There are several local ‘origin stories’ about the lights, most centering around a Mr. John (or Bill) Bingham. One night Mr. Bingham was traveling alone down by the swamps. What he was doing there depends on which version of the legend you are hearing around the campfire. Some versions say he was taking a short cut home, some say he was a serial killer looking for the locations to bury his victims and some say he was looking for his lost children. Whatever the reason he was down there one thing the legends agree on is that a train came around a corner and didn’t see him in time. Now his ghost walks the swamps and old tracks looking for his head or just trying to find his way home. But wait you say, this is a Cryptozoology blog - what is the relevance to Cryptozoology? Well there may be fascinating link between the two phenomena.
The swamps around Bingham have, in addition to playing host to the mystery lights, a history of sightings with a strange flying creature. One well detailed sighting was that of Susan Wooten in 1989. She was driving down the road with the swamps to the left side of her when she saw something flying out of the woods, over her car and the road, before finally heading into the woods on the opposite side. She pulled off to the side of the road to try and gather herself up and reflect about what she had just seen, as did the people in the car behind her who also saw it.
She drew a picture that shows a creature with a pointed crest, featherless wings, a long tail, and 15-20 foot wingspan. The description is eerily similar to the reported ‘living pterosaurs’ reported across America. So what’s the connection to the lights?
As stated in a previous post I made, these kind of creatures have been reported all across the world, but what is even more interesting is that wherever these kinds of sightings go the lights (like those seen in Bingham) seem to follow. The most famous is the Ropen and the Duah of Papua New Guinea. The resemblance between the creatures seen there and in Bingham are remarkable. So too are that the creatures of New Guinea which reportedly emit a bright red bioluminescent glow as they fly at night. A few times these lights have been captured on film, notably by Paul Nation in 2004 and by the film crew of the show Destination Truth in 2006.
Watching recordings of the Bingham lights and then watching these videos side by side, it is eerily just how similar they are. They both are pulsing and while you can’t really tell the color of the lights form the New Guinea films, one from Bingham has a very distinctive red glow about it.
These lights have been speculated to be reflections of car head lights or fires, but these are very unsatisfactory explanations. The lights pre-date cars by decades and fires don’t fly in concentrated orbs across the night sky. The idea that living pterosaurs still soar across the skies seems unlikely, yet with these lights and theses consistent reports of creatures still coming in from New Guinea, Namibia, Tanzania, Texas and elsewhere across America the hunt will go one until the truth one way or another is uncovered.. And while the story of John (Bill) Bingham is certainly folkloric, the campfire stories will go on and on as long as the lights are seen in the South Carolina night skies.
Editor's note: It may interest readers to know that the young of a pterosaur is called a flapling.