Location: Railroad tracks outside Gurdon, Arkansas
Appearance: White, blue, orange/yellow, or green light that bobs back and forth in the air. May move along the tracks for some distance before it disappears.
- The light is said to be that of a railroad worker who was decapitated in an accident.
Other explanations: Perhaps car headlights or piezoelectric activity from large quartz deposits under the site.
Additional notes: Unlike other ghost light locations, this one has an actual crime associated with it. In 1931, a railroad worker named Louis McBride was fired and murdered his foreman as revenge. This is verifiable in court records and newspapers from the time. McBride was executed in 1932 for his crime. The Gurdon Light was featured on a Season 7 (1994) episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
The Gurdon Ghost Light appears on railroad tracks outside of the small town of Gurdon, Arkansas. This light is currently active, although the tracks are not used anymore according to several sources. I haven’t received many reader submissions about this light, but it was easy to find additional information on the internet.
Physically, it is usually described as white, blue, or orange/yellow, or sometimes green. It bobs back and forth in the air and may move along the tracks for about some distance before it disappears. This motion is consistent with other ghost lights, and so is local legend, which attributes the light to a ghostly railroad worker searching for his head.
Unlike other ghost light locations, however, this one has an actual crime associated with it. In 1931, a railroad worker named Louis McBride was fired and murdered his foreman as revenge. This is verifiable in court records and newspapers from the time. McBride was executed in 1932 for his crime.
Many articles state that the sightings of the light began in the 1930s after the murder; however, I was unable to locate any actual firsthand accounts from this time period. Ultimately, this claim seems to stem from a 1981 newspaper article by United Press International. In the article, a graduate student named Mike Clingan who was doing research on the light is quoted as saying, “It’s been seen all the way back in the ’30s and ’40s, long before the interstate was built.” It is unclear whether Clingan was referencing verifiable reports from the ’30s and ’40s he’d actually seen, or whether he was just regurgitating information he’d been told by someone else. It’s probable the light was not a known phenomenon until the 1950s or later, putting it more in line historically with other ghost lights.
At any rate, by 1994 the ghost light in Gurdon was well-known enough to be featured on the TV show Unsolved Mysteries. The Season 7 episode discussed the McBride murder along with non-supernatural theories of the light’s origin, such as headlights from a highway several miles from the site. The show interviewed Clingan, who at that time believed the lights were a result of piezoelectric activity from large quartz deposits underground being squeezed by the New Madrid fault.
It’s likely that the appearance on Unsolved Mysteries, and subsequently several other programs, greatly increased attention on the phenomenon, as the Gurdon light is one of the easiest ghost lights to find information on and almost every article mentions its TV cred.
Date received: Wed, 14 Jul 2004
On July 7, 2004 I went to Gurdon, Arkansas with my dad and another friend. We had heard from others about the light so we wanted to check it out. We arrived at the train tracks around 1:30 AM. We walked the tracks past the seventh trestle. When we made it there it was about 2:15 AM. We had been seeing slight flickers of red, green, and yellow so we knew that the light was out. We stopped after the seventh trestle and just watched.
The light was very active, sometimes appearing high off the tracks and others very low to the ground, but without much time in between flashes. The lights were very bright and clear to see without any problems.
The thing that actually made me get chills is the fact that the light seemed to be communicating with us. My friend flashed his flash light toward the light, and seconds later the light flashed at us. My father asked the ghost if he would turn his light on and keep it on and the light replied with one red flicker. I then asked if the one flicker meant no, it then flickered two times in a row, apparently signifying to me that the one flicker meant no and two meant yes.
On the way back to the car, about 80-100 yards from the fourth trestle, I yelled, “Where is the next trestle?” About fifteen seconds later, a bright light shown within 60 yards of us. You could actually see the ghost walk from the left side to the right, and as it did the light turned from red to a bright yellow. We ran to see where the light was and as we reached the spot where the light seemed to have been, we realized that we were at the next trestle. That we the last time we saw the light that night. It was quite an unbelievable experience, but at the same time I can’t deny what I saw with my own eyes.
Thank you for your time.