The Maco Light

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6 years 1 month ago - 6 years 1 month ago #8 by Mat Owens
Mat Owens created the topic: The Maco Light
Content Author: Paul Pittman, Recruitment Manager (Carolina Paranormal Society)

THE STORY, as most good ghost stories and legends go are not only limited to humans. For decades, stories have surrounded North Carolina’s Maco Light. Dating back to 1867 the story goes that signalman Joe Baldwin was asleep in the caboose when he realized that it had come unhooked from the rest of the train. Realizing that another train was scheduled for that same track, he frantically tried to signal the oncoming passenger train by standing on the back of the caboose with his lantern in an effort to warn then oncoming train of the blocked track. Unfortunately, the train did not have enough time and slammed into the stationary caboose, decapitating Joe in the crash and sending his head into the nearby swamp where it was lost forever.

THE FACTS: Numerous searches of public documents and records have never revealed and corroborating evidence of Joe Baldwin or the 1867 train accident. There is a documented incident in 1856 when Charles Baldwin was killed he was thrown clear while a locomotive was attempting to couple with a decoupled train. Charles Baldwin dies of the injuries and wounds from that accident, not from a reported decapitation.

The reality is that there were in fact many documented instances of strange lights along this passage of railroad tracks. The problem is that the phenomenon that has become known as the Maco lights has not portrayed any real patterns to indicate anything aside from one area of natural phenomenon known as “Earthquake lights”. These are nothing more than static charges of electricity that have used the steel of the railroad lone as a conduit to transfer the charge until a point where it can be discharged, amazingly at the Maco Station just west of Wilmington, NC.

THE BOTTOM LINE: In 1977, the tracks were pulled from the wreck site and since then, no lights have even been seen or documented. In fact the lines were directly over a known fault line in the Earth’s surface. So is this paranormal activity or just a natural phenomenon looking for a supernatural explanation? Ghost stories like this are what keep us busy when those who want to believe in the unnatural feel the need to associate paranormal explanations for obvious or natural occurrences. Once again, we really need to look at Occam’s Razor for what is possibly the most reasonable explanation, particularly since the tracks have been removed.


Maco light. (n.d.). Retrieved from

The Maco Light. (n.d.). Retrieved from North Carolina Stories from the Coast:
Last Edit: 6 years 1 month ago by Mat Owens.

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