What happened to Joe Baldwin's ghost light?

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In Lance Philips' book "Yonder Comes the Train"(1965),he makes mention of a phenomenon known as "Joe Baldwin's ghost light."Apparently a brakeman named Baldwin was killed working on a frieght train near Maco,NC.This was in 1867.Shortly thereafter a mysterious light started appearing.It was said that it would hover over the tracks for a few moments,and then make an arc,then disappear in the ditch beside the track.The old story was that it was Mr.Baldwin looking for his head(he was decapitated in the accident).It apparently happened enough that engineers would see the light and stop their trains - only to have the light disappear.I guess this was still going on as late as the 1960's.I know this was happening on the A.C.L.'s tracks outside of Wilmington,NC.Does anyone know if this strange ocurrence is still happening?

-- Clint Carnahan (cobb@highvision.net), January 16, 2002


There was song written about this, called "The Maco Light" it played on some county music stations.

-- August Staebler (astae@aol.com), February 22, 2002.

Thanks for the info,Marc!

-- Clint Carnahan (cobb@highvision.net), January 19, 2002.

Hello Clint, The light was still visible in the mid '60's when I was young. My mom has great tales of going out and seeing the light many times in her childhood up through high school. Sometime around the late '60's (maybe at the merger) the track was reworked on the same alignment through Maco and the surrounding area. This was something more than T&S-ing, as I recall large sections of rail, etc. laying around. After that, the light ceased to exist. We never saw it again after that. Of course, the track is mostly gone through there now, only going far enough to serve a concrete or gravel plant if I recall correctly. Hope this helps. Marc Hamel (NCDOT Rail Div.)

-- Marc Hamel (gigsup@aol.com), January 17, 2002.

Check the posts under Specific Lines, Maco line / Maco light.

-- Gary Riccio (g.riccio@worldnet.att.net), January 16, 2002.

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