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Cohoke Light

-By Obiwan-

This mysterious light appears in West Point, Virginia at a place called the Cohoke Crossroads. It is described as a yellow light that moves along the railroad tracks at the crossroads. The light has been known to break up in front of an observer and reform behind him. The light is now on private property, and perhaps that's why newer accounts of this light are hard to find.

There are two stories about the light. One claims that the light is from the lantern of a headless railway worker who was killed along the tracks. The other legend centers around a phantom train which apparently disappeared during the Civil War while carrying wounded soldiers.

Reader Experiences

Fry, Tim
Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 7:27 AM

I remembered this from a long time ago about 35 years. I was about 6-7 years old; my aunt lived there and we were visiting when my mother and father were told the story of a plane crashing into a train. Story has it that everyone was found dead except a women and her daughter. Story has it that the light is the mother looking for the daughter. Story also has it that the two bodies were never found and that the seats where the two were sitting had no trace of blood.

I went to this site with my mom and dad and other adults. They parked on the tracks with two cars front end to front end blocking the tracks. After a while the light appeared and disappeared several times. At this point I remember watching the light go over the cars hoods and continue down the tracks. My father never believed the story until he saw the light that night. I remember him saying it’s time to get out of here and we never went back. My mom has since told me that the tracks have been removed and there is no access to the site. Is their any proof of this accident? I was told it was some time in the 1930’s

Thank you

Tim Fry


Cohoke Light (1)

Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 08:48:10 -0800 (PST)
yourname bob turner

This is really not a story as much as it is a comment on the Joe Baldwin/Maco, NC story. An almost identical story is told about a site at Cohoke, near the town of West Point, VA (the ghostly character at Cohoke was a supposedly decapitated brakeman). I have been to the Cohoke site, have seen the ghostly light, and have pictures of it (taken by a friend when I wasn't present). Descriptions I have heard of the Cohoke phenomenon are virtually identical to the Maco stories although Cohoke isn't quite as lively as old Joe. I saw it only for one brief moment as a faint, distant glimmer.

My visits to Cohoke were 30 years ago. Subsequently, I visited Maco about 25 years ago and, although I didn't see old Joe, I did talk to a former local person who had seen the phenomenon and was very impressed with it. Then, a few years later, I became acquainted with persons in the Nashville, Tennessee area who knew about an identical phenomenon at a nearby site called Chapel Hill. Subsequently, I have learned through research that there are perhaps a score or more sites around the US where the similar apparition occurs, generally with the same explanation of a decapitated railway worker or passenger searching for his head. In no case has documentation of the veracity of the tale been forthcoming. In a number of cases, I think Maco included, the railroad is a thing of the past and the tracks have even been removed, but the light still appears at the site. I have one photo of the Cohoke light off in the woods beside the track.

There is a web site for Cohoke although I haven't checked to see if it's still active. I don't have the URL but the title is "The Light at Cohoke" if you want to search for it.

Cohoke Light (2)

From: "J Owen" (
Subject: West Point Ghost Light
Date: Sunday, October 26, 2003 10:55 PM


I ran across your website after doing some searching last night. Myself, my wife and family had an encounter with the West Point Ghost Light late yesterday. I wanted to ask if you knew of any stories or talk about the possibilities of what that thing could be? Do you have any thoughts, ideas, accounts or explanations that aren't on your site? Ever since seeing it I have been trying to find out more. I am a rational and skeptical person, but I can't deny what we all witnessed.

Some explanations sound plausible, but searching the net finds all sorts of the same lore about a deceased railway worker of some kind searching with a lantern for a missing head, etc. These lights seem to all appear near railway beds. I mean, how many deceased & headless railway workers are there in the US. My skeptical and scientific side tells me it has to have something to do with the fact that if you stand on railroad tracks, you can see very far with an unobstructed view. Presumably you can see RR crossings literally miles upon miles away. In the blackness of night, a single car passing across may appear as a slight glimmering light.

All of us went to the Railroad crossing about 10 or so miles past the West Point Paper Mill. We were only there about 45 minutes and we were able to see the light six times. 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. It was overcast with very little moonlight. We all sat down and stared down the track and after about 15 minutes the first glimmer appeared. 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. That blew my theory of a distant car crossing the tracks away because it was so much closer. I didn't know what to look for the first time, but after the first couple of times I was able to hone in on where to look. The ground begins to illuminate like the light is shining in the other direction and then points towards you. It was actually quite amazing. My family all bolted to the car on the last time. They were genuinely spooked I guess. I left too but only because they threatened to leave.

I wanted to pass this all on to you for what it's worth and ask your advice on any other accounts, etc.

Eric Owen,
Richmond, VA

Cohoke Light (3)

From: "dan tobin" (
Subject: West Point Light
Date: Saturday, March 19, 2005 1:25 PM

I can personally attest that the Train Lights in West Point Va. is very real, and was seen by six of us.

My name is Dan. This all took place years and years ago when I was in high school in Newport News Va.

I was working as a bagger at a local grocery store, and six of us wanted to drive up to West Point after work, about 12 am on a friday night in early October. It was a very cool night, and I drove 3 girl cashiers, and my two buds up to the railroad tracks. We did'nt get there until after 1am.

I parked right after crossing the tracks to the right. The story was told to me that you walked about 300-400 yds down the tracks twards the long bend in the tracks and sit and wait. We had taken some beer from work so we started drinking part of the case of beer. We were there about 45-50 minutes when I saw a white light slowly turn on and then off way way down the tracks. ( seemed like 1-2 miles). The light almost looked like the size of a white lighting bug going off. Only myself and my girl friend saw it at first.

I immediatley shouted there it is................. Not really believing myself what I saw, and about 45 sec. later, the light came on, and came off again!, This time it was closer, but still wayt down the tracks. At this time EVERYONE ran over to me and stood bunched up all starring down the tracks.

The night was very clear and calm, no noise whatsoever, and than.................The light came on a 3rd time. This time it was very so close that the woods and trees glowed where the white light slowly turned on...............than turned off. EVERYONE at this time freaked. two of my buddies ran down off the tracks into a patch of hookbriers, and the girls ran back twards the car, I stood there in awe, never scared but just in awe. As I turned to run back, the light Glowed behind us right over my car !!! The entire intersection, railroad crooing, car, and road lit completely up like daytime!!! The guys that ran into the ditch full of briers really got cut up bad and saw the light from the woods too.

I was really concerned that we all HAD to run to my car where that light just was.......................Way too scary.girls freaking out and crying, the whole thing !!!

I was pissed off cause everyone got in except the guys in the woods.............they were way deep into the woods, I almost left them, but continued honking my horn and the girls SCREAMING out their names thru the car windows. Finally everyone got in and we all had a very long ride home. The funny thing about all of this once I looked back on this, that we really never went to school and bragged on what had happened, it was all kinda kept silent among the six of us.

That's my story, this took place back in 1975.


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