On Union Valley Road, just outside of Ellettsville, is the old Wampler Cemetery.
This dilapidated cemetery, consisting of 13 gravestones from the mid 1800s, is the site of a curious phenomenon known as the Mystery Lights.
Quite often, in the darkness of night, mysterious light orbs can be seen moving across the cemetery, bouncing from one ancient gravestone to the next. There is no rhyme or reason to their pattern, and no consistency in their glow.
Regardless of whether there’s a full Moon, new Moon, or overcasted sky, the orbs simply appear, dance about, then disappear.
There’s no questioning the fact that there are light orbs dancing around the cemetery. Too many people have seen and photographed the phenomenon.
The mystery is what causes them. Car lights would be the obvious culprit, but light sightings were reported before the advent of the automobile.
Then there’s the matter of geometry. The cemetery lies quite a few yards off a straight and level rural road. The simple act of driving along the road will not cause car lights to flash in the cemetery.
Science minded people claim the lights are simply a trick of Mother Nature, like electrical atmospheric charges generated by the shifting and grinding of rocks deep below the Earth’s surface, or the illumines residue of decaying organic matter also known as the will-o’-the-wisp or swamp gas.
However, the cemetery doesn’t lie in a swamp. Of course an innocent critter could be to blame, fireflies, the white plumage of barn owls, or the flipped up tails of deer, but that would be insulting the intelligence of the witnesses.
Then there’s my favorite explanation, that maybe, just maybe, the lights have a conscious and spiritual intent. Perhaps they are the lost souls of ones long since forgotten, dancing in the moonlight in remembrance of what their lives once were, lighting the way for those whose lives are yet to be, and warning others of what their lives are doomed to become.
The residents of the area fondly view the mystery lights as their very own special enigma. For many years, locals and curious outsiders would flock to the area in hopes of catching a glimpse of this strange wonder.
That is, until a cynical descendent of the Wampler family, who was not so romantic about such things, set out to determine the actual scientific cause of the so called mystery lights.
After spending a night in the family cemetery, he concluded that a small piece of broken glass, embedded in a tree surrounding the site, was reflecting the light of the Moon and thus creating the so called mystery lights.
Mystery solved. Or was it?
This supposed piece of glass has long since disappeared, the mystery lights have not.