As a young teenager, I recall hearing about the "Maco Light" . One night, some other
teenage friends and I left our community of Atkinson to go to the town of Maco, about 15 miles West of
Wilmington. I remember walking down the railroad tracks and waiting for what seemed to be just a very long time.
We did indeed see the light that night! Was it really the ghost of the conductor waving his lantern and searching for his head? I don't know. It was spooky, dark and drizzling rain and I was just as happy to be back in the car and away from the tracks.
The legend goes that a train conductor, named Joe Baldwin was in the last car of the train and it had come
uncoupled and was slowing down. Down the tracks, Joe could see another train approaching and tried to stop
it by using his lantern as a warning. The other train did not stop and crashed into the uncoupled car in which Joe
stood with his lantern. Legend has it that Joe's head was severed from his body and that it is he on the tracks with his
lantern searching for his head.
The stories about this light have varied a bit in the telling, but noone has ever been able to explain the light although there
have been studies and scientists over time involved and researching it.