Between 1901 and 1934, there lay a stretch of Santa Fe railway in the Piney Woods of Southeast Texas. It was a 9-mile spur from Bragg to Saratoga that cut through the deep, dark, dense piney woods now known as the Big Thicket. The line was built to haul oil for locomotives, the weary traveler, merchandise and lumber and promised to bring a newfound life to the community. However, the profitability was short lived and runs dwindled until Santa Fe finally opted to pull up the tracks.
Today, Bragg Road as its known is a two-lane dirt road that was stripped of its tracks in 1934. It cuts through some of the densest forestry of the Big Thicket today.
It was a steamy, summer night in 1992 when I found myself standing in the pitch black of night looking down this very road. Chills ran over my body and the hair stood on my arms as I timidly peeked around the corner of the friend I was standing behind.
And there in the distance, we spotted the low, swaying glow. The glow of a hand held lantern being carried by the weary soul of an old railman decapitated in a train wreck years before in search of his long lost head.
It took me less than half a second to get back into the car. It took a little longer to convince my friend that we needed to get the heck out of dodge as quick as possible.
So many theories surround the Saratoga lights, but the headless man is by far, the most popular one. Some believe that the lights are produced by gasses in the area or some sort of chemical reaction.
However, there are several other idealized theories including a guilded glow of burried treasure by a Spanish Conquistador, or souls of lost lives in a fire set by Confederate Captain John Kaiser to flush out a group of refugees that had broken freee from a wooden shack in Woodville where they were held hostage. Tails of a wandering ghost of a hunter claim that he was lost and still searches for his way home. Another holds that a crew of disgruntled Mexicans hired to cut the right of way haunt the ground that cost them their lives when their foreman killed them all on site. Then again, there is the farmer who gave up his entire life to work for Santa Fe and become a brakeman on the rail. Only to loose his job within a few short years. He wanders the road in search of the life that left him behind.
Still the locals hold to the eeriest of all theories, that there is no true explanation other than some type of paranormal activity. Stories have been passed down from generations well before the rail was ever laid about the mysterious light on Saratoga road.
Whatever the explanation, it creeps me out, but in a strange way intrigues me. I'm not afraid to admit that I am a scaredy-cat! Afraid of any little thing. I stay away from haunted houses, scary movies and anything remotely eery. What about you? Any fears that really get you worked up? What creeps you out and makes the hair on your arms stand on end?
Hope you all are preparing for a perfectly Spooktacular weekend!
pictures compliments of http://www.texasescapes.com/AllThingsHistorical/Big-Thicket-Light-AM107.htm