A famous and strange light is found at a railroad crossing near Maco Station in Maco, North Carolina. While this has many of the characteristics seen in other railroad ghost lights, it has puzzled scientists for many years.
The legend of the Maco railroad light dates back to 1867, when the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad was rebuilt and the small station once called Farmer's Turnout became Maco Station. One night the train was steaming along with Joe Baldwin, the conductor, riding in the last part of the train as usual. Joe realized that his coach was slowing down and saw that it had come uncoupled. There was another train following behind that he was sure would crash into his slowly moving car. Joe ran out onto the rear platform and started wildly waving his signal lantern to get the attention of the engineer of the train behind him. But the engineer paid no heed and crashed into the coach, killing Joe and severing his head from his body.
A witness to the accident reported that Joe stayed where he was, waving the lantern, through the entire wreck. Just seconds before the engine collided with the car, Joe's lantern was hurled away as if by some unseen, but mighty, force. It hit the ground and rolled over and over again, finally coming to rest in a perfectly upright position.
Shortly after this horrible accident the Maco light began appearing along the train tracks. It has been appearing there ever since and has become a popular curiosity to seek out on a warm summer night. Rarely is anyone disappointed, because Joe Baldwin, or whatever us the ghostly source for the Maco light, still continues swinging the lantern and signaling the train that journeys from this world to the next.
Maco is located northwest of Wilmington on U.S. Highway 74/76. The railroad crossing is located outside of town.
"There is a story of a mysterious light along the railroad tracks at Maco, North Carolina. The Maco light had been seen by almost all the people I know who grew up in that section of North Carolina. Maco is about twenty miles west of Wilmington. Apparently some railroad yardman was supposed to have been killed in a bizarre accident years ago-some say in the 1920s; others say in the 1880s. He was decapitated by a fast-moving frieght train, and ever since he makes regular walks along that stretch of track where the accident happened, looking for his lost head.
I have never seen the Maco light, but I do know that driving around that part of the world with a huge 'Green Swamp' just south of the place can be a very spooky experience late at night. David Lynch sort of people live there—Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart were filmed nearby."