The Mystery of the Devil’s Promenade in Northeast Oklahoma

devils promenade hornet spook light in northeast Oklahoma

For over a hundred years there has been a paranormal mystery along a previously red dirt but now paved road in northeast Oklahoma. It has been called the Hornet Spook Light or the Devil’s Promenade by the local community. It has been mostly reported as an orange and red colored globe of light that travels along this five mile gravel road. You can see this orb very clearly from the east in the small town of Hornet Missouri as well as in the bigger town of Joplin.

History of the Devil’s Promenade

haunted five mile gravel road in northeast Oklahoma
Image Courtesy Matthew

The legend says that Native Americans first saw the spook light when they were passing through the Trail of Tears in 1836. However, it wasn’t until 1881 that is was officially reported. This fireball has been described as changing in size from a softball to volleyball, dancing and spinning down the gravel road at high speeds. It has also been frequently seen swaying from side to side like its being carried by an invisible entity before shooting up above treetops and then vanishing into thin air.

This spook light has been reported as a nightly occurrence for over a century. The locals will tell you that the best time to view the spook light is between 10pm and midnight. This supernatural light has been reported to be shy around loud noises and big groups. Several different scientific and paranormal investigators including the Army Corps of Engineers have studied this phenomenon. They were still totally unable to give an answer as to the origin of this enigmatic light. Skeptics have presented explanations over the years including the possibility of car light reflecting, the escape of natural gas and even a luminescence created by rotting organic matter.

Legend of the Hornet Spook Light

Legend of devils promenade aka hornet spook light in northeast Oklahoma

There are other ghostly ideas that provide a more paranormal explanation. One is of a Quapaw Indian maiden that fell in love with a young warrior. Unfortunately, her father denied permission for them to marry because his dowry wasn’t large enough to provide for her.

They decided to elope, which prompted her father to dispatch a band of warriors to pursue them. When they could not escape their pursuers and were close to being apprehended, they held hands, embraced each other one final time and leaped to their deaths into the Spring River. Not long after that, the spook light started to appear and was identified as being the spirits of the young lovers.

Another popular tale is that of a mineworker whose cabin was attacked by Indians when he was away. When he returned, he found his family missing. Afterwards, he took a lantern down the old road to search for his wife and children.

Others will tell you that the Hornet Spook Light is the apparition of an Indian chief that had his head severed in battle. He walks the road searching for his head, while carrying a lantern high in his hand.

These spook light sightings have become commonplace along the Devil’s Promenade. There have even been reports from people walking down the road at night that have felt the heat of the fiery ball as it brushed by them.

You can wade through several spooky places and urban legends as under :

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