Outside of Crossett (Ashley County), where the old railroad tracks once lay, an unexplained light has become a local legend. It has reportedly been seen consistently since the early 1900s by multitudes of people. The light is typically seen floating two to three feet above the ground but also is said to move into the treetops and sometimes side to side. The light reportedly disappears as one walks toward it and then reappears the same distance away, so that one can never get a close look at it. The Crossett Light’s color reportedly ranges from yellow or orange to blue or green.
The Crossett Light is one of many similar phenomena commonly known as “spooklights” in the South. There are other notable “spooklights”—around Joplin, Missouri; Senath, Missouri; and Gurdon (Clark County), to name a few. Like other such “spooklights,” including the Gurdon Light, the Crossett Light is, according to legend, the ghostly lantern of a railroad worker who lost his head in an accident in the early 1900s and who walks the tracks to find it. There seem to be many similar stories explaining this phenomenon, but this seems to be the most common. There are also stories, not widely credited, that the light is related to extraterrestrials.
A commonly expressed scientific theory holds that the Crossett Light could be swamp gas, a natural phenomenon. Some authorities also posit that the light could be an illusion caused by car lights and an incline in the land. This theory is more widely accepted than the swamp gas theory; however, the major drawback for the car light theory lies in the fact that the light was first reported in the early 1900s, before cars were common in the area. The first reports of the light started as the railroads were put in, which may have started the famous railroad worker story. No one knows for sure what the Crossett Light is, but it has entertained many residents and visitors throughout the years who drive down that old road to watch for it.
For additional information:
Buckner, John W. Wilderness Lady. Little Rock: Rose Publishing Company, 1979.
Kelley, Deirdre. “Shedding Light on Spook Light Activity.” http://www.unsolvedmysteries.com/usm349916.html?t=Interesting (accessed February 8, 2022).
Mindy L. Hunter
Arkansas Paranormal Research Association
Spent my younger years in Crossett, Arkansas, and went with my dad and his girlfriend at the time to see the light, and it straight up went up to someone’s car a little ways in front of us and turned the car off; when the people started their car again, the hazard lights were on. This memory is so vivid, as it was one of the most moving memories of my childhood. I watched it cause a car right in front of us go haywire.
I had met some friends at a college in Monticello, Arkansas, who were from Crossett. They told me the story about the guy in search for his head, and I was hesitant to believe it at first. One night we decided to go, and they had me drive a distance down the road and told me to blink my lights three times and it would appear. This was very true. I had gotten out and walked toward it. There was an eerie feeling walking toward it. I was spooked, and the closer I had gotten the more it had grown, but for some reason it wouldn’t let me get closer to it to see the full extent. The second time we went, we saw again, but when we tried to leave, my vehicle would not start after multiple attempts. The light had seemed to come closer to us. There was absolutely nothing wrong with my vehicle. It puzzled me. Once it started, I drove right out and was jittery for the rest of the evening.
My son and me and family went to the Crossett Light and it’s not real. It’s a few guys. One guy stands on the road and the blue truck goes to the four-way where you turn around. That’s where the truck comes and parks. My son got out of our truck and walked toward it and it’s a few guys. We debunked the light 1/28/2020.
My dad told me about seeing the light in Crossett when he was a boy. He was born there. In the fall of 1960, I took a trip with four other college guys and we all saw it. It was 3 a.m. The light was over the railroad track and I walked toward it. It would only let me get within about sixty feet of it. Suddenly, it dropped to the track, increased in size, and glowed brighter. About a minute later, it lifted off the track, returning to original size and brightness. I continued to try to get close, but it would not let me. Finally it moved off erratically into the trees and just vanished. It was the thrill of a lifetime to see what my dad had seen.
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