The Conductor at Maco Station

The Conductor at Maco Station

When an individual attempts to do a good deed, and dies in the process, one would think the spirit of the benevolent character would pass peacefully on to his or her next life. For some unknown reason, this isn’t always the case.

In 1867, Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Conductor Joe Baldwin was doing his job as the train neared its destination of Wilmington, North Carolina. Cleaning up in the caboose of the train one rainy night with another locomotive on the tracks not far behind, he discovered that his slowing car was no longer attached to the rest of the train!

Certain that the following train would crash into the train car, Joe grabbed his signal lantern and began waving it around from the rear platform to warn the engineer.

The engineer failed to see or heed Joe’s warning, and a terrible crash ensued. The train car was destroyed, and Joe’s head was severed from his body.

Not long after the accident, a strange light often described by witnesses as a “lantern light” began to appear along the train tracks in the area.

Sometimes the light is very tiny, and grows stronger as it is observed. Curious people often park nearby, and walk along the train tracks looking for the extraordinary light. Rarely are they disappointed.

The light has been observed by thousands of people over the years, including Grover Cleveland while passing by the area in his Pullman.

In 1925, two brothers from a nearby farm claimed the light chased them through the woods for several miles. A solder home on leave during WWII made a similar assertion.

Many believe the light is from Joe’s lantern as he searched for his lost head. Others think Joe is still attempting to warn of impending danger.

There have been several investigations into the anomaly, even by a military attachment, but the source of the light has never been discovered.

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