There is something about the highway. It is vast, it takes you down a road, not only geographically, but something happens with the mind as well on long stretches of nothingness. Time passes differently when you are behind the wheel. Perhaps that is what happens along the highway in Anson? Where does the ghostly lights come from then? The one that has been reported on for decades.
Near Abilene, Texas is the quaint town of Anson, that may or may not have been the inspiration for the movie Footloose as they too had an actual no dancing law in the 80s. And living in that movie sounds cool. Living in the real town before Kevin Bacon, does not.
The landscape around this ghost town along the highway is flat and dusty. Nothing in the horizon except blue sky, red if the dust swirls in the air. The few growing things there is sparse, revealing everything in a spartanic landscape.
They don’t really like the fuzz down there, and they certainly don’t like the fuzz the legend the highway ghost had provided them with. “For a long time people were embarrassed by the Anson light,” then mayor (2000) Tom Isbell said in a great article in the Texas Monthly. “Anson has stories to tell, but for some reason we just don’t tell them.”
The Lantern of a Grieving Mother
The lights have attracted many curious spectators, paranormal investigators and mediums. But perhaps mostly, it is high school students with nothing to do in this no dance town on a Saturday evening. It can be a pretty scary sight, with nearby coyotes howling and screaming.
Driving by the local cemetery, Mount Hope, just outside of the town. Then you follow a dirt road along the graveyard until you reach a crossroad. There you turn, facing the road again and stop your car and flash your lights at the end of the road, something will shine a light back. From the other side at an distance a flickering light can be seen.
Local legend has it that it’s a grieving mother looking for her son. She was out looking for him with a lantern in the snowy Texas winter. She never found him. Or… she hasn’t found him, yet. In The Big Book of Texas Ghost Stories by Alan Brown there is more than one legend of just who is flickering the lights. In another version the mother told her sons to run to the store. She gave them a lantern that they would flash three times with, if they got into trouble. And they did. On their way home, they were killed by an oncoming train. They are still flashing their light, trying to signal their mother for help.
Debunking the Legend
Who is to say that this didn’t happen? Perhaps no historic records in any case. And when the local legend was put to the test, they found a rather non ghostly reasoning for the light. At Abilene Christian University, a professor brought along his students to prove that the lights were actually coming from traffic lights from a nearby highway. With GPS trackers and binoculars, his students were able to document that the light were just lights from cars going south on a nearby road. A thing the Southwestern Ghost Hunters Association had claimed.
The professor issued an apology for the reveal as well as the locals of the town felt this was the story they could have fun with. What now? What now for fun?
The Anson Light is the approaching car lights from southbound traffic on US-277. The Southwestern Ghost Hunters Association was right. Perhaps that is the true haunting. As the little town of Anson is closing up, boarding up their shops and the cars are streaming passed our out of the town, perhaps that is the true ghost of Anson.
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