"Into the Light"

Josh Heard (right) and David Glidden appear in a scene from "Into the Lights." 

Courtesy | David Glidden

In 2015, a group of students and a professor from the University of Central Oklahoma released a documentary that explained what the Hornet Spook Light was: Reflections of headlights coming down the road. In the documentary, they featured how they tested it and replicated it.

David Glidden wasn’t convinced because the team didn’t account for a couple of things:

“There were sightings back in the 1800s, way before there was a highway there,” Glidden said. “A lot of spook light sightings can be dismissed as headlights, but some can’t.”

Glidden makes a deep dive into the spooklight in a new documentary that is showing this week at the Route 66 Movie Theater in Webb City. “Into the Light: An Exploration of the Spook Light Phenomena” features interviews with locals, lore and on-location filming as he and co-producer Josh Heard attempt to capture footage of the legendary light.

Joplin is not alone as host of floating fluorescence. “Into the Light” also covers similar phenomena in St. Mary’s, Iowa, and near Brown Mountain in western North Carolina. Glidden and Heard dive into the history of those three lights and feature their successes and failures at getting answers.

Glidden said though there is plenty of historical information about the spook light but not a lot of full documentaries. What was missing from available documentation was the chase for more information and logical explanations, as well as the light itself.

“I searched all over YouTube to see if anyone did a feature-length documentary, and all I could find were 10-minute videos,” Glidden said. “There wasn’t any pursuit of trying to experience it. This is, as far as I know, a one-of-a-kind video that features that personal quest. We wanted to dive in as much as we can.”

Glidden, a paranormal investigator for 10 years, recently quit his job to become a full-time filmmaker. Before “Into the Light,” he produced the YouTube series “Haunted History.”

He teamed up with Heard, who owns Malvern Manor, an Iowa haunt that has been the site of many paranormal investigations and was featured in an episode of “Paranormal Lockdown.” Both pursued the project because it chased a subject that rarely gets covered in paranormal circles: floating lights.

One of the things that struck Glidden during the journey is how the phenomena is well-received by the locals. Where residents along Spook Light Road don’t care for the traffic of light hunters, the light in Brown Mountain is practically a tourist attraction.

“They used to have a parade and a festival in St. Mary’s about it,” Glidden said. “What surprised me is how differently (the lights) are embraced by the people around them.”

The journey in their video is filled with challenges. Glidden said the documentary features a roller coaster of peaks and valleys. But ultimately, they were pleased with the results.

In addition to showing in Webb City, Glidden said they will present their documentary at Kansas City’s upcoming Planet Comicon. A mass release on DVD, digital download and streaming services is planned for late spring or early summer.

“I’m pretty excited to show people what we got,” Glidden said. “With any documentary there are trials and tribulations. We certainly started feeling that. But everything worked out the way it was meant to work out. We’re pretty ecstatic after all is said and done.”

Want to go?

A screening of “Into the Light” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Route 66 Movie Theater, located at 24 S. Main St. in Webb City. Filmmaker David Glidden will present a Q&A afterward.

Details: 417-673-1155.

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Joe Hadsall is the features editor for The Joplin Globe. He has been the editor of the former Nixa News-Enterprise and has worked for the Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine.