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The Ghost Lights of Borrego
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the Borrego Springs area of California are notorious for the many legends, ghost stories and unexplained phenomena occurring there over the years. The region of the Sonoran Desert is home to the Vallecito Stage Station, Yaqui Well, in addition to the mysterious "Ghost Lights" of Oriflamme Mountain.
The first account of the "Phantom Lights" of Borrego was reported in 1858 by a Butterfield Stage driver. Since then soldiers, prospectors and explorers have reported seeing similar lights. The sightings have been reported near Oriflamme Mountain, over Borrego Valley and in other nearby areas. The occurrences are always slightly different, but the general description of the sightings is the same.
In 1892, a prospector by the name of Charles Knowles and two other men were camping near Grapevine Canyon at the entrance to the Narrows, where they reported their sighting of "Fire Balls." Knowles described the "lights" as balls of fire that rose up approximately 100 feet in the air and then exploded. Knowles compared the "Fire Balls" to fireworks. He saw three "Fire Balls" rise and cascade upon explosion, before they stopped. About 30 minutes later the "Lights" started again, but this time they were different. The "lights" rose into an arch pattern returning to the ground without exploding. The "Light" would then reverse itself and go back to the place where it started.
Scientists have tried to determine a logical explanation for the "Ghost lights." One scientific explanation suggests that when the wind blows sand against quartz outcroppings, static electricity is created, which could look like bright lights or sparks on a dark night.
Some believe that the lights were signals used by bootleggers during prohibition or US Immigration for smuggling operations related to the Mexican Boarder. The only problem with these two explanations is that the sightings had been going on long before and after the time constricted by the events described above.
Another notion is that the "Fire Balls" indicate the location of buried treasure. There are stories that support this latter theory of buried treasure. One of the stories tells of a young man who found many gold nuggets in a gully within the Oriflammes. Another man by the name of George Benton found a boulder of rock, weighing a ton, that contained gold. He found the boulder in the Oriflammes.