COMMENTS ON SALISBURY INVESTIGATION
by Dale Kaczmarek
I read with great interest a text file which I recently downloaded from Paranet-Alpha concerning the investigation into the Salisbury ghost light phenomena conducted on November 20-21, 1976 and have a few comments and criticisms to air out here.
I personally met Robert E. Jones, President of Vestigia, at the 1986 Fortfest conference held in Tyson's Corner, Virginia and he struck me as being a very courteous, knowledgable, intelligent but somewhat secretive person. I questioned him on several technical details of his investigation into the Salisbury ghost light but received little in the way of straight-forward answers. He did respond that this was the only such phenomena (ghost lights), that he has ever investigated before or since. The statement somewhat shocked me!
I have been aware of Vestigia for sometime and thought that they dealt extensively with anomalous phenomena; UFOlogy, Ectomorphology and the Paranormal in general. I got the distinct impression that this was untrue while talking to Mr. Jones.
The untitled, unauthored text regarding this investigation was read several times by myself and other senior members of the Ghost Research Society which has investigated many similar lights including: Brown Mountain Lights - North Carolina, Maco Light - North Carolina, Gurdon - Arkansas, Maple Lake light - Willow Springs, Illinois, The Moody Light - Francisville, Indiana, Watersmeet light - Michigan, Joplin Light - Joplin, Missouri and others. I would just like to comment on a few items in their investigation. I wish to state here and know, that I do not intend to be critical of the tests performed or sound insulting to any of the testers themselves. I only intend to enter my own doubts and comments here for the record.
Being somewhat of an expert in infrared photography and since this type of film was used as part of the investigation, I would just like to add the following comments.
Normal color films have three emulsion layers, one sensitive to red, green and blue. Infrared's are sensitive to infrared, red and green wavelengths and using a yellow filter for color infrared work blocks out the blue wavelengths to which these layers are also sensitive to. The infrared sensitive emulsion in IR film is sensitive to wavelengths from about 700 to about 900 NM, ( a NM - nanometer is equal to one billionth of a meter), a range of about 200 NM. The visible spectrum consists of a 300 NM band from 400 to 700 NM. In this 300 NM band are all the different colors of the spectrum.
It is therefore reasonable to assume that there are several different IR "colors" in the 200 NM band between 700 and 900 NM, "colors" that are different but invisible to our eyes. There is no way to determine which of these infrared colors are being reflected by the subject. There are many variables in IR color photography, the time of day, weather conditions, subject matter, filters, etc.
Black and white high-speed IR photography is somewhat more predictable. It is sensitive to ultraviolet and blue wavelengths, just as all film is, but is also sensitive to red and infrared wavelengths. A deep red filter (No. 25) is usually best to use because it absorbs blue and ultraviolet wavelengths. By using different colored filters with either black and white or color IR film, you can change the colors captured on film and produce different results.
In general, IR film will detect and pick up phenomena of an invisible nature, including, but not limited to: invisible light, heat sources, IR radiation, stray energy sources, electrical stimulations, and, depending on what filter you use, ultraviolet radiation.
No reference was made to what kinds of filters were used or the effect that was captured on film. So, no determination can be made, at this time, to exactly what, if anything, was captured on film.
There was also some results that tend to suggest the possibility of piezoelectrical effects from quartz crystals under stress. While this is an extreme possibility, it still is a somewhat rare and little understood principle. I rather doubt that this could be causing the lights to appear on so many occasions! While I understand that there may indeed be a faultline running parallel to the tracks, other explanations are also possible.
One possible explanation could be a temperature inversion layer caused by the heat released from the hot railroad tracks which would collide with the cooler surrounding air and cause mirages to form. If the lights were photographed through polarized lens and the light didn't polarize then it means it's not a reflection. A galvanometer would also be another good test to see if any electromagnetic current was being released at the times the light was visible.
The drop in barometric pressure could simply have been caused a localized low-pressure system. The testers did report a light snowfall directly followed the lights disappearance. There is nothing strange about a sudden drop in pressure followed by a snowfall. Especially nothing that could be attributed to the light. The testers also suggested that the lights effect was enhanced by those conditions, which I find highly improbable.
I suggest that further tests be conducted with different types of equipment and we will be visiting the Salisbury area during the month of October, 1987. We will publish our findings here.
All in all, the investigation was well coordinated, professionally handled, however I feel that some incorrect conclusions may have been drawn from the results. I would, however, be willing to change my opinions given additional information and further test findings.
Dale Kaczmarek, President, Ghost Research Society, PO Box 205, Oaklawn, Illinois, 60454-0205, (312)425-5163.