I've seen almost the same thing happen, and some other pretty scary stuff up there. I saw something shoot up like a fire work and rock back in forth into a "U" shape and just disappear. Along with red, white, and green lights appearing in different spots on the mountains.
I'll be going up to Cherokee the end of this month and plan to check out the lights with my husband. He has talked with locals who said that sometimes the lights will come right up to the car. I'd like to see this for myself and hope I get to see them.
I saw these lights on June 24, 2009, while on a cycling tour around the U.S. Another fellow (Clint) was at the Thomas Divide who was there to specifically view these lights, and he told me about them. I am an amateur astronomer, and am aware of the various atmospheric effects that might cause something like this, and I was stumped. They looked sort of like car headlights moving horizontally back and forth against three peaks in the distance, perhaps 10 miles away, but they'd be at different altitudes, and sometimes they'd stop, or reverse direction, or turn red. I never saw them in the sky - they were always against the background mountain ridge. I do not know what they were, and can't really think of what they might have been. A truly mysterious phenomenon!
we go up there often and we usually always see something. Last night we saw a red light. before weve seen white lights. the lights move in abnormal ways and go far to fast for it to be a hiker. we love going up there. one of my friends refuses to go back up there bc 3 of the lights they were watching in the distance suddenly came up to their car and surrounded it and circled it fast. my husbands cherokee and most of all cherokee land is haunted in some way.
I have seen various colors as well. My husband and I go regularly and the last time we went we brought a pair of binoculars. We saw the 3 lights also but they did not come up to our car They came about 1/2 the distance to us and moved up and down the mountain side. They appear to be very small ships of some sort. I do not get a negative feeling from them at all. I bought a detailed map of the Great Smokies and found that Mingo Falls is pretty close but there are no roads or hiking trails close to it at all.
This can be a spectacular display! I have been to the overlook several times and have seen lights in three areas: the closest and brightest are vehicle lights rounding a curve at the Raven Fork Overlook; the lights at high elevation and at a considerable distance are those of vehicles leaving the Clingmans Dome parking lot just after dusk; the third lights--in the valley below--remain unexplained. On one occasion they appeared as car lights, traveled in a perfectly straight line for several minutes, stopped, and remained illuminated for at least an hour! The next day, I went into the valley and found that Big Cover Road (BIA 1410) is very winding, hence, it would have been impossible for a car to travel in a straight line. Any ideas?