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Mysterious Lights

Spooky, Unexplained, Paranormal Phenomena in Arkansas

The Gurdon Light

Most people describe the Arkansas paranormal phenomenon known as the "Gurdon ghost light" as a bluish-green glow arcing from rail to rail along a deserted stretch of railroad track in south Clark County. Local legend says that in 1931 a railroad worker was slain along that same stretch of tracks. After the slaying, the "ghost light" began appearing. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, the Gurdon Light is a mysterious floating light above the railroad tracks near Gurdon (Clark County), which was first sighted during the 1930s. Many theories and stories exist to explain the light, including one which connects it to the 1931 murder of William McClain, a railroad worker.

Many trace the Gurdon Light legend to a murder that took place near the railroad tracks in December 1931. William McClain, a foreman with the Missouri-Pacific railroad, was involved in an argument with one of his employees, Louis McBride, regarding how many days McBride was being allowed to work. During the Depression, the company did not have the option of giving McBride more hours on the job. McBride became very angry, hit McClain on the head with a shovel, and beat him to death with a railroad spike maul or a spike hammer. The Gurdon Light was first sighted shortly after this murder, and many have come to believe that the light is actually McClain's ghostly lantern glowing.

This local legend made the area near Gurdon a very popular place, especially around Halloween. The story became so well known that, in October 1994, NBC's Unsolved Mysteries television show traveled to the Gurdon area to film a re-creation of the 1931 murder. The program aired on December 16, 1994, documenting the spooky, unexplained phenomenon of the Gurdon Light and describing the legend behind it.

The Crossett Light

Like Gurdon, Crossett had a railroad worker, a brakeman, who came to an untimely end in the early 1900s when he was beheaded near the track. Now a ball of light can be seen swaying back and forth a few feet over the track as the brakeman looks for his lost head. Or is it his wife carrying the lantern and looking...?

The Crossett legend began with the coming of the railroads, which not only shaped towns on maps but also created Arkansas paranormal legends of narrative tradition. The Crossett Light is viewed by some as a terrifying ghost, while others view it as a source of fun and entertainment. The most interesting aspect of The Light is that it supposedly disappears when one approaches it, and it will go through a car, making it impossible to start the ignition.