Halloween in Missouri: The Devil's Promenade For more than a century, the people in southwest Missouri at the Oklahoma border, not far from Kansas, have seen an odd hovering light on a road called West 50. The phenomenon occurs in the southwest of the state, where the Ozark Mountains give way to flat land -- in an area called the Devil's Promenade.
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Halloween in Missouri: The Devil's Promenade

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Halloween in Missouri: The Devil's Promenade

Halloween in Missouri: The Devil's Promenade

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

You don't need a telescope or even binoculars to see the other worldly life the people said they're visited by in part of Missouri. In the southwest of the state, where the Ozark Mountains give way to flat land, there is an area called the Devil's Promenade.

Our reporter Doualy Xaykaothao was recently there on a reporting trip and she stumbled on to the local legend of the mysterious moving light. She put together this audio postcard, which we thought was perfect for Halloween.

DOUALY XAYKAOTHAO: Dear ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, everyone I bumped into here has a story about a quivering pulsating, unexplainable light.

Ms. MARY ROUNDTREE: It's very spooky.

XAYKAOTHAO: And it's known as the spook light.

Ms. ROUNDTREE: You know, as a kid, it was like, oh my gosh, it's scary little thing, you know.

XAYKAOTHAO: Some people say it's red. Others argue it's blue. Maybe it's golden.

Ms. ROUNDTREE: It looks like a light, way far off and then the next second it's right on you.

XAYKAOTHAO: One story I heard was about a guy who brought his date out to scare her and he got scared himself when a small distant light moved closer to his car, then suddenly it was on top of him while he was making out with his girlfriend.

Ms. ROUNDTREE: My family talked about it when I was a kid and of course we went down there to see it. It did scare me, I mean, it really did. My heart was just pounding and it was, you know, up in my throat and I though my head was going to explode and my hands got all cold and -

XAYKAOTHAO: You get the idea. Mary Roundtree believes in the spook light. She works in the genealogy department in the Neosho City library. She's happy, no, eager to tell me about this glowing orb and the legends that might explain it.

Ms. ROUNDTREE: It was an old Indian that had come across some dead bodies out in the field and so he buried them. And then the farmer came and he was carrying the lantern. And the story goes that one was killed by the other and so the lantern continues to move.

XAYKAOTHAO: So I drive to the border of Oklahoma and Missouri with two local guides, Kaye Hively and her husband Russell. The darkness deepens as we stand quietly on the empty road. Kaye Hively is a non-believer in the supernatural and the local historian.

Ms. KAYE HIVELY: Everybody has a legend. There's the Indian legend. There's something to do with the civil war. And then there's just regular people.

XAYKAOTHAO: There's a lot of history to the spook light. Scientists, students, even the Army Corps of Engineers have tried to look into this. There's nothing out here, just fields and patches of dense woods. I see no houses, no lights, no cars. Kaye launches into some local history.

Ms. HIVELY: For example, we're not far from a segment of the Trail of Tears where the five civilized tribes came from.

XAYKAOTHAO: Can I just say I saw something? I saw something bounced from you to me, off of her and it went off.

Ms. HIVELY: Oh, that's a good one. That's a new one.

XAYKAOTHAO: Wait a second. Didn't you see that?

Ms. HIVELY: This is a - this is a joke. Nobody is here. No. You saw something too, Russell. Oh, my. Is this going to be a fun night?

XAYKAOTHAO: No, no. I'm very serious.

Ms. HIVELY: Wow. Isn't this fun?

ZAYKAOTHAO: Not fun for me. I can only say that I've just had a deeply haunting and very vivid experience on a silent strip of Oklahoma road. And that's really scary.

Wish you were here. Doualy.

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