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NC Ghost Stories , The Maco Light

Updated on July 13, 2011

On a foggy rainy night in 1867 there really was a tremendous and tragic train wreck near Maco in North Carolina's New Brunswick County about 15 miles down the track west of Wilmington. Somehow two trains got on the same track at the same time and the faster passenger train slammed into the rear of the heavier slower moving freight train. The flagman on the caboose of the freight train and several people on the passenger locomotive were killed.

Notice the old time train lantern in the photo.
Notice the old time train lantern in the photo.

The Ghost Story Of Flagman Joe Baldwin Still Looking For His Head.

The Flagman's name was Joe Baldwin and believe it or not but his head was cut off in the accident and flew off to the side into the swamp on one side of the wreck. His signal lantern was found several days later on the other side of the wreck away from his body. His head was never found and a few days later his body was buried with out a head.

And it was not long before Joe's headless body was back on rainy nights walking up and down the track with his lantern looking for his missing head. Joe's ghostly lantern was always seen in the area of the train trestle and even though the tracks and the trestle were removed in the early 1970s people still see the ghostly light there on rainy nights.

In 1879 President Grover Cleveland saw the light as have hundreds of people over the years. Joe's sudden and tragic death seems to have locked him in time and its said that even today on a rainy night even though there is no longer any train tracks or train Joe Baldwin continues to walk the track with his lantern looking for his head.

Know Any Ghostly Train Stories or Story. Tell Us About It Or Post A Comment Now.

Did you know the story of the Maco Light. Do you know anything about the Maco Light. Why Not Post A Comment Now.

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Is it possible to purchase a copy of this print? Thanks!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I lived in Maco in the 70's and 80's as a child. My cousins and I would try to scare ourselves silly where the old tracks were. I can't say I ever saw the light, maybe because I ran off before I got the chance haha but I sure have some great memories.My Great Grandfather didn't help either,He would tell us that he worked with Joe Baldwin and even showed us what he said was a picture of Joe.He could have been using scare tactics I really don't know but who knows he could have been telling the truth. Either way at that time and considering my young age I believed him and it makes the memory that much sweeter.....

    • profile image

      Bill Barnhill 

      9 years ago

      I recall as a young teenager going to the train tracks in Maco to specifically see the light. I went with my uncle Paul Barnhill, now deceased, who was a few years older than I and a friend, Linwood Warren, now deceased. We indeed did see a light. This was in about 1960 or so.

    • melshomecorner profile image

      Melinda Winner 

      9 years ago from Mississippi

      I know just where you are I lived in Wilmington for years I also am a paranormal fan. I study it in my spare time I have little but I just find it so interesting


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