When I was in the 3rd or 4th grade I was selected for an Academically Gifted class for legends and ghost stories. As a kid, this was awesome because each week I was pulled out of class to discuss local legends and ghost lore. As you already know this was right up my alley and I thank my background already established by my parents for letting me ace so high on the test that allowed me to be a part of this program.
One of my favorite ghost stories I remember from this class is the is the story of the Maco Lights. Maco is a small town in Brunswick County, North Carolina. The story is about a man named Joe Baldwin in 1867. Baldwin was a signalman who was sleeping in a caboose as the train rode along. During the night, the caboose became unhooked from the main car and the jostling woke Baldwin up. Baldwin knew that another train would be coming along at some point during the night. He could either save himself by jumping from the caboose or stand on the back platform of the caboose and try to signal the oncoming train to stop by waving his lantern. Being the kind of man he was, Baldwin decided to warn the oncoming train. Unfortunately, the oncoming train didn’t see his lantern waving in the dark night in time. Baldwin was decapitated in the crash. The impact of the trains crashing was so violent that his head was thrown into the neighboring swamp. It was never recovered.
Since the accident, people have reported strange lights along the railroad track. People said that it looked like a glowing ball of light going back and forth of the tracks. Almost like a lantern being swung. If they approached the lights, the lights will disappear. Sometimes the lights will suddenly appear either a few feet behind the people or further down the tracks. Most people say it is Baldwin trying to find his head or trying to warn another oncoming train that he is still there. Some people have said that it is just swamp gas that people are seeing but they haven’t been able to prove that.
Throughout the years people have been able to see the lights. Even President Grover Cleveland claimed to have witnessed the lights. People have claimed to have captured the lights in pictures. I didn’t include any pictures of those pictures because I don’t know which ones were legit or which ones were created. You can check out Google if you want to see pictures and videos that people claim are the lights.
Recently though the lights haven’t been seen. In 1977 the train tracks in that area were taken up. Since that happened the lights haven’t been observed. Hopefully, it’s because Joe Baldwin feels like he no longer has to warn any oncoming trains that his caboose is there. I hope he is at peace now.