The Luther McCarty Light

The Luther McCarty Light

In this article we will be covering the fascinating subject of the Luther McCarty light which appeared in a tragic boxing event on May the 24th, 1913. A heavenly sign to the fallen boxer…or something more sinister – you decide!


The 6 foot 4 inch Luther McCarty made his professional boxing debut at the age of 18 on the 7th of January, 1911. During this fight he managed to knock out his opponent, Watt Adams, within two rounds.

Over the next year of his career he picked up the nickname of ‘Lute’ and pretty much destroyed every fighter that was put in front of him.

Such was the dominance of Lute, that a championship bout was arranged for New Year’s Day 1913. This fight was to be against the White World Heavyweight Champion – a contender named Al Palzer.

Palzer managed to survive the match with just a TKO, but lost his belt to McCarty.

Promoters were now falling over themselves to set up a match between McCarty and the legendary Jack Johnson. Unfortunately, this match never came about…



Before the big match up with Johnson, Lute took part in a scheduled title defence against Arthur Pelkey in something called a stay busy fight.

Before the fight began, a local preacher/vicar took to the ring to give the following speech:

“I know you men are going to help us buy a bell for our church. Your silver tokens will buy a memento for God’s house and it will be a credit to you on the Great Ledger. Everyone must have credit in his Ledger, for who knows whom the Great Referee will call home at any moment?”

The match started and ended within the first round, when Lute collapsed to the canvas after taking a really weak punch above the heart area. The boxer was counted out, and didn’t move a muscle.

The referee, Ed Smith, started to panic – something was not quite right here!

The medical staff were called into the ring and after 8 minutes of treatment – McCarty was declared dead.

The Luther McCarty Light

When the count was taking place over the fallen boxer’s body, the 6000-strong crowd all witnessed an ethereal shaft of light hit his body as the count started…then disappear as soon as the count was over.

The shaft only covered the fallen body of the boxer.

The Light

The only known photo taken of this light has been debated ever since. Sceptics came out in force to claim that the image was somehow faked (remember, this was back in the early 1900’s), but nobody has ever been able to prove this.

On top of that – how can you argue with 6000 witnesses?

A coroner’s report later determined that the cause of Lute’s death was probably linked to a horse riding accident he had suffered just days before the fight took place.

But what was this light?

A heavenly sign that the fallen boxer was being transported to the other side?

Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

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