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The Gurdon Light

Updated on May 31, 2015

Through the close darkness, flashlight clutched tight, one traverses 2 miles of railroad track. The woods press in tight.Your feet trip over the ancient, worn tracks, Past the old graveyard.Finally, one sees it.
A dancing ball of bright light dances in the near distance, "usually near the ground or horizon." Locals have visited this sight, this orb, maybe dozens. hundreds, of times each. My brother has been there at least a dozen times and and the light only failed to appear once. Bored on a Friday night? Go down the tracks and visit the Gurdon Light.


Gurdon, Arkansas. Population: 2000. The legend dates back to the 1930s, well before the interstate was built in the 1970s. Some believe the light "swamp gas creates the light, though the light appears in all kinds of weather."
The story goes that in December 1931 railroad foreman for the Missouri-Pacific railroad, , William McClain, got into an argument with employee Louis McBride involving work hours. "During the Depression, the company did not have the option of giving McBride more hours on the job." Or that McClain McBride for sabotaged a section track, causing a derailment. Anyhow, McBride allegedly hit McClain on the back of his head with a shovel, then beating "him to death with a railroad spike maul or... hammer." In another version onto the tracks, onto path of an oncoming train ,severing from his body.
Shortly after, the first sightings of the light began, possibly being the light emitting from McClain railroad lantern. "One of the first sightings , a conductor named John, who saw a light while looking on the back platform, and that the light followed them... then shot up in the air. It followed the train for over a mile, and then shot into the cemetery." The light floats "between one and three feet off the ground". It meanders and dances. Bounces. Changes colors, appearing blue or white or red-orange, always having a distinct border. Changes size. It will chase you. It sways back and forth, like a railroad lantern dangling from someones hand.At least one story says that light chased a man down the track and when got back to the turnoff, the light briefly emitting from his car.The story appeared on tvs Unsolved Mysteries in 1994. They featured a physics class from nearby Henderson State studying the light and its causes.


One theory says it's" PS electric effect, which is if you squeeze quartz crystals, there is an electric current. Gurdon sits above a large amounts of quartz crystals and a fault line, which supports that theory." Another that" Another theory as to what the Gurdon Light " is swamp gas, which occurs after vegetation decomposes and the spontaneous combustion of that vegetation. However, many eyewitnesses claimed to have seen the light when it was windy, so it could not be swamp gas. " Yet another is headlights reflecting off the nearby interstate, though the stories well predate the building of I-70.
The usual entrance spot is located just east of the Interstate on Highway 67, just outside Gurdon, Arkansas, Stop at the Sonic and ask for directions, They'll point you in the right direction, Maybe even tell their own story about the Light . Just follow the tracks.


sources: Gurdon Light -." Gurdon Light. Encyclopedia of Arkansas, 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 28 May 2015. <>
Http://" Unsolved Mysteries Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2015. <>


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