Marfa Texas Lights

marfa lights

Depiction of Marfa Texas eerie lights on prairie at full moon with dramatic cloudy sky.

What are the Marfa Lights? The Marfa Texas lights are shrouded in mystery, and folklore and thus far considered an unexplained phenomenon. The Marfa lights, also known as the Marfa ghost lights, are mysterious lights that have been reported near Marfa, Texas, for over a hundred years. They are typically seen in the evening or at night and are described as bright, glowing orbs-like lights that hover in the air and move erratically. Some people believe that the Marfa lights are a natural phenomenon, while others think that they may be the result of supernatural activity. There is no scientific explanation for the Marfa lights, and they remain a mystery.

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Viewers Often Describe the Lights

Viewers often describe the Texas Marfa lights as glowing orbs that pulsate and twinkle in an array of different colors, sometimes red, other times blue or white, and other times yellow. Scientific groups have studied the lights, each coming up with a different theory as to what they are. Theories abound fueled by local speculators, tourists, and scientists, all still unproven as to the source of the lights. Although the lights are thought to glow every night the chances of actually seeing the lights, on any given night, is estimated to be somewhere between 5% and 10% based on historically reported sightings. The lights of Marfa Texas are similar to the Mara lights are mysterious lights that have been reported in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, approximately 8,905 miles away.

Theories & Suppositions Surround Marfa Ghost Lights

Many theories and suppositions surround the Marfa lights in Texas, also known as the Marfa ghost lights which appear randomly at night. The first light sighting was recorded in 1883 and again reported in 1885 as well as throughout the years by early settlers, ranchers, and other locals who have lived in the area. The otherworldly lights remain a mystery to this day. Some people visit Marfa specifically to see the lights, and there are several viewing areas in the area where people can try to spot them. The Texas Department of Transportation constructed a roadside parking area for motorists to view the lights in 2003.

Marfa Texas Lights, Chihuahuan Desert
Chihuahuan Desert

This area, also known as Far West Texas, is home to Marfa, Texas which is sixty miles from the Mexico Border. Marfa is located in Presidio county Texas between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park within the Chihuahuan Desert. Marfa is a small ranching community that is known for its mysterious lights. The official Marfa Texas light viewing area is about nine to ten minutes east from Marfa on US Highway 90 and is marked by an official Texas State Sign.

Early sightings of these mysterious lights were thought to be Apache signal fires which later translated to headlights, atmospheric conditions, and gases emitting from the ground among other theories. The lights have become a tourist attraction over the years and many claim to have photos of the mysterious lights. Many books have been written both fictional and non-fiction regarding the lights. The only truth known about the lights is that they remain an unsolved mystery.

Prada Marfa photos
Prada Marfa

Marfa Texas Prada

Forty miles west of Marfa just outside of Valentine Texas is the ‘Prada Marfa’, a sculpture of the same-named luxury boutique born out of Milan, Italy. This store-shaped, free-standing sculpture was conceived by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, Scandinavian artists.

‘Prada Marfa’ was constructed in 2005 as funded by a New York-based, non-profit organization, Art Production Fund in collaboration with Ballroom Marfa a Texas non-profit. Originally disputed by the Texas Department of Transportation as illegal placement due to no permit the site is now considered a museum with a single art exhibit due to a loophole in Texas state law.

Marfa Texas Art Community
World-renowned Art Sculptures on Prairie

Marfa Art Community

The small town of Marfa has become an art community that attracts tourists from all over the world. As many as 50,000 visitors yearly make the pilgrimage to this small west Texas town with its 400-acre contemporary art site managed by the Chinati Foundation. The Chinati foundation boasts an Artist’s in Residence program and the 2022 application can be found here. Marfa was also the location for the movie Giant starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, Dennis Hopper, and James Dean.

The town of Marfa has just over 2,000 inhabitants. Today, Marfa is home to a number of galleries, studios, and other cultural institutions that showcase the work of local and international artists. It is also a popular destination for travelers who are interested in experiencing the natural beauty of the West Texas desert and the cultural offerings of the region.

Most of the population consists of the art community, temporary residents, second homes for the wealthy, and those employees of businesses fueled by the tourist industry. Marfa is home to multiple motels, hotels, campgrounds, RV parks, and even a nomadic hotel campground site with yurts and tepees. The newest hotel is the Hotel St. George which is locally owned and located in the heart of downtown Marfa. Find out more here.

Marfa Texas Lights
Marfa, Texas

Located between the Davies Mountains and Big Bend National Park Marfa Texas 79843 is in the high desert of far West Texas. Marfa has attracted a large number of artists, writers, and other creative types over the years, who have been drawn to the town’s unique blend of solitude, natural beauty, and cultural significance. Marfa has a long history as an arts destination, dating back to the 1960s when minimalist artist Donald Judd moved to the area and began creating large-scale installations at the Chinati Foundation.

Prada Marfa photos

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Check out this unframed art print poster of Marfa here.

In conclusion, this small town on the Chihuahuan Desert in Far West Texas with upwards of 2000 residents and mysterious lights has become a world-renowned art community bringing the famous and not-so-famous together from all around the globe to ponder the sites of Marfa. Now that is a real phenomenon y’all. See you there.

Read more about Best Small Towns in Texas here.

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What is Prada of Marfa?

Prada Marfa is a permanently installed sculpture by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, situated on US Highway 90 in Valentine, Texas. It consists of a replica of a Prada store, complete with luxury goods on display in the windows, but with no means of entering the building or purchasing the products. The sculpture was intended as a commentary on consumerism and the excesses of the fashion industry, and has become a popular tourist destination.

What is Marfa Texas known for?

Marfa is a small town in West Texas that is known for its minimalist art scene, vibrant culture, and stunning desert landscapes.

What are the Marfa lights in Texas?

The Marfa lights, also known as the Marfa ghost lights, are mysterious lights that have been reported near Marfa, Texas, for over a hundred years. They are typically seen in the evening or at night and are described as bright, glowing orbs-like lights that hover in the air and move erratically. Some people believe that the Marfa lights are a natural phenomenon, while others think that they may be the result of supernatural activity. There is no scientific explanation for the Marfa lights, and they remain a mystery.

Kay Keeton, Ed.

Editor in Chief, Kay Keeton - Texas Lifestyle Expert. Kay is a designer turned author, marketer, storyteller, and influencer. A sixth-generation Texan, Kay is both an authority as well as being passionate about sharing her home state of Texas's diverse culture and lifestyle. Kay is a content writer and editor of content for various local and national online publications.

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