: Marsh Lights

Hi, Mr. Nature here!

I have to admit I’ve never seen this for myself: “marsh lights,” also known as “will-o’-the-wisp” when they move around. Lights that you see at night in the swamps. When no one else is there.

Folklore has it that the will-o’-the-wisp is a mischievous spirit that leads unsuspecting victims into the swamp and then gets them lost. Science has it that these are methane gas created by decomposing plant matter. Tolkien had it that they were candles carried by the spirits of those who’d died in the swamp and sunk below the mud.

Kind of spooky, don’t you think? I mean, when you see what looks to be a lantern bobbing around at night, it’s disconcerting when you realize no one’s holding it.

I must also admit that I don’t understand what they’re saying in that Indian TV clip that I used. But it does show you that will-o’-the-wisp can turn up anywhere in the world where there are swamps.

Here’s a video with the marsh lights caught in the act. Watch patiently, and you’ll see them dart across the scream from time to time.

The video comes complete with raccoon. Totally cool!


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