me and a buddy of mine were stationed at fort bragg, nc. we were watching tv one night in the barracks and we saw one of those "strange but true" type shows. it was talking about a ghost in vander north carolina. we pulled out a map and discovered that vander was only about 30 miles away. on a lark, we drove there...that night. we stopped at the general store (and that was the name of it "the vander general store"). we picked up some beer then asked the old man at the counter about the ghost. he didn't look at us funny or anything, he just said, "i'll give you directions". it was actually only 5 or 6 blocks away. we went there and pulled off the road, got out and went and sat just off the tracks. every once in a while a car would stop on the road straddling the tracks and just stay there for a few minutes staring down the tracks, then leave. we didn't see anything that night, but decided we'd come back some other time. turns out we would come back 4 or 5 times. by the last time we were thinking that it was all bullshit. anyway we got up and walked down the tracks away from the road. i stopped and turned around to say something to my buddy and he was looking past me with his eyes real wide. i turned around and there it was, it wasn't much, but it was definitely something. it looked like someone was walking toward us with a lighter lit and held out in front of them. as it got closer, it was obvious that no one was holding the flame. it was just floating there! it kept coming toward us til it was about 15 feet away. we both stood there with our mouths wide open. then it took off straight up with a kind of whistling sound and disappeared at tree top level. it scared the bejesus out of both of us. many years later (the incident happened in 1980 or 81) i read about it in a book. i can't find my book list right now, but it was a book about hauntings in america.
anyway, turns out that there used to be a train stop just down the tracks. the station agent came out just before the train was due, to smoke his pipe. it had been raining and he slipped on the platform, was knocked unconscious and flopped forward across the tracks. the train came along, apparently not scheduled for a stop that evening. obviously, he was killed by the train, probably in a most horrible way. so what is the flame we saw? is he stuck between planes of existence? is he looking for a way out of this plane? or is he just a poor unlucky soul that was snatched out of this world so unexpectedly, that he's destined to be stuck like he is forever? if anyone's interested, i can be contacted about the book that the story was in.
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