Outside of the small town of West Point in the Tidewater region, there is a little known railroad crossing that is known as "Cohoke Crossing."  It is here where onlookers gather during the warm summer months of the year, hoping to see the mysterious yellow light that forms along the railroad tracks.  The light is described as a single yellow light, that looks almost like either a lantern or a headlight on an old-timey steam engine train.

There are a few stories surrounding this mystery light.  The first involves a brakeman that was allegedly decapitated in the 1800's while he was making his usual rounds outside the train, making sure the train was safe for travel.  During one of his nightly rounds, the man hopped off the train with his trusty lantern to check the connection between two of the cars.  However, when he leaned between the cars he was caught off-guard as the train suddenly moved, knocking him to the ground and decapitating him instantly.  This story is hard to prove, seeing that death records from the 1800's are either nonexistent or little to no use.  Plus, many believe that the light is larger than that of this decapitated man's lantern.

The 2nd story involves a Civil War train, filled with Confederate soldiers that disappeared before reaching it's destination.  The train was never found but odds are the train was ambushed by Union Soldiers and burned somewhere along the tracks.  So could this light be that of said train?  Could be, but nobody has ever gotten close to the light.  The light is also impossible to photograph, making it's existence known to those who brave the darkness in order to see it's flickering beauty.

A Richmond man (entire email linked below) describes his experience with the light by saying, "All five of us saw it at the same instant. Everyone gasped in shock at the exact same moment, which tells me it wasn't any kind of figment or our eyes playing tricks on us. That location is so remote from any civilization or traffic that it is pitch black and silent. Just being there is unsettling enough because it is so in the middle of nowhere. I could barely see my own hand in front of my face."  This man goes onto state. "It looked like a welding arc. It was bright and shimmered for about 3 or 4 seconds and vanished. It appeared very far away. The second time it appeared as red, moving from left to right and it illuminated the tops of the rails so it was easy to gauge it's distance. The light appeared to turn into several lights and they again vanished after about 4 seconds. It then appeared randomly four more times, each time moving closer to our location. The last two appearances were in quick succession about 10 seconds apart and they very clearly illuminated the ground underneath."

Whether this light is the headless brakeman, the civil war ghost train, or just some swamp gas, it's definitely a good place to visit if you're into the paranormal.

Links
The Cohoke Light Discussion: http://www.astronomycafe.net/weird/lights/cohoke1.htm
Ghost Light Email (Quoted): http://www.ghosts.org/ghostlights/cohokelight2.html
World Wide Brian Article: http://www.worldwidebrian.com/2009/03/cohoke-ghost-light.html
Ghost Stories - Cohoke Crossing: http://www.virginiaoutdoors.com/article/more/1119
Daily Press Q&A: http://articles.dailypress.com/2007-07-27/news/0707270051_1_west-point-ghost-light

6 comments:

MasseyH said...

I grew up in Newport News and have been to see the light. We always referred to it as "The Ghost Train at West Point". I remember going there at the Cohoke Crossing with friends late in summer of 1990. There were quite a few others there and we saw the light. It actually looked like more than 1 (3) from a distance and sort of resembled a car going across the tracks. (Except there is no other crossing anywhere near there.) I am NOT a ghost person/conspiracy theorist; but, I assure you, what I saw that night was something real. We all did.
It was rumored that the "Unsolved Mysteries" TV show (NBC) wanted to do an episode about the light, but the Mattoponi Reservation Council would not issue them a permit to film there. (since it is on their protected reservation)

julia pulley said...

does anybody have specific address to where they had went like an address to a house near it or street. I had traveled out there and could not find it !

Nick Moberg said...

I couldn't have been more then 10 when my sister and all of her teenage friends took me out there. We waiting on the crossing for about an hour and the light appeared. Of all the things I have read the light only lasted a min or 2 but when we saw it, I know it lasted a good 15 min. It appeared around the bend in the track and slowly moved towards us. Just when you could start to make something out behind the light it disappeared. I wish I had the address I would love to take my kids out there one night

Michelle Bowen said...

The closest address I can give you would be the one for RSB Construction which is at one end of the stretch. It's 10049 Mount Olive Cohoke Rd. This road runs south from Rt 30 west of West Point and east of King William Courthouse - it will cross the track twice - the stretch in question is between these two crossings. If coming east from Central Garage and King William Courthouse, make a right on Powhatan Trail and then a left onto Mt. Olive Cohoke Rd.

Roger M said...

I'm 66 yrs and we used to go there all the time in the 60's after several of use had cars and driving and I have seen that light a hundred times. I recall one time this tuff I'm not scared football player went with us ,

Did not see it the 1st time we took him there but a few tripes later he was walking the tracks and as that light came he said its a car no its just a train LOL He started to tear up as it wobbled on past us ..

We always were told it was the headless conductor or maybe a brakeman that was beheaded as they went to do something and the train jerked and the light is the guy looking for his head .. Last time I was there was in 1969 just before heading to boot camp Its real

blogette said...

There is a place in Abilene Texas where we saw a light like this it'd interesting that it happens in more than one place, the light came closer and closer then started to go away we tried to follow it hen it just vanished

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