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THE MARFA LIGHTS AND MORE GHOST LIGHTS TO PONDER

THE MARFA LIGHTS

by David Nelson

The Marfa Lights as many will tell you are the most well known spook lights to be observed on a regular basis. There are also many locations in the United States where Ghost Lights or earth lights are often encountered and seen, though they go by the common names of "ghost lights", "spirit Lights" "spooklights", or the local name of the area where the light is most often spotted. And by many superstitiously regarded as portending death.

The most famous examples include the Maco Station Light, (North Carolina), and the Pactolus Light, ghost of young man carrying a lantern. The story tells that he was killed and his body was never found, (Greenville, NC). Many ghost light stories are often associated with the spirits or ghost of a dead person trying to save someone elses life.

Let us not over look the very strange Brown Mountain Light (North Carolina), Hornet Spooklight (Missouri), , the Yakima Lights (Washington), Anson Light (Texas), Dover Light (Arkansas), and the Hebron Light (Maryland). The St. Louis Light (Saskatchewan, Canada) is also rather famous. Or the Min Min lights, An unexpected light with no apparent local source. Mainly reported in North Eastern Australia. The Ghost Lights of the Chester NJ, some say the lights are the ghost of a railroad worker "THE CHESTER HOOKMAN", or the "THE BUDLAKE HOOKMAN", that died very slow and horribly while saving several kids from an on coming night train. The Martebo lights (in Swedish, "Marteboljusen" or "Marteboljuset") are "ghost lights" which have been seen since the early 1900s on a road in Martebo on the Swedish island of Gotland. Some sightings have been explained as car lights.

MARFA LIGHTS

The Marfa lights, also known as the Marfa ghost lights, have been observed near U.S. Route 67 on Mitchell Flat east of Marfa, Texas, in the United States. The lights have been attributed to paranormal phenomenon but research suggests that most if not all are atmospheric reflections of automobile headlights and campfires. Some believe the source is static electricity or swamp gas Tthough no conclusive evidence has ever been stated by any sources.

Native American residents knew about Marfa Mystery Lights long before the first recorded sighting in 1883. View this mysterious phenomenon any time after sunset at the Marfa Lights Viewing Area, nine miles east of Marfa on Highway 90. The Marfa Mystery Lights are viewable year round. The Marfa Lights Viewing Area was designed by the Marfa High School Gifted and Talented students with the help of Texas Department of Transportation.

The lights were the subject of a segment on the TV series Unsolved Mysteries.

 

Elderly local resident Julia Plumbley discusses the sighting her father Robert Ellison reported in the early 20th century. Ellison and a fellow rancher witnessed the lights and initially assumed them to be Apache campfires, but the fires continued to be seen for weeks on end, and beyond. Another local resident, Hallie Stillwell, told of coming to Marfa in 1916 on business with some family members and was riding near town in a car when a family member pointed out the lights. The group observed them. Stillwell recalled "We were just visiting and talking, and all of the sudden we saw lights over on the Chinati Mountains. It couldn't be any kind of car lights. And we first thought probably it was a campfire of Indians or Mexicans, or ranchers. But it didn't act like a campfire at all. The reenactment segment shows a young Stillwell commenting on the lights moving around and floating above the ground. "They were peculiar and I'd never seen anything like them before. And of course none of us knew anything about it, we were not scientists or anything like that, so we said 'Well, it couldn't be anything but a ghost, it's just ghost lights.' And from then on we mentioned them as ghost lights." The segment further tells of the lights being seen again in 1943 near Marfa's army air base. Witness Fritz Kahl stated in interview, "When we saw the Marfa lights the first time there was no vehicular traffic at night. Fuel was rationed, lights were a phenomena in themselves in those days because there were no lights. When the moon is out, it's beautiful. When the moon is not out its so dark it's . . . awesome. We saw something that was totally foreign to anything in and around the airbase. When we did see the lights we were very curious and we inquired in the village of Marfa about these strange things, and yeah, sure, 'we've got little lights, what else?'.

 

The first published account of the lights appeared in the July 1957 issue of Coronet Magazine, the sole source for anecdotal claims that the lights date back to the 19th century. Reports often describe brightly glowing basketball-sized spheres floating above the ground, or sometimes high in the air. Colors are usually described as white, yellow, orange or red, but green and blue are sometimes reported. The balls are said to hover at about shoulder height, or to move laterally at low speeds, or sometimes, to shoot around rapidly in any direction. They often appear in pairs or groups, according to reports, to divide into pairs or merge together, to disappear and reappear, and sometimes to move in seemingly regular patterns. Their sizes are typically said to resemble soccer balls or basketballs. Sightings are reported occasionally and unpredictably, perhaps 10 to 20 times a year. There are no reliable reports of daytime sightings. According to the people who claim to have seen the lights, they may appear at any time of night, typically south of U.S. Route 90 and east of U.S. Route 67, five to fifteen miles southeast of Marfa, at unpredictable directions and apparent distances. They can persist from a fraction of a second to several hours.

There is evidently no connection between appearances of the Marfa lights and anything else besides nighttime hours. They appear in all seasons of the year and in any weather, seemingly uninfluenced by such factors. They sometimes have been observed during late dusk and early dawn, when the landscape is dimly illuminated. They are said to be viewable year round. It is extremely difficult to approach an ongoing display of the Marfa lights, mainly due to the dangerous terrain of Mitchell Flat. Also, all of the land where the Marfa lights are observed is private property, and access is prohibited without explicit permission from the owners. The state notes the lights in travel maps, the city has erected a viewing platform, and the Marfa Chamber of Commerce promotes the peculiar lights.

The weekend-long Marfa Lights Festival is held annually in the city's downtown.

MORE GHOST LIGHTS

Will-o'-the-wisp, also called ghost-light in some countries, a natural phenomenon producing a ghostly light sometimes seen at night or twilight over bogs, swamps, and marshes. also called will-o'-wisp, corpse candle, jack-o'-lantern, and friar's lantern— is the folklore term for a ghostly light sometimes seen at night or twilight over bogs, swamps, and marshes. It resembles a flickering lamp and is sometimes said to recede if approached. Much traditional, non-scientific belief surrounds the phenomenon.

These lights are also sometimes referred to as corpse candles or hobby lanterns, two monikers found in the Denham Tracts. In the United States, they are often called spook-lights, ghost-lights, or orbs by folklorists and paranormal enthusiasts. Sometimes the phenomenon is classified by the observer as a ghost, fairy, or elemental, and a different name is used. Briggs' A Dictionary of Fairies provides an extensive list of other names for the same phenomenon, though the place where they are observed (graveyard, bogs, etc.) influences the naming considerably.

The names will-o'-the-wisp and jack-o'-lantern refer to an old folktale, retold in different forms across Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Appalachia, and Newfoundland. One version, from Shropshire, recounted by K. M. Briggs in her book A Dictionary of Fairies, refers to Will the Smith. Will is a wicked blacksmith who is given a second chance by Saint Peter at the gates to Heaven, but leads such a bad life that he ends up being doomed to wander the Earth. The Devil provides him with a single burning coal with which to warm himself, which he then used to lure foolish travellers into the marshes.

An Irish version of the tale has a ne'er-do-well named Drunk Jack or Stingy Jack who makes a deal with the Devil, offering up his soul in exchange for payment of his pub tab. When the Devil comes to collect his due, Jack tricks him by making him climb a tree and then carving a cross underneath, preventing him from climbing down. In exchange for removing the cross, the Devil forgives Jack's debt. However, because no one as bad as Jack would ever be allowed into Heaven, Jack is forced upon his death to travel to Hell and ask for a place there. The Devil denies him entrance in revenge, but, as a boon, grants Jack an ember from the fires of Hell to light his way through the twilight world to which lost souls are forever condemned. Jack places it in a carved turnip to serve as a lantern. Another version of the tale, "Willy the Whisp", is related in Irish Folktales by Henry Glassie. The first modern novel in the Irish language, Séadna by Peadar Ua Laoghaire, is a version of the tale.

Aleya (or marsh ghost light) is the name given to an unexplained strange light phenomena occurring over the marshes as observed by the Bengali people, specially the fishermen of Bengal. This marsh light is attributed to some kind of unexplained marsh gas apparitions that confuse fishermen, make them lose their bearings and may even lead to drowning if one decided to follow it moving over the marshes. Local communities in the region believe that these strange hovering marsh-lights are in fact Ghost-lights representing the ghosts of fisherman who died fishing, some times they confuse the fishermen and some times they help them avoid future dangers.

The Brown Mountain Lights are a series of ghost lights reported near Brown Mountain in North Carolina. The lights can be seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks at mile posts 310 (Brown Mountain Light overlook) and 301 (Green Mountain overlook) and from the Brown Mountain Overlook on NC Highway 181 between Morganton, NC and Linville, NC. One early account of the lights dates from September 13, 1913, as reported in the Charlotte Daily Observer. A fisherman claimed to have seen “mysterious lights seen just above the horizon every night”, red in color, with a pronounced circular shape. Soon after this account, a United States Geological Survey employee, D.B. Stewart, studied the area in question and determined the witnesses had mistaken train lights for something more mysterious.

Chir Batti, Chhir Batti or Cheer batti (Ghost light) is a yet unexplained strange dancing light phenomena occurring on dark nights reported from the Banni grasslands, its seasonal marshy wetlands and the adjoining desert of the marshy salt flats of the Rann of Kutch near Indo-Pak border in Kutch district, Gujarat State, India. Local villagers have been seeing these sometimes hovering, sometimes flying balls of lights since time immemorial, and call it Chir Batti in their Kutchhi–Sindhi language, with Chir meaning ghost and Batti meaning light.

Bang Fai Phaya Naga The bung fai paya nak, or Naga fireballs in English, spring up every October from the Mekong River in Thailand. Even Time magazine has covered the event, reporting that "each year, anything from 200 to 800 of the fiery orbs are sighted along a 100-kilometer stretch of the river". The October full moon is the most likely time for the orbs to appear, and as a result up to 400,000 people visit the river to catch their appearance. The rate at which they are seen on that night is variable, and may depend on the weather: in rainy years, less appear?.

One Asian theologist ponders the relation of will-o'-the-wisp to that of the foxfire produced by kitsune, an interesting way of combining mythology of the West with that of the East. Similar phenomena are described in Japanese folklore, including Hitodama (literally "Human Soul" as a ball of energy), Hi no Tama (Ball of Flame), Aburagae, Koemonbi, Ushionibi, etc. All these phenomena are described as balls of flame or light, at times associated with graveyards, but occurring across Japan as a whole in a wide variety of situations and locations. These phenomena are described in Shigeru Mizuki's 1985 book Graphic World of Japanese Phantoms (妖怪伝 in Japanese)

Boi-tatá (Portuguese pronunciation: [bojtaˈta]) is the Brazilian equivalent of the will-o'-the-wisp. Regionally it is called Boitatá, Baitatá, Batatá, Bitatá, Batatão, Biatatá, M'boiguaçu, Mboitatá and Mbaê-Tata. The name comes from the Old Tupi language and means "fiery serpent" (mboî tatá). It has great fiery eyes, leave it almost blind by day, but by night, it can see everything. According to legend, Boi-tatá was a big serpent which survived a great deluge. A "boiguaçu" (a cave anaconda) left its cave after the deluge and, in the dark, went through the fields preying on the animals and corpses, eating exclusively its favorite morsel, the eyes. The collected light from the eaten eyes gave "Boitatá" its fiery gaze. Not really a dragon but a giant snake (in the native language, "boa" or "mboi" or "mboa"). The expression "fogo-fátuo" is also used ("fake fire", from the Latin "ignis fatuus") throughout Brazil.

Paasselkä devils (Finnish: Paasselän pirut) are light phenomena sometimes appearing at Lake Paasselkä, Finland and swampy and forested areas nearby the lake. Paasselkä is a lake formed in an impact crater. There is a magnetic anomaly in the centre of the lake. The Paasselkä Devil is usually told to be a ball of light visible in the air above Paasselkä or areas nearby. It is said to move at varying speeds on some occasions and to remain stationary at others. Sometimes there are several balls. The "ball of fire" has been said by some locals to act as if it were conscious. It can follow fishermen's boats or escape the light of torch. Sometimes the light moves at incredible speeds. The light has been visible for a long time; it is a part of local folklore and was given the name "devil". Locals in earlier times may have believed that ball of light was actually an evil creature. In earlier times local people were used to seeing these lights and did not consider them to be something extraordinary . Also nowadays the lights are observed occasionally, they have been taken on movies and photographed. This light phenomenon was made more famous by a book of Sulo Strömberg issued in 2006 and containing stories about this phenomenon.

The Gurdon Light is an unexplained light, said to be of supernatural origin, found in modern day Gurdon, Arkansas folklore. It is a series of unknown phenomena which occur in a wooded area by railroad tracks, appears to observers as a light or lights hovering in the air. The light has been featured on local media and on the TV show Unsolved Mysteries. The location is still in use by the railroad and is one of the most popular Halloween attractions in the area.

The light has been ascribed various colors, ranging from blue, green or white, to orange, and has been described as bobbing around as if being from a cord. Its location varies within a select geographic area and witnesses have described it appearing at various times of the day or night.

According to Lauren folklore, the light originates from a lantern of a railroad worker who was killed when he fell into the path of a train. The legend states that the man's head was separated from his body and was never found, and that the light that people see comes from his lantern as he searches for it. Other variations state that the light is a lantern carried by railway foreman William McClain, who was killed in the vicinity during a confrontation with one of his workers at the time of the great depression. The lights are believed by some to be from passing cars on the highway off in the distance which looks like small floating lights that flash off in the distance. However, this highway opened in 1974. The light has been reported seen and spoken of since the Great Depression.

The Hessdalen Light is unexplained light (a type of will-o'-the-wisp) usually seen in the Hessdalen valley in the municipality of Holtålen in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway.

Unusual lights have been reported here since 1940s or earlier. Especially high activity of Hessdalen lights took place from December 1981 until the summer of 1984 when lights were observed 15 to 20 times per week. The frequency of the lights caused a gathering of numerous tourists staying there overnight to see the phenomenon. Since then, the activity has decreased and now the lights are observed some 10 - 20 times per year. The Hessdalen light most often is a bright, white or yellow light of unknown origin standing or floating above the ground level. Sometimes the light can be seen for more than one hour. There are several other types of unexplained lights observed in the Hessdalen valley.

The "Light of Saratoga" is a legend located in the Big Thicket of Southeast Texas. This legend of a mysterious light is also known as the "Ghost Road" of Saratoga, the "Saratoga Light", and "Bragg Road Ghost Light" by local residents. Located on a dirt road, it is a light that may appear and disappear at random during the dark of night without explanation.

The strange light is often described as changing from yellow to white, and sometimes appearing red as it may approach the observer. Some witnesses have observed that the light will sway back-and-forth, as if someone were carrying a lantern and walking. Another common attribute given to the strange light is its unpredictable nature. Some eyewitnesses have attempted to follow or approach the light with no success. However, there are some that claim that the light has actually followed or entered their vehicle while traveling the dirt road at night. There are different beliefs as far as what the ghostly light could be, such as swamp gas and similar natural occurrences. The most popular story surrounding this legend is that a railroad worker was decapitated in a railway accident, and the light is that of his lantern as his ghost searches endlessly for his head. A similar phenomenon known as the Paulding Light can be observed in Michigan's Upper Peninsula just north of Watersmeet. Coincidently, the same story of a headless railroad conductor also is offered as the explanation for this mysterious light.

Located in Texas between Beaumont and Livingston, approximately 16 miles west of Kountze, Texas. The dirt road runs north-south starting at the south end at a bend on Farm-to-Market Road 787 that is 1.7 miles north of the intersection of FM 787-770, near Saratoga and ending at the north end at Farm-to-Market Road 1293 near the ghost town of Bragg Station

In Argentina the will-o'-the-wisp phenomenon is known as Luz Mala (evil light) or Fuego Fatuo and is one of the most important myths in Argentine and Uruguayan Folklore. This phenomenon is quite feared and is mostly seen on Argentine rural areas. It consists of an extremely shiny ball of light floating a few inches from the ground. Traditionally is said that "If the light is white, it implies a soul in pain and is recommended to say a prayer, but if the light is red, the witness must flee immediately, thus the phenomenon represents the temptation of Satan.."

Less frequent accounts of seemingly similar anomalous nocturnal lights have arisen along a broad and elongated region within west Texas, stretching generally from El Paso southeastward along the Rio Grande Valley, past Big Bend National Park and farther southeastward into Mexico. Also, repeated appearances of apparently similar lights have been reported worldwide. Some of these emerge, and then seem to fade over time, and finally disappear. Others persist over many years. Undoubtedly the most renowned among the latter are the Hessdalen lights, of Hessdalen, Norway. A similar, less well recognized, persistent phenomenon are the Min Min lights of northeastern Australia, and a number of other like cases are known such as the Paulding Light near Watersmeet, Michigan. In the Gurdon, Arkansas, area, there is a single light there that has bizarre properties. It has been featured in local media nearly every Halloween and on the show Unsolved Mysteries. This is called the Gurdon Light.

The Spooklight, also called the Hornet Spooklight or Devil's Promenade, is a mysterious visual phenomenon allegedly experienced by witnesses in a small area known locally as the "Devil's Promenade" on the border between southwestern Missouri and northeastern Oklahoma west of the small town of Hornet, Missouri. Despite the fact that it is named after a small, unincorporated community in Missouri from which it is most commonly accessed, the light is most commonly described as being visible from inside the Oklahoma border looking to the west. The Spooklight is commonly described as a single ball of light or a tight grouping of lights that is said to appear in the area regularly, usually at night. Although the description of the light is similar to that of other visual phenomena witnessed throughout the world, the term "Spooklight" when standing alone generally refers to this specific case. Numerous legends exist that attempt to describe the origin of the Spooklight, one of which involves the ghosts of two young Native American lovers looking for each other.

According to most accounts, it has appeared continually since the late 19th Century, although it was generally not well-known to anyone but locals until after World War II. Some date the first encounters with the light back to the Trail of Tears in the 1830s. However, the first documented sighting is generally accepted to have occurred in 1881, although some report sightings as far back as 1866. The earliest published report dates back to 1936 in the Kansas City Star. In 1946 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supposedly studied the "Hornet Light", but could not find a cause for it. In their words, it was a "mysterious light of unknown origin". Early residents of the area reported seeing lights in the forest, over their land, or even in their yards. During the 1960s, there was a general store in Hornet that gave out information about the light to sightseers. It included a "Spooklight museum". There have also been various establishments along the Missouri-Oklahoma state line that served a similar function, but they have since closed. During the 1960s and 1970s the roads where the Spooklight usually appears were often packed with parked vehicles and people hoping to get a glimpse of the mysterious light.

Aficionados say the best chances for spotting the light occur after dark when parked on Oklahoma East 50 Road, four miles south of the three state junction of Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma in Ottawa County, Oklahoma and looking to the west. You must sit very silent. The light has been seen in backyards of the area and has been spotted both near to and far away from sightseers. Its color is also not consistent: some eyewitnesses report a greenish glow while others describe it as orange, red, yellow, or even blue. It is almost always said to be in the shape of a ball, although some say it more resembles a camping lantern travelling a couple of feet off the ground. The light is also very bright even when it appears to be far away from the observer. Some watch the Spooklight through binoculars or even telescopes. Most sightings of the Spooklight occur from some distance away, but there exist many accounts of the light invading the car of a sightseer or of the light giving chase to those looking for it. In these cases the eyewitnesses generally report an intense heat emanating from the light at close range. Additionally a strange behaviour of the cows of the nearby field has been witnessed. They supposedly moved to stand in a circle and made humming noises reminding the witnesses of a praying people.

The Brown Mountain Lights are a series of ghost lights reported near Brown Mountain in North Carolina. One account of the lights dates from September 13, 1913, as reported in the Charlotte Daily Observer. A fisherman claimed to have seen “mysterious lights seen just above the horizon every night” red in color, with a pronounced circular shape. Rather soon after this account, a United States Geological Survey employee, D.B. Stewart, studied the area in question and determined the witnesses had mistaken train lights for something more mysterious.

Min Min Light is the name given to an unusual light formation that has been reported numerous times in eastern Australia. The lights have been reported from as far south as Brewarrina in western New South Wales, to as far north as Boulia in northern Queensland. The majority of sightings are reported to have occurred in Channel Country. Stories about the lights can be found in aboriginal myth pre-dating western settlement of the region and have since become part of wider Australian folklore. Indigenous Australians hold that the number of sightings has increased alongside the increasing ingression of Europeans into the region. According to folklore, the lights sometime follow or approached people and have disappeared when fired upon, only to reappear later on.

The light's existence as a phenomenon has been confirmed to be Fata Morgana, though there remains debate over their source. Various explanations have been put forward, ranging from optical illusions and piezoelectrics to luminescent animals.

Accounts of the light appearances vary, though they are most commonly described as being fuzzy, disc-shaped lights that appear to hover just above the horizon. They are often described as being white, though some accounts describe them as changing colour from white to red to green and back again. Some accounts describe them as being dim, others describe them as being bright enough to illuminate the ground under them and to cause nearby objects to throw clearly defined shadows. Some witnesses describe the light as appearing to approach them several times before retreating. Others report that the lights were able to keep pace with them when they were in a moving motor vehicle.

The Paulding Light (also called the Lights of Paulding or the Dog MeadowLight) is a mysterious light that appears outside of Paulding near Watersmeet, Michigan. The light appears to hover and move along a power line right of way. The colors shift continuously- red and white are the most common although green and blue have been reported. It does not appear every night and the fullness and brightness of the moon has no play on whether it will appear or not.

The Paulding Light (also called the Lights of Paulding or the Dog Meadow Light) is a mysterious light that appears outside of Paulding near Watersmeet, Michigan. The light appears to hover and move along a power line right of way. The colors shift continuously - red and white are the most common although green and blue have been reported. It does not appear every night and the fullness and brightness of the moon has no play on whether it will appear or not.

There have been reports of seeing the shadow of a rail man. And even a rubling vibration as it flairs brighter. Psychic Terri Mason says she feels energy build 10 minutes before it appears and it peaks stronger when the night goes on. It is almost always said to be in the shape of a ball, although some say it more resembles a camping lantern travelling a couple of feet off the ground.

The light is also very bright even when it appears to be far away from the observer. Some watch the Spooklight through binoculars or even telescopes. Most sightings of the Spooklight occur from some distance away, but there exist many accounts of the light invading the car of a sightseer or of the light giving chase to those looking for it. In these cases the eyewitnesses generally report an intense heat emanating from the light at close range.

I have seen the actual real Paulding Light on several occasions since the 1990's. You should if in the area try to see or witness it for yourself to believe it. During the daylight hours, it's not there at all, no sign of anything unusual either. Stories of it's origin vary from person to person. Some believe it is a ghost train. Others believe it to be extraterrestrial.

The Spooklight, also called the Hornet Spooklight or Devil's Promenade, is a mysterious visual phenomenon allegedly experienced by witnesses in a small area known locally as the "Devil's Promenade" on the border between southwestern Missouri and northeastern Oklahoma west of the small town of Hornet, Missouri.

The Paulding Spooklight is commonly described as a single large ball of light or a tight grouping of lights that is said to appear in the area regularly, usually at night. Although the description of the light is similar to that of other visual phenomena witnessed throughout the world, the term "Spooklight" when standing alone generally refers to this specific case. Numerous legends exist that attempt to desribe the origin of the Spooklight, one of which involves the ghosts of two young Native American lovers looking for each other.

The crowds of people who congregate there nightly to will astound you. I've been there in the middle of winter on a bitter cold night, and there were at least a few dozen brave souls there, too. It's always interesting to listen to the opinions and the reactions of those folks in the darkness.

 

While the story surrounding the phenomenon asserts that the lights have been visible since the start of the twentieth century, the first documented sighting was by a group of teenagers in 1966.

Several amateur studies have been conducted, all of them concluding that the lights are the result of the mid-1960s rerouting of US 45, giving the viewing spot a slightly angled view of sporadic traffic along the new highway. The colors then match headlights, tail lights, and the warning lights of the occasional emergency vehicle. Explanations for the lights appearance vary widely from the extraordinary to the mundane.

However, most people prefer to state that they cannot explain the almost nightly appearance of mysterious lights in the area, and descriptions of the lights date back to an era prior to the highway's construction. Other explanations for the light's appearance includes atmospheric gases being affected by electrical fields.

Directions Take U.S 45 north from Watersmeet or south from Paulding Michigan to Robbins Lake Road. Turn left and drive for about a half a mile to the top of the second hill where you will encounter a barricade blocking the road (which is Old U.S. 45). BE CAREFUL! There will probably be a lot of people, so drive slowly. DIM YOUR HEADLIGHTS WHEN YOU TURN OFF OF U.S. 45 and turn them off as soon as possible when you arrive.

The Maco Light was a mysterious light that resembled the glow from a lantern and was seen along a section of railroad track near Maco, North Carolina.

Legend associates the story with Joe Baldwin, a train conductor who is said to have been decapitated in a collision between a runaway passenger car and a locomotive at Maco along the Wilmington-Manchester Railroad in the late 1800s. According to legend, Joe Baldwin was the sole occupant of the rear car of a Wilmington-bound train on a rainy night in 1867. As the train neared Maco, Baldwin realized the car had become detached from the rest of the train. He knew another train was following, so he ran to the rear platform and frantically waved a lantern to signal the oncoming train. The engineer failed to see the stranded railroad car in time, and Baldwin supposedly was decapitated in the collision.

Shortly afterward, residents of Maco reported sightings of a mysterious light along the railroad track. Word spread that Joe Baldwin had returned to search for his missing head. The legend became widely known across the region, and the site was frequented by curiosity seekers. A 1965 investigation by paranormal investigator Hans Holzer concluded that Baldwin did not realize he was dead, and was still warning oncoming trains of disconnected rail cars.

The light distracted engineers to the point that the railroad adapted a special signaling system used only at the Maco station. President Grover Cleveland is said to have inquired about the reason for Maco's unique red-and-green signal lights when the presidential train stopped at Maco during a tour of the coastal Carolinas.

The railroad removed the track in 1977. That marked the end of reported sightings of the light.

The trestle bridge that was a part of the legend has rotted away/been destroyed. Stumps of the pilings may still be visible in the stream bed. The old railway grade parallel to U.S. Highway 74/76 is still evident, but requires some trailblazing to manage, and has been partly developed for housing and business. Maco is now a busy crossroads. A street in a nearby subdivision bears the name Joe Baldwin Drive. The old railway grade is just behind the Mobil gas station at the junction of U.S.74/76 and N.C. 87. Trespassing has become an issue, so people on the land without permission are prosecuted. The last known sighting was in spring 2009 by Wilmington based paranormal group, Port City Paranormal, who have a photo of the light anomaly. various videos of the light are also found on youtube by NC H.A.G.S. (Haints, Apparitions, Ghosts, Spirits),a Raleigh NC based paranormal investigation group. As it turns out, Joe Baldwin was a nickname given to him. His actual name in the Wilmington, NC papers is Charles Baldwin. He died days after the wreck and was interred in St. James Cemetery in Wilmington, NC. Shortly thereafter Baldwin was moved to another location and his plot was lost when the workers went to move his headstone... leaving Baldwin in an unmarked grave somewhere in Wilmington.


The St. Louis Light, St. Louis Ghost Light, or St. Louis Ghost Train is a supposedly paranormal phenomenon seen near St. Louis, Saskatchewan, Canada. The phenomenon has been featured on the television series Unsolved Mysteries and entails a strange light moving up and down along an old abandoned rail line at night, changing colours and varying in brightness.

The line, located south of Prince Albert and north of St. Louis, has had its tracks removed, however the phenomenon still occurs on a regular basis. Several stories attempt to explain the lights, including that it is a ghost train, or the ghost of a drunk brakeman who lost his head to a passing train and now wanders up and down the tracks with a lantern attempting to find it. Two twelfth grade students from La Ronge, Northern Saskatchewan, won science fair gold medals for investigating and eventually duplicating the phenomenon, which they determined to be caused by the diffraction of distant vehicle lights.

The Baie Chaleur Fireship more commonly referred to as the Chaleur Phantom is a form of ghost light, an unusual visual phenomenon, occasionally seen on the Bay of Chaleur, Canada. It takes the form of an arc of light, usually seen before a storm. Its cause is unknown, but speculation includes rotting vegetation, undersea releases of natural gas, and St. Elmo's Fire. The phenomenon has been the source of many a tall tale, and has been said to appear as a flaming three-mast galley much like the style of ship featured on New Brunswick's provincial flag.

In this version of fireship tale, a Portuguese captain arrived on the shores Heron Island in Baie des Chaleurs in 1501, upon his second trip to the region to capture more natives for the slave trade, he was tortured and killed by the locals who had bitter memories of his first visit. A year later his brother came looking for him and was also attacked by the locals, their ship caught fire and they jumped into the waters and swore to haunt the bay for 1000 years

The Santelmo (St. Elmo's Fire) is a creature of Philippine mythology. The term santelmo is the shortened form of the Tagalog words"Apoy ni San Elmo "-"St. Elmo's Fire". St. Elmo's Fire has long served as an omen of heavenly intervention to sailors. The ancient Greeks termed a single jet of the fire, Helena, and a double jet, Castor and Pollux. It has also been known by the names St. Nicholas and St. Hermes, corpusante and Corpus Santos. The name of St. Elmo is attributed to an Italian derivation of Sant 'Ermo or St. Erasmus (circa 300), the patron saint of the early Mediterranean sailors challenging the powers of storm and sea in small sailing vessels.

St. Elmo's Fire have ranged from a ghostly dancing flame to natural fireworks. It usually is of a blue or bluish-white colour attached to fixed, grounded conductors and has a lifetime of minutes. The flame is heatless and non-consuming, occasionally accompanied by a hissing sound. These latter properties prove the myths of spiritual presence. The biblical burning bush that was not consumed may have been displaying one form of St. Elmo's Fire.

 

References

Norman, M. & Scott, B. (1995). Historic Haunted America. New York: Tor Books.

Hans Holzer (1966). Ghosts I've Met

 

 

Can inanimate objects such as paintings, a doll or a pile of bones be really haunted? Strange images appear in haunted paintings, Skulls are said to scream and strange looking items disturb us. Some spend the day browsing through but would you spend the N

 

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