Note: For more information about this and other ghost lights, check out my book The True Ghost Stories Archive: Spooklights, available on Amazon in ebook and paperback. Below is a condensed version of the chapter in the book.

Location: Bragg Road, Saratoga, Texas

Appearance: White, yellow, red, or green light that sways back and forth like a railroad worker carrying a lantern. The light may back away when approached or shoot up into the sky. It may also skim the hoods of cars.

Folklore:

  1. The light is said to be that of a railroad worker who was decapitated in an accident.

Other explanations: Perhaps car headlights, but no hard conclusions.

Additional notes: A portion of the road has been renamed Ghost Road Scenic Drive.

Reader Comments:

“Back in 1975 my brother, my newlywed wife, and a friend of ours climbed into a Volkswagen Beetle and headed for Kountze. When we first got there it was dusk, so we could still see the dirt road and the tall overhanging trees. I saw a small yellow light that seemed to be about a half mile or more away. The more we stared at it, the brighter and closer it came. Then suddenly the color changed to amber and the light started moving from side to side. I got out of the car along with my brother, and suddenly the light stopped moving. It turned white and was about the diameter of a bowling ball, then it stopped in front of our car about 25 yards and shot up towards the sky.” – WJMoss, August 1999

“When you first see it it usually looks like a security light on a telephone pole does early on a foggy morning. Its nothing more than a haze white in the center and blue on the outer edges. It will usually come closer to you and the blue part of the haze will gradually fade to red as it gets closer. Then all of a sudden the entire cloud-like haze will fall in on itself and become a small light which can be as bright as a car’s headlight.” – Ryan, June 2000

“When we arrived at the dirt road, just the sight of it scared me to death. A very narrow, one lane road. Swamp on both sides, and the trees hanging over the road like hands. We all sat very quietly as the light drifted down the road. To us, it looked like a lantern. We could even make out the flickering of the flame inside. It was a very bright light, unmistakable. It got very close to the truck and then disappeared.” – Debbie, February 2002

“We saw the light up in the trees on the Bragg side of the road and it looked to be more blueish in color, but it was bobbing around like you have explained earlier.” – Christy, August 2003

“Shortly after that we saw it in front of us, but this time it was a dim glow, pale green in color, and about the size of a basketball. It came at us very fast and whizzed right over the hood and front windshield. At the front windshield I would say it was about the size of a good size pumpkin and still a dim green misty glow, it didn’t look like a lantern or anything.” – Claire, February 2004

“When the light got right up to the front of the truck, instead of disappearing, the light actually continued up the hood of the truck, thru the cab, and out the back window. It filled the entire cab with an eerie blue-green light.” – L.Robinson, September 2004

From: “Steve Quinn”
To: obiwan@ghosts.org
Subject: Saratoga Ghost Light Investigation (Revised)
Date: Saturday, August 14, 2004 1:20 AM

Date of Investigation: Saturday, August 7, 2004
Pre-trip Inspection: 11:45 AM to 12:10 PM CST
Ghost Hunt: 8:30 PM to 10:15 PM CST

Theory

The Ghost Lights of Bragg Rd near Saratoga, TX have been attributed to swamp gas, vehicle headlights, and ghosts.

Observations

Did not see or smell any evidence of a swamp or swamp gas.

From the pipeline right-of-way that crosses Bragg Rd, approximately 1.3 miles north of FM 787, headlights of northbound vehicles entering FM 787 from FM 770 became visible after vehicles rounded the first curve, approximately 2.8 miles away.

Although these vehicles are traveling 55 to 65 MPH, the viewer will observe the following:

  1. The headlights will appear as a single light source for the duration of the trip from the curve to the south entrance of Bragg Rd, approximately 1.5 miles.
  2. The light will bounce or bobble up-and-down and side-to-side as the vehicle traverses the 1.5-mile roadway.
  3. The light will fade in at the first curve and fade out at the last curve.
  4. The light will appear slightly yellow as it fades in and again, as it fades out.
  5. The tail lights of southbound vehicles on FM 787 can also be seen.
  6. To the viewer, all lights will appear 100 to 200 yards away and relatively stationary for the time that they are seen, regardless of the speed of the vehicles or their distances from the viewer.
  7. When the viewer moves towards the light, the light will appear to move away.
  8. When the viewer moves away from the light, the light will appear to follow.
  9. The light from the oncoming vehicles will light up the road surface and the trees along the roadway for several miles and then suddenly vanish.
  10. The light will spill out of the opening onto the pipeline right-of-way as if an approaching vehicle is about to emerge.

Conclusions

When the light bounces and bobbles about, it appears as if someone or something is holding a lantern, large flashlight, or spotlight.

The sequence of colors (yellow, white, yellow, red) is caused by the vehicle’s front right parking lamp, headlights, right front parking lamp, and right rear tailight.

The inability to overtake the light is similar to the inability to overtake mirages of water seen on hot roadways.

The path of the road through the trees creates a perfect tunnel for directing any light source. The sand on the road is very fine and covers the trees along the path. If the silicon content is high, this may explain the refraction phenomenon. In any case, a telescopic effect is concentrating the light down the road like a make-shift laser or holographic projector.

It�s hard to except this ghostly phenomenon as just headlights, especially when research scientists and paranormal investigators have not offered a reasonable explanation for the headlight phenomenon. Until that’s done, many people will continue to believe the ghost theory.

Thank You,
Steve Quinn

Date: Wed, 24 May 95 03:58:00 -0500

Hi, I thought some of you might be interested in this article that was in the Palestine Herald Press today:

TOWN URGES TIMBER CUTTERS TO NOT CUT TIMBER ON HAUNTED ROAD

HOUSTON (AP) – The east Texas town of Saratoga is once again up in arms over salesmen who want to cut and sell timber from haunted Ghost Road.

But residents want nothing to spoil the spirit world they claim haunts the eight-mile sandy path that seems more like a tunnel with its thick canopy of trees and other foliage.

For the fifth time in the last 30 years, Hardin County commissioners have moved to sell the timber, which could add between $60,000 and $100,000 to county coffers. And for the fifth time residents have objected to removing any of the roadside timber that provides the spooky ambience.

Hardin County Judge Tom Mayfield has named a committee to hold open hearings and decide on a compromise regarding the road, which has been pictured in National Geographic magazine and on Japanese television.

Officially known as Bragg Road, the strip runs straight as a rifle shot from Farm-To-Market Road 787 northwest of Saratoga to Farm-To-Market Road 1293 at the town of Bragg. Saratoga is about 60 miles northeast of Houston.

For decades, visitors to Ghost Road have reported seeing a floating ball of light that varies from softball- to basketball-size. Some say the light dances throught the trees, floats along the roadway and sometimes skims above cars.

Local legend says the light comes from the lantern carried by the ghost of a train brakeman beheaded in a long-ago accident, or perhaps it is the spirit of a murdered railroad worker.

Others say the light is caused by swamp gas or the refraction of car headlights from the highway at the south end of the road.

Whatever the reason, the road has long been a popular visiting spot for teenagers.

“I never saw the light myself,” says Keith Nugent, 38, who lives along the road. “But I know some mighty reputable people who say they’ve seen it.”

Like many others, Nugent fears that cutting the timber will destroy the road’s character.

Counters Judge Mayfield: “It’s changing anyway.”

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