Location: Oxford, Ohio
Appearance: White light that appears at some distance up the road and disappears when approached. The light is called by flashing your headlights.
- The light is said to be that of a young man on a motorcycle who was decapitated in an accident while going to see his girlfriend. The girlfriend would summon him by flashing her porch headlights.
Other explanations: Probably car headlights.
Additional notes: This story seems to be a cousin to the “Elmore Ghost Rider,” another Ohio legend.
The Oxford Light is located at the intersection of Oxford-Milford Road and Earhart Road in Oxford, Ohio, or on Buckley Road, depending on the story. The legend behind the light concerns a young man and woman in love. They had devised a system for the girl to “call” him to her house by flashing her porch light three times. One night he saw the signal and sped there on his motorcycle, planning to propose to her. The road is very hilly and he crashed when he couldn’t make a turn, killing him. In some versions of the story he crashes into a tractor or into a barbwire fence, decapitating him. The ghost light is said to be the headlight of the phantom motorcyclist.
The light appears at some distance up the road and disappears when approached. Like many ghost lights, the observer can call the light by flashing their headlights two or three times. This action imitates the signal that the young man’s girlfriend used to summon him.
This is a very popular legend among college students in the area, and has several alternate versions. The most notably different one is the “rapist” story wherein the girlfriend calls or signals her boyfriend because a rapist is attempting to break into her house. The legend of the Oxford Light also bears similarities to another local Ohio story, the Elmore “ghost rider,” in which a man just home from war catches his sweetheart with another man and crashes his motorcycle in his haste to depart. In that tale, however, the light only appears on the anniversary of his death.
(1) Date received: Thu, 13 Jul 2000
I went to college in Oxford, Ohio and was soon told about “the light.” Needless to say I had to see for myself, so a friend took me there.
The story with this light is that a young man was racing on his motorcycle to meet his girlfriend and ask for her hand. It was raining and dark and this road is very hilly with a sharp curve at the end. A tractor was coming around the curve and saw the guy on the motorcycle coming and flashed his lights to warn him to stop. The young man could not stop in time and was killed instantly, some say decapitated.
Now, you can go to the top of the street where the tractor was and flash your lights. Soon, you will see a light coming towards you, appearing and disappearing as he crests the hills. Then, the light disappears a few hills from you.
This is on a country road with no traffic and it is so quiet out there it is scary. I have seen this dozens of times and even tried chasing the light to see if it was a hoax. You never hear any motor—you just see a light. A friend of mine said he had this on video but then could not find it. He also said that once the light passed through his car. He was waiting several hills away from the curve while his friends flashed their lights. The light appeared and went thru his car. This was the last time he went back until he took me the last time I went.
I just thought you might want to know about this light in case you never had. For a long time I was addicted to going and seeing it. I was so amazed by it.
(2) Date received: Tue, 13 Nov 2001
I also saw the motorcycle “ghost.” I thought I would never tell this story again since every time I do I’m greeted with skepticism. I’m not saying that what I saw was supernatural. All I’m saying is I saw it.
I was a freshman at Miami University during the 1988-89 schoolyear. Toward the end of the year, during finals week, some friends and I were hanging out in my friend Kevin’s room in Collins Hall eating pizza, etc. We were bored and tired of studying. Though Miami is a no-car campus, I had my parents’ Accord since I’d need it to move home at the end of the week. Anyway, someone suggested that we go looking for the motorcycle ghost. We asked a guy named Dave, who grew up in Oxford, where to go and he gave us directions. Four of us piled into my car and headed out into the country.
I can’t remember where we went exactly, but we did drive east out of town, past the football stadium, and continued deep into the darkness of the surrounding cornfields. Eventually the road got narrow and the pavement ended. We got to where we thought Dave had told us to go, turned around, and I flashed the headlights three times. Nothing happened.
We all felt stupid as we drove back to the dorm, and a little mad at Dave for patronizing us. When he asked us to describe where we’d gone, however, he said we went to the wrong place. He volunteered to come with us if we were willing to try it again.
As I said, it was late and we all had finals. Plus I felt stupid, so I didn’t want to go. The others pleaded with me, however, and I gave into peer pressure. We headed off in the same direction but this time we went even further into the country, probably driving about 15-20 minutes. The road was exactly as the guy in the other story said: narrow, hilly, straight, and wooded. We came to the curve in the road, turned around, and I flashed my lights three times.
For a few seconds, I sat in the driver seat staring into darkness and feeling really stupid. I turned around to face Dave, who was sitting in the middle of the back seat. “How long does this usually take?” I asked him. He was looking past me, out the windshield, and I saw his eyes get very big. I turned around and saw, way in the distance, a headlight, just like the other guy described.
The first thing that crossed my mind was that it was a car with one headlight out. Then it sort of dawned on me what I was seeing. It didn’t look ghostly or spectral or anything, but it was exactly where it was supposed to be exactly when it was supposed to be there. It didn’t make any sound. The difference between my story and the other one is that the headlight I saw appeared to be going up and down the hills as it headed toward us. You could see the glow build on the other side of the hill as it approached the top. It went over two or three hills, then disappeared behind another and didn’t come up again.
All of us were sort of speechless. I was just thinking that I couldn’t have seen what I had just seen. I started the car and sped up to where the light had been. There was nothing but trees on both sides of the road.
It could have been an incredible coincidence. It also could have been someone just fucking with us, but that does not seem very likely since it was very early morning on a weekday.
That is how it happened. There’s nothing more to say.
(3) Date received: Tue, 20 Jan 2004
I have a ghost light story for you. Me and my friends like going to haunted places and such just for the fun of it. But the only “haunting” that ever worked was the Oxford light. A friend just sent me a link from your site featuring a story by a guy about going to it. So far I’ve seen it nine times and it has only not worked once. The last time I went it didn’t work. I think it has to do with the newly-placed streetlights on the road. But the light is no hoax and is the creepiest thing I have ever witnessed in my life.
Subject: Story of ghost I saw in Cincinnati
Date: 25 May 94 00:37:33 EST
I would like to share an experience I had not too long ago. Go ahead and mail me back or post telling me what you think. People who are from around Cincinnati might be familiar with this. It’s an old legend, that kind of spooked me.
I will start off telling you the story behind the story. There are several versions of the story, this is the one most popular.
There is a long narrow stretch of deserted road near Oxford, Oh. Oxford is about 30 minutes North of Cincinnati. Supposedly several years ago, a guy broke up with his girlfriend, got piss drunk and started riding his motorcycle down this road. At the end of the road is a very sharp hairpin turn. The guy didn’t make the turn, and ended up wrecking into the barbwire fence straight ahead and was decapitated.
Now the story is if you go to this road at night, flash your lights three times, you will see the bike coming down the road.
A couple of friends and myself went to this road one night about 1:30 A.M. My two friends had been there two other times and saw the same thing every time. There was another car full of people from the nearby college, Miami Oxford University. They left about fifteen minutes after we got there. Well It was just the three of us out there. We flashed our lights several times and nothing seemed to happen.
Well we decided to give it one more try before we left. We did and five minutes later about 1/2 mile down the road a very very bright single light came down this road. It seemed to be coming very fast, but it was not lighting up the road in front of it like a car headlight does. It was coming closer and closer. It was so bright. Well the light was about 100 yards away when my friend in the backseat said “Uh Jeff?”. The exact instant I started the car, I mean no lapse in time whatsoever, the light went right out. You should know that I didn’t turn on my lights until I was well under my way. I took off like a bat out of hell towards where the light went out. I got to the spot in seconds. I really wanted to see if there was anything there. A car a motorcycle or kid with a flashlight, anything. I slowed down to where the light went out. There was absolutely nothing around.
You have to know the terrain to understand this better. The road is a long deserted stretch of road with only a couple of houses on it. It is only wide enough for one car. The road is straight but it is hilly in parts. The spot where the curve is and the spot where we saw the light is very hilly and you can see pretty far down the road. The light we saw was steady and not moving up and down like a vehicle would on such up and down hills. It was really bazaare.
Has anybody out there seen the same thing or heard the story? I know by talking to several different people that has gone to see it say the exact same thing. What does everyone think? I know that there are a lot of skeptics out there. Some will say that we saw it in our minds, others will say there is someone out there amusing sight-seerers. But I honestly think I saw something.