The Brown Mountain Lights are a series of ghost lights reported sporadically for many years near Brown Mountain in North Carolina. The lights have been seen at several locations about 60-70 miles northeast of Asheville. Brown Mountain is located in the Pisgah National Forest.
Some of the earliest reports of ghost lights came from Cherokee and Catawba Indians, settlers, and Civil War soldiers. Thousands have witnessed the spectacle, which is ongoing to this day. The lights have been investigated three times by the United States government, and countless times by private groups and often studied by students at Appalachian University. The lights were even featured in an episode of X-Files in 1999.
You can look for the lights at several easy-to-find viewing points in the Linville Gorge area of the mountains of North Carolina. The lights are most often reported as small, star-like dots of light of a brightness comparable to stars. Motion of the lights has varied by reports, from slow movements to almost firework type action.
Wisemans View is an overlook with a spectacular daytime view of Linville Gorge. Visit after dark, be careful since there are not lights to find your way down the short trail to the overlook. The view is to the east, looking over Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountains. Brown Mountain is beyond that ridge, a low peak in the distance The lights have been seen along the ridge as well as below the ridge down in the Gorge. Sometimes, lights can be viewed from atop Table Rock.
NC Highway 181 has a "Brown Mountain" overlook about a mile south of the Barkhouse Picnic area. The vegetation makes it difficult to see when the leaves are on the trees, so visit here during winter months.
The Blue Ridge Parkway has a marked viewing site at the Lost Cove overlook, located at the Milepost 310 (six miles north of Linville Falls). The view is of Brown Mountain itself, but vegetation has encroached upon the view.
Some say that fall (especially after a rain) is the best time to see them. But the Brown Mountain Lights are rarely seen - any time of the year.